I have been contemplating a lot this year about doing less… and how I and so many of us wear a “Badge of Busyness” like we are competing for an award or an A+ grade in life!
Additionally, in order to remain open to all the new higher energies available now, we need to create more spaciousness within.
If you too find yourself always needing to do more, have more, achieve more, create more…perhaps August is the perfect time to cultivate the practice of giving yourself the gift of more rest.
Each year I choose a theme so I can align my focus and my projects to move closer to a desired state. My theme this year is Sustainability, so I am reviewing everything from business activities to more native garden design, growing food and free fertilizer, saving energy, and creating systems to streamline cooking, shopping, just about every task. And ultimately, deciding daily to resist the urge to push through and instead gift myself the intentional self care of slowing down.
These efforts require me to look under the hood of perfectionism and productivity for its own sake, and one of the underlying patterns I have unearthed is the fear of NOT ENOUGH…often in the form of “I am not DOING enough.” This can be especially true for empaths and healers who tend to feel others pain and needs much more acutely.
“The ambitious man is afraid to be what he is.”
—J. Krishnamurti, renowned author and spiritual teacher
I am consciously stripping down my activities to the most essential, the most sustaining and life affirming. The ones that give me great joy and fulfillment. Less outer actions and more internal BEING. Less striving and more contentment with what is, and with who I AM instead of what I do. And I am finding more and more, I am in touch with the deeper essence of my being, which is full and rich and joyous. And thus, I have more to share.
Interestingly, a client mentioned this too, that over the past 4 years she has watched me change dramatically. When I asked how she would describe it, she faltered, then answered, “You are just… MORE.” Fascinating, as each year I am doing way less.
One of the things I am allowing myself lately is resting in the afternoons if I feel I need a break. I never did this before, as I thought it meant I was being lazy or had to be sick.
“Doing less is not being lazy. Don’t give in to a culture that values personal sacrifice over personal productivity.” — Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week
REST-FULL Contemplation Practice
Rest can be radical self-care and even an act of self love. ~Kumari
Someone suggested a lovely new book called Rest: The Art of Doing Less by Joseph Bennett which really spoke to me. He suggests the following practice:
Affirmation/Mantra: “I do enough. I have enough. I am enough.”
Notice where you hold resistance to these concepts in your body. Breathe into the tightness or resistance for a few moments. Be present with the sensations and thoughts that arise. Notice how it feels to love yourself enough to give yourself the gift of rest.
REST = Resting Enlivens Souls Tremendously
Bennett continues: “Rest is a slowing down, an experience of intentionally allowing calm. Moments of rest are powerful, delicious and intentional.”
Rest Allows Space for the New
I now know it is this intentional down time that refuels my body, my mind, and my creativity. It is a gift of spaciousness, that is also allowing something entirely new to percolate.
What if there is nothing you need to be thinking, doing, seeing or creating right now? What if you were open to the possibility of letting go of responsibilities and expectations for a brief moment?
When we let go of our striving and slow down, something beautiful can arise. We are mindfully creating space for something new to come in. Bennett notes: “And in that space, there is room for less– less worry, less stress, less busyness, less pushing.”
Resting is an Act of Healing
For three decades of energy healing, I noticed nearly all clients were seriously depleted and often fell asleep on the table as the initial reaction to a healing session. Reiki energy healing often brings deep relaxation which allows a natural resting to occur quickly, even with clients who reported difficulty sleeping.
A client just coming through an intense bout with Covid reported that she rested like an animal…meaning she just listened to her body needs and if she felt she needed to lie down, no matter the time, she did. She slept as long as required to feel better. Funny that listening to our bodies need for rest is a foreign concept to us humans, and we need to look to the animals to teach us!
Let Animals Guide You
It reminds me of a poem I wrote years ago inspired by my doggie teacher, Suki. She had this habit of sitting in the driver’s seat of my car, and not moving when I returned from my errands, which was very unusual. Then I noticed how she was encouraging me to slow down and grab the delicious moments with her…
These are Our Moments
These are our moments
I take you with me
For I know the hours
Are much easier spent waiting
In the car
Than home alone
My errands once again completed
I return to find you
Or so it would appear
You always perch in the front seat
Looking at me upside down
Normally you anticipate the slightest movement
And make room
These moments you insist
On slowing me down
To catch the love fest fast approaching
Not moving an inch
I take a breath
Your head straight back
You melt before me
Unconditional love is not a big enough word for it
It is a total merge of two hearts
Melting the physical realm
Fully aware of the limited time on earth
We grab the Moment and stretch it till it nearly breaks open
Spilling the wine of No Time
Down our throats
Drunken with this melting moment
I ask once again for you to get in the back seat
My mind slipping back to my duties
Thankfully you refuse to budge
Grabbing once more this elixir
Of hearts melting and entwining
I stroke your silken throat, exposed with abandon
I bury my face in your velvet ears
No earthly cloth ever made so fine
Once again tripping into timelessness
This liquid love oozing out every pore
Grabbing my deepest emotion
And laying it bare
There is nothing else
For one more blessed moment
How do you do this?
You throw my cape of busy-ness
Out the window
No one else has this power
To milk me of my “doing”
And slip me so quickly into
“These are our moments”
I whisper in your ear
For one day knowing full well they will be gone
I hold on ever tighter
To insure I have a place to come back to
When you are not here to remind me
“These are our moments”
And you slip into the back seat
I caught it
And your job is done…
For the moment.