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30 Days of Rest: Day 2

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Practicing

It’s important to me you have a true picture of these 30 days. I still have a real life. I still have two teenagers and a dog. Even though I am technically on sabbatical, there is always work.  There are loose ends that I don’t know I haven’t tied up until I find them dangling. Quickly I am coming face to face with my perfectionistic ideals, not just about 30 days of rest, but about everything. Thank goodness, I have friends who text me reminders like this one…it’s all a process and I am just practicing what it looks like to rest today.

When I first started practicing yoga, I had to learn how to eat well so that I wouldn’t be sick during class. I had to figure out the whole mat, towel thing. I had to remember to have a water bottle on hand and start hydrating ahead of time. I only learned any of that because one time, I got sick in class from not having eaten enough that morning. Many times I have had to rent mats and towels. And regularly I have to lay down for more of the class that I want to because I have not had enough water. I only know these things because of practice.

These 30 days of rest are not about sleeping as often as I want to or taking things as slow as I need to as much as they are about creating an atmosphere of rest in the everyday. It is about making REST my one thing, the lens through which I view everything else.

Some parameters that I am practicing:

  1. vacation reminders on email
  2. vacation message on voice mail
  3. communication with friends and family about my priority of rest this month
  4. setting do not disturb on my cell phone (this setting allows my kids and husband’s calls to still come through)
  5. only checking my phone/email once a day during a set time
  6. keeping the hours the kids are in school as open as possible for rest, reflection, study
  7. accepting that 30 days of rest is about my perspective, not necessarily my reality (the DMV)
  8. un-texting (I am hiding the text button from myself and asking my people to call or email me instead)
  9. choosing sleep when I can (this morning I went back to sleep after my son left for school instead of journaling)

Yesterday was a crazy day. The weather turned pretty quickly and I did not have anything appropriate to wear to a banquet we were attending. In my head there was an anxious voice saying, “This is not rest. I don’t want to be shopping right now. This was not in our plan.” But there was also a calm voice that said, “Take rest with you. Take it with you wherever you are today.”

After I found my new, nice pair of black dressy shoes, I  turned around to see a line twisting around the store. I have not been in a line that long since my son got his driver’s license. I hate lines. What else is a long line but a chance to rest? If I had brought my phone with me, I am sure that I would have broken my own rule and done a few things to pass the time, but I didn’t have my phone. So, I had to just stand there. Slowly. Breathe in. Breathe out. Wait in line that almost didn’t move.

I am desperate for rest and yet frustrated when reality forces me to rest. What if rest is often available to me and always has been? In my lack of awareness, I judge this as a waste of time. I get bored and antsy. I think of all of the things I could be doing that would be so much more productive than this.

If you are considering taking your own 30 days of rest, it’s only fair to warn you that when you slow down, feelings come up. A fast paced life keeps me just two paces ahead of deeper feelings. There I stood in line (for almost an hour, folks) and all the feelings joined me. First it was fear, the urgent fear that I wasn’t going to be ready in time and the softer fear that I have about explaining and justifying this sabbatical to the world. Then I remembered that it was my anniversary and out of nowhere came this huge wave of thankfulness for who my husband is and that I get to share my life with him. I just stood in amazement that he chooses me over and over again as his one true love.

In yoga class today I chose the intention, I am here. Throughout my practice, the postures that hurt, the poses that felt wonderful, the times I had to lay down just to catch my breath, I kept going back to, “I am here. I am right here.”

It’s all practice.

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