Where Do We Find Our Needed Rest?
I have needed rest recently. Since having surgery a few weeks ago I have spent more time resting, recovering, and reading.
Life starts to feel like a swing in the park. Some days I sail up into productivity while other days I swing back into rest and recovery. Maybe it is more of a pendulum. I am hoping to feel the sweet point of balance between the extremes.
Many of us are challenged when it comes to finding our needed rest. Some of us love what we do and how we live our lives so much we keep going as long as we can. Others of us feel so overwhelmed and so far behind we are afraid to rest.
We may not have any good examples to follow when it comes to finding needed rest.
It often takes a significant interruption, injury, or illness to convince us to find the rest we need.
Rest is not, though, a disruption of our real lives. We all need rest.
It is important for us to find physical rest, emotional rest, and intellectual rest. Equally important is spiritual rest. We get caught up in the idea spiritual life is all about meeting expectations and following rules.
Spiritual life is all about finding our needed rest.
Contemplative practices and contemplative spirituality are filled with opportunities to find rest. We take time in our burdened schedules to pause and find needed rest.
When we listen to sacred stillness we allow ourselves to breathe deeply and be open to spiritual life. Without rest we are constantly running from crisis to crisis, demand to demand. We have no sweet point of balance.
Spiritual life is where we find our needed rest.
When Was the Last Time We Needed Rest?
Our lives appear to be driven by insecurity and desire.
People tell us we need to be nervous about becoming irrelevant. Some of us are anxious about keeping our skills and experience up to date. They tell us we could lose our livelihood, and our retirement, at any moment.
Many of us become anxious technology, or foreign competition, or other unforeseen circumstances, could put us out of work.
The story is we need to be willing to work hard to earn what we want to have. Constantly, over and over again, we hear about all the things we desire. If we cannot acquire what they tell us we want, we are told, our lives will not be complete.
Many of us believe we are working to get to a place where we have enough, but we never seem to arrive there.
We get to where all we really want is to stop and rest, but even our idea of rest is built on anxiety. Can we get away, distract ourselves, take our family somewhere nice? As long as we make sure we are still accessible, still available by phone and email. You never know what might happen while we are away.
I used to be the kind of person who knew no rest. Whenever I took time away, which was rare, I would get sick. I spent the first few days of any time away in bed.
My body was trying to tell me something, but I was not listening.
Finding our needed rest is important. Knowing peace reshapes our understanding of who we are and what we need. Taking time away allows our minds and hearts to gain new insights, to grow deeper.
The depth, the insight we gain through rest is what we really desire.
Immersing Ourselves in Needed Rest
Some of us push ourselves to the point of exhaustion and then take a nap for a few minutes. We seem to believe we can quench our thirst with a few sips of water.
It is almost as if we assume there is a finite supply of rest and we are hoarding what we have.
We apparently see our needed rest as a weakness or bad habit and we trying to avoid it.
I am discovering again rest is what balanced our effort, our work. We swing out into work and back into rest. It is almost as if we need to work hard and rest hard. Without immersing ourselves in needed rest we will not find our sweet point of balance.
Most of us need more, deeper rest than we find. We enjoy the rush of being active, of getting things dome in the world. Our needed rest seems to be a form of punishment, as if we were children sent to our rooms.
I am learning again how rest without distractions nourishes us physically and spiritually. Finding our sweet point of balance is not about spending equal time resting and working.
We find ourselves drawn into rest as we are drawn into work.
Finding Our Needed Rest
Most of us need more rest than we are experiencing. We are trying only to swing forward into work, expecting to swing higher and higher without swinging back. Our model for life is broken and out of balance.
Do we even know how much rest we need? When are our opportunities to find our needed rest?
Many of us do not find our needed rest because we are not really looking for it. We have given up and no longer expect to find the rest we need. Some of us try to medicate our way into rest, but do not really believe it is possible to find it.
Finding our needed rest is not limited to taking more naps. We rest when we spend our time in ways which take us beyond time. Our needed rest is not a finite, limited resource. We find our needed rest in ways which allow us to see there is more to life than work.
Spiritual life is where we find our needed rest.
Where will we find our needed rest today?
How will we try new ways to find our needed rest this week?
[Image by Broadbandito]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.