Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rest ethic

In one of the monthly groups for women that I facilitate, we've been talking for some months about cultivating a rest ethic in addition to our work ethic. I'd noticed in the groups I lead, whether it's a writing group or a chakra group or an intentions group, that whenever I talked about rest and the need to rest and encouraged them to rest, there was a visible sense of relaxation, a letting go of tight shoulders and jaws, a sitting back into the sofa, a sense of ease, as if they were all waiting for permission.

Our culture doesn't support rest. Instead we're all about doing. We support "blowing off steam" with exercise (more doing) or partying (more doing). Vacations are a time of travel, sightseeing, recreational activities like whitewater rafting or scuba diving, or taking a class somewhere. Or we stay at home and make house repairs or paint the garage or put in the garden.

We take days off and we run errands. We keep lengthy to-do lists and work our way through them. I'm no exception. I love lists and checking things off. I love accomplishment, completion, product.

But this new life of abstinence from sugar calls for rest. For when I'm not rested and I'm doing too much for too long, I want to eat even though I'm not hungry. I want a reward, I want fuel for all that remains to be done.

I just came off of three long days of editing for clients. By last evening, my brain was really tired. It was more than just difficult to concentrate anymore. I could actually feel the inside of my head as tired. Yet today, I've had a hard time resting, relaxing, doing little. Instead, I've remained here pretty steadily at the computer, checking things off my to-do list. Another hard habit to break but one that seems equally necessary.

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