January 7


Today's quotation:

If people walk in the woods for the love of them half of each day, they are in danger of being regarded as loafers; but if they spend their whole day as speculators, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, they are esteemed industrious and enterprising citizens. As if a town had no interest in forests but to cut them down!

Henry David Thoreau

Today's Meditation:

Are you regarded as a loafer?  Most of the people I know who regularly walk for half a day in the woods (and there aren't very many of them) love what they do, and they wouldn't care a bit if people called them loafers.  They know that what they're doing is a beautiful way to practice renewal, to recharge their spirits after experiencing the stress of their work and their families.  They know that no one's judgment about how they spend their time is important except their own, for they know in their hearts what they most need.

It's very easy to allow ourselves to be judged by others, even though their views often are very flawed.  Why do we worry about what a person thinks of us and what we do, when we can see quite clearly that that person isn't happy with him or herself?  Why do we put stock in the opinions of those people who don't even know themselves, much less us?  Don't we know what's best for us?  Then why don't we trust that more than we trust the views of others?

We don't have to be producing for the sake of the approval of others if we want to be happy as human beings.  We don't need to be walking the walk that others define for us--Thoreau also talked about "marching to the beat of a different drummer," and while we often quote that idea, few of us have made a conscious decision to live fully to the beat of our individual drummer.  It's not easy to do so--it takes courage and commitment to devote yourself to the life that you feel inside is best for you.  But the rewards are definitely there, even if we have no true idea of what those rewards look like, because we've never dared to go down the road at the end of which they lie.

Questions to consider:

What does your conscience tell you is the best way for you to live?  Are you following that way?

Do you feel comfortable loafing and taking things easy when others think that you should be doing what they think you should be doing?

How do you feel if others criticize you for not following their expectations?  Is it fair to yourself to feel this way?  What effects do these feelings have on you?

For further thought:

Work is not always required of a person.  There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.

George MacDonald

more thoughts and ideas on rest



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