This Is How You Rest
The longest day of the year has come and gone. Personally, I’m a fan of the winter solstice, because I like to say the sentence, “From here on out, we get a little more light every day until it’s summer.” Now it is summer. We’ve reached the summit, and from here, we begin to mosey back on down.
The days are long and languid. Or, they’re long; and they have the POTENTIAL, in their length, to also adopt an amount of lanuidness. (Languidity? Whatever, spell check doesn’t like either one.) I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of rest. It isn’t something I’ve been doing much of lately, and I’m aware of that partially because at the beginning of the pandemic, I did a fair amount of it, and by extension, I learned what it was. I know that I should have known by then, but I didn’t.
Now, I’m using the word “rest” in a highly specific way.
Here is a list of what “rest,” by this specific definition is not:
- It is not sleeping. Sleeping is sleeping. Yes, technically and scientifically, sleeping is the most fundamental form of physical rest, and that’s great, and people should sleep as much as their bodies want. I’m all about sleep. But we have a word for sleep already, and the word is sleep. I am not talking about sleep.
- It is not meditating or doing yoga. Those are wonderful things, too, and they make SPACE for rest. But they are active, work-centered forms of rest. Don’t get mad at me for using the word “work” and the word “meditation” in the same thought-stream; I’ll reiterate that it’s much easier to rest when you have a solid meditation practice in place. But being with your breathing is an active awake experience, and it’s great — it’s maybe even magical or spiritual!, but it’s not what I’m talking about.
- It is not watching TV or scrolling on or playing games on your phone. Mindless activities in front of screens are what I like to call “being dead while conscious.” These are the most readily available tools that allow us to leave ourselves, which can feel pretty good, or at the very least, pretty necessary. I am not against being dead while conscious. It’s hard to be a human…