I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. I find that resolution lists tend to be filled more by what I think I ought to do than I what I want to do. I do, however, like words. So, instead of resolutions, I like to make a list of words that describe themes I want to experience in my life during my next solar circuit. While resolutions trap me into finite expressions of what I think I want, words leave room my life to flex with the curveballs of everyday living without giving up on my dreams for the year. Their manifestation in my life doesn’t often look like what I picture on January 1, but they have a way of working themselves out in ways that I couldn’t have predicted.
This year, I’ve been circling around two words in particular: celebrate and rest. Now, I love definitions, so bear with me as I give you a little background on these two:
Celebrate | verb
Publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.
Our English word “celebrate” comes from a Latin word, “celeber,” meaning to honor or frequent. This, of course, calls to mind parties, ceremonies, and other kinds of public shows of honor. It’s all very grand and corporate. The ancient Greek word for celebrate shines a more individual light on the concept. The focus is less on the group at the party, as it is on the individual heart of each reveler. In Greek, celebrate is “Euphraino,” which means “I am glad” or “I make merry.” It comes from two root words: “Eu” which means to fare well, and “Phren” which describes the mind, intellect, or inner outlook. Combine them, and the result is “I fare well in my inner outlook.” Puts a new spin on celebration, doesn’t it? Now, the merry heart at the party isn’t merry because of their outward circumstances, but because of wellness in their inner outlook. I’d like some of that, wouldn’t you?
But how do you make it so that you fare well in your inner outlook? That’s where word number two comes in:
Rest | verb
Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
I have to confess, I have a history of being terrible at rest. I love the idea of it in theory, but my practice is borderline pitiful. I either over-work my rest by filling it with too much doing, or I check out with brainless activities that do little to re-invigorate my soul. It’s no surprise, then, that I don’t get much refreshing from my so-called rest. My problem, I’m realizing, is that I make rest into an action of the body when it’s really an intention of the heart. My motion or lack thereof doesn’t mean I’m at rest. The words “in order to” indicate intentionality, and they are the key to the equation. We must cease our work with the same level of intent and engagement that we have when we start our work. This doesn’t mean that we make rest into another kind of toil, but that we choose to be 100% invested in the the process of refreshment. This means no clock-watching, no making something “practical” out of the time, and no fretting over what we could (or should) be getting done. As a dear friend phrased it, “I purpose to rest, just like I purpose to work.”
So, what happens when rest and celebration intersect in a life? Here’s my theory:
When rest becomes a purposeful choice, refreshing and reinvigoration are the result. Our souls begin to breathe freer again, and our inner outlooks fare a little better. As our inner outlooks brighten, our hearts become more merry. As our hearts become more merry, we seek ways to express our delight. This could look like a party, or a poem, or a dance, or a song, or a triumphant whoop during an evening commute, or a million other expressions of joy. Whatever means we choose, we become living expressions of the wellness and refreshing happening in our inner worlds.
I, for one, want to see this in my life in 2016. I don’t know just how it will all come together, but I purpose in my heart this year to pursue rest and celebration like never before. I want refreshment, wellness, and an inner outlook that infects my outward life for the better. What about you? Shall we all make 2016 a year of rest and celebration?
Sarah is the co-founder of Bright Ideas, a designer by trade, and an artist by passionate choice. She was born and raised in South, and delights in sharing Southern culture with anyone who cares to learn. Sarah collects creative hobbies; when she isn’t making art, you can usually find her on the dance floor. Follow her creative adventures on Instagram and Twitter!