By Sherry Ackerman

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. – Ovid

I put my garden to bed this week. I cleaned it up and applied sufficient compost for the soil to rest well, and be nourished, all winter. As I worked, I became keenly aware of the cycles of Nature. Each season is distinct in its character, with Autumn being the season where Nature begins to rest. And, likewise, if we attune to these cycles, we too begin to rest.
The long nights provide opportunity for slowing down. Reading by the fire, a hot bath, or working quietly on a creative project are ways to pause from persistent activity. Despite our best intentions to live balanced lives, the modern world demands that we are almost always connected and productive, and this can drain us emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
When we rest, it’s like letting the earth lie fallow rather than constantly planting and harvesting. Rest melts stress away and renews us.
Herbert Benson, MD, of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, has conducted numerous studies on the benefits of rest, and his research indicates that rest produces antioxidation and anti-inflammatory changes that reduce stress in the body. It also, according to Benson, has the potential to lower heart rates, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption, as well as alleviate hypertension, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
The spiritual benefits of resting are also profound. We live in a culture that perpetuates the belief that when we have a lot going on and a lot of excitement, we’re really alive,” says Anne LeClaire, author of Listening Below the Noise. When, however, “you slow down and get quiet, you can actually begin to hear your own wisdom, your inner knowledge,” says LeClaire. Rest and its sibling, relaxation, allow us to reconnect with the world in and around us, inviting ease in our lives and a felt-sense of belonging.
Autumn’s darkness and commensurate rest can also enhance our relationships, making them more harmonious and satisfying. Abby Seixas, author of Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life, reminds us that if we are constantly in a stress mode, just doing, doing, doing and checking things off our lists, we are not going to be good with our partners, children families or friends. When we slow down we are able to get a perspective on what really matters: the Big Picture.
Rest also sharpens our creative abilities. When we are living hectic, frantic lives, there isn’t room for creativity. When we rest, we find that our creative energy increases and fresh ideas come to the surface.
Much of the reason we are unable to find adequate rest is because we are under the impression that our lives should be better than they are today. This constant drive to improve our standing in life through the acquisition of money, power or skills robs us of contentment and joy. Ultimately, rest is an extension of our contentment and security. Without them, simplicity and rest is difficult, if not impossible.
Autumn gives us the gift of being reminded to stop focusing on what we don’t have and start enjoying the things that we do.

By Sherry Ackerman Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. – Ovid I put my garden to bed this week. I cleaned it up and applied sufficient compost for the soil to rest well, and be nourished, all winter. As I worked, I became keenly aware of the cycles of Nature. Each season is distinct in its character, with Autumn being the season where Nature begins to rest. And, likewise, if we attune to these cycles, we too begin to rest. The long nights provide opportunity for slowing down. Reading by the fire, a hot bath, or working quietly on a creative project are ways to pause from persistent activity. Despite our best intentions to live balanced lives, the modern world demands that we are almost always connected and productive, and this can drain us emotionally, spiritually, and physically. When we rest, it’s like letting the earth lie fallow rather than constantly planting and harvesting. Rest melts stress away and renews us. Herbert Benson, MD, of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, has conducted numerous studies on the benefits of rest, and his research indicates that rest produces antioxidation and anti-inflammatory changes that reduce stress in the body. It also, according to Benson, has the potential to lower heart rates, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption, as well as alleviate hypertension, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. The spiritual benefits of resting are also profound. We live in a culture that perpetuates the belief that when we have a lot going on and a lot of excitement, we’re really alive,” says Anne LeClaire, author of Listening Below the Noise. When, however, “you slow down and get quiet, you can actually begin to hear your own wisdom, your inner knowledge,” says LeClaire. Rest and its sibling, relaxation, allow us to reconnect with the world in and around us, inviting ease in our lives and a felt-sense of belonging. Autumn’s darkness and commensurate rest can also enhance our relationships, making them more harmonious and satisfying. Abby Seixas, author of Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life, reminds us that if we are constantly in a stress mode, just doing, doing, doing and checking things off our lists, we are not going to be good with our partners, children families or friends. When we slow down we are able to get a perspective on what really matters: the Big Picture. Rest also sharpens our creative abilities. When we are living hectic, frantic lives, there isn’t room for creativity. When we rest, we find that our creative energy increases and fresh ideas come to the surface. Much of the reason we are unable to find adequate rest is because we are under the impression that our lives should be better than they are today. This constant drive to improve our standing in life through the acquisition of money, power or skills robs us of contentment and joy. Ultimately, rest is an extension of our contentment and security. Without them, simplicity and rest is difficult, if not impossible. Autumn gives us the gift of being reminded to stop focusing on what we don’t have and start enjoying the things that we do.