Lazy Days

Peggy McPartland

I wake up without an alarm, long after the sun rises. I slowly stretch, look out the window at the brilliant blue sky and smile.

It’s a Lazy Day and I have absolutely nothing to do today.

In today’s hectic world, we rarely take time for ourselves. There’s always something else to do, somewhere to go, one more deadline or one more soccer game to take the kids to. “I’m too busy” becomes a common refrain.

We have this this incredible ability to keep moving forward even when we’re exhausted and feel as if we have nothing left to give. Rather than listening to that inner voice that’s screaming for us to just stop for a minute, we keep pushing ourselves, refusing to slow down and take care of ourselves.

Our body has a way of telling us “if you won’t listen to me and slow down, I’ll force you to.” And that’s when we get sick.  It’s happened to me more times than I care to remember.

But what if we just regularly took time to slow down, nurture ourselves and become grounded? It’s easy to consider time for ourselves as a luxury when in reality it’s a necessity. It’s a valuable lesson I learned during my time at Plum Village.

Being lazy has always seemed like such a bad thing to me. I’ve always felt guilty when I’ve been lazy, spending a day in my sweats reading. I’ve always thought that time not spent productively was a waste. At least that’s what I’ve been told since I was a kid. I just never asked myself what productivity really means to me. And once I did, I couldn’t help but embrace being lazy.

I think it’s really proactive and productive to spend time taking care of myself. And if taking care of myself means napping, meditating, or just sitting in the woods listening to the silence, that can’t be a bad thing.

Every Monday at Plum Village is a Lazy Day. And I looked forward to it every week. It’s a day to recharge the mind and spirit. It’s a chance to spend the day reflecting, walking, reading, napping in the sun or just being with friends. There’s no agenda and no expectations. The day just unfolds slowly and luxuriously.

It amazes me how long a day can seem when there is absolutely nothing that has to be done. Being able to enjoy a day relaxing and being fully present and aware of each moment is an incredible gift. It’s a really a practice of giving myself to myself.

It’s not easy for everyone though. Many people find the concept of a Lazy Day so foreign that they’re unable to relax into it and enjoy it. We’ve been so programmed to stay busy that it’s difficult to do otherwise. And if we’re always busy, it keeps us from having to really look at what’s going on inside. It’s a way to not feel any true emotion.

I’ve learned if I’m tired, rest. And that if I feel boredom when I’m not busy, to really look into the cause because if I’m fully present and aware in each moment, it’s impossible to be bored.

This beautiful practice of Lazy Days is something I’ll want to continue throughout my life with much joy and gratitude. Rather than feeling guilty about being lazy, I’ll embrace it wholeheartedly.

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