What do you think when you hear the word Shabbat? Do you think of the English word Sabbath and church? Do you think of the phrase, "Shabbat Shalom", and wishing people well?
Shabbat is the Hebrew word for the seventh day (Friday evening to Saturday evening), and since that is the day of God's rest in the Bible, shabbat also means to stop, sit, or rest. We all know that rest is important, but I've noticed that I get antsy when my calendar clears up - the beginning of the pandemic was particularly challenging - and one of the blessings of this period of time has been the ability to rest more effectively because I didn't have as much to do. Taking a day of rest is one of the commandments, and I've tried to actually rest rather than continue doing, doing, doing.
It's surprisingly hard to do nothing. We're all used to lots of stimulation, interaction, movement, and it's a little shocking to let it all go. It's also crucial to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In Ayurveda, they call the pulsations of life "spanda", and it's important to honor the expansion and the contraction so the cycle can continue in a healthy way. When we stint on either activity (expansion) or rest (contraction), the rhythm of life falters.
We are currently in the time of darkness, stillness, and silence. The sun shortens its journey across the sky each day as we approach the solstice. This is a sacred and liminal time. And this year, instead of jumping from one activity to another in the normal frenetic "holiday season", many of us are under stay-at-home orders, our lives confined within our homes. It's a perfect opportunity to set aside time to rest and look within.
What does that look like? Well, it could be meditation sitting and facing a wall, catching up on sleep, or taking a walk alone in a local park (if they're open). Whatever you choose, do it mindfully, honor the silence, and listen within. Perhaps you'll be rewarded with some new inspiration, insight, or rejuvenation. If you find your mind racing, it's okay. Breathe with it, and remember that this is what minds do. You don't need to control it or change it. Let it be and come back to your breath, your nap, or your surroundings.
If you are interested in support as you turn within, I'm hosting a virtual half-day retreat on December 26. Here is a link with some more information: https://www.elliemout.com/bookings-checkout/dive-into-the-dark-manifesting-2021. If you would like some support in incorporating rest into your routines, sign up for a targeted coaching session here. The picture is of sidewalk art near my house from earlier this year.