I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

– Rest – 

What does it mean to rest? What does it look like to take a moment to pause and slow down?

These questions have been tugging at my heart the last few days as I headed into my weekend – the first weekend in a while that I didn’t have visitors or was traveling. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVED every minute of sharing my home with my friends and spending time in Colorado, but I was really looking forward to a weekend with no agenda…then…halfway through the week I found myself making plans and filling up Saturday and Sunday with activities.

After years of booked weekends with dance or gymnastics practices, skiing, hiking, studying, or working, I have conditioned myself to being uncomfortable with stillness and I don’t know how to rest. Does it mean I have to sit perfectly still, confined to the space within my apartment? That would prove to be a real challenge considering my “rest” days from the gym usually consist of a run or hike. They are better described as active rest, doing the things that I enjoy. So, not only do I feel this need to be physically active at most times, I struggle with calming my mind, and to be honest meditation scares the hell out of me. Anna, one of my lovely sisters, claims that meditation is important. She says that it clears your mind and helps you reset, but I just fall asleep or reach for my cell phone. Or, even worse, I start concocting visions of vacations I will take, places I will see. Easily distracted, not so easily refreshed.

 

The shore line along the Homestead Trail at Red Top Mountain.

So, I’m searching for ways to find peace and I’m asking for a friend – how do you find it? What tricks do you reach for when you feel the rush of the tide coming in, threatening to pull you under?

This weekend I went hiking, I ran outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather, and I spent my birthday money on a house plant. A dragon tree to be specific (God help me not kill it).

I joked earlier in the week with a friend about why we had become so old and grumpy all of a sudden and I suggested maybe our feng shui was off. This weekend I rearranged my apartment. Now I guarantee that I didn’t follow any of the redecorating rules, but my elephant faces the front door so I’m golden. Besides, as I sit snuggled on my couch with a glass of wine within arms reach I feel content. I may not have spent my weekend doing absolutely nothing, rather the complete opposite of that, but the things I chose to do I chose with my whole heart; I did them with intention and for now I’m calling that rest. When tomorrow goes fabulously my new plant can take all of the credit and that’s a-okay with me.

Next weekend I may decide to try a different kind of rest and that’s a-okay as well.


As an aside, I stumbled across this poem while exploring the Carter Center here in Atlanta last week. It invokes in me a sense of peace. I felt it was fitting to the mood I have found myself in for the last week so I thought I would share it with you – Enjoy

“I wandered lonely as a cloud – that floats on high o’er vales and hills – When all at once I saw a crowd, a Host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, – fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine – and twinkle on the milky way – they stretched in never-ending line – along the margin of a bay; Ten thousand I saw at a glance, tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they, out-did the sparkling waves in glee; A poet could not be but gay, In such jocund company; I gazed – and gazed – but little thought, What the wealth the show to me had brought;

For oft, when on my couch I lie – In vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye, Which is the bliss of solitude; and then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils”

William Wordsworth

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