June is beautiful, October is cozy, and January is energetic, but for me, this magical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is, unwaveringly, the best time of the year.
I’ve been thinking of an aspect of health and wellness that is typically overlooked: comfort as nourishment. In my yoga classes, I must sound like a broken record when I tell my students to get out of their comfort zones. Truly, you cannot do anything great inside your comfort zone. Life is never stagnant, so if you’re not moving forward, you’re actually moving backwards. All of these usual lines still apply.
However, as Americans, we tend to take this a bit too far. Not far behind my usual phrases is the mantra of American culture itself: “No pain, no gain.” We love overdoing it in every area of life: either a strict limit on calories or no limit at all. Either a rock-solid gym routine or smugly stating that we haven’t worked out in years. There may be some that disagree with me, but I believe that we can move forward in comfort by trying out that elusive art form: mindfulness.
On our wedding day, (November 30, 2012 – happy anniversary, honey!) I got the best piece of advice from my friend, Claire. She told me that people will say that your wedding day flies by fast and they’re right, but that you can slow it down. She told me to choose a moment – my lips still stretched from laughter, the quiet of waiting for a light to turn green on the road, a glance down at the flowers blooming from my hands – and will it to stop for a moment to preserve it in amber.
Remembering to do this isn’t easy – that’s how you move forward – but to mindfully observe comfort is to extend your joy and nourish your soul.
This is something that you could try right now; if you’re reading this, chances are that you’re in some sort of comfortable state. Stop a moment, look around, and make time stand still. Notice the things in the room, the air on your skin, the facial expressions of those around you. Breathe. Take ten seconds or ten minutes, but be truly present and focus only on the moment. When you come back, breathe and notice the difference in your mind. When I do this, I experience feeling generally fuller – my senses become keen and my soul still.
In Psalms, the Bible tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” What better reason can we have to stop and nourish ourselves?