During the week of prep for the PRESS Calendar Release Party, right after Thanksgiving, I got sick. I’m not a very good sick person. I don’t rest or sit still very well. But I tried. I even took a half sick day. When I finally arrived one of my students looked at me and said, “You must really not feel well. In the nearly five years I’ve been at MCLA you have never taken a sick day.”
Sometimes we must go out of the way to pull back and do that thing that is so hard for us to do. Feel, rest, be silent, speak up, be present.
One of the blogs I try to read regularly is My Soul in Silence Waits. The blog is a compendium of insights, quotes, prayers and ideas that has helped draw the author closer to God. Whenever an email arrives with a new post, it contains familiar voices and inspiring statements, and I want to return to it again and again. Maybe you will too. The below are writings from this recent post, reminding me to rest.
Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is not stasis but the essence of giving and receiving. Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually, but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to become present in a different way than through action, and especially to give up on the will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we put it right; to rest is to fall back, literally or figuratively from outer targets, not even to a sense of inner accomplishment or an imagined state of attained stillness, but to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of natural exchange…
— David Whyte from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
You rest now. Rest for longer than you are used to resting. Make a stillness around you, a field of peace. Your best work, the best time of your life will grow out of this peace.
― Peter Heller from The Painter
Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.
― Maya Angelou from Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now