You might not know this about me but I can be very superstitious. One thing I’m superstitious about is speaking my fears out loud. I feel like naming them in that way calls them to me, makes the bad thing more likely to manifest, gives it energy and power it didn’t have before. This is true of something as minor as being worried about being late to the biggest bad thing. I don’t want to wake it up, invite it, so I don’t speak of it. So, let me tell you what I am afraid of: that if I tell you what I’m afraid of, it will happen.
I’m currently enrolled in Andrea Scher’s E-course Bootcamp. One of our assignments this week was to flesh out one lesson from the course we are working on and share it. I’m working on a class called Cultivating Practice. I put together one lesson, and since it’s about rest as practice, and today’s post is about rest, I want to share it with you too, kind and gentle reader.
Rest as Practice
Want to hear me read this to you?
When we think of practice, we typically consider the effort and the discipline of it. We have to show up, we exert energy and attention. And what maybe isn’t so obvious is that to practice we must balance our effort with our ease.
And to rest, we cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh, recover. Rest is a period of time in which one ceases to engage in strenuous or stressful activity. What is restful will be different for each person, and even each person will go through seasons or cycles where what is rest shifts and changes for them. Rest could be sleeping, but it could also be something relaxing like sitting in a comfortable chair reading or listening to music. Or it might be more active but also still restful, something like stretching, doing yoga, or taking a long walk. And rest could be for your body, or it could be for your mind, or both at the same time.
I’m not very good at rest as a practice. In fact, I recently have been quite terrible at it. I’ve had a season of being sick or injured or both and even though I need rest, there’s so much I want to do, to experience and accomplish. It makes it difficult to rest, but rest is necessary. It’s essential.
As with everything, I don’t want you to take my word for this. I invite you to consider, together and alone, rest as practice.
Take out your journal and spend some time some time considering the following.
- Set a timer for five minutes and quickly list all the types of rest you can think of.
- What does rest look like for you? How do you typically rest?
- Do you get enough rest? If not, why? What are the obstacles to rest?
- Pick one thing, one type of rest and practice it today, even if it’s only for five minutes. Check in with how you feel before you practice, then rest, and after you finish spend some time noticing what’s different, what’s shifted. How did it feel to rest? Did you resist it? Were you able to relax? What obstacles arose? Was there any benefit?
- Practice Pema Chödrön’s “Three Conscious Breaths,” http://www.lionsroar.com/waking-up-to-your-world/
- Home Retreat: The Practice of Doing Exactly What You Want by Susan Piver
- Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller