When I started blogging, I made a commitment to myself. Firstly, I would aim to blog at least once a week. Secondly, I would send out a newsletter every other Friday. My teacher of blogging and business, Marie Forleo says you HAVE to be consistent. And I’m a total rule follower- or I was anyway. But what I’ve found this summer, as I’ve journeyed deeper into my own self and soul, is that inspired work is infinitely more powerful than work you do just because you have to. It feeds you rather than drains you. It’s more powerful to write, and more powerful to read. So I added my third and most important commitment: that I would not write just because I had to. I would write when I felt inspired and called to share something, not because it was Friday and I hadn’t written anything yet.
So this brings us back to last week, I was sitting there on Friday, without a blog post to post. I had three that were mostly done from earlier in the week, but I couldn’t even bring myself to edit one and post it. I just wanted to curl up with a book and retreat from life. The old me would have said, suck it up, finish a post, and then you can reward yourself with a good novel and a cup of tea. But instead, I remembered some other words of wisdom from the lovely Marie Forleo. When you absolutely can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed and want to watch Madmen all day- you should keep your butt in bed and watch Madmen all day. But be sure that you feel absolutely no guilt. Don’t entertain thoughts of “Oh this is so lazy and unproductive.” Absolutely REVEL in the total inactivity and relaxation of what you’re doing. How can you make this moment more loving and self indulgent? DO THAT. Just let go of all your concerns and fully feel the beauty of where you are.
This is so far from how I’ve lived most of my life. I’ve done what I was supposed to do nearly every day, but I was lacking enthusiasm and full of resistance much of the time. Wishing I were somewhere else, doing something else. Then on the days I did “stay home sick” because I just couldn’t bear to drag myself to work or school that day, I would feel bad. I should be working, writing, reading my homework for class, etc. I never accepted that it was okay to just lay there and do absolutely nothing and love every second of it.
So when I first heard this idea- from Marie and later Eckhart Tolle- part of me LOVED it. But part of me feared that I would never want to get up again. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest according to physics… Would I want to lay around forever? Would I fall into a lazy abyss never to return again? Here’s the shocker: Every time I have rested guiltlessly, after a short time (a couple hours usually) I would be so BURSTING with energy and enthusiasm that I would leap from the bed and jump into my work with a fervor I had never known. It was incredible. And strange. Because I knew that there had been many a time in the past where I would rest for the same couple of hours, and have no such experience. But on those days I usually felt guilty or lazy for doing so little. That’s the difference.
Back to last Friday. I absolutely did NOT want to work. The office seemed to repel me like a magnet turned the wrong way. So I said, time to love myself and do what feels good. Then, something strange happened. Later that day, I felt awful. Just emotional, afraid, all kinds of stuff was coming up. So I rested that weekend. Minimal computer time, maximum rest. Again- still felt off. This energetic FUNK lasted a full week. 7 days. I began to worry that all hope was lost- that I’d never feel better. But I kept at it, resting, meditating, tapping, reading, doing what absolutely needed doing each day for work and no more. I knew these things usually worked, but after a full week my faith was wearing thin. Another Friday was drawing very near and I had NOTHING to show for my week of quiet. And then last night, the fog began to lift. This morning I felt absolutely fantastic, brimming with energy and enthusiasm. I was BACK. Now I’m typing up blog posts faster than my fingers can keep up. I’m ready to dive into all the projects I’ve wanted to move forward with. And my faith is restored in the power of rest and trusting my natural rhythms.
These are my favorite ways to rest that will get you back up on your feet in no time:
- A good novel. I absolutely love getting lost in the magical world of fiction. But be careful to choose a book that makes you feel good- suspenseful thrillers that you just CAN’T put down? These don’t make me feel good. It took a while to figure that out.
- A warm drink by the fire with loved ones. There is just something magical about sitting around a fire talking isn’t there?
- Meditation. A good chakra cleanse and/or white light healing will lift my spirits better than almost anything in the world.
- A fantastic movie. This week I chose Bridget Jones’ Diary. How can you not be brimming with joy after she and Mr. Darcy reunite in the snow? Any happy ending movie full of laughs is usually a good choice.
- Stay in bed with your sweetie (or your self) long past 7am. Breakfast in bed perhaps? Add the kids and dogs if you like- the more the merrier.
- Reading the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and practicing presence. This one is SO powerful. Trust me.
So tell me- How often do you listen to your body? How often do you do things that you feel you “have” to, even though they are dragging you down? What would REALLY happen if you said no, I’m sorry, I can’t do that today. I’m not feeling well and need to rest. Would the world end? Would your children starve? Would the laundry pile eat you alive? There are commitments in our lives that are absolutely necessary, but VERY few. Then there are some that are important, but not life or death. The rest- the very large group that is left- can be put aside for another day or let go of all together.