Do you ever feel like there’s not enough of you to go around? You’re pulled in a million directions and spread thin, wishing for more time!
One morning, a few weeks ago, I was feeling so exhausted. I had so much on my plate, and I was feeling pulled in a million directions. In this moment, my heart was beating ever so quickly, and my mind was racing.
Rest is Resistance
I took some advice from a book I was reading, Rest is Resistance…A Manifesto, by Tricia Hersey. Isn’t it interesting how certain things come into our lives at certain times? This book sparked so many complicated thoughts and feelings within me.
This book left me pondering questions such as:
- What is rest?
- What does this four letter word mean to me?
- And even more importantly, do I value rest in the same way I value work?
- How can I integrate more moments of rest into my daily life?
Many of my ideas of rest have shifted as I have taken a deep dive into my own beliefs and conditioning.
Taking a Timeout
On that particular morning, I took a time out. I sat down on my couch and simply took a moment to breathe and sit with the feelings in my heart. In that moment, I was able to find presence. To let go of all the pressures, deadlines, and ever-growing and ever-changing needs of my people. What I discovered in that moment was magic. To understand why, I need to give you a little more context.
I know I need rest, but the world isn’t resting. How can I rest in our always-on, always plugged-in, always going and doing grind culture? I can see the problem clearly, but escaping the rat race seems like a pipe dream. I can’t call up and just ask for everyone to stop sending me bills because I need a break. I can’t stop being a mom because I’m tired. I can’t ignore my people because I need solitude. I can’t just quit. I can’t run far away and escape the duties that are mine, although a cozy cabin in the woods away from it all sure sounds heavenly! The world keeps on turning and we have to keep on grinding. It is the reality of this modern day world we are all living in. However, awareness is key to change.
Sometimes, Slow is Fast
That morning, I gifted myself with a moment of rest. I breathed slowly, in and out…one breath at a time. I became curious about the emotions arising within me. I sat quietly with the truth of what I was feeling. I allowed these rather melancholy emotions of sadness, exhaustion and overwhelm to flow through me. My muscles began to soften, my heart rate slowed and the thoughts that were crowding my mind seemed to drift far away. Tears came to my eyes as I felt an inner sense of peace. A deep joy that was there all along, but hidden by the storm clouds of troubled thoughts and endless to-do lists.
Then, I took a short rest, and I think I may have even slept for a few minutes. I let that peaceful feeling radiating from within wash over me. I felt nourished by a few moments of restfulness. As I emerged from my short mid-morning rest, I felt clarity. All the work, tasks, and pressures were right there for me to pick back up, but I was no longer overwhelmed by the impossibility of it all. I joyfully did the next thing, then the next, then the next. Time was flying by, and I was kicking ass. I could focus. And by the end of the day, I was shocked to find the day’s work was done. I was able to achieve all that I needed to. A moment of breathing, feeling and resting made all the difference in the remainder of my day.
Two steps forward, one step back.
I wish I could tell you that I kept up this pace, but in the days that followed, my sense of overwhelm crept back in. But that’s life. We live, we learn, we take two steps forward and one step back.
This lesson, the power and gift of a few moments of rest, will take time to really sink in for me. I’m programmed to work. To grind. It’s not a bad thing, because I value work. However, it’s ok and even essential to rest.
Bears rest. They hibernate in their caves. They don’t deal with year-round grind culture. Some days, I wish I could be a bear, or a bird, or a fox. In Yoga, many of our poses mimic the movements of animals. And I think it’s part of our nature to learn from what we observe. I learn so much from the animals, plants and the quiet background presence of the natural world around me.
In this culture, we are rewarded for work. I’ve learned to grind by watching other people work hard and be rewarded. I don’t want to let go of this lesson, but I know I am so much more productive when I integrate restful rituals into my daily life. A life of balance is what I seek.
Winter is a season of rest. The days are shorter and colder. We naturally slow down, but the demands on our time only seem to escalate. Now we have holiday parties to plan and gifts to buy. It can be a wonderful time of year, and also a very stressful time of year. May we remember that we are meant to slow down in the winter. Winter Solstice invites us to turn inward. TIS THE SEASON FOR REST.
What does rest feel like for you?
Last week, I turned 47. Birthdays are always a time of self-reflection for me, and a time to set new intentions. I am committed to leaning into rest this winter season. I am trying to do more by doing less. A new mantra I discovered with the help of my sweet daughter is this: “il dolche far niente”. In Italian, this means “The sweetness of doing nothing; pleasurable idleness.”
The dark days of winter are an opportunity to slow down and create space for self-care. I am gifting myself with the power and beauty of rest. I am giving myself time to soak in laziness, enjoy slow meditative afternoon walks, listen to soothing music, bathe in beautiful literature and poetry, detox from social media, delight in deep relaxation, watch movies with my children, and relax in the arms of the one I love. This season I am doing my best to be intentional with my time. To read, to journal, to nap and to daydream.
I invite you to slow down with me! I’m teaching a workshop this Saturday where I will incorporate practices and share tools to help you find the sweetness of rest.
I’m on a journey to discover the power of rest. If you, like me, are feeling spread too thin, overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed out, come join me for this special event. Give yourself or your loved ones the GIFT of rest.