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  • Writer's picturePastor Liz

A New Year Rest

It feels like the whole world is setting lofty goals. Dry January, new diets and exercise regimes. Everyone is looking for a fresh start and making commitments for self improvement. Resolutions, dreams or goals, whatever you want to call them, the new year comes with a lot of pressure for personal transformation. If that is where your heart and mind are, you go you. (And maybe skip the rest of this.)

But, I'm tired.

I want to hibernate. It's cold, dark and usually rainy. I want to curl up under my wool blanket by the fireplace with a cup (or three) of tea. I don't want anyone to talk to me, my noise-canceling headphones muting everything except for my slightly melancholy playlist on repeat. The Gregorian calendar's New Year feels contradictory to the lunar calendar and my internal calendar. I want to be a mouse, or bear, preserving and restoring my energy, laying low and sleeping until Spring, or at least for the next few weeks.

But vacations end and school starts, routines must begin again and I have to keep up with the ever-striving world around me. Thought I don't think that means I have to completely abandon my internal inclinations.

Katherine May, author of Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, said in a special Solstice episode of the Creative Fuel podcast, hosted by Anna Brones and Gale Straub, that it's important to honor the season of solstice. She says that it’s not just a day but an in-between time. The weeks around the solstice are a time to pause in the darkness. One of the co-hosts of the podcast, Anna Brones, is an artist and all around creative, every year she advocates for January to be an in-between month. A time for rumination instead of taking on new things. She writes in this week's Substack newsletter,

"Creativity, like nature, like us, is cyclical, and we all need this season of rest and regeneration. Midwinter is a process, a pause, a moment."

Resting or pausing for a whole month might not be accessible to you. But could you let go of the need to achieve, produce, and otherwise improve for the next few weeks? Take some time to reflect on what you actually want to, or need to, let go of or adopt for the new year. In whatever small ways lean into ease and slowness. In the darkness of the evening light some candles and listen to a playlist or album on repeat. (Here is my "slightly melancholy" playlist) Binge watch a TV show. Read a book or audiobook. SLEEP!

Above all, let go of expectations and just be.



WildWood is also embracing a bit of a rest. See you Sunday January 7, 2024 at 4 pm and we will we will bring together all we carry, anger, struggles, heartbreak, joy and love, with prayers, wishes and hopes. We will write them down to let them go, or write them down into being, offering them all to the the cosmos, the Beloved.


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