My good friend Sue sent me a blog post today from a Catholic writer, Father Richard, whom she reads each day. I don't always agree with his ideas but a phrase in the post today caught me: the culture of unrest. As you may remember, my intention this year is to learn about and practice relaxation and rest. You'd think that comes naturally to a person. You just find the time. You stop doing things. And you rest.
But that is not my experience. I'm firmly entrenched in the American culture of productivity and making the most of every minute. I'm an expert at pushing myself, at fueling my life on anxiety and feeling better when I've produced a lot. I'm not conscious in the moment of trying to prove anything, but clearly I am. If nothing else, I'm proving that I'm not wasting a minute of time.
I've brought that deep grounding in the culture of unrest with me on this retreat. I have a week at the coast with friends I enjoy, a week to rest, reflect, relax, and work on my novel. I went to bed early last night and slept a long time but it hasn't refreshed my mind. I had a fabulous massage this afternoon and yet I am struggling to unwind. The truth is I've been on the work treadmill pretty nonstop for several months and it feels a bit like having race-walked on one of those airport moving sidewalks and then come abruptly to the end. Both you and your suitcase go flying and hit the ground hard.
I want to do something to fix this. Do something. Do something. And that of course is the irony.