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For two winters I watered and fertilized the plants in my house, expecting them to perform in the winter months as they did in the summer months. I kept wondering why they drooped and turned brown instead of bursting with color and texture. It never dawned on me that just as I cut back on my water intake during the winter, likewise the plants in my house could do without a lot of internal excitement. It took nearly killing all of them for me to experience an epiphany of sorts. My potted friends were teaching me that it’s alright sometimes to slow down, to stifle the stimulation, to rest. Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing. That’s right. Sleep on it. Rest. Lie low. Cool it. Chill out. The heightened pace of U.S. life gets much of the blame for the inability of many people to take extended periods of rest, vacation, relaxation, and forced sloth. Research shows that sleep-deprived individuals often have difficulty in responding to rapidly changing situations and making rational judgments. Sleep on it because it’s usually during sleep that bits and pieces of your deeper wisdom and truer feelings have an opportunity through your dreams to surface and speak their mind.

Finally, you can’t access your inner wisdom if you’re constantly exhausted and always in motion. Sleep rejuvenates the mind, body, and spirit, and sometimes the best defense is a great offense: rest and take care of yourself so that when the time comes to deal with the decision you have to make and stand by, you’ll have the strength that you need. In the meantime, lie back and let the wisdom of sleep do its work.

When was the last time you took an extended vacation? Sloughed off and did nothing for an entire weekend? Stayed in bed all day and slept, read a book, or watched movies on the television? Could it be that the reason you’re having such troubles going within and tapping the resources there is because you’re exhausted, overworked and perpetually in motion? What will it take for you to slow down and rest?

–Renita Weems

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