Yesterday we talked about fatigue.
About how it feels when it overtakes us and practically remakes us in it’s own image.
My children tell me that my face takes on a completely different appearance when I am tired. My body language changes. The tone of my voice is altered.
And although we often where our fatigue as a badge of courage, fatigue has implications on us, the people around us, and the way in which we connect with the broader world.
Which leads us to the importance of rest.
Rest is more than simply adequate sleep – although sleep is often part of it.
It is more than simply the absence of physical or mental effort (as in watching Netflix) – although both may be elements of it.
True rest is about recharging.
It’s about reconnection with the things that bring us joy and make us come alive (which is why it relies so deeply on understanding our values.)
And in reconnecting with our values, true rest also often leads to a recentering of our goals and objectives – allowing us to lose some of the baggage we so often carry around with us, allowing us to live more freely and lightly.
Rest might involve a hike in the woods, or a book read cover-to-cover in a hammock under the trees. It might involve silence by the water’s edge or an evening with friends. It might be a weekend of solitude and sleep away at a hotel, or an afternoon baking cookies.
Rest, you see is not a static experience, but rather a dynamic one. Like muscles that work in pairs, to rest one muscle, you often have to exert force through another. This is how we stretch out tight muscles, and it’s how we find rest for the complexity and busyness of our lives.
But I think we truly enjoy many of these activities, so we find it difficult to choose rest.
Choosing rest feels selfish.
In the face of kids or partners or bosses that need us; in the face of bills or financial goals that keep pestering; in the face of housework or volunteer responsibilities or the constancy of social media, it can feel selfish to say, time-out!
Except rest is what fuels us for the rest of our life. It’s the thing that energizes us and fills us back up so that we continue to have something to offer to all of the nagging, niggling, screaming priorities that we have the rest of the time.
In fact, rest is so important to our success as human beings, that many of the world’s great spiritual traditions deeply rely on patterns of daily, weekly, seasonal and annual rest.
So when was the last time you rested?
How could you begin to prioritize some rest in your life this week?
Do you need to schedule an appointment to talk more about how to get to a place of rest for yourself?