Rest, A Four Letter Word

I’ve set out on a quest to find rest. I know what you’re thinking… rest can wait until next year, or even better the year after that, or when I finish school, or finally get that job I’ve been dreaming of, or when we close escrow on the house… See how that works? There is always something to prioritize over rest — something more important.

If you’re like me, you’ve put off rest for most of your adult life. After all, our 20’s (and 30’s and 40’s…) are tough, and there’s lots of plate-spinning and not-so-glamorous work to be done. Take a time out, and we may miss that golden opportunity we’ve been desperately waiting to come our way. Personally, I’ve spent the majority of my young life corporate ladder climbing, social get-together hopping and, let’s be honest, crashing and burning!

The world as we know it beats to a rhythm. The sun rises and sets every day. The seasons change four times a year. Plants come to life and then wilt away into oblivion. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale—rhythm.

Finding rhythm and balance in your life is essential for resetting our inner compasses. For all of the work and action there must be time to rest in order to nourish our souls, heal our hearts and to connect with our inner wisdom. When we don’t rest, we lose our way. When we don’t rest, the people in our lives become an object of our ambition and a line item in the growing list of obligations. When we don’t rest we are telling ourselves that the entire world is on our shoulders and if we stop — life will come crashing down.

It’s a tough lesson, but I am learning that is simply not true. The fact of the matter is — we’re just not that important. We are each deeply loved, yes, however no single one of us possess the power to keep the world spinning on its axis, and to conduct our lives in a way that neglects rest is claiming that impossible feat as truth.

In an attempt to more clearly see what is beautiful and what is good in this life, I’m prescribing rest — or Sabbath if you will. A break from the churning of life’s priorities to find the rhythm — the heartbeat.

Here are some tangible ways to incorporate space and rest into your daily life…

Daily Pause
Do something twice a day to break up the pace of the day and to refocus your mind on what is truly important. That may look like going on a 10 minute walk, closing your eyes and breathing deeply,  or writing out all the things you are thankful for in that day.

Weekly Rejuvenation
This is a break from obligation. Whatever you feel like you “must” do, give yourself permission to take a break for one day. If that is logistically impossible try half a day or an hour – the idea is to set realistic expectations and to start somewhere. Also, if you’re connected to a computer all week try fasting from your computer and phone for one day a week — you’ll be amazed at the brain energy you will gain just by unplugging for a day.

Personal Retreat
Go on vacation somewhere with the best company you know — you! Read your favorite magazines or the books you’ve been trying to get to all year. Get up early and watch the sunrise or sleep till noon — there are no rules — just spend some quality time disconnected from the daily grind and reconnect with your soul.

Lastly, one of the best things we can do to create space in our lives for real rest is identify how we are spending our time and whether or not that aligns with our values. What are your abundant living priorities? What can you give up in order to make room for something that is life-giving and soul-nourishing?

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