A Time of Rest

Now is a time of rest, attention and focus as we gear up for our next retreat, The Path to Joy, in 2 weeks.  Zorro, my oldest horse, reminded me of this last night when I went down to the barn.  It was still quite early when I found him curled up in his back paddock.  He was perfectly still and his eyes were shut.  Much was going on with the others at the barnyard, but Zorro has the benefit of not hearing well.  Zorro’s stall door was shut which gave him the ability to step away from the herd and their dynamic- and just rest.   He was so peaceful — like a little Buddha meditating.  It immediately reminded me of the importance of recharging.

As a child I remember my dad taking us to the dentist, or wherever, and while waiting he would always close his eyes and fall sleep.  He’d say all he needed was 10 minutes and he’d be ready to go again. At the time, I remember being somewhat embarrassed – like when he’d start snoring.  Now, I can’t tell you how many times I have followed his lead.  I too, find myself closing my eyes and appreciating the minutes of rest I can catch when I have to wait places.  When there is not time for a full out nap, even 2 minutes of eyes closed and mind cleared can be so centering and calming.  I am grateful my father taught me this, among so many other things.

I have spend a lifetime of preparing and pushing myself.  I would always work until the 11th hour whether it be preparing for a trial or even going away on a vacation.  My justification was always that I could rest when I was done.  I continue to have that same urge, though now I do try and resist.  After I get my mom’s taxes done, or the estate settled, or the new fencing put in, then I will take the time I need for me to re-energize and rest.  The problem with that logic is, just like law, there is always another case awaiting.  What if the “Have To’s” in life just never end?  In fact, they won’t.

So why rest, attention and focus in these 2 weeks leading up to the retreat?  Here our preparation begins with letting go of the “have to” list so that both the animals and I can fully rest and be prepared for the retreat.  We will take time to slow things down here at the farm–spent extra time together.  We will find ways so everyone has both quiet, contemplative time, as well as time together to communicate and just be present in the herd. Resting takes many forms.  Sleep.  Quiet time alone like Zorro took in his stall.  Spending time together where nothing is expected.  All of us getting in this space gives us the best opportunity to allow our participants a similar experience once they arrive.  All of our retreats are designed to be peaceful encounters where we can get into the flow of what comes when we are connected and present.  That leads us to attention.  During these 2 weeks we will also be very intentional with what we do.  So we will not allow our time to be absorbed by the mundane and instead we will focus on the things which bring us the most joy.  And, finally there is focus.  Our focus will be on being fully present and mindful in all that we do.  This one is easy for the horses as they always stay in the present.  They have relied on this ability in order to stay alive as they are preyed upon in the wild.  So this last one is more for me.  This is a time to let go of drama like political races,  gossip,  office politics or any other outside influence that is hijacking our time and  that is not providing a positive and nurturing response in the head and heart.

So tonight I am thankful to Zorro for this reminder and ever so grateful for what these 2 weeks will bring as we prepare to welcome our next retreat participants to the farm.

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