I’ve written a lot about rest this week. So far, I’ve stuck with my plan to take some rest time in the afternoons. Yesterday I was reminded of kindergarten, with my little red mat, and the milk and cookies that came after quiet time. I never slept — I wasn’t a napper, even then — but I remember fondly curling up on that mat. Maybe it’s why I’ve come to love my yoga mat so much!
There’s a hidden danger in all this resting, however. Dare to rest, and I cannot be responsible for what might happen!
When we find ourselves in a quiet, peaceful space, allowing our minds to unclutter, something happens. We start to notice the thoughts and feelings rattling around inside, and hearing our inner truth. It’s not always pretty, and it can definitely be inconvenient!
Case in point: since we returned from Switzerland, we’re still in a restful mode. We’re working, but we’re unwilling to put pressure on ourselves to achieve. In the quiet of our return, a message has emerged loud and clear. Well, it’s more like a question. “If you like the mountains so much, why do you still live in Houston?”
Indeed. Why are we here?
For years, the answer was easy. I had work and friends. Henry was raising a family, and his parents were here as well. I even used to like the heat! Then his children grew up and left home, and his parents died. While all of this was going on, we were traveling more, and taking trekking poles with us wherever we went. Our travel decisions started to center on where we could hike. We fell in love with two places in particular: the Pacific Northwest and Switzerland.
Still, we didn’t stop to think about living elsewhere until we came home. Henry called me from a bike ride, complaining about the heat and the lack of places to bike in the city. I, meantime, was doing my daily meditations and starting to rest. “Why not move?” the inner voice asked. “Why not live in the environment that you love the best?”
Why not? Because we humans love inertia and habit. Sometimes the prospect of change just looks like too darn much work. Still, there comes a time when the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same, and I think we’re just about there.
We are taking the next step by planning a trip to explore an area in Washington State that meets the criteria we have set. I try not to think about the work involved, of selling our house, finding another, and moving all our stuff a few thousand miles. This is the problem with resting. When you start getting ideas, they involve a certain amount of work.
Resting stops our complacency. Resting asks questions. Resting holds a mirror up to us and suggests, gently, that we see things a little differently. It may not cause us to want to relocate, but it may show us something in life that wants to change. Resting reveals who we are under all that busy-ness. There, we may feel emotions we don’t want to feel — but we will also learn the truth of ourselves. We will find our yearnings, our hopes, our dreams. We find surprises. I didn’t know until age 51 that I had a passion, and a certain amount of skill, for gardening. Resting showed me the way and suggested that I give it a go.
Rest if you dare! Take a little time each day, even if it’s five minutes, and let yourself unplug from the world. What does your rest tell you?