Religious rest days

I watch with interest the sporty folk who make a point of taking rest days, and sometimes even rest weeks from their fitness regimes. Walking for transport and doing a few other things the old fashioned way, I tend to do what’s needed, rather than having any kind of deliberate physical practice. However, the idea of rest days fascinates me. I admit, I haven’t had a proper total day off in months, and it is on my mind to change how I do things.

What about religious rest days, though? Not in the sense of setting aside a day each week for religion, but in having days off from religion.

Daily practice is something we talk about a lot. Creating and maintaining a daily practice is seen as a very good goal to have and a key part to an active religious life. Those who have a daily practice are clearly in a different place to those who only show up at festivals. Daily acts of devotion, meditation, prayer, connection with nature… these embed the spiritual into our lives so that there is no separation between us and our practice.

For as long as I can remember, my main aim as a Druid has been to bring the Druidry consciously to everything I do. This in turn requires me to think about everything, a lot. Things I say and do, how I live from moment to moment, deeper implications of pretty much everything. I am aware (because I’ve been thinking about this) that I may be over thinking, too self conscious, too analytical, too busy trying to develop the philosophy of living and not able as a consequence, to be peaceful within myself.

What would it mean to have religious rest days? To set aside time where I don’t let myself dwell on things and contemplate at length? What would it mean, practically, emotionally and spiritually to have days when I’m not trying hard to be a good Druid? And, while we’re pondering, what is this measure of ‘being a good Druid’ that I have settled on that is so very much about striving and working hard and having to improve all the time. Is that Druidry? Or is it just a way of manifesting insecurity? What am I trying to prove, and to whom am I trying to prove it? I don’t believe in the great score keeping god in the sky poised to hand out sweeties or smacks depending on how we did in his tests. So why am I still trying to fill in the score card?

Of course my response to this is to think about it a lot. But I may be going to make some changes.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “Religious rest days

  • joannavanderhoeven

    For me, religion is not about making me a better person. It’s about making me better connected with the world. I would never, ever want to take a day off from that – it is what provides me with the inspiration to continue each and every day. Druidry is not for self-improvement – it is about the flow of awen, pure and simple… x

    • Nimue Brown

      That’s probably a much better way of looking at it! That said, the challenges of the world and how painful it is dealing with the enormity of what’s wrong out there, also leave me hankering for disconnection sometimes, too much that breaks my heart.

      • joannavanderhoeven

        I know how you feel. That’s where courage comes in, and indeed faith. I too have felt the rage and despair, but the awen, that connection, is as much a lifeline and brights spark as it is a window to the ills of the world… x

  • kelitomlin

    Wow! You literally took the words out of my brain and made them coherent on a page. I was sitting in front of a blank screen not an hour ago trying to put this quandary into words and admittedly I found some, but they ended up taking a tangent and getting a little high-up and heady. You articulated this feeling that I so often have – this sense that to be connected and aware all the time can sometimes feel like a chore – in such a real and grounded way; THANK YOU for putting it out there! I too don’t yet know what this means for the future but these moments of connection and synchronicity really help remind me that often the things that are most powerful and inspiring arrive without needing to actively seek them 🙂

  • Words Are Enough | Walk The Wheel

    […] my last post. You can also see another wonderfully articulate explanation of a very similar feeling here at Nimue Brown’s blog, Druid […]

  • Ziixxxitria

    Perhaps instead of taking a day off completely, you spend a day resting by focusing on what you have done well, how you have progressed. I also struggle with needing to push and keep score (usually against myself), so it can be very uplifting to stop that and think about the good stuff you’ve done. Then reward yourself! Maybe get some food you don’t normally, or just look in the mirror and tell yourself you’ve done well. That might be more restful to you emotionally than simply not thinking about anything druidry for a day.

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