Reflecting, Resting, Recovery
I know people who believe we can push ourselves all the time. They begin to feel nervous or guilty when they take time for reflecting, resting, recovery.
People have told me, “We can rest when we die.”
For some of us it is not simply the idea we are so strong we are beyond the need for rest. Some of us have a nagging suspicion if we take time to rest other people will realize they do not really need us. We might have so many things to do or so many people depending on us we cannot take time for reflecting, resting, recovery.
Our approach to life is to push through as much as we can until we have no choice but to stop.
Many of us live our lives swimming in a sea of unfulfilled exhaustion.
There is always one more thing we need to finish or begin or organize or review. We do not want to waste our time resting when we have so many important things to do.
The irony for us is we often seem to miss doing the things we want to do. We struggle to clear our calendars so we can create unforgettable memories with our families. Our plans and expectations are full of goals we never have time to achieve.
We could, of course, continue living as fast as we can. Some of us have found a pace with which we are comfortable. Many of us research ways we can improve how fast we live or special equipment to help us live faster.
Eventually, though, we will probably stumble and fall or run into a wall we cannot climb. We may experience what it feels like when people pass us by living faster than we do.
A Summer of Reflecting, Resting, Recovery
Some of us want to find time for reflection but we just cannot find time to squeeze it into our schedules.
Most of us realize, at some level, it is not healthy to live at full speed all the time until we hit an obstacle. We know we need a balance of reflecting, resting, recovery.
Partly as a necessity following surgery and partly as a way to explore healthy spiritual life, my summer has been one of reflecting, resting, and recovery. There have been days this summer when I needed to stay in bed and sleep. On other days I have needed to get up early, finish something, and then take a nap.
I have spent more time this summer reading and reflecting.
In a couple of weeks I will drive up to New Camaldoli Hermitage for a few days of stillness and contemplation.
It has been a good summer for me. There have been times when I wished I could be living faster. Everything got done on time. I have learned things and begun contemplative practices I hope to continue into the future.
Some people ask me how I am feeling and whether I am back up to speed. I tell them I am recovering, spending time resting and reflecting. Many of them do not really know how to respond when I tell them about my summer. Some people are surprised and others seem a little envious.
It is not as if I have been sickly or prone to illness. I believe living in a healthy way is an essential spiritual practice.
Each of us is exploring what is healthy for us.
Taking Time for Reflecting, Resting, Recovery
In my experience reflecting, resting, recovery are essential parts of healthy living. I believe one of the keys to living the way I want to live is finding balance in the rhythms of life.
Being healthy can help us physically and emotionally. Reflecting, resting, recovery can lower our blood pressure and change how we respond to other people.
For me the most significant benefits are spiritual.
One of the most important aspects of these practices is how we follow them. Some of us end up imposing them in our lives as a new set of rules or expectations. We seem to assume we need to be serious about reflecting, resting, recovery. We require ourselves to meet rigorous standards of how reflective we will be.
It is helpful for us to develop regular and meaningful practices. We do not want to begin a practice which becomes one more thing we need to compete or accomplish on a tight schedule.
Merely adding more goals to our plans and increasing the pressure on ourselves does not make us more healthy. How can we change the ways we relate to reflecting, resting, recovery?
Living Into Reflecting, Resting, Recovery
There are ways we can change our balance of reflecting, resting, recovery one step at a time. We still have time this summer to try something new which will help us find our balance.
I believe the time I put into reflecting, resting, recovery is as essential to my health as exercising and eating wisely. It changes my breathing and blood pressure, how I relate to other people, and spiritual life.
It can be challenging to recognize we cannot push our way into a healthy balance of life. Some of us even have checklists for how we expect to grow spiritually. Part of our balance is appreciating the value of reflecting, resting, recovery.
We are in a complex network of relationships with other people, the world around us, ourselves, and spiritual life. When we continue pushing all the time it upsets the balance in all these relationships.
Reflecting, resting, recovery allow us to look beyond our immediate goals and see something bigger.
We relieve the pressure we put on ourselves with fresh insights and understanding.
How will we explore our balance of reflecting, resting, recovery today?
When will we take time for reflecting, resting, recovery this week?
[Image by erix!]
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.