embracing a season of rest
November offerings & invitations for rest, relaxation and restoration
Whenever fall is upon us, as the air cools and the nights grow longer, I feel this deep pull to rest, quiet, go inward and be still.
Ten years ago, I worked as a public-school teacher in East Oakland, CA. During the fall and winter, it felt unbearable to wake up in the mornings, put on my happy face and exert hours of labor into student needs, while beating back an ever-growing sensitivity and despair. I don’t know if this is what people mean by “seasonal depression.” I am sure the cause and symptoms vary for everyone. But I know for me, the season itself was not the issue.
Like so many “disorders” in the dominant culture psychology lexicon, the way we talk about seasonal suffering suggests that there is something inherently wrong with either the person or the time of year. That we somehow just can’t deal with darker days or changing seasons. My body invites the question, then what did our ancestors do?
I don’t always have access to my direct line of ancestors as a child of geographically displaced and formally enslaved peoples. But I’ve learned to look to my animal and plant relations for help.
At this very moment, squirrels are ravaging my garden. They are ripping off seed heads, devouring pumpkins, scurrying through gardens and burying their finds all over the neighborhood. It looks like mayhem. But soon, I will no longer see them. They will go somewhere to quiet, to rest, to be still. Alongside the squirrels, leaves fall and find places to rest on the ground. There, leaf litter becomes winter homes to countless insects and pollinators. Everywhere around me, nature is releasing, storing, and preparing for an extended time of rest between October and February.
Moving to a location where snow forces a slow-down brought reprieve to my seasonal distress. Despite capitalism’s drive to keep producing, extracting and controlling, snow days shut streets down. Traffic moves slower. People cannot rush out of their homes, instead they must pause to don boots, jackets, hats and then scrape ice from cars. Many forego the hassle altogether and decide to stay home.
All of this is often seen as an unwelcome disruption to the capitalist culture’s constant premium on the idea of “progress,” movement, growth. I find it reassuring. I welcome the chance to move at the muffled pace of snow.
I wonder how we’d feel if we were allowed to join the flow of Nature, and not work against it. I wonder how it would feel to not only be allowed to rest, but be supported to do so in safe, loving community. How would it feel to unabashedly claim and access the resources, foods and supports we need in order to rest? What would happen if we gathered to release all we are holding from infinite summers of working, producing and playing? If we supported each other to let it all fall away in a cascade of colors. And then find a resting place among the earth, leaves, seeds and loved ones. And stay there for a very long time. Trusting that the dark earth is the birthplace of everything we need and dream. That we get to be not only fruit or plant, but also sleeping seed.
For some of us, I am convinced that seasonal suffering is the legacy of lifetimes of forced repression of our innate needs, and the distress and grief that arise when we cannot access rest materially, spiritually or skillfully.
Wherever you are this season, whatever you have access to, I hope you practice rest. And if you cannot rest fully in all the ways you need, may you rest on the inside parts.
May you rest from self-criticism, self-reproach, & self-blame. May you rest from unreasonable expectations and endless striving. May you give permission for others to rest and be a home to your community. Rest.
*Please note that this post is not meant to diagnose nor minimize any person’s mental health diagnosis. Please work with your medical and mental health providers to ensure that you are addressing any physical conditions that might be causing distress and getting proper care for your mental and physical bodies. Mental health treatment, with or without medication, is often a necessary and nourishing way to support the seasonal blues. Read on for accessible, inclusive mental health resources.
upcoming offerings & invitations
Are you needing more support with the seasonal shift? Access my health & wellness coaching practice before spaces fill. Rates are $80-$150 for activists, teachers & changemakers. Set up a consultation here https://calendly.com/candicerose/15minconsultation. All sessions are virtual. Check out the following directories for more practitioners & services:
BEAM – Black Virtual Wellness Directory
Inclusive Therapists | BIPOC LGBTQ Therapists Near Me and Online. Social Justice Oriented Mental Health Care
Mental Health Directory – National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (nqttcn.com)
On November 1-3rd, Join me at the Paces Connection:
As a collective, we have experienced an abundance of grief and loss over the last few years. We invite you to join us for our Collective Grief Collective Healing Conference. The goal of this communal experience is to allow us to collectively process our grief and engage in collective healing. Our special guests will share research and resources on collective trauma and grief. They will also highlight the importance of care practices that move us towards healing. Please join us. Healing happens in community.
“Anyone can join the PACEs science movement at www.PACEsConnection.com” Here is a Blog post with more details about the conference to share and repost.
…more resources for rest…
Call the Nap Ministry Hotline for a Black feminist reading on rest! 1-833-588-6277
and/or join me in reading Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey this fall (I am on a waitlist for the book!)
I like to fill my home or office with the sounds of nature as white noise to soothe my nervous system throughout the day. Check out this podcast for a place to start:
Thank you for reading and being a part of this community. Become a paid subscriber for access to embodied practices especially curated for our qtbipoc community of survivors, healers, freedom dreamers and activists.