D A Y o n e
Happy New Year’s dear friends! If you’re reading this for the second annual Rest Retreat, I welcome you with wide open arms and am delighted to have you. We’ve got another painting behind us, and fresh new canvas awaiting our brushstrokes. What hope. What promise. What creative potential the dawn of this year holds.
Every time the New Year’s sun begins to rise and shine its holy light all over the world, I swear I can feel the invigorating energy of everyone, everywhere, offering their up resolutions and dreams for the days to come. Like ripples on the water, they echo forth in harmonic song, inviting us inward to ponder things both big and small, from the essence of time and the miracle of life, to the faded number inside inside our jeans that makes us grimace, and the tally of hours we’ve spent on Instagram.
But as we find, if we’re lucky and happen to be paying attention, the big things and the small things aren’t separate entries floating apart in the universe, but rather, they are woven together as one, braided together in the great tapestry of our existence. Both big and small, each is linked to one another, and both big and small, they are expressions of the mystery of why we are here, revealing the sacred interconnectedness of all things.
It can be a lot to take in, overwhelming even, if you demand answers and get swallowed by all of the really big questions that have no answers, but if you’ve got a little faith your back pocket, or at least a pinch of spiritual wonder to sprinkle on your path, there’s no better time of year to dig deep and reflect on what’s working and what’s not so you can begin again.
This year, this time right now, is fresh and full of opportunities to let in more light and to try again. Last year, no matter what it held, is over and behind us. And now, you and I and everyone else, gets the gift of trying some more. Of breathing new life into the moments, that when strung together, will make up what we will one day look back and call our “one wild and precious life” as my hero Mary Oliver once wrote.
Two years ago I wrote the Rest Retreat for Homesong. I felt the nudge deep within the narrow of my bones to make some tangible changes in the rhythm of my day so I could spend more time living life in the present. During this time of stillness and solitude, with minutes spent away from something that does a really good job of keeping us out of the present, and instead, stuck in a mindless rut of scrolling and tapping, I reset and recalibrated from the inside out, restoring my energy through the practice of rest. You can see last year’s template right here, and we will follow the same one again, but with some different material to read, write about, and listen to. Together, we will focus our energy spent off of social media and instead, on pruning our listening skills so we can better hear the song of our soul.
Rest is the word time and time again that begins to surface just as soon as the holidays draw near for me. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is a magical time full of so much magic and joy. Especially if you’ve got little ones and get to see the light behind their eyes shine. But with a gigantic outward breath such as the rush and activity and both literal and figurative expenditure of this season, our inner wisdom knows what it needs to thrive beyond survival mode, which is an inward breath and a big intake of healing air inside the lungs of our soul.
That is what the Rest Retreat is all about. About breathing in, so we can breathe once more. So we can live and love life through a lens of presence and attention and gratitude. It’s about taking the time we’ve spent viewing the lives of others, to be with those we do, the loves of our lives right in front of our faces. It’s about seeing more sunrises. Smelling more flowers. Hearing more birdsong. Feeling more simplicity. And tasting more freedom. I am going to be writing and posting nearly every day of this retreat, sharing things both big and small with you. Today’s practice is both of those, so begin whenever you’re ready:
Step One: Close all social media accounts.
Step Two: Breathe inward until you feel the air reach your toes. Repeat.
See you soon, loves.
Kaitlin - So happy to be doing this again this year. Thank you, Amanda!
admin - Kaitlin, so happy to have you here again! Welcome, my friend. xx Amanda
Adair - I am so ready for this. Thank you so much for putting this out there for those of us who need the words to put to our feelings and also for the accountability and inspiration!
admin - Adair, welcome my love! xx Amanda
bridget park - oh friend, how i wish i could have you over for a cup of coffee this very moment. thank you for inviting us into your heart in these sacred new year days. my soul is aldeady softening just to think of the magic held in these more-present hours.
this morning i woke with words on my heart (placed there in a dream, in the night, by the heavens): “the light wherever you are is holy.” lately i have been feeling a hundred bad ways a day because of the ever-darkness in our forest home. winters, yes, but summers too. i am needing to know that even if it’s ever-blue in these walls, or even if the only patch of light i see in a day is a ten-minute walk up a hill to see a patch of sky through the trees or even if it’s just my booklamp in the middle of the night ~ it’s all holy. all of it. even the invisibility, absence of it. it’s such a small thing. but maybe not. all i know is i woke with the words and but hours in, they are working their magic in the way i see. how i see my son crawling on the bed, how he embraces what he can see with simple acceptance, with gratitude.
admin - Bridget, hello sweet friend! Yes to these beautiful words of yours – light is holy and sacred and of what we are made. I believe it’s there in every moment if we are present enough to see and feel it – but distractions make it so hard, for me at least.I love thinking about the moon when I feel I am unable to see the light in the everyday moments that make up my day – that even though it’s not visible to me right there right then, it’s illuminating the universe and is whole. We might only see the crescent, but the moon knows She’s round and whole from the inside out.
