Resting Lesson: Children’s Books


“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”
― Annie DillardThe Living

It is surprisingly easy for me to think, learn and know about rest and forget to actually rest. At a mindfulness training this weekend, we experienced a generous rhythm of learn, practice, process. It was a powerful reminder that what we know is only as meaningful as what we practice.

It is interesting for me to notice that the busier I get, the less aware I am of adding more to my schedule. An object in motion, I guess.

When the alarm went off this morning, I almost forgot to remember that it is time to rest.

Physically, mentally and spiritually I have been challenged in ways that were only possible because of the reservoirs that were replenished during my time of extravagant rest. As a well-rested person, I have had more to offer myself and others than I knew I was capable of.

It feels good to be capable. To be participate and contribute. It’s fun and life-giving. It is a gift to be alive!

And now it’s time to rest again.

Today’s Resting Lesson: One of my resting practices begins with a visit to the library where I load up on children’s books. I will make myself a hearty breakfast, brew a pot of tea, wrap myself in my robe and find some rest today inside of these whimsical, silly, comforting stories-some from my childhood, some from my children’s childhood and some that I just discovered today.


Resting Lesson: Thoughtful Planning


Thoughtful Planning

It is hard for me to reveal a picture of my real planner. I wanted to make up a pretend day where you wouldn’t see that basically all I am planning for this Wednesday is cleaning my house and packing for a trip.

I used to be capable of so much more.

I used to think I was capable of doing so much more.

I used to do so much more.

Not anymore.

The whole truth is that I do more than you can imagine. Well, you can probably imagine because you are doing it, too. The difference is that I don’t plan to do as much anymore. I am more realistic with the time that is really mine, the resources I have to work with and the cost of the commitments I have already made.

One of my hard-learned resting lessons (I am just coming out of the denial) is that I only had a few hours each week that are mine. Simplifying my life did not make it simple, it just made it possible. As long as I share my home and life with others, things are gonna be complicated. And I love that the very most! But when I packed my days with planning, I began to experience the all of the twists and turns of an average day as an interruption to my plan.

Another lesson I am learning is to replace,”What do I need to do today?” with “Who do I want to be today?”

Strangely enough, when I ask myself “Who do I want to be?” it also clarifies what I need to do.

I want to be happy. Some of my essentials are to be rested, to have the food I need, to exercise regularly and to develop myself. My days need margins so that I can live beyond getting through this day, and actually enjoy it.

I want to be full of gratitude. I want to appreciate my family as well as any human I come in contact with during the day-not resent them for having needs and getting in my way. Thoughtful planning is one way for me to create space to do the things that must be done without cursing, stressing, or burning myself out.

I want to be prepared. This is a novel concept I am just beginning to grasp. Those two to four hour spaces available to me four days a week can be used to work on a presentation, practice a lesson plan, prepare materials, have the right shoes/coat/gloves for the weather. In the past I was quite used to not having what I needed and making due. While necessity is the mother of invention, it can also be stressful. Those kinds of stressors are something I can change. But they take time. Thoughtful time.

I want to be good at being me. One of the best pieces of advice I have every received about parenting is instead of asking myself, “What should I do as a mom?” Ask myself, “What should I do as a human?” One of the reasons I don’t cook very often is because I used to get so angry at the rest of my family for not helping. I was resentful that they were all getting to relax, work on projects or hang out while I was doing the dirty work. It was one of my core beliefs that a good mom made dinner for her family. I tried really hard to live by those values but my resentment was making me act very ugly. I am the best human when I can sit beside my kids, listen to them, and learn more about their lives and share with them what I am learning. Now, we have many casual/no cook meals, many nights where we all fix our own dinner and many nights we go out to eat. I want to make daily choices that allow me to share my best self with my loved ones instead of leaving them with my grizzly leftovers.

Where I used to give myself one day to get a month’s worth of things done (as long as everything went absolutely perfect and I ran from errand to errand and there was no traffic and I didn’t forget anything).

Now, I look at my weeks as if they were one day. For example, I used to schedule appointments, errands, writing and chores every single day. Now each day has a focus. Monday my focus was running errands and scheduling my week. Tuesday (that’s right now) my focus is writing this blog. Wednesday my focus is the house/packing for this weekend. Thursday my focus is being with my mom and my sister.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I am actually accomplishing more with this strategy but the pace is so moderate, it’s hard to comprehend that could be true.

Slow and steady might win the race. Except if the race is a metaphor for life, I’m not in any hurry to cross that finish line.

Who do you want to be today?