I’ve been working harder than a retiree should. For the most part, the work has not been drudgery, only strenuous. After a week of fixing up the bathroom, then cleaning up the tools and stashing away the leftover supplies, I believe some R & R is in order. This belief was solidified as Orange the cat spent an uncharacteristic extra few minutes on my lap early this morning. There has been a break in the heatwave, and both of us felt relief and a fair amount of comfort.
The urge to mow the yard later today was scuttled. The chore is not urgent. It can wait until tomorrow. I hope the neighbors also wait. There are few sounds as annoying as a chorus of lawnmowers on a Sunday when one has decided to procrastinate mowing the lawn. Certainly, the blades of grass could use some rest from regular cutting, too. Oh well, today is the traditional day of rest, so why bother anticipating and complaining about my time-strapped, busy neighbors?
There will be some walking along the biking/hiking trail nearby. Perhaps I’ll bring a proper camera along and not use the phone for photography. The mechanical workings of an actual camera feel more satisfying than using fingers on a phone screen to zoom and focus. One of my favorite sounds is the servo motor for the zoom lens. There is the shape and heft of an actual camera in the hand that gratifies the tactile needs of the creative process. Even a simple, inexpensive point-and-shoot camera has a more substantial feel than the slender construction of a smartphone–in my opinion. I hope cameras never go out of style.
During days that I purposely relax, I derive enjoyment from a half-hour of formal meditation. It is not a chore to sit at the shrine and pay attention to the thoughts of my monkey mind. This is good practice that helps to settle the mind and focus intentions. It seems that the more often I meditate in this fashion, the less resistance to it I feel. Although meditation is not relaxation per se, it does enable a sense of calm and peace of mind that help the rest of the day feel lighter and more relaxed.
Many weekends, a trip to one of the local museums is both mentally stimulating and relaxing to the mind. I love to look at artifacts and imagine how they were integrated into the lifestyles of their owners. On a similar note, I enjoy the ultra-modern design of our public library. It was designed more as a community center. It draws the patron into the joys of research and creative activity. Although it is high-tech, the library is a safe-space for curious minds. I’m glad to see people using the media work spaces to make small items. It’s also pleasant to see people in the general areas browsing through the stacks of books and other publications. Even though the library building is new, the aroma of old books has settled in to stay.
In the end, we tend to strive towards a healthy balance between effort and relaxation. Too much of one leads to mental unease. These days, we place a great deal of energy towards work and activity. Even much of our leisure time is spent doing things to avoid boredom. I believe that it’s good to parcel out some time to do absolutely nothing. If I get bored, which is rarely, I embrace the boredom. Boredom is a sign that I’m alive. I feel grateful for the ability to do things and to relax.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 19th/20th century columnist and newspaper syndicator, George Matthew Adams. “A cheerful frame of mind, reinforced by relaxation is the medicine that puts all ghosts of fear on the run.”