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Pyjamas & Cheetos

I don’t know about you, but it feels like everywhere I turn right now there are admonishments, encouragements and gentle suggestions to start fresh, set some goals, resolve to do better, be better.

Gosh, some of what falls on my path is very inviting, very do-able. Like this piece in The Guardian 100 tiny changes to transform your life: from the one-minute rule to pyjama yoga. I could do a lot of those (although, I am drawing the line at a two-minute cold shower to start the day, despite what my friend, Lynda, might say).

Then there’s the New York Times 6-Day Energy Challenge, with tricks like a short, revitalizing break (a nap?) or tuning into what you’re eating (a bag of Cheetos swiped from my grandson’s Halloween stash?), meant to conjure up more healthy energy. Maybe I should do that?

And that’s just reputable news outlets.

Of course social media has plenty on offer. Lots about sweeping away the clutter: paper, clothes you don’t need or resentments you’re holding (who me?). And goal setting: finances, weight loss, exercise, wrinkle eradication.

And if social media is stealing my time, I can sign up for a coaching newsletter on how to reclaim my brain and break up with my phone. (Hmmm)

Yikes! I’m going to need that energy challenge just to manage all this.

And here in Toronto, it’s finally winter (polar vortex anyone?).

And I keep thinking about Katherine May’s thoughts on winter and the process of wintering. That yes, winter is a season to get your house in order, to shed a layer or two but, at least in the natural world, “wintering is a time of withdrawing from the world”. It’s a quiet preparation for the transformation to come, for renewal.

I think that’s what I am really after, a little transformation, a tiny bit of renewal. Indeed there’s probably something to be said for pyjama yoga as a way of coaxing yourself to do what you ought to do, but just haven’t bothered. And maybe cold showers aren’t a bad thing.

Maybe I’m lazy. But I’m thinking, there is just as much to be gained from sinking into what the season offers and, as John O’Donohue might say, letting myself go to “where [my] thoughts never think to wander” and see what new beginning might be waiting for me.

That’s what I hope happens this Sunday, during our 75 minute retreat, dedicated to renewal. We have a couple of beautiful, wise texts on renewal to contemplate; we’ll offer some quiet, protected time to follow our own thoughts (wherever they go); and we’ll have an opportunity to listen openly to each other. It will be 

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We are settlers on Treaty 13 Land, the traditional territories of many Indigenous Nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples from across Turtle Island. We are committed to honouring the history this land bears witness to, responding to the 94 Calls to Action of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and walking lightly on the Earth. A portion of proceeds from all our offerings are sent to:  The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and The Nii’kinaaganaa Foundation.

The Inside Outside Retreat Centre, Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), 720 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON, M5S2R4