Relearning The Lost Art of Rest

 

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In another life, I rushed. A lot. Hurried to the syncopated rhythm of my own heart beat. Well actually it wasn’t that poetic or rhythmic, it was sort of messy and chaotic. I once described the feeling of living a rushed and hurried life as an overwhelming feeling of being chased. I missed a lot in the frenzy. Failed to document, notice or capture much of the beauty that was then, as now, a part of this marvelous world.

Now as I learn the art of rest and live into a life where moments and periods of long carved out times of rest are a way of life, I love to sing the song of rest. Cheer folks on to simplify and to find ways to restore and rest in the everyday.

Poetry helps. It is healing. A balm. Living a life which is increasingly marked by simplicity serves as a fulcrum. Placing rest and regeneration as priorities is important. Vital to a rich and fuller way of enjoying what God has created.

Reading poetry brings me to a slow place of pondering. Of viewing life through a poet’s eyes. Writing in a compressed form such a poetry, helps me to economize my words. Tell a story in a way that perhaps shows more.Teases out more. Challenges me to make art that evokes a response of yes, I see it that way or yes, me too. Or even, wow, I missed that entirely.

My friend Shelly Miller has spent months studying, documenting, reading and learning about rest. And most importantly,  listening to a community of women as they lean  into the Sabbath and Sabbath rest. This community is called The Sabbath Society.

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I cannot give you the gift of rest per se, but I am giving away two copies of Rhythms of Rest written by my dear friend Shelly Miller. Shelly and I share a love of writing. We lived in the same smallish town for several years before Shelly and her husband H moved to London. Recently I heard her speak about the concept of Sabbath rest. I sat on the front row as she spoke in a Charleston church as part of her Rhythms of Rest book tour. Her message is life-giving and important. And her writing style is lovely.

For a chance to win a copy of Shelly’s book (I am giving away two copies) simply choose one of the following ways to enter. (US and Canada folks only, please)

One – Follow me on Instagram, @graceappears.

or

Two – Sign up to receive my free newsletter A Quiet Place For Words

Both my newsletter and my Instagram feed are increasingly becoming favorite place to write, make art and document the extraordinary ordinary in my world.

Three – Simply leave a comment on my blog and indicate you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Rhythms of Rest. Good luck. I hope you win. Names will be drawn on Saturday, November 19th,

(Shelly’s book is available for purchase at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble if you’d like to purchase a copy to give as a gift and to keep for yourself. As inspiration to hold rest up as a life-giving priority).

Be sure to visit Shelly’s website, Shelly Miller Writer dot com and follow her on instagram, Shelly Miller Writer too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulling Up To The Fuel Docks

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Welcome to Day 28. I have been absent for quite awhile from this series. Guess I have some explaining to do. Or perhaps the break in my writing, the quiet space which appeared in the midst of this challenge, will be revealed within my words. Over time. As Rest pours into the blank spaces and starts to tell her story.

I missed it here. And I actually did not rest much. In fact things got a little frenzied. But all good.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. To read the series in its entirety, click the page tab at the top of this home page. If you wish to receive posts as they are published, it would be my pleasure to have you choose to subscribe. ( I have extra life preservers on board so there are plenty for everyone to come aboard. )

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I have so many words to spill out onto the page here.

So many, in fact,  I am even considering starting another blog. Which is the height of irony given the fact that I can’t seem to “keep up” with a predictable rhythm, a consistent ebb and flow, a regular output of ink from my little inkwell of poetry and prose.

Rest from art while diving into the the living of life is a bit like a refueling. If I were one of the shrimp boats that are docked down at the end of my street, I would consider my short respite as that. A docking. A refueling. A break from rocking around on the high seas. A necessary time of idle in the port of change.

So thank you for staying. For coming again. For dipping into poetry and prose with me. And for coming here with an air of hope and expectancy that the words will be a human connector. That the art may possibly, on a good day, be worthy of your time. That the shared experiences of living and documenting our living help us all see in new ways. Open the window to wonder. Crack the door open anew to beauty. Shine light on the poetry of our lives.

So as I gather my thoughts and refocus on my craft, I guess this is a thank you for not jumping ship. For staying on board and for hanging around. For enjoying the possibility that poetry has to enrich  each one of our lives. For saying yes to looking at life through the lens of another.

That discovering anew the wonder which hides in the folds of life is often the result of looking through the lens of a fellow artist. Sojourner. Traveler.

And if you are wondering. And in case you’d like to ask. I have decided not to lean into the guilt or shame of a missed goal of writing everyday in October.

Because I have grown to trust the rhythms of wait and rest. Of idyll and slow. Of deep breathing and grace.

And of trust. That the best things often come as a by-product of waiting. That beauty is born in the quiet. And that those who stand with you and by you while you bob and weave, teeter and fall, wax and wane, are those who will see the fruit born from the times of want.

Grateful to have you tagging along. Pulling up my nets for the night. And looking for treasures lodged in the hidden places. The mystery. The discovery. The poetry.

Till tomorrow. A brand new day. Day 29, a day of poetry.

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Joining Laura Boggess for #playdates

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Rest, Restoration and The Golden Hour

pond scarf hammock faveI took myself on a bit of a wild goose chase. Wild goose chases are exhilarating if they are productive. And I was in need of a wildly curious wondering off into the blue. Off into a land of discovery.

Good health had been mine for a very long time. Rolling along for what seemed like an eternity, I had not been sick. Until I got sick. I am not sure what “under the weather” means or from where it originated. I could go on a wild goose chase and uncover more about this expression.

But where was I. Oh I was sick. So sick. My ordinary became scrambled and my body and soul cried out for rest and restoration. And when one enters the land of blah and stays there for what feels like an eternity, self-pity can creep in.

And that is where perspective-changers come in. You know them. And you have them in your own life. Friends who break through the dark and dank. The dull and gloom. They change your perspective with a word or phrase of encouragement and offer hope on a proverbial silver platter.

I was admittedly wallowing. Feeling less than poetic. Uncreative. And sick and tired of being sick and tired. The sun was coming out on the outside but the insides of my world were deeply entrenched in winter. So as any good self-pitying poet would, I felt pathetically left out of the bright and sunshiny world. And fell into the land where the blah trees grow. My world was blanketed by rest and restoration. Hmmmm, sounds like an enviable, vacation like place in which to linger.

I didn’t see it that way. I saw through the lens of pain and sadness.

A friend sent me a well-timed text, a quote and a word. And I latched on and sped off in pursuit of wild geese. And I  fell in love with the words of J.M. Barrie. She texted me this quote late one afternoon as I lay in my bed, sick and tired. And it was like honey on the back of my throat, and a warm bath drawn for lingering, for soaking a weary soul. It was simply, medicinal.

“You must be warned against letting the golden hours slip by; yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.” – J.M. Barrie

And then she, my friend, said these words:

“So rest and restore and live to play another day.”

How simply profound. These words found me in a place of soul fatigue. Feeling like I was dormant, passive even and that life was actively passing me by while I was hurting and trying to heal.They revived my weary spirit. And that lead to a bit of a goose chase. (You thought I forgot about the goose chase.)

These words lifted me, gave me hope and I became ravenous, not just hungry for more. So I went in search and found wonderful quote upon quote from the author of Peter Pan. And I accepted and received the implicit permission I was given this particular evening, to rest and restore and prepare for the healing. To sink down into the dormant time of sickness, to lean into a time of rest which would give way to healing. And to save up and expect the beautiful, the wholeness and wellness  to return to my living.

I could see that passion and beauty would return. With the smallest of shifts in my perspective, ushered in on the wings of a friend’s words.

Words are that for me. Agents of healing. Life-affirming and life-giving.

So as I read more of Barrie’s words and reflected on my season of sick and ick, I came to the thought that perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give is the gift of encouragement to one another. And I love the picture of the Golden Hour and its various meanings. (I have been on a goose chase discovering the meanings of this phrase too. More on that soon.)

I have uncovered some words for you. May you be encouraged by his today. And perhaps one day or some day even mine. Because I think I was made to write and encourage. And maybe I got well so I could continue to do both.

For goodness sakes I had a sinus infection, though I felt I was a death’s door, I would clearly recover. But in this time of sickness followed by healing,  I realized even more clearly, as the passion slowly came back: I do desire for my own art to be life-giving, to inspire, to encourage and to whisper a call to see beauty and to shift perspective.

Sometimes it takes a period of pain to regain perspective all over again. To redeclare what our art is called to do. To define more clearly our purpose and our call. Pinpoint how it is we are to use the gifts, well. Not just good. But well. Perhaps very well.

Enjoy these words from J.M. Barrie. And if you need to rest and restore, take care and do. Perhaps we can play another day.

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

“Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than necessary?”

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Thank you for allowing me to bring my words here. May you be encouraged to find the poetry and the beauty that is uniquely in this day.

Joining Lyli, sweet Lyli

Saying Yes and Saying No

This week I started a study on simplicity. And I began de-cluttering. And I am finishing some writing projects and starting some new ones. And I am putting more on my calendar than I usually place there. Because life is rich and full. Life is complicated and wonderful and simple. There is a place of discerning balance between entering in and holding back. Saying yes, a warm and loud yes, and saying a humble and wise no. 

A no that feels holy and sacred. That restrains in order to give later, to hold back now in order to invest more later. To manage our resources and energy well is to steward the gift, well.

May you and I find refuge and strength to soak in the good, withstand the times of loneliness and pain with grace. And to step into His will with wisdom.

May we be restored by the flames of His fiery love and goodness. And have eyes wide open to notice all His gifts, His sovereignty and sacrifice as we move into the Holidays. The ones where we celebrate all His gifts. May we be mindful daily of the greatest gift, the sacred one of His Holy Birth. Daily, bending the knee, daily bending the ear, bowing at the throne of our Lord. God, the King. God, our Rescuer. God redeemer and lover of our souls.

Amen. With Thanksgiving hearts and praises, words of yes. And whispers, sometimes, of a wise, well-thought-out and discerning no.

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Joining Deidra at her beautiful blog home, Jumping Tandem. Oh how I have missed this community.

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