Shelley J Whitehead

A deep rest for the psyche

2 August, 2022

Like all living beings on this beautiful planet, we humans are cyclical creatures. The months of our annual calendar, woven around the shifting seasons and the waxing and waning of the sun and the moon, are a deeply entrenched part of our psyche. They punctuate our lives with recurring rituals and moments of ‘holiday’.

I grew up in the Southern Hemisphere, where everyone put down their tools in the month of December, prepared for the festive season, made plans with family and friends, grabbed the buckets and the spades and made sure there was enough fuel for the barbeque. Knowing this was the time to enjoy the warm, sunny evenings, late night chatter, connection and rest.

I now find myself living in the Northern Hemisphere, where August is traditionally the month of holiday and of fully switching off. In several countries, businesses shut down altogether to allow tired workers to take time away from their workstations. It’s a time for deep rest.

My own energy waxes and wanes through the year. And, somehow, every year I find myself starting the month of August bone-weary. I need to slow down in my busy-ness and reconnect with the warm tentacles of the sun, the feeling of wild water against my skin… letting myself relax into the peacefulness and power of nature.

As the summer shadows grow long and the light ever more golden, I shift into the slower rhythm of August and my body softens into a more laconic pace. I try to let go of deep thought and allow my mind to wander more freely. I open up my being to the rich possibility of the come-what-may and the rejuvenating power of restfulness.

There are times in life when we need to hone in and point our energy into sharp focus and times where we need to widen and soften our gaze. Both bring their own kind of pleasures… but the magic of ‘letting go’ and allowing our souls to drift into rest is that we can replenish our reserves of energy. We can slowly fill up a well that often runs on half-empty or sometimes runs dry, when the body forces us into rest by hitting us with a wall of pain or illness.

With deep rest, like the summer fields abundant with their growing crops, we can enjoy the satisfaction of filling up – a ripening inflection point.

There’s a steadiness in the summer heat, as it slows my pace a little. I breathe easier and deeper, and I allow my energy-parched well to slowly, slowly refill.

Shelley J Whitehead
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