Fallow Season ~ Burnout, Fatigue, and Sacred Rest

Within the world of agriculture, there is a vital part of crop growing known as letting land “lie fallow.”  To fallow a piece of earth is to leave it deliberately unsown – to let it rest. This time of rest allows more fertility to gather in the soil, guaranteeing a better crop later. It is also sometimes used to avoid a surplus crop that might go to waste, or to let the soil and associated microbiota rest and settle for a bit after turning or plowing.

I tend to look for patterns in the green and growing world to inform my own practice. Understanding fallow time can be a helpful approach for spirituality when we’re feeling spent. And let’s face it – a lot of us are feeling spent.

The reserves of resiliency that many of us had access to prior to the pandemic have been truly run dry. The pendulum swing of Covid transmission rates, variants, and prevention strategies has taken a toll on our psyches. Many of us are grieving the loss of a loved one.  Some of us are trying to manage complex, conflict-laden family dynamics around vaccination. Almost everyone is grieving the time we lost to this pandemic. It’s a lot, y’all.

I’m seeing the results of this ongoing state of tension in my clients, social circle, and greater community. Over and over again, the same refrain is sung: “I’m feeling disconnected.”  My usual techniques for helping people reconnect to their spirituality are less helpful right now. It’s tough to make time to sit in front of an altar and journey when all you have energy for is collapsing onto the couch at the end of the day.

Winter is a fallow season, and it is well and truly here – Yuletide is just around the corner.  Maybe we need to look to the land to teach us how to approach this time of spiritual, emotional, and psychological exhaustion. Continue reading…

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