It’s sort of a funny thing for me to write about rest because I spend so much time writing about taking action. That doesn’t necessarily mean strenuous physical action; I’m talking about making decisions instead of letting the world pile up around you. I’m talking about doing whatever needs to be done to change your life — taking a class, keeping a journal, learning a new way, gathering with other like-minded people, or something else that will expand your horizons.
Often, I write about getting off our collective rear ends and hauling our stuff to the donation and recycling centers to make space for what we really want to flow into our lives. (I actually write a great deal about that.) Today is different because when I asked the Sick of Being Stuck community what topics were on their minds, this was the first response:
“Resting. A very intense and physical last couple of days, body not liking me too much today, so day of pampering body. Hope your day is going great, Christy! We have a wonderful sunshiny day and I hope yours is as well!”
Sometimes, we just have to rest. Especially after a spell of great intensity, one night of sleep may not be enough to restore our energy, strength, and spirit. And for most of us, the hours that we sleep are the only ones where rest actually has the opportunity to happen.
Otherwise, we go and go, often long past what feels good and true for our bodies. This is made possible, of course, by our willingness to detach from the physical body to go live in our heads. It allows us to betray ourselves, and nothing good has ever come from that.
Once more for clarity, nothing good has ever come from us betraying ourselves.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s not hard to pause when there is so much to be done. It is, or at least it can feel that way. It can feel like when we were little girls and boys, and we earned by doing instead of being. We bought peace with chores, love with grades or home runs or recitals, and security with silence. We earned affection by being adorable.
Certainly for some of us, this is about parents sucking, but for most, it’s just the way it was. This is the way our society works. We were supposed to be good, be useful, be valuable, be worthy by doing. It’s such a flawed approach to child-rearing.
Naturally, we needed to learn the ways of the world. We needed to be able to tend, nourish, and provide for ourselves in adulthood, but our intrinsic value, our sense of self-worth, should never have been anchored on what we do.
Everything you will ever become, you were on the day you were born.
I can’t remember where it came from, but it lives in my head all the time. I’ve asked around and searched the Internet and still can’t tell you how it came to be something I know, but it feels as true as the sunrise and sunset to me. On the last day of our lives, all that we have done will not make us more than we were on the very first day.
It’s a stunning concept, really, if you think about it. With or without buying a hoActive me, raising successful offspring, writing books, earning degrees and certifications, looking pretty, running races, curing cancer, perfectly manicuring our landscape, or whatever else we do with the minutes and hours of our lives, we are still as valuable and worthy of love as we would be without all that doing.
Is it just me, or does that have the potential to alter everything about the way you experience yourself?
Life could be so different if we felt free to live life as human beings, instead of humans doing – so much we can’t just be. We could volunteer for activities that we truly want to do. We would be surrounded by people who respect us, and we would possess things that we love and that serve us. We would take actions that are true for us, and stop wasting the precious hours of our lives trying to be good enough and productive enough. And when we needed to rest, we would simply rest.