Earlier this year, I had the priviledge and joy of meeting Heidi TenPas in person and doing some Valentines themed RAOKs in the beautiful city of San Francisco. She is warm and kind, with a generous spirit and a fantastic canine companion! She blogs at Wonderstated, where she chronicles the messes and marvels of everyday life. As a mixed media artist, she believes in finding beauty. As a future occupational therapist, she believes in making meaning. Never heard of occupational therapy? Learn more here or leave a question for Heidi by commenting below 🙂
One of the things I most admire about Mary is her incredible vivacity: this woman is always on the move! She is a creative Energizer Bunny bouncing between our browsers, bearing gifts of glitter. (What can I say, I like alliteration!)
But what happens when your inner Energizer Bunny runs out of steam? Could there be creative value in doing nothing?
That, my friends, is the question of the hour. Because sometimes
everything anything is just too much. It’s been one of those weeks for me: frenzied, overcommitted, tripping over my to-do list at every juncture. Downing potato chips for breakfast, disappointing my dog with meager walks, riding simultaneous waves of when-will-this-day-be-over and where-the-hell-did-my-day-go?!
Sound familiar? 😉 It’s okay. We’re not to blame for our cultural tendency to shift into overdrive. We’re good people, with beautiful ideas and sensational goals and traces of magic shimmering in our footprints. We mean well. What we forget is ourselves — not necessarily our identities or our spirits but our embodied selves. Many of us (ummm… