If your week has been as challenging as mine, you are ready for some rest. Sunday is a great day to recharge. For me, the healthiest way to “power up”, take a “rest from stress” and reconnect to truth, love, beauty and joy is through “otium sanctum” or “holy leisure”—the topic of today’s article.
“Otium Sanctum: ‘holy leisure,’ refers to a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves.”
For me, otium sanctum is nourishing rest (leisure). To be happy, healthy, strong, willing and courageous, we must be nourished. More than just eating a healthy meal, true nourishment supplies vital energy to EVERY area of our being and leaves us feeling that we are worthy, belong and loved—regardless.
Life requires rest
Not simply sleeping, waking rest is a requirement of life. How do we know? We can take a look around. Everything in nature must rest or risk becoming miserable and die. For example, if we own a horse, we cannot simply feed it and ride it. It will either die of exhaustion, get sick and/or be depressed—unable to function well and enjoy life. If instead, we feed it, ride it and give it some time to frolic in the fields and sunshine, and we will see a fresh stallion who is ready to ride.
My personal experience
Until my early thirties, I did not rest. Sure, I did fun things like take trips, watch movies and get together with friends, but I did not mentally or emotionally rest—my mind was never quiet. I was also a workaholic. That’s not something I say lightly in the attempt to be complimented for my successes—it was a real problem. I defined myself by my accomplishments, so when I took time off to rest, I criticized myself for not having accomplished “anything.” It may sound silly, but to me, I did not see the difference between “rest” and “laziness.” I had not yet learned the power of rest.
After years without it, I not only became exhausted and got very ill, I also began to feel hopeless, that I would “always feel this way” because I did not know how to “fix” my problem. Something needed to change, but I didn’t know what. So I kept working too much and sleeping when I got sick—however, I did one little thing differently. Instead of feeling hopeless—like nothing would ever change, I simply asked life, “what do I need to know to be well?” while being open and willing to receive an answer.
It wasn’t until I stumbled across the words “otium sanctum” in an article and decided to look up what that meant, that I began my journey into healing. As I explored what it was, I began to notice that I held a lot of tension in my body. Once I became aware of it, I allowed myself to release it. I instantly felt relief and felt inspiration. Although I didn’t have all the answers on how to heal, I already felt better. I decided that I should stick with this “otium sanctum” rest thing, and decided to do it more often. I allowed myself “otium sanctum” breaks every day at work for five minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen minutes, alone under the trees in the Arizona, orange-blossom breeze. I felt a vitality that came with the hope that I had been missing. I felt appreciated and cared for. I felt receptive and open to new ways of being without “doing”. I felt refreshed by this “downtime” and discovered that it was anything but lazy. And, I began to heal, feel hope and love myself and life more. And, it was during these “otium sanctum” breaks that I began to ask more questions of life, and listen to the answers. “Otium sanctum” was my way into meditation and regular “communion” with Life/God.
I leave it to you
And now, I ask you to take time for you—to nourish and recharge your being, to care for yourself. If that means silence in the sunshine, playing with your children, walking in nature, reading a book, taking a bath, praying, meditating or petting your pet, I encourage you to love yourself enough to be nourished. You are worthy and worth it.
If you wish to read more about “otium sanctum”, I’ve included a link to an insightful article by Ben Palpant below. Regardless of your religious preference, his article is healthy “food” for thought https://benpalpant.com/…/otium-sanctum-an-essential-means-…/
As for me, I’m going to take some “otium sanctum” time.
Always with love,
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