By Brenda Riojas, I Start Wondering Columnist
The moment that day one of December arrives, I know the pace ahead will feel like a race to get everything done in time for Christmas. Realizing the New Year is close at hand only adds to the anxiety. While I am thankful Advent reminds us it is a season of expectant waiting, the speed of life during these days can get in the way of my creative spirit.
As a remedy, I find silence and solitude essential. This can take the form of a mini retreat or even just a few short moments alone without any distractions, without music, television, or any other noise.
The Gift of Lingering
I have come to appreciate the art of lingering, of drinking a cup of green jasmine tea, of reading a few pages from a book, or even preparing a meal or taking a short walk. Always I emerge refreshed and ready to tackle the next challenge.
If we are constantly in motion, running through our to-do list, even adding to it before we have a chance to complete the list, if we are incessantly caught up in all of the chatter of the world, if our mind has lost some focus, if we start to lose our creative spark, it may be time to retreat. Sometimes we need a “Do Not Disturb” sign to create some space for our creative selves to rest and recharge.
Take Time to Hibernate
Winter, with the darker nights and cold chills that cue nature to rest before a spring rebirth, reminds us it is healthy to take a break. What joy, though, knowing dormant periods are opportunities for regrowth, for renewal.
Silence and solitude give us space to think, to hear our own voice. The world grows loud with others’ ideas and opinions. Finding time to process and form our own ideas takes time. Social media — which helps keep us connected to our ever-widening community and provides us with some valuable communications tools and countless idea resources — also can be overzealous for our time. There is simply too much to take in as we scroll through hundreds and thousands of posts daily.
It is healthy to step away from all the noise in the world; healthy to rest and recharge. Just as we sometimes have to turn off and restart our computers, we have to refresh ourselves. When was the last time you took a nap? How did you feel afterwards? I used to take naps on Sunday afternoons. It’s been awhile, but I remember how refreshing they felt.
The gift to myself this winter – some silence and solitude. Even if it’s just for a few short moments interspersed amidst all the rush and chatter, I am going to make use of my virtual “Do Not Disturb” sign.