Rest and Change the World

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My thoughts have running lately toward rest, renewal, and what it means to take some time out.  In my “Quiet Mind” post I referred to the problem of busyness, and it is far from a new theme in our lives.  We all struggle with having too much on our plates and often feel guilty for taking a break when there is so much left undone.

This post is more of a reflection on taking time out, the forms of beauty when we stop to notice, and how periods of renewal follow periods of rest.  I’ve been reading a fantastic book called Sabbath, Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller this week, and I highly recommend it.  What he wrote has been taking my mind down all sorts of paths, and I’ve been consciously asking myself to evaluate what I’m doing, how I’m spending my time, and whether or not it’s worth it.  Then beyond that — because we all have so many good things that are worthy of our time — asking, Is this what I’m supposed to be doing right now?  Is this the way to spend my next hour or my day or this upcoming week?  Will engaging in this activity bring me the desired results, ensuring I arrive at the destination I’m shooting for, with all faculties in tact?  And, What is this activity doing to my heart and my quiet mind?

It may take some time and thought to figure out what is most effective in helping us slow down, especially the longer it goes in between times off, but it is so critical to our well-being.  We weren’t meant to run on the treadmill all day, every day, day after day.  We desperately need these periods of rest and relaxing, beauty and calm.  I’ve been considering what speaks calm and quiet and relaxation to my own mind.  Candles, fresh flowers, and music.  Breathing.  Writing through the thoughts.  Taking a walk.  Just sitting and being.  This time of year, the reminders are all around us, that winter is giving way to spring, that earth is waking up from a period of dormancy and beginning to show the breath-taking effects of a season of rest.  I want that so much for myself — to offer beauty and hope and new life — that for this blog post, I chose to add photos of the spring blooms to reinforce in my own mind what happens when there is a proper balance of work and reflection.

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After spending yesterday attempting to focus only on restful things, I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and recharged.  My mind felt clean and clear and healthy, ready to grasp the next phase of my work and open to interactions with others.  Just as the flowers showing up outside are evidence of a world balancing a harmonious relationship between rest and renewal, we also show the same evidence in our interactions with others, being wiser and kinder and more optimistic with them and ourselves.

We should all be more intentional in finding a time and a place that feeds our souls and encourages a quiet mind.  Consider this an invitation to do that for yourself today, this week, soon.  And reap the glorious benefits of making beauty and rest a part of your renewal process.  Then repeat often, as needed.  Because wouldn’t it be great to start a revolution, one in which we are committed to caring for our true selves (and the souls around us, by default)?  I’m thinking that could literally change the world.

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