My relationship to rest is such a curiosity to me. I am in the enviable position of being passionate about the work I do and the various aspects that take up my life as a whole. This means that it’s easy to be swallowed by the various aspects of my existence that contribute to all of those pieces, the propulsive energy that they create often leading to a place that sees limited opportunities for rest.
Free moments of time are seen as opportunities to devour that training video I’ve been meaning to watch, that book I had wanted to read; to create that thing I wanted to create, to answer that question, or to ask one. To play with my horses.
But along the way, all of these well-intentioned time expanders mean that stepping off the wheel of activity- of doing something- becomes a curious phenomenon. In the space created by the gaps, I notice the loudness of all the messages that tell us that rest is not productive. That it’s not allowed. That to rest for anything longer than the stock standard, pre-approved amount *says* something about us. And the something that it says is never good.
Some of you reading this will say, that’s why I meditate! But still, even meditation is an activity with a purpose, even if that purpose is inaction in and of itself.
These days, to rest can feel similar to falling into a crack. Around you, everyone is going about their business. And when you go about your business together, you experience a subliminal kinship in the momentum of your activity.
Rest, or to take rest, however, feels solitary. It means for a moment you’ve pressed pause on your participation in the expected events of the world and now you are a watcher. You have time to notice the seasons of emotion and how quickly one can move from winter to spring if you don’t add your opinion or investment to it.
You notice how tidal our movements are, from waking up to being swept out to work, to being returned to shore at home again.
Rest puts you back in sync, but it also requires that you disengage from what’s expected, what’s required and what’s asked of you. And it’s because of that we rest can hold some discomfort as it carries the tensions between complete surrender to observation and the training we’ve undergone that tells us what it means to be an acceptable human.
I hung my body over the fence yesterday and watched my horses. They are equal participants in rest and activity. They move seamlessly between both.
The nature of productive rest and my participation in it. Something I’m allowing myself to be embraced by more and more.