A constant battle I have always had with myself is allowing rest. Even when I can acknowledge that I am tired, giving in to rest causes me to believe that I am being (the dreaded word) ‘lazy’. I’ve always been scared of the word lazy, it is a fear I battle mainly in the warmer months of summer. How many times have you denied yourself needed rest because the sun’s out? Or maybe I should adjust that question to Scotland and say ‘because it’s not raining’…
We recently had the wonderful Hannah Swift of Yellow Empress Acupuncture join us for Tribe Talks. Her session covered a range of topics around menopause but all stemmed back to how to look after yourself in both mind and body. I was particularly fond of the analogy of the seasons and how we can identify our bodies’ needs by assigning seasons to our cycles (you can read more about this here). I’ve come to realise that this can not only be used as a powerful tool in understanding menstrual cycles but a tool to help honour rest and remove the self perpetuated notion of being ‘lazy’.
Rest is not a passive action, nor is it a negative. Rest can be just as, if not more imperative to our wellbeing than that quick run around the block or 30 minute yoga session. When thinking about the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang it becomes easier to apply the concept of dualism. All things have two facets, nothing is purely good nor is it purely bad.
“When life-force energy is appropriately balanced between Yin and Yang, it flows smoothly maintaining and promoting a good state of physical and emotional health”-Elina Zagkorontskagia
By applying the seasons to aid in understanding yourself, your moods and your energy you can help to pace your energy, calm your nervous system and gain insights into your overall wellbeing. Think about the seasons and what moods you attach to these. What things can you supply yourself with during your winters to bring yourself back into spring and summer?
Here are some examples of how to apply the seasons to yourself and your wellbeing:
Surrender and let go. Stopping and digesting may expose us to what we have been keeping at bay by keeping busy. Now is the time to give in to your tired and weary self, let go of expectations and simply rest.
Time to take stock and hype yourself up. Your inner spring is a time of becoming. It’s time to feel at home with yourself and celebrate being you, say yes to yourself.
Liberation and express your power. Manifest your calling, fulfill yourself and your spirit, dare to be your truest fullest self.
Here is where your inner critic rests. This will cause disruption and disturbance internally and deflate your ego. The challenge here is to sit in discomfort long enough to learn and grow but still hold onto your goodness.
“Plants store up resources through their root systems, waiting for spring for their next burst of growth. Nature shows us the wise way to be: we should follow a period of busyness with a time for deep rest”-Mimi Kuo Deemer
Once you have observed and visualised your seasons of emotions ask yourself how you tend to deal with them. How can you nurture your needs and come back into summer? By observing natures cycles, respecting that emotions come and go in seasonal shifts and applying this to our own lifestyles we can understand that rest is not a shortcoming, nor is it lazy. By resting we can take stock and nourish our bodies. Let’s value and respect intentional quiet time and let go of the need to be busy.
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Thanks for reading,
Whatever you call it, is most often, a big part of our life and identity. There is tension between who I am without my work and living out my values and purpose. I have learned to trust that when there is tension, I am on to something good.
I have to agree with Simon Sinek and his views that you only have one why, personally and professionally. You are who you are in all places and products. If you change your why in different places, you are living a lie somewhere. By knowing what you believe in and following your values, your actions will reflect your why. However, I am only speaking from my own experience and know that plenty of people do a job and find purpose elsewhere; I acknowledge a level of privilege this view has. On the other hand, I also know that far too many people fall into their work — thinking that it is separate from who they are and this can lead to unhappiness and being unwell.
I have been reading and rereading David Whyte’s book, The Three Marriages. Whyte is a poet and his writing is wonderful, which does mean it takes me twice as long to read his books. Each sentence is so beautifully crafted, I have to write it down, or find something to underline sentences with and often a paragraph sends me into an open field of swaying thoughts for 20 minutes or even days. For example, Whyte writes,
“We follow this constant internal seasonal round of living and dying throughout our lives, trying to understand what it is we need, what is coming to fruition and what we have to let go of.”
Whyte writes about love, work and self and articulates what I have been thinking in terms of the inadequate phrase, ‘the work/life balance’. He says,
“The current understanding of work-life balance is too simplistic. People find it hard to balance work with family, family with self, because it might not be a question of balance. Some other dynamic is in play, something to do with a very human attempt at happiness that does not quantify different parts of life and then set them against one another. We are collectively exhausted because of our inability to hold competing parts of ourselves together in a more integrated way.”
I love the idea that we should fall in love with work. Getting to know so many freelancers here at Tribe, I am lucky to see the wide variety of professions. People in love with adventure, the Gaelic language, the way light plays upon surfaces, or even turning their discomfort of otherness into a creative observer.
The last of the three marriages, is the marriage to self, the most difficult of the three. Whyte writes,
“This willingness to look at the transitory nature of existence [is] not pessimism but absolute realism: life is to be taken at the tilt, you do not have forever, and therefore why wait? Why wait … to become a faithful and intimate companion to that initially formidable stranger you called your self?”
Ask yourself, ‘What do we think you are worthy of?’ In life, in work, in love and to yourself? These are tough questions and not many folk are comfortable answering them honestly. How often do we wait for what we really want to do? I appreciate it is not always that simple but actually making the decision to pursue what you want, is, well at least in theory just a question away from reality. The how is another matter.
Parker Palmer writes about self,
“Afraid that our inner light will be extinguished or our inner darkness exposed, we hide our true identities from each other. In the process, we become separated from our own souls. We end up living divided lives, so far removed from the truth we hold within that we cannot know the “integrity that comes from being what you are.”
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.
by Dani Trudeau.