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Fall into rest
Q: How can a change in the season help you recharge?
Disco Dialogues is a newsletter and interview series where Kinnari and Mitali engage in deliberate dialogue aimed to spark inner growth. Our posts start with a question to encourage reflection on topics ranging from creativity, courage and curiosity to self-care and relationships. The hope is that by sharing the dialogues that we have with ourselves and with each other, we can start conversations with our community.
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Do you know what’s common between a musician and a public speaker? They both know that the pauses are as important as the sound of the musical instrument or the words being spoken. The rests are as important as the activity. As we finally roll into the fall/winter season - a time when the trees shed their leaves, when plants go dormant, when animals slow down their metabolism - I find myself thinking about how to be more in tune with nature. Finding time to pause, to rest so I can enjoy the subtleties of life that are all around me.
As a mom to a two-month old this is seemingly very difficult. When uninterrupted sleep is a luxury, finding time for reflection and relaxation is impossible. Or is it? I can either look at myself as the busy, harrowed, barely-surviving-on-any-sleep mother who’s headed into the holiday season, worrying about getting a preschooler and a baby dressed and out of the house for the various Diwali and Thanksgiving parties, OR, I can look at myself as the mom on maternity leave that can take naps with her infant, enjoy time with the preschooler when she comes home and savor the celebrations this season will bring. I can make time for those pauses throughout my day. I can find pockets of time to reside in presence, until the longer stretches become more possible.
So that’s the shift I am working on as we head into this fall/winter season. Looking for moments in my day, an hour or two on the weekend, to slow down and savor the quiet within, to read poetry or well written prose, to be moved by music. It’s only been two days since I made this shift in my head but I’m already noticing changes. Yesterday after my preschooler got home, I asked her if we could have some special mother-daughter time. So she and I had a little tea party before bedtime. After days of asking her how school was and what she learned and getting “nothing” as a response, she finally opened up to tell me about an activity they did during the day and later sang a new song she learned. Last night, while I was pumping, I started to read Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and finally this morning instead of wasting time on my phone while at my preschooler’s gymnastics class, I took advantage of the open space and did the stretches my physical therapist has been asking me to do for a couple weeks.
So, consider this an invite to find time within your day, your week or month for rest and relaxation. I hope you make time to tune into whatever in your life needs tuning into.
Today by Mary Oliver
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
For those of us in the US, the darkness has started to descend. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time many of us are going to switch our clocks this weekend and feel engulfed by the night at 5pm. It all leads to a feeling of less time - especially at a time of the year when activity tends to increase as we celebrate Halloween, Diwali, Thanksgiving and the various holidays in December.
My body and mind expects this change in rhythm every year but it still struggles. I went back and read my journals and Disco Dialogues posts from the past few years and in all of them I write about slowing down in October. Each year I try to not get caught up in the swirl of things once November arrives but I somehow fail.
Knowing that I grapple with this change, in September I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't commit to anything more than five days out. I carried that mentality into October and kept space open on my calendar and in my mind for spontaneity. Heading into November, I am starting to dream what this winter could look like if I stopped fighting time.
What if I carved out the time to nestle with a book and a cup of tea and watch the fading sun at 4pm? What if I decided to start a fire for our family to gather around on a school night? What if I took myself to bed earlier in the evening allowing my body to fall into sync with the sun? Sounds idyllic for a working mom with two kids but what if I made hard choices to make this happen? Maybe not every day but how about once a week?
It's surprising how small changes can compound over time. Just like repeating an affirmation to myself each day when I am in a low period can pull me out of it eventually, could slowing down give my body a chance to relax and prevent my mind from getting sucked into the cyclical pattern of depression in the winter months?