"I really did not conceptualize rest as my friend."
I know it's been a while since you've heard from me. I've been learning to master a few things...but really my primary new fun thing to do is...nothing.
I come from a family of hard workers. Work, and the fruit of your efforts, was prioritized in me growing up. I realized recently I've been working since middle school. Before I could be employed, I was volunteering for credits or just to be outside of the home. I got my first internship at a local court house when I was 15, worked at Smith Barney when I was 16, and took extra classes while volunteering until I graduated. In college I worked as much as I could and that meant 1 security job working full time hours and another part time job while making mostly A's and B's and taking more than a full course load. After school I've worked up to 4 jobs at 1 time, while being a mom, a partner and every thing to every one who I perceived needed me. I really did not conceptualize rest as my friend.
Even family outings meant I needed to do SOMETHING. I always had a book, I was always planning something, always looking for ways "to do." I remember going on an outing with my aunt's church 2 years ago and asking what was there to do at the park. Her response, rest and enjoy each other, seemed so foreign. But I went anyway. Although I really enjoyed myself I don't think I mastered the art of rest until recently.
As the days are warmer I find myself outside. You see, I'm fortunate enough to have a home with a large lawn. Although not blessed with a backyard, my lawn is rather big as my home sits on a corner lot. I have found myself on the lawn under the sun just laying there. Recently, I visited Georgia and discovered my love of sitting on the porch and watching the rain. I've found myself wondering how I can do this? When did this happen?
"I always had a book, I was always planning something, always looking for ways to do."
As I traced my trajectory with rest, I realized that working and business were attached to my traumatic experiences and what they taught me about my thoughts and needs. I didn't feel that my thoughts or body were safe to be in. Somehow I thought my brain would catch up with me and destroy it all. If I sat down long enough I'd get behind, I'd be sad, I'd get angry, my body would need something. Sitting with myself became a betrayal of the denial I thought I needed to stay safe and be well. In addition, my incessant work ethic is really rooted in my need to take care of myself and need to learn to trust that rest does not limit my ability to care for myself. In fact, it ensures that I'm caring for myself in ALL ways.
In my healing journey, I started to understand that my thoughts and feelings were information to be used to help me. With meditation I could sit with them and get curious. The curiosity taught me what I needed and stillness gave me permission to consider opportunities to give it to myself. I've also learned that rest is one of THE ways I take care of myself best, freeing me to do things I enjoy, but also to rejuvenate my mind and my spirit.
"In my healing journey, I started to understand that my thoughts and feelings were information to be used to help me."
So...that's where I've been more often: still, and curious. I've done it in the bed, in the tub, on the office floor, bedroom floor, my car, daybed and more recently...on the front lawn, laying in the sun. Giving myself permission to feel, to connect to my thoughts, to release what I can and to focus on being well.
If you are struggling with rest, think about why you think you need to stay moving, thinking or doing. What would life be like if you could rest and release those fears?