A Lesson from the Orchid
December 21, 2018
This is my orchid. All summer long, its stems were lined with velvety white flowers, but the last one fell off as fall arrived and now it just looks sad and well…dead. I thought I’d killed it, but it turns out this stick appearance is part of the plant’s cycle. Blooming takes so much energy that it will now have to rest for months before it can once again produce flowers.
Chronic fatigue sufferers can surely relate.
This is the rhythm of nature. Grow. Bloom. Rest. With the onset of winter, plants go dormant, animals hibernate. We are part of nature, too, so this revelation made me ask myself: Why do we think we can go through life producing, working, blooming every day, every season for our whole lives without time to rest and restore our energy?
It’s easy to forget we’re part of nature because we’ve created separation with our indoor air-conditioned, artificial-light lifestyles. But our emotional and mental wellbeing depends on our connection with nature. Our bodies feel the tug of the moon, set their clocks by the sunlight through our retinas in the morning, need to stand on the spongy earth with bare feet to soothe our nervous system.
This modern society we’ve created is greatly flawed, built in contrast to how we should be following the rhythms and cycles of nature. I believe this fast-paced, never-slow-down modern lifestyle is contributing to the epidemic of chronic illness. I know it was a factor in mine.
My doctor told me that it would be easier if I had a broken leg. There would be a visual reminder to myself and everyone else of why everything I do is harder, slower and takes more energy to perform. As it is, they can’t put a cast on my brain. I have to keep reminding myself this is healing, this is normal and it’s okay. So, this is the first winter I’m not ignoring the strong pull to rest and go inward. I’ve promised myself there will be no guilt in resting, in long hot baths, in hours of listening to meditation CD’s or sitting out in the sunshine wrapped in a blanket. I will feed my soul with fairytales and dog cuddles, moon-gazing, tree-hugging, cheesy Hallmark movies and gratitude for the breath in my lungs. Whatever my body needs, I will sit with it in the dark and allow it to conserve energy without counting the days as wasteful; to take time to heal so I, too, can bloom when spring comes back into my life.
I invite you to join me in this winter rest without guilt. What can you do to slow down and give yourself a break?