Words cannot describe how blessed I am you are doing the RR with us. Love you, mama xx Amanda
Samantha - I’ve been looking forward to this so much! Can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate this retreat you lace together for all of us readers. Lets get started! 🙂
admin - Samantha, welcome dear one! I am so glad you are here. xx Amanda
Courtney - So delighted to start the retreat. I’m wondering if others are announcing their hiatus from social media or simply disappearing? I’m expecting a baby any day now and I’m concerned people will be concerned if I don’t post about it and I’m gone?
Happy resting all.
admin - Courtney, welcome! It’s totally up to you. Some post, some don’t. Follow what you feel your intuition telling you to do, even if that means sharing once you have your baby – because that’s BIG BEAUTIFUL news! Congratulations mama and happy resting with us. xx Amanda
Sonja Burgess - Breathing in slowly and deeply. Little flakes are trying to come down as it is just above freezing. I have been looking forward to this new year as I have been building intention in my life lately and have been looking forward to doing a social media fast. Thanks for guiding us into this new year. My plan is to fully welcome this year with a long walk in the woods to fully appreciate the life around me and gifts I have been given. Looking forward to you posts.
admin - Sonja, beautiful my friend. I feel calmer just picturing your intentions. xx Amanda
Courtney - Hi I’m new here. First time rest retreater. I’m feeling very hopeful about this month. Happy New Year!
admin - Courtney, welcome dearest! I am so grateful you are here, and I hope this retreat offers you restoration and healing energy in a way that refreshes you for the new year! xx Amanda
Heather mccoy - Hi everyone!! Can’t wait for this retreat.
admin - Heather, hello hello! And welcome, dear one. xx Amanda
Therie - Thank you so much for doing this again and for all your work you do. I am very grateful for you ✨
admin - Therie, you are most welcome dear one. So happy to have you here! xx Amanda
Michelle - I will forever be grateful for this time last year when I logged off and spent almost every moment present with my little girls, taking in their scent and smiles. Only to be greeted in Feb with a breast cancer diagnosis that pulled the rug out from under us. In the depths of sickness and chemo that followed I held onto those moments spent in January so tightly. I held onto the lessons that I learned in that month of quiet and those pulled me through. So I can’t thank you enough. For your guidance and effort in putting this together for all of us. The beautiful ripple effect of light this creates is bigger than you know. ✨✨✨
Sarah York - Wow, I too had a wonderful and present rest retreat last January, and then in February, my husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer and our world was forever changed. I can totally resonate with what Michelle wrote, and want to echo the thanks, Amanda, for putting together such a thoughtful place on the internet for us to gather and refresh. It is so appreciated!
Michelle, sending peace, health and well wishes to you and your family!
Michelle - Oh Sarah! Your comment brought tears. Thank you for writing and for the well wishes. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. Here’s to 2019 being kinder to us both. Hoping the worst is over for you and your husband. I am sending love, light and peace to your family as well! ❤️❤️❤️
admin - Sarah, I am so glad you are here with us again, and I pray that the new year is one of health and restoration for you and your loved ones. I also love that you reached out to Michelle – cultivating a loving and supportive community is what Homesong is all about, and your comment to her made my heart swell. Welcome back, dear one! xx Amanda
admin - Michelle, you beautiful soul. Can I give you a hug? I am so touched by your words and in in awe of your strength and inner light. You are a light, I can feel your healing energy right now in my goosebumps, and I am blessed you are doing the retreat again with me, with us. xx Amanda
Michelle - Your words are a hug Amanda! Thank you so much. ❤️
Misha - Oh thank you, Amanda, for planning this wonderful Rest Retreat. I’ve been waiting for this and am deeply in need of some time away from social media. Thank you 🙏🏼
admin - Misha, you are most welcome dear one! Let’s do this 🙂 xx Amanda
Jessica P - I already feel my mind clearing and my heart opening. So excited!
admin - Jessica, beautiful…me too. Welcome, welcome. xx Amanda
Jane - I so needed this and actually pulled up last year’s RR so I could follow it for the month of December 2018! Can’t wait to follow along with the new material you have put together for this year. Thank you for all your efforts in putting this together and sharing it with us!
admin - Jane, welcome again dear one. xx Amanda
Tricia - thank you, thank you, thank you. it feels as though there are a thousand things to say about why this is so needed right now, but i’m mostly just filled with gratitude for a gentle push to turn inwards for a bit.
Tara Troutman - So happy to be here this year and disconnected from all social media accounts! Deleted them from my phone so I couldn’t “sneak a peek”! Honestly it feels a little scary to me. But I know that there is freedom to be found on the other side. Thank you, Amanda, for your words. Looking forward to this journey.
Natalie Wilson - This was exactly what I needed to kick off 2018, and it is, again, exactly what I need beginning 2019. Thank you for pouring life and love into this work of creating a place for Real Rest, Amanda! Looking forward to it. Blessings to you! 🔅
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