In Defense of Doing Nothing
I feel it too, the passing of time. The frustration of physical limits. Mounting achievements by your friends and loved ones, when simply getting out of bed feels like climbing a mountain to you.
I know you want all those good things – love, joy, fulfilment, achievement and that’s why on any good day, in any space, reprieve or opportunity you get, you launch. It feels like you haven’t got the luxury of slow-and-steady so you run at life in any moment you can, pushing, pushing, pushing to achieve those long held goals.
Doing is an addiction. (Click to Tweet!)
When we are doing we feel momentum, we feel like we are making change, we don’t have to love (or even accept) where we are now, because it doesn’t matter really, does it? As we are changing it right now and it will change, it will, I know it. Ah, I know it too. And I also know from experience that pushing doesn’t always bring us to what we seek.
We may have worked ourselves ill, but we can’t always work ourselves well.*
And many of us don’t know anything else to try, as trying hard is not just what we do but who we are now, after all this time.
We all need time to rest. In this busy world we are said to be human doings more than beings.
But I need to be.
To be with the sunshine, the morning dew, catches with the dog and a strong heart.
I reject the hungry ghost, always consuming, but never full. We don’t need things as much as we need to use what we have.
To enjoy what is here now and to love.
Rest is essential. But when things get hard and rushed it is the first thing that we give up, that we relinquish – sleep, time off, time together. We give up these necessities all to get work done, to strive towards the joy, the peace the fulfilment we crave.
The secret is: it is ours for the asking the moment we ignore the clamouring voices, turn away from the hustle and bustle and stop.
Joy comes in rest, the things we crave, we need, we hope and pray for can only blossom when we stop pushing for them.
Rest is enoughness, radical trust that things will be ok, if you let the world take care of itself for a time.
Let go. It existed before you and will after you.
We are waiting for you on the other side where it is peaceful. Ease your responsibilities down, circle those tense shoulders. Let your breathing deepen. It is time.
Rest is celebration, we don’t notice joy, magic, the tiny gorgeous moments of new bird song, crazy kitty or dog or child antics, funny smiles and sunrises if we are looking forward all the time.
Rest is that second when your heart lifts in sheer joy at the glory of our world and your own humanity.
Rest is mindfulness, it is being fully alive, fully present. Not on your iPhone or thinking about making the dinner next week. Here and now and the peace within this moment.
Rest can be a cup of tea and a moment of release after a long day. A deep breath before a difficult journey. A phone call with a loved one. An extra half an hour in bed, warm soft and sleepy.
Rest can be half an hour with your journal, an afternoon on your project, on painting your toe nails, time spent on something, which will not earn you income, actively heal your body, tone your thighs or gain you another qualification, but will bring you peace.
Rest is not a time in which we are prohibited, it is a retreat, an oasis, a guarded time of solace, to be.
Your creative spirit cannot be fuelled unless you feed it. Nourish your soul with space, gift yourself rest.
What are your favourite ways to rest? Let me know in the comments below.
* This is not meant as a judgement on me or anyone else. Simply a comment on how my own type-A tendencies were not helpful or healing during the onset of a fatigue illness.
Image courtesy of gratisography.com