Resting with intention

Since I began a daily practice of mindfulness meditation, I know that we can begin over again at any moment in time, during the year, the week, the day, or the hour by pausing and taking a new breath. But I’ve always loved new beginnings and, perhaps because of all the media messaging that accompanies the new year, or my own habitual patterns, I notice a subtle pressure to launch myself into 2023. I acknowledge this urge but meet it with a gentle resistance and remind myself to go gently and to rest deeply this month, like nature does. So, if we find ourselves forging ahead, we might check in and ask ourselves ‘what’s the rush?’ or ‘How are my energy levels?’ Can we approach the new year and indeed our lives, more like a marathon than a sprint? It is so important to go at your own pace, without comparing yourself to anyone else.  

Even after the holidays, my overriding feeling is that I need more rest and replenishment, and I find it interesting to observe how my mind sometimes labels resting as somehow being ‘lazy’. There can be a little bit of guilt too. You may find yourself feeling rested after the holidays or, like me, in need of some more rest, or maybe you noticed that you found it hard to relax over the holidays. Whatever the case, perhaps we can all pause for just a moment and set a soft, light intention for ourselves to include regular rest and relaxation in our daily plans this year, not just during holidays. No need to proclaim this intention to anyone, or make any song or dance about it, we can just make a little vow or commitment to ourselves, in our own hearts and minds, to slow down and rest more.

And instead of always looking to the future, we can take a pause at any time to sense our way into any moment, it doesn’t have to be major or momentous, just being present now and orienting ourselves towards all there is to see, smell, touch, taste and hear. For example, in this moment, I can hear the wind rumbling gently in the stove flue and my little dog breathing beside me. I feel the warmth of her resting against my leg and the touch of a soft blanket against my bare feet. I can taste the coffee in my mouth and there’s a faint scent of a candle from last night. I look around and take in the loveliness of the room, looking a bit cluttered after Christmas but still comfy and cosy. I notice how my body is rising and falling with my breath. I feel glad to be alive. These purposeful moments of presence are often enough to ground and settle us.

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been”. I feel this sense of excitement in my physical body every time I read this quote by Rilke, it really moves me. The words “let us believe in a long year”, for me, inspire hope in the not knowing what this lovely long year will have in store for us, as well as faith in our intentions for ourselves. Another year of life that we have been gifted, that has been ‘given to us’, not to be taken for granted. A year that is ‘new’ and ‘untouched’.  A year ‘full of things that have never been’. How are you feeling as you read this quote? Notice your own response to these words. Whether you have a feeling of excitement, dread, a range of emotions or no feeling at all, there’s a message in it for us.

Please get in touch for a chat with me if you are at all curious about how to begin a mindfulness meditation practice to slow down, settle your mind and rest. Drop-in compassion-based mindfulness sessions at Myross Wood House, Leap ( on Tuesday mornings from 10am-11am. €10. All welcome.

There are still spaces on the free Re-connect and Re-engage mindfulness-based wellbeing programme for family carers at CECAS beginning on January 18, 2023.  A series of three workshops offering the chance to slow down and deepen our connection to ourselves, nature, and community.  Please get in touch for more details. Phone: 087 2700572 email: or facebook page (Mindhaven) 

Susan O Regan

Susan O'Regan teaches mindfulness and self-compassion courses and workshops in West Cork.

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