Posts tagged ‘rest’

December 28, 2011

The Gift of Rest

I’m going to admit straight away that rest is a challenging topic for me.  I simply don’t allow myself to rest without having a reason or excuse.  Not that this means I spend every moment in action.  In fact, I often spend my time in limbo- in neither action nor rest.  Puttering.  Half-consciously playing games or browsing websites, moving things from one room to another, hopping from one little non-activity to the next.  My talent at avoiding going to bed when I’m tired rivals any toddler’s (and my own children’s, though they do seem to have inherited this skill).  I’ll literally sit doing something until I’m too tired to stop and go to bed.

But rest is an incredibly important gift to give ourselves.  It is at any time- however particularly any time we’re challenging ourselves to develop new habits, practices and thoughts.  Creating new neural pathways is exhausting.  Literally.  Physically.  Mentally.  Over the past year and a half I have experienced this deeply.  It comes down to the fact that when we’re well rested we feel better.  When we’re well rested our minds and bodies are stronger and more flexible and adaptable.  When we’re well rested challenges aren’t as challenging.  Rest takes the edges off.  Rest revives us.  Rest restores.

Our bodies tell us exactly how much rest we need.  And we ignore them.  Often when given the choice between resting and accomplishing something (or taking those non-action actions) we don’t choose rest.  We tell ourselves that the dishes need to be done, or the laundry can’t wait, or that our child will have lifelong emotional scars if we say no to the 274th request of the day (even a temporary no), or that while the baby is napping is the only time we can get anything done- but ultimately the choice is ours to make.  Listen to your body and rest?  Or ignore it and plug on.

As we finish this year, I am offering you the opportunity to give yourself this gift.  Rest.  Hear your body.  Maybe ignore your mind for once.  Find a really comfy spot- your sofa, a cushiony chair, your bed- and take some time when your body tells you to take it.  Rest.  Do nothing.  If this is too out there for you, plan to allow yourself extra sleep.  Go to bed a few hours earlier than normal, or refuse to set an alarm.  Both if possible.  Discover what it feels like to be well rested.  And let yourself get used to it.

Until next year,

Lesley

ps.  I actually had to make myself take a 30 minute rest to even write this- I was feeling so out of tune with rest after a good week of doing, doing, doing.  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.  And please share with anyone you know who needs the gift of rest!

 

March 15, 2011

Conscious Rest

The past six weeks or so have been filled with delights and horrors, large and small. From tiny moments of absolute bliss sitting on my front porch enjoying our beautiful southern early spring to the devestation in Japan, from delightful birthday celebrations with my girls to a day spent semi-conscious and in pain, hugging a bucket, from reunions with friends to more time than I like playing single parent. And just about everything in between. My personal lesson throughout these weeks has been this- rest. My body has done a particularly bang up job of imposing it on me when I’m not being aware enough to create it. My work right now is developing an awareness of my need for rest and the means to create the kind of rest my body and mind need- conscious rest.

So, how to cultivate this awareness and allow rest? And what exactly does it mean to rest consciously? I’m curious about what those of you reading do to create this space and awareness. Right now I’m exploring and playing with it. I don’t have specific answers other than a sort of undefined swirl going through my heart and mind at the moment. And so I’ll leave this here… and take a few hints from my cat.

Restfully yours,
Lesley

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