People keep asking me what I did over the year-end Christmas break. And, to be honest, I didn’t ‘do’ a whole lot. I wasn’t with family this year. No travels planned. I did take time off work. So too did my partner. But in terms of what I ‘did’, it was fairly average.
I slept in. I went for a few walks (not nearly as many as I thought I would, nor as many as I do during the usual ‘work’ weeks). I read my book. I drank red wine. I ate cheese. And I watched a few Christmas movies.
Pure bliss in my mind really. ?
My absolute favourite part about carving out space to not really ‘do’ anything is sinking into a good book. Like really sinking in.
I do a lot of reading as it is. I take my book (I’ve been known to even take books) with me everywhere. On the train. To the coffee shop. Anywhere where I know there could just be pockets of standstill time where I could sneak in a few pages.
But the difference between reading ‘on the go’ and truly sinking in to a book is that complete immersion that comes with it. As a kid I used to ‘get in trouble’ for completely removing myself when I was devouring a good book. Because I’d ultimately disappear into the pages, the story, the characters. To the extent where I’d likely miss the call to help with dinner or pack the dishwasher.
What’s great about the space to truly sink into a book is the complete presence that comes with it. Well, presence to the book that is (maybe not the dishes). You get to completely switch off from your outside world and be consumed by this other space. Your mind gets to run free and wild and be fully immersed in another tale – real or not, it doesn’t really matter. Because the immersion is the same.
My personal favourites are real stories. I love hearing how people came to be whatever it is they are in their lives now. How their own history, choices and decisions led them to be in a place (mentally, physically and emotionally) that they are now. And how they weaved all the parts of themselves into this beautiful tapestry.
Mostly in real stories you get a sense of the adventure along the way. The tumbles and turns and precipices where they weren’t quite sure how it was all going to pan out. And then, you get to realise the becoming. The place where all those turns start to merge. Where they’re finding their voice. Their strength. Their calling. Whether that be starting a business, a family, booking a holiday or enrolling in a cooking class!
Over the Christmas break I devoured, and I mean devoured Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. I couldn’t read each word, each page fast enough. I wanted to absorb it all. She spoke with such love, honesty and rawness. She shared with passion and also with reality.
I felt myself within some of her words. I could sense my own version of twists and turns. And, I could feel the flames flickering inside of me that may have sat on low for a while, I felt them too come alive again.
And that’s the power of story. Of human-ness. Of relating to others through the power of sharing one’s journey. It can light you up in ways you didn’t even realise you needed. What’s your favourite story you’ve ever read, and what is it that you loved most about it?
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