Cat Nap

In the whirlwind of post book launch, I decided to take a day and do nothing; just be quiet for several hours. I didn’t turn on the television or listen to music and purposely turned off my computer and phone. My home seemed to breath a sigh of relief or maybe it was just the echo of my deep exhalations.

Several decades ago, when I lived in southeast Asia, I bought a small book called The Miracle of Being Awake by Thich Nhat Hanh. The book, a series of essays, is about basic mindful meditation practices; how to let go and truly relax.

I like many of the exercises the Venerable Hanh recommends but one in particular: letting go in a lying down position. So easy.

The instructions are something like this: Lying on my back on a flat surface without the support of a pillow and keeping my arms loosely by my side with my legs slightly apart, I just gently breathe in and out, allowing my mouth to open in a half-smile; letting go of every muscle as if I am sinking into the floor. Thich Nhat Hanh compares the relaxation exercise to a cat, completely relaxed before a warm fire, muscles yielding without resistance. Just breathing in and out.

Sometimes I fall asleep. Not a deep sleep, more like a nap. But when I wake up, I feel refreshed; restored somehow as if I went to a special place. I like to think it might be a secret or magical place just for me but it’s probably just my imagination.

The word nothing in the French language translates to la nullite´ meaning uselessness or nobody. It’s comforting to know the simple practice of doing nothing need not be productive or something I need to excel at.

Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. Nobody home.

How did you find solace this week?

Sharon

© 2021. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

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