Episode 51 On Choosing Rest

April 28, 2023

Good morning from New York City today. What I have on my mind is rest. I keep hearing stories from people who have gotten back into the grind. You know. sadly we’re kind of (air quotes) back to normal in many ways. One of those things is overscheduling, over-committing, and not wanting to say no for fear of letting someone down or missing out. I think it’s really important that we catch ourselves.

One of my friends was just telling me that she was on a long trip to Asia. She had taken red eyes, been in countless meetings, and visited several different countries. The day after she came back, she didn’t feel like doing anything and she was beating herself up and kept trying to push herself to get started. The thing that thrilled me is that in her message she said, but I caught myself and I realized and accepted that I was exhausted. And I allowed myself to sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day. I love that she shared that story with me because she caught herself in negative self-talk. She heard herself and realized that it was ridiculous, and she gave herself permission to rest.

Another friend left me a message this morning about being unable to go to her son’s parents’ weekend at school. She was saying that she feels so badly about it but, in her words, she decided not to power through and override her own physical and emotional needs for rest. I know how much she wants to be there, and I’m sure she feels like she’s letting her son down. But she also knows it’s going to push her over the edge, and she’s honoring her body’s cries for rest.

I don’t know why we have such a hard time giving ourselves permission to rest. My friend who was traveling in Asia told me that in her family doing nothing was not okay. She was raised that you always had to have some activity and be active. It’s interesting because in my family it was about we weren’t allowed to be negative or to feel sorry for ourselves. We were always expected to be positive, so I have a hard time feeling down.

But anyway, back to the rest story. I think it’s really just about heeding your body and knowing when to power through – because we all know how to power through – and remembering we have a choice not to power through. I guess that’s the point I want to make. We have to remember we always have a choice.

I think this is good fodder for a Friday, because it is okay sometimes to make that call and say I’m sorry, I’m overscheduled, I’m overextended. Simply be honest. Sometimes, as I’ve said before, we say yes when we really mean to say no.   So where might you need to give yourself permission to cancel? Did you say yes when you really wanted to say no? Where can you dial it back? It’s okay to call someone and say I’m sorry I’ve overscheduled. I’m overextended. Let’s remember, we don’t always have to power through.

I’d like to end today by reading an excerpt from a piece by David White, the philosopher and poet who I often turn to for inspiration and guidance when I’m desiring a different perspective on life. This piece is called Rest.

Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving. An act of remembering imaginatively and intellectually, but also psychologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right. To rest is to fall back literally and figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull eyes and imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

 In the first state of rest is a sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s uncoerced and unbuild self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself rested. We are ready for the world, but not held hostage by it.

Rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest, we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember and someone others want to remember too. I’ll end with my wishes for a wonderful weekend. May you find reprieve from your worries, and of course rest

That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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