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Misty Morning at Rim Shoals

Rest Stop

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: FreeWine
Do you have a quiet shore to rest upon?

The season of Christmas is upon us – and I for one REFUSE to let it be diminished by the holiday chaos that threatens to wear me down…

Find a quiet shore, a place you can pause and feel the stress fall off of you… a refuge you can escape to at a moment’s notice.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Often, when chaos begins to wear us down, a brief rest stop will renew our spirit – and infuse us with the power boost we need to master the moment.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could pause at a quiet shore whenever and wherever?  Even if only briefly?  And even if only in your imagination?

I myself have two very special “quiet shores” that I can pop onto when chaos threatens to throw me off balance.  Each serves a different need:

  • One is a place for waiting with high, hopeful expectations, a place for making-up futures and setting-out buoyant new beginnings.  You can read all about it in my post, Wistful Memories of a Secret Garden.
  • The other is a place for temporarily escaping unpleasant realities, a place for believing that good outcomes will flow forward, a hideaway for regrouping my resolve: A peaceful river valley surrounded by Yosemite-like granite cliffs where I sit upon a boulder listening to water burbling over age-old rocks while sun-dappled tree branches ripple in a slight breeze…

Those are my quiet shores… but what about you?  Do you have an imaginary rest stop you can visit in times of stress?  If not, right now is a good time to dream one up.  It’s as easy as thinking back to a pleasant destination you’ve enjoyed and appreciated… and then, using your five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching) fill in ALL the details – Ta-Da! – you have your very own “quiet shore” to rest upon.  And the going-there can become a practice you can invoke with regularity.

Or Maybe a Comfort Drawer

Or if you are feeling an imagination deficit, here’s an interesting but not so trippy escape idea… Sarah Ban Breathnach, who wrote the book Simple Abundance, advocates outfitting a “comfort drawer”.  In that drawer she recommends stashing “unhappiness remedies” such as: chocolate truffles (Nuh uh… they’d call my name… Ellie, Ellie, there are truffles here… until I’d gobbled them all – no way those would still be there in my time of weariness!); miniature after-dinner drinks (Huh? A secret stash???); bubble bath, candles, eye mask… whatever would “spoil and pamper.”  Alison of suggests making a crafty Wonderful Me Journal to tuck into your comfort drawer:

A little book designed to make you feel special on the days you feel a bit rubbish… because some days you just plain old forget that you really are… Wonderful…

Stretches my capabilities and inclinations but whatever floats your boat through those moments that threaten to sink your day… moments when you’re feeling worn down, hurt by some unkind act, tired out from fighting the good fight, or simply coping-mechanism depleted.

My Easiest Route to a Quiet Shore: Hum a Tune

Going to a quiet shore can be easier than all that imagination and drawer stocking.  I escape at a moment’s notice simply by humming a calming tune.  I recommend Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go) by Dierks Bentley:

Got the sun shinin’ on me like a big spotlight
So I know everything is gonna be alright

Ain’t no tellin’ where the wind might blow
Free and easy down the road I go
Livin’ life like a Sunday stroll
Free and easy down the road I go
Free and easy down the road I go

If you only get to go around one time
I’m gonna sit back and try to enjoy the ride
Free & easy down the road I go

Lastly, a “Refresh-Screen” Activity…

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sometimes all it takes to find a momentary escape from the tension of a day-going-tilt is to engage in a simple, creative side-routine… like pushing a “refresh-screen” button.  Do something that requires hand-eye coordination, active movement as well as brain power.  Take a walk and snap some photos, look around you and ask how you would sketch the scene, doodle or draw.

Stop, Rest and Then On We Go…

I say it again: I REFUSE to let Christmas be diminished by the holiday chaos that threatens to wear me down.  I choose instead to take brief rest stops with whatever frequency will keep me grounded in good will toward all.

What about you: do you have a place you where you can pause and feel the stress fall off of you… a refuge you can escape to at a moment’s notice?  If not, get you one!

Do you have a quiet shore to rest upon?

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