Weekends tend to be placeholders for catch up. We have two days to run all the errands, have all the fun, spend all the time and watch all the Netflix shows we didn’t have time to do during the week. We run from one activity to the next, barely taking time to breath. Or at least that’s how it seems to me.
However, this weekend was different. Friday was full, but Saturday was the definition of relaxation. I slept until a probably unreasonable hour, then guiltlessly consumed too many pastries — almond croissants, sweet buns and doughnuts. The unusually balmy November sun permeated my skin, energizing me with that Vitamin D. I daydreamed of everything I could DO on this day like walk the pedestrian bridge, explore a new park, window shop with a friend, go for a run.
But as soon as my feet touched the hardwood floor in my apartment, I felt compelled to stay in my little sanctuary of rest apart from conversation, action and obligation. Instead, I took to the front steps unable to neglect the nearly perfect weather. Some friends joined me on the porch: a new magazine, my computer, a cup of coffee and a cross stitch loop. My magazine (Under the Radar) informed me of new bands and albums that have recently entered the ethers. I used this information (and my computer) to set the auditory backdrop to the afternoon.
Holding the wooden loop in my left hand, I stitched mint yarn into the pattern of feathers. My back rested against the outside concrete of my apartment, sun beaming directly on my face, my fingers led the golden needle through cream aida, rising up and journeying down. This was my own form of meditation, my mind peaceful and focused on the simple task at hand, void of wander, plans, schemes and worry. My phone remained inside, eliminating further distraction. Instead of perusing Instagram or responding to text messages, I was content within the simplicity of these moments. Sometimes I forget how much my phone keeps me stimulated, even when I seek relaxation. What a relief to just put it away for a while. I think I’ll start doing this more often.
Eventually, the concrete back rest took its toll on my back, and the uncomfortable environment distracted me from the relaxation of the moment. Therefore, I returned indoors and sat in my grandma’s hand-me-down chair, or my “comfy” chair as it is so often called. I finished a large section of my feather cross-stitch pattern and continued to listen to music. Inside, Walter was mesmerized by the mint string and the constant motion of my hand. He even tried to steal the string from my needle, batting at my hand. Finally, he rested across from me, content in just watching.
I ended my peaceful afternoon with a warm, lengthy shower. I stood for an hour under scalding water, listening to music and daydreaming. Sometimes nothing is more comforting than the blanket of steady hot water. Finally the steamy escape transformed to a lukewarm one, and I had to escape. Removing each droplet of water from my skin, I completed the after shower ritual and was left feeling warm and refreshed both physically and mentally.
Rarely do I allow myself to enjoy such simplicities, but instead get swept away by the actions of everyday. Often, I’ve sought meaning in business, letting the number of activities and the amount of actions define me. However, this is a recipe for disaster. It is necessary to also find meaning in true tranquility in taking breaks and letting our mind, body and soul utterly rest. Let’s not let society’s negative depictions of relaxation make us feel guilty and rob us from the joy it brings. The next time we are presented with the opportunity to bask, let’s not feel lazy but use it as a time to reset, appreciate and enjoy the simplicities of this life.