Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Rx for Rest


Harvests are mostly gathered and stored for winter by now. Unbelievably, Thanksgiving will be here soon.

We will celebrate Abundance and gather in the fruits of our farming community’s labors.

Our tables will stagger under the weight of Plenty; traditions will keep us grounded during the niggling uncertainty that is Covid.

What gets lost in the thrill of costumes, bags of sweets, traditions, then the whipping of Thanksgiving spuds and cranberry sauce, is the season of rest to follow.

I didn’t really want to mention it, but Winter is coming – this season of slumbering bears and soft flannel; an interval of climbing in and hunkering down.

Dormant crops will pause beneath the frozen earth.

It’s a time for rest, a well-deserved respite for planters, reapers and gatherers.

Symbolically, we’re all in the business of planting, reaping and gathering.

Seems logical, then, that we should plan for rest, and lean into it like a comfy quilt.

But we don’t.

Rest, in our industrious, git ‘er done culture, is the Last Stop on a Fast Track.

In some ways, the year 2020 has forced many of us to rest from something, open our hands, wear some masks, separate from all the parties and associations of labor, and receive something very new. Some new growth.

 New perspective.

New value.

New understanding.

Rest is too often frowned upon, equated with “lazy”.

That’s just sad. I know a woman who never tells her mother that she has been reading for hours, or drawing, or quietly designing something.  This would be frowned upon.

What’s worse is, we often feel guilty for getting some downtime when there’s so much yet to cross off the daunting To-Do List.

People who own their own company rarely get to just shut down and go to the beach for a week. Others feel their vacation time must be spent with family when they would rather explore a mountain retreat alone. Is that kind of vacation commitment more productive?

Give yourself permission to relax. Schedule downtime and honor that impulse to shut all the clamoring needs out. As a colleague is fond of saying, “You’re not lazy – you’re spent!”

She’s right — we’re operating on two cylinders and still hoping to put more miles on before bedtime.




No judgement here.

You can’t serve from an empty vessel.

This blog supports, timely gifts for all seasons. Please visit the link to see my seasonal books, the "Breath of Joy! series. Breath of Joy! Ah, Autumn celebrates the robust season of fall and Breath of Joy! Winter Whispers throws a memory quilt over your grateful shoulders!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Buddy and the Last Great Chase

"I think I'm dying," I confided to my editor.

"What?! Why?" she wanted to know.

"Because I'm having a really productive writing season. This might be my last gasp."

She wasn't having it. Not any of it. 

"Please let me explain," I said. 

And I told her about Buddy the cat.

Buddy, an orange tabby, became my parents' house cat after a hardscrabble start in a litter behind the barn. 

Buddy grew into a well-fed member of the household, but he kept his hunting prowess intact, occasionally depositing a dead chipmunk at the back door for all to admire.

For the most part, though, Buddy was domesticated. Pampered. Neither affectionate nor mean, Buddy just blended in. Other than a chin scratch now and then, he kept to himself, alternately sleeping and staring out the front window.

He did develop a fondness for Morgan, my great-niece, and the two of them were pals through all the years and seasons.

When Buddy grew quite elderly and thin, Morgan began to grieve. 

That's when he surprised us all with a final hunting tour that netted dozens of chipmunks.

Buddy would hunker down in the back yard and wait patiently, pouncing with precision and skill. Those critters thought they could outsmart Buddy, but they didn't stand a chance.

Not that summer.

His last summer.

One day he stopped eating. He became weaker. My folks noticed he would drink water, but he was not interested in food. His singular mission, day after day, was to vanquish the chipmunk population in the entire county. Hell bent and spring-loaded, Buddy piled up the chippies like little trophies, there on the back porch.

It was weird; that cat was enjoying his most productive season as a hunter. He was wasting away physically, but he had the stamina of a young feline on the prowl. 

It was a good run. Another chippie, another victory lap.

This went on for most of that summer.

And then he died.

Morgan was beside herself - it was hard to watch her mourn, after seeing the two of them grow up together.

"So this is why I think maybe I'm dying," I explained, after I told the story of Buddy the cat.

"I'm somehow cranking out a blog a day for my work."

"Basically I'm bringing chipmunks to the back door and it's been a really good run.

I must be at the end," I lamented.

There was laughter on the other end of the phone line.


She thought the analogy was a real stretch. When she came up for air, she said, "When you write something, it should not be viewed as an ending. It's an arrival. Just keep going on that journey."

I'm not at the end, I'm at the threshold.

I'm not Buddy-the-chipmunk-slayer. 

I'm Kathy, the word-chaser.

I chase after words and I carry them to the door, hoping upon hope I can write them down and give them to a reader who needs them.

Poor sweet old Buddy. He had a job to do and he did it like a champion. Even at an age when nobody thought he had it in him.

I think I'll learn from his blazing exit, and from my editor's sage advice: Keep showing up. Find the words; wait for them and pounce with precision and skill.

Write them down.

Wake up tomorrow. And do it all over again.

Kathy Joy, wordsmith, event speaker