It’s very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems. –Thich Nhat Hanh
I don’t want to “hustle” or find my next gear. The older I get, the more I realize what’s important for me and my family, and it is not getting more done or buying more things. It’s finding the right balance of have to do, want to do and plain old rest. Truly.
I’ve just come through two rather busy months. I know, so many of us are busy. This isn’t a complaint, but rather a renewing of consciousness around intentional living. I like looking back at what I have come through for two reasons: to feel gratitude and to feel around what is working and what’s not. When I am too busy, I feel the weight of everything I have taken on in my body. For me, it is typically tension in my shoulders and neck. If I start to feel it in my arms, I have pushed myself too far for too long. Each of us has these bodily tells, our physical selves vying to be heard over the noise of modern life.
When you realize your time is limited, which, simply put, is just not something you can realize until one day you can, how you spend your time becomes a lot more important. I live in Calgary, Alberta. There is an aspirational streak to the culture here, due in large part to the oil sands in the Northern part of the province and all of the wealth the mining and distribution of oil long created. And while it’s true that this has changed in recent years and shifts are slowly occurring, there is still a long entrenched drive toward amassing more things as a measure of success. The details are unique to this particular place, but the idea is globally pervasive. And it is exactly the idea that success can even be an outward projection that is undermining our ability to genuinely take care of ourselves. It is directly impeding our ability to rest.
The thing is, if something doesn’t exist within us, it can’t exist outside of us. It just can’t. If you are working to receive something outside of yourself, why? What do you feel you are missing? How can you meet that need for yourself? And if it’s an outward need (a new ‘fill in the blank’) is that merely a stopgap of some kind? Is it really what you are seeking?
I believe it is admirable to contribute to society, to offer our effort and to build, not just for ourselves, but for others as well. But we need to be aware of our motivations and our limitations. We need to release ourselves from the traps we occasionally find ourselves in and maybe focus more on our small piece of peace. Once we let go of having it all, only then can we begin the real work. The best foundation for any growth is rest. Pure and simple, rest.