If you’re like me, December is usually the month for frantic busyness… shopping, cooking, entertaining guests, going to parties, and much more. It’s often a lot of fun, and yet can sometimes create more stress than our bodies can easily handle. When I visit the monks and nuns of Plum Village, we always set aside one day a week for lazy day. On that day, there are no set activities, no particular time to wake up, nothing scheduled.
In my growing up family, “lazy” was a four-letter word. My parents had a saying they used when we said we were tired: “You can rest when you’re dead.” Now there is some truth to not wasting all of our precious time in this incarnation; however, in our culture, we may have taken this too far. During the holidays, many of us aren’t able to enjoy our family and friends because we run around frantically trying to get just the right gift or cook the most elegant holiday dinner.
I’m wondering if all of us could find a way this December to carve out one lazy day each week to truly rest. If one whole day seems like too much to start, maybe you could create a lazy afternoon, or a lazy morning, or even one lazy hour. For your lazy time, don’t schedule anything, even if it sounds like a lot of fun. Make space for yourself. Allow the day to unfold before you, and follow your intuition about what you would most enjoy. Walk slowly, don’t answer the phone unless you really want to talk, and slow everything down.
Thich Nhat Hanh was once asked how, at 80 years old, he manages to have the energy to teach and travel so often and with such mindfulness. He replied that he stayed healthy and active by doing everything in the most enjoyable way he possibly could. So during your lazy time, strive to do as little as possible, and what you decide to do, do with as much enjoyment as you can. I will try too.
May all of our holidays be filled with laughter and peace,
p.s. If you want to try meditating with a small group, please come Wednesday mornings 6:30-7:30 am for sitting and walking meditation.