This is what I did late this morning when life stared to get a little too full of that pre-Thanksgiving, computer-breaking, turn-on-the-news-and-it-sure-looks-bad, project-failing, house-needs-cleaning, must-cook-those-leeks-before-they-turn-to-mush kind of crazy around here: I made a cup of tea and I went back to bed. I went back to bed and I stared at the wall opposite and every time my mind went to how I really should hang the shelves I bought two months ago, I (gently) said to myself 'not now.' And I listened to the rain, took a sip of tea, and watched the rainy day play off light and shadows.
This would work for a while and then I would find myself thinking about how I should get to the farmers' market and how it would be a great day to go because the rain will keep the crowds away and the farmers will need the business. (Poor farmers, probably stocked up big for the weekend before Thanksgiving.) This thought drove a spike of energy though my body and I almost got up but then I remembered and I said again 'not now.' Bombs in the Middle East. Not now. Pie crust prep. Not now. Calls to make. Not now.
More sips of tea, more listening to the rain and eventually I settled down some. Every time I tried to dream up a reason to get moving, get anxious, get distracted, I'd reel in my thoughts and just rest, as best I could, in the rainy light and the rainy sounds and the rainy smell of my morning. After a while it wasn't quite as hard to stay focused and relaxed.
What visited me then was a sweet yet pointed sense of gratitude. The miracle of being sheltered and dry, the miracle of a hot cup of tea, the miracle of the soft cotton-and-down of my bed. This sense of gratitude was quite calming and with it came a reminder that even though there is much to do and see and accomplish, even though there are stacks and lists and deadlines, there is still has to be this time of silence and stillness. This time of not-doing.
Eventually the tea cup was empty and I got out of bed and into the shower and into my clothes. I cleaned a little and organized a little and started a pot of soup from leftover mashed potatoes and the almost mushy leeks. My ordinary life had resumed with all its activity and concerns but now there was a little more spaciousness and a little less stress. I spent maybe 15 or 20 minutes with my tea flavored almost-meditation but I felt its effects all day long, like a pool of cool water that I could visit whenever I got thirsty.
This kind of rest is not about being lazy or avoiding what needs to happen. It is, to me, the natural order of things, a necessary and sane way to find the energy and motivation to carry on with the sometimes chaotic and unfocused business of running a human life. It's a little crazy out there in the wide world these days, more than a little heartbreaking, so please, find the place that fills you with whatever it is that allows you to turn and face it with a steady heart and gift-bestowing hands.
Related: Weekend Meditation: A Pear and a Poem
(Image: Dana Velden)