Everybody needs beauty as well as bread. Places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.John Muir
I am interested in taking time out today. Earlier today, a friend was discoursing a fairly exhaustive (and exhausted!) list of midlife realities and responsibilities. In conversation, we agreed there is no “there” (as in a place we reach in age, vocation, weight, location, or life stage) where we can put our toes up and enjoy the sunset for any extended period of time. Life keeps coming. (We hope.)
This is why we have to carve out our own peace for ourselves. Find the time and make space amongst the busy-ness and craze. After all, that is what God needed after six fairly busy days. Why shouldn’t we?
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2 : 2-4)
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
We need to do the same. I hesitate to include the second sentence of the latter quote, as I think it lends itself to misinterpretation. I don’t happen to think we get rewarded by God for praying to Him or that prayers get answered for the best pray-er. I think the act itself is the reward. In other words, the practice of presence is the gift. But we have to make the time for it, wherever we are.
Put the phone away; become present. Even on vacation. Especially on vacation. No technology. No work or unnecessary emails. Definitely no social media. Maybe no unnecessary outreach. (That’s a hard one for me.) Instead, we go in. We use the breath as a tool.
Practice: Remember these three things when you breathe.
- Breathe in and out from your belly.
- Breathe in and out from your nose.
- Breathe out a bit more than you breathe in.
If you want a real treat, try extending your legs up a wall. This will stretch your back and hamstrings. (A position most easily approached by lying in the fetal position on your left side, rear and heals near the wall, then rolling onto your back and extending legs up.) Put a washcloth over your eyes and your hands on your stomach. Adjust until you are comfortable, not overstretched. Lie there and breathe.
If you are on vacation and beauty surrounds, take ten minutes to bask, alone, with your breath. If you are not, make this happen at home. Today.