Rev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster
Exhaustion: More than lack of sleep
A common theme that has arisen in many conversations I’ve had over the past several months: exhaustion. I have heard this in speaking with Spiritual Leaders, board members, those in our spiritual communities, friends, family members… I have also read about it in many articles across multiple fields.
The past few years have stretched us in many ways. The uncertainty of our times and the speed of change has had significant effects on us, including fatigue and weariness. The logical response is rest. Rest is, indeed, essential, but I want us to consider the kind of rest we need. Some of us may need more sleep, but I do not believe the exhaustion many of us are feeling is about lack of sleep. I believe there is another kind of rest that we are yearning for.
Coupled with the conversations I have had about exhaustion are two other topics I hear repeatedly: 1) a sense of loneliness, and 2) a need for belonging. This leads me to suggest that we rest from doing, pause, and take time to be fully present in the now moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh says: “The present moment is the only moment available to us and it is the door to all other moments.”
When we rest in the present moment, the whole world opens up to us. When we rest in the present moment, we connect with God/Source/the Creative Impulse of the Universe. In this awareness there is no loneliness. We know that we are never alone and that we always belong. It is also in the present moment that we can truly connect with another human being and give them the gift of knowing we care, they are not alone, they belong…
Belonging is a central component of spiritual community. Through the experience of belonging we are healed; we awaken to our deeper essence, and to the presence of a power greater than us.
There is much to do in our world and in our communities. I would encourage us to relax the doing a bit and take time to really connect with one another. I encourage us to focus first on being present and creating a space of deep belonging and acceptance. I believe that as we do so, we will find ways forward that we didn’t see before.
“The present moment is the only moment available to us and it is the door to all other moments.”
As we open the door on 2023, I hold each of you in my heart, and affirm your inherent worth. I know that we are intimately connected and belong to one another. Happy New Year.