Rest By Any Other Name

Andrea Chilcoteby Andrea Chilcote

I’ve been busy. (“Ha ha,” you say. “Tell me something new.”)

Seriously, there is something new here. I have a lot going on, yes. But I also have this emerging core value I’ve been attending to. I haven’t found a just-right word for it yet, but self-regard comes close. It’s a familiar state of being, one I’ve honed for years now. And even though I genuinely feel such things as self-respect, compassion for my own shortcomings, and deservingness, my behavior doesn’t always align. I often “dis”-regard my own needs in light of an abundance of things to do and people to serve.

And so I get tired. Exhausted, sometimes.

Earlier this year, I decided something has to give. And the answer, I knew then and know still, is not to simply do less. It has more to do with the quality with which I carry myself through life than the length of my to-do list. It has little to do with the amount of hours I sleep and is more about what I do with the hours I’m awake. Regard for my own needs is paramount if I am going to truly contribute in this life.

In the last week, a friend (who knows of this new pursuit), has prefaced a number of statements with “If you’re not resting …” Each time I heard or read those words, I had a visceral reaction. I wanted to shout: “Of course I’m not resting, I’m busy.” Or, “I don’t need to rest – I’m energized.” At the same time I was thinking these thoughts, I was carefully managing my energy. Despite a packed work schedule, in the last three days I’ve made time for exercise, fun visits with friends, a great book, a good movie and a weekday lunch with Arthur.

After examining my reaction to my friend’s implication that I needed “rest,” I understood it. It’s the word, and what the word connotes to me.

Resting takes many forms of course. Some rest on the sofa while others rest on the dance floor. We can rest in motion, or rest … errr … at rest. Mental rest is different from physical rest. In my analysis of why the word itself produces such a reaction in me, I realized that I judge rest. In the crazy way I have it wired, some is deserved, some not. Some is for sissies, and some is to be savored like fine wine. Even the dictionary definition of rest seems polarized. Descriptions like “Death,” and  “To lie unfarmed,” sit beside “A place to stop and relax” and “Freedom from anxiety.”

How do you view rest? Is it an essential chore, or a delicious and deserved reward? How do you practice rest? Do you crash exhausted or plan the things that uniquely refresh you?

I’ve reframed my point of view on rest. Does yours need a reset too?

My Connection Timed Out

woman-frazzledby Andrea Chilcote

Last spring, I blogged about how confounding technology difficulties were metaphors for life. In keeping with my theme this new year, I am sharing about how my connection timed out – another prompt for self-care. Are you taking time to “smell the roses” before your connection times out?

April 2013—This week we have seen the perfect storm in our three-person office. Two new computers with Windows 8 (I liken that to learning an ancient foreign language if you have not yet experienced it), an ill-fated email server conversion, an “upgrade” by our internet service provider — and much to do that is dependent on technology. I won’t mention the common printer jams and such (oh, I guess I just did).

“Your settings are not holding.”

“We are experiencing password failures.”

“Access denied. You do not have administrative privileges.”

“Your connection has timed out.”

I came to wonder if the confounding pre-programmed messages from our technology providers were nothing more than metaphors for life. And then I got the one-day flu.

That’s not a joke. This week I managed to squeeze into 24 hours, chills, fever, severe body aches and even a cough. It came and then it vanished. I know that’s odd, but it’s what happened. The message was confirmed — my connection had timed out.

I often advocate self-care. It’s usually a reminder to myself as much as it is a message for you. Lately, I have been tipping the scales in the wrong direction, and I got a warning sign. Fortunately my psyche as well as my immune system were aligned and I received just that — a warning.

The minor annoyances of life and work can conspire to produce real stress. Yet when we lose touch with the reality of what they really are (annoyances), and connect with them in a way that allows them to expand into something they’re not (real problems), life has a way of re-setting the controls.

Today I learned of a friend who lost her beloved mother. She wrote that when life became a whirlwind for her, her mom encouraged her to “stop and smell the roses.” That was good advice.

If your connection with things beyond your control has “timed-out,” take a breath and consider what’s worth your precious energy. Connect with someone you love, with nature, with art, music or any passion you hold. It will give you the stamina to deal with those computer messages, and it just might prevent the flu.

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The post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger.

Being There: Nature’s Enduring Conversation By Guest Blogger Karla Boyd

 

 

It’s set to be a very hot July 4th Holiday here in my desert. I’m longing to connect with nature for more than the scant 60 minutes I get each morning before the scorching sun rises, and so it seems fitting to share my friend and colleague Karla Boyd’s piece on “Nature’s  Enduring Conversation.” Enjoy. I’ll be back to writing after I’ve had a long hike. – Andrea

 

I wake up to a hot shower, liquid hot packs on tired shoulders. Later I start to climb a mountain trail close to home. Near the curve of my lookout I gaze over the vast panorama and breathe in deeply. The view looks good from here.

Recently, Heather Armstrong, writer and lover of Super Mutts, Chuck and Coco, took her daughters, Marlo and Leeta, on an outdoor adventure. Hand gliding, Crocodile Bungee or Volcano Boarding you might ask? No. Who needs to lean over cliffs when we’re cut off from our roots?

Heather packed her kids in the car and drove 3.5 hours to Arches National Park in Utah in the snow.  The oldest daughter after seeing this magnificent red-orange, brick-hued arch quipped, “Awesome, being out here is, like, nothing I’ve seen ever.” And given the internet, media’s playground, that says it all. Nature, it’s like nothing we have ever seen.

In our American scarcity conversation, our hunt for the next adrenaline rush, we ignore the obvious. To connect with Mother Earth. We all need to recharge, powered by slow walks and energized runs out onto grassy knolls. Nature is a magnificent host anchoring us, granting inspiration to fuel our day and to stay in relationship.

I love nature’s creatures. Okay, I love most of them. But in nature, there is an enduring conversation that is constantly teaching us. As William Shakespeare said,  “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” That certainly was true for me yesterday.

I was at a beautiful gathering in a community on acres of rolling hills, wisteria and gardens that overlook fountains and a little Buddha planted amidst bright yellow and indigo flowers. I was there in birthday celebration of a life reaching out from her 92 years, her contribution inspiring to all who know her. As I walked toward the assembly hall, I was a bit surprised to see the gathering crowd staring off at the grass as if they had not seen green earth before. Granted many came from nearby brown hills with temperatures sweltering in the high 90’s, but this is a wet ocean town. The grass is always green.

As I approached so did a friend, one of the community residents. Momentarily I saw the grass come alive. Bryce glided through the crowd and swooped the snake up in one smooth movement, holding him then in the air. People gasped. A photo was taken. Bryce ceremoniously draped the snake around his neck, smiling. Astonished vocalizing ensued. Some laughed. The snake squirmed. Bryce departed, snake in tow.

Later, I asked Bryce about his experience. To my admiration he responded, “Poor guy, he got scared when people laughed.” My snake phobia melted watching him that day. Bryce confided he felt himself a snake in a former life and he was recognizing his great-grand nephew. We both smiled. We are all connected. What better way to be reminded of our connection than in celebration of a 92 year-old life, while engaging nature’s paradise?

(Karla Boyd, the author of this piece can be found at http://www.namasteglobalvision.com/)