The Importance of Rest — Purposed and Deliberate.
We’ve been hard wired by societal norms to think that rest is for those who are not busy. Me? Not busy? That’s an abomination! We fill every waking second with activity. We sometimes fail to check whether all the movement is even in the right direction. We tell ourselves -do not stand still else you will be run over and fail at everything.
Rest in today’s world is even more important than ever before. Do you know lack of sleep will kill you faster than lack of food? Read that again. So who started this false narrative that we must all look busy or risk being labelled lazy? Doesn’t matter now, we drank the Kool-Aid and bought into the hype.
So, it was such a “beautiful” thing when ALL control over creating manic busyness was stripped from us and we are shackled to a rock that could not move and all our protective armor of “false movements” came to a grinding halt. Hello Pandemic Lockdowns! Hello No travel. Hello controlled grocery runs. Hello couch and lounge wear for goodness knows how long. Hello You. Hello Me.
Rest was forced upon our weary souls. Our exhausted minds. We were welcomed into spaces in ourselves we never even knew existed. Some frightening. Some amazingly beautiful gems. I have often held the belief that the classroom of silence is where the magic happens. But how can we even hear anything in-between all the airports announcements-school runs-disco lights-over booked meeting calendars.
Truth is, we crave productivity so badly in today’s world that we have relegated rest to those who are either rich enough or not ambitious enough. The exact opposite is the case. For us to be truly productive, we must create the time for rest. Let me clarify here that rest in this context is not play. No, play is an activity we do without consciousness of time and without trying to attain any real value from it. Rest on the other hand is a pause in all activity. It is when we allow our bodies to take over the functions of keeping us alive and get a break from taking direction from us. Rest is Pause.
When was the last time you truly paused? I could list out the endless benefits of sleep but I am almost certain that you can google that on your own. We all see what the relentless movements we as mankind have collectively brought upon ourselves and the planet we all call home. Even Mother Earth needs rest too from the never-ending demands of her inhabitants else she begins to crack wide open in ways that are utterly destructive to us all. Insert here tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, forest fires, mudslides shall I go on?
What are we so afraid of that we feel the urge to always stay busy? To always stay on. Stay plugged. Driven by fear of failure, fear of missing out, I believe this even has an acronym FOMO! Fear of judgement. Fear of not belonging to the “secure the bag” clan. The illusion that our happiness will somehow be guaranteed if only we keep chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You do know that it’s an old Irish tale which insinuates how we can never find the end of any rainbow.
A very wise unknown writer once said “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is Relax”. May I borrow from this and paraphrase it to –
Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is Rest.
- Antoinette Edodo — Head, Paycheck.