I went on a super duper huge spiritual journey about 15 years ago (okay, honestly, my whole life has been a massive spiritual journey. For. Sure.)
But 15 years ago there was a significant shift when I took on the spiritual practice of rest.
Which, as I write it, sounds kinda silly. It’s like taking on a spiritual practice of getting massages, or eating ice cream, or sipping mojitos.
But you have to know this: Rest to me was a four-letter word.
I’m Italian. I like to ‘do.’ I like to fix and solve and bring relief.
Rest was like a punishment to me.
But still it called to me in some really extraordinary ways all those years ago, that made me pay attention and heed the call.
So, 15 minutes a day I would rest.
Lie on my bed or sit on the backyard porch and do
It was excruciating.
I’d toss and turn and count the minutes on the clock when 15 minutes was up.
I’d think about all the other things I could be doing that would be more productive.
But still, I rested.
Until eventually, the rest stirred up the why… Why I was restless when I tried to rest.
Resting made me feel like a sitting duck…
Like all the bad things that could happen in life were going to find me and get me.
Being busy distracted me from the anxious worries that threatened to consume me.
Being busy kept the hyper-critical voice in my head, quiet.
So, when I got still, my mind got very, very loud. Very sassy-critical, and tormented me about all the mistakes I had made throughout the years.
It was awful and I wanted to run.
But despite that big temptation to get up out of my chair, I remained seated.
And eventually, the rest helped me deal with my restlessness.
It helped me settle, not just into the seat, but into me.
It helped me to wrestle with God about my issues to trust.
Because me not resting was about me not really trusting.
We’re designed to rest physically — not just with sleep at night, but with peace during the day:
Dialing down our adrenal glands and not living like we’re being chased by a bear.
Both are evidence of trust.
Being able to speak our voice and know that, even if no one agrees, we still walk away whole because we accepted and represented ourselves.
Being able to own a mistake and say, “I’m sorry” is a sign of trust.
Being able to take a risk to make a new friend or take on a new business venture is a sign of trust.
Being able to learn a new skill where you have that awkward learning curve of looking silly or not knowing a lot is a sign of trust.
Being able to walk away from a toxic marriage or a shitty job with the confidence that love and goodness are still available to you is a sign of trust.
It’s not been an easy journey.
My health issues forced me to slow down in my late 20’s and my spiritual self called me to slow down in my late-30’s.
Now as I’m in my late 40’s, rest is still a hot-topic of conversation in my mind.
Today, I napped for two hours. Yesterday, for 45 minutes. Two days before that for an hour.
I asked my husband, “What’s wrong with me?”
He smiled (because after 31 years together, he knows I’m a weirdo): “Hon, it’s a sign of health.”
I rolled my eyes, “Really… how so?”
And he said, “You’re listening to your body.”
You know, the man doesn’t talk a lot, but when he does, sometimes it’s pure gold.
What am I always aiming for my clients to do? Listen to their body and honor it.
What am I still freaking learning how to do at almost 50 years old? Listen to my body and honor it.
So, today: When I woke up after a big weekend, walked 3.5 miles, had a big meeting on an emotional topic, came home and cooked, cleaned and went on another 1.5 mile walk back and forth to the grocery store before working on taxes and making more food, I laid down for a nap.
I listened to my body.
Why did that matter to me?
Because it’s a sign: A sign that I don’t think that I’m responsible to hold up the entire world. A sign that I knew my boys would be fine to feed and fend for themselves. A sign that my reputation wouldn’t be ruined or that I wouldn’t be seen as lazy.
Rest: It used to be a dirty word to me,
But now it’s a gift.
And a reminder, that I’m not just learning to sit down, but that I’m learning to surrender.
And that in that simple act of resting
I’m taking on the sacred act of trusting.
Rest, it’s not just good for the body,
It’s good for the soul.
Sending you big love and some time on the back porch,