Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
I have to admit, this prompt rubbed me the wrong way. It’s just not the time to move forward. (That’s one of the reasons all my unexpected forward momentum has me in a tailspin.) We are in the season of rest, and quiet. We are not in the season of action.
I know that most people don’t feel this way, but I do. For me, the year ends on Halloween eve. I celebrate and honor those people and things that have died in the year, and await the return on the sun on the Solstice. The time in-between in sacred no-time for me. It’s the time of the year where I start to think about my goals and resolutions, giving myself lots of time to really think things through before putting them into action in the New Year. And the New Year is also subjective. I celebrate the Solstice by myself. I celebrate Christmas with family. I celebrate the New Year with friends. It’s an ever-widening celebration that brings me from a place of silent contemplation to a place of action.
I love the idea of this kind of sacred contemplation, my own personal Halycon Days. (From Living In Season: “The Greeks told a story about the halycon days, the two week period before and after the solstice when the kingfisher built her nest on the waves and the sea was calm while she hatched her chicks.) I take it very seriously, purchasing a lovely day-planer before Thanksgiving and taking the time to fill it out. This year is it The Sacred Journey Journal and I’ve filled it up with maps of my priorities, goals, and marked off the active and passive parts of my year-to-come. (I did not know, for example, that I’ll be traveling and/or presenting almost every month of 2011. Almost every month! Introverted and home-loving little me is exhausted just thinking about it. ) Suddenly carving out time to rest and rejuvenate become a top priority.
I find it interesting that the author of this prompt also wrote an article on how to reclaim silence, contemplative spaces, and sacred time. Here, he does not rub me the wrong way. This is just what I need.
Soon enough, planes, trains, subways, and, yes, showers will offer the option of staying connected. Knowing that we cannot rely on spaces that force us to unplug to survive much longer, we must be proactive in creating these spaces for ourselves. And when we have a precious opportunity to NOT be connected, we should develop the capacity to use it and protect it.
Here are five potential mindsets and solutions for consideration:
1. Rituals for unplugging.
Perhaps those in biblical times knew what was in store for us when they created the Sabbath? The notion of a day every week reserved for reflection has become more important than ever before. It’s about more than just refraining from work. It’s about unplugging. The recent Sabbath Manifesto movement has received mainstream, secular accolades for the concept of ritualizing the period of disconnection. Perhaps you will reserve one day on the weekend where you force yourself to disconnect? At first, such efforts will feel very uncomfortable. You will deal with a bout of “connection withdrawal,” but stay with it.
He also suggests:
2. Daily doses of deep thinking.
3. Meditation and naps to clear the mind.
4. Self-awareness and psychological investment.
5. Protect the state of no-intent.
I really like this article, and the ideas. And I love, love, love the Sabbath Manifesto. I am going to have to think about ways to incorporate this into my life.
I guess that the next action he asks me about in the prompt is this: plan for down-time in the coming year.