To rest, and to be

Have we lost the concept of “rest” in modern (Western) society? Have we, as a people, lost sight of the importance of giving our bodies and minds the time they need to heal, to process: to sleep? Is it not ingrained in our culture that we must do, must think, must act in every waking moment? That time spent not doing something is time wasted, time lost?

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Honestly, the “holidays” leave me exhausted. It’s how it’s always been: bustling around non-stop for weeks, trying to make everything perfect, trying to be a great guest, a great host, to cook exceptional things, to make everything shiny and tidy, to make everyone happy and smiling and drunk but not too drunk…
I’m not saying that it’s not fun, but it certainly is exhausting. Each year, by the time the New Year is approaching, I find myself wondering “but when is the time to sleep? To rest? To do nothing but to be present in oneself, to oneself? To be still, without the guilt of not doing something. To not think. Where is the time to simply be?”

I find myself very conscious of the fact that I can literally work and/or worry myself sick. It’s worse since the 8 months of Chickengunya, but it was bound to happen someday. I have honed my body and mind to ignore every signal that I need to just stop. There is always one more thing that needs to be done. A whole list of things that I’d like to do. And still more things that I know other people feel that I should be doing. It’s so easy to say “I have to do…” and to push through from one task to the next…to sleep less rather than to disappoint…to choose accomplishment over health. I’m convinced that this is a common affliction, for what I hear from many people, when asked how they are, is “busy” “tired” “exhausted””looking forward to…[rest]””struggling”. When will we all realize that no matter how many hours there are in a day, we will still manage to fill them, to be “busy”, that we still will not “have time” to rest, to be present to one another, to be at peace with ourselves? When will we push back against the idea that to be constantly “busy” is a requirement to a successful (and thereby happy) life?

I do not know where I’m headed in life. I don’t know what the next year, or five, will hold in store. I do, however, know that this realization of the importance of rest, reflection, inner peace…however you wish to think of it…is an important part of my journey here, of the way of life that I’ve chosen: surrounded by living, breathing, peaceful things. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I hold a strong belief against setting oneself up for certain failure and disappointment. However, I do hope that in the coming year, in my life going forwards, that I will make time. That I will be present. That I will find peace, somewhere deep within myself. That others might do the same. That one day, when someone asks how I am, I might respond “Peaceful.” or “Content.”, and that I might hear the same response from another.

With that, my friends, I leave you until next year. May you all find what you seek, and may what you seek be truly what you need.

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