“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
Nothing is Something
In the Spring, plants bloom. In the Summer, they flower and fruit. In Fall, the leaves turn, and the harvest is ready. But when it comes to Winter, the activity around us is less apparent. It seems that nothing is happening. Wouldn’t it possibly be better if we could skip Winter, and get to the good stuff?
That would be the natural inclination of busy people. It’s hard to do “nothing.” But nature reminds us that nothing isn’t nothing. Nothing is something.
During the Winter, deciduous trees go dormant. They’ve shed their leaves and slowed their metabolism. They won’t produce any new food till Spring. It looks like a hard time. Let’s say you brought that tree inside and spared it from the long, hard Winter. The tree might avoid this dormant phase. But you would have dramatically shortened its lifespan. Why is this?
Because all living things need rest. As simple as this truth is, our cultural obsession with efficiency and optimization drives us to always stay busy, looking for the next “lifehack” that allows us to move away from an essential part of being alive.
The idea of “practicing rest” may feel like a contradiction in terms. But many people will experience that allowing themselves even a few minutes of complete rest is actually pretty difficult, maybe even frustrating. That’s OK. The amount of resistance you feel to rest is a great way to learn about how deeply addicted to activity you are.
Here’s a great way to start: set aside 15 minutes to be “dormant,” using the trees as a pattern. First, “shed your leaves.” This means getting rid of distractions and letting go of anything that’s consuming physical or mental energy. Then, let yourself do “nothing” for the remaining time.
Our love for Winter inspired us to create the North candle. It’s a fragrant reminder of what we can learn from nature during this part of the year.