Where do I find comfort? Let me count the ways:
I just like being around them. The smell, the sound of pages turning, the feel of the paper, the ideas they contain. I enjoy my own full bookshelves, libraries, bookstores, and book sales. My favorite question to ask someone is “What are you reading?” It’s an opportunity to learn of a new book to enjoy.
Order and routine
I like not having to think too often about what comes next. I just do it. My morning routine – reading, meditating, walking – is sacred. I like order in my cupboards, order in my closets, order on the top of my desk. I even find comfort in reading books about being productive, managing my time, and organizing my space.
Letting go of old ideas and behaviors
Maybe that comes with age and learning about oneself, but it is a relief not to have to be the social creature that I was in my 20s or 30s or to continue to subscribe to opinions or behaviors that no longer serve me.
Solitude, silence, and stillness
All of these give me comfort and have led me to innumerable retreats at the Abbey of Gethsemani and at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. So many people have to have music on or the television going in the background all the time. I don’t even own a television. I don’t listen to music except when I want to sit and intentionally enjoy it.
Making a list
The idea for this essay began with a list. There is something quite comforting about putting pen to paper and listing – well, just about anything: books to read, places to visit, people to call, to-dos to do. My favorite book about this topic is L’art de la Liste: Simplify, Organise and Enrich Your Life by Dominique Loreau. So many lists, so little time.
I find comfort in art, both creating it and experiencing it. I love a museum almost as much as a bookstore. I recently went to Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience and I went alone so I could have my own experience. I felt as though I was seeing the world from behind Van Gogh’s eyes and through his mind. It was glorious.
So comfort for me goes much deeper than flannel pj’s and a cup of chamomile tea. Although I am certainly a fan of physical comforts, I find it takes a bit of intention to discover emotional, mental, and spiritual comforts for oneself as well.
By Lucy M. Pritchett
P.S. If you missed this post: Add These To Your Winter Reading List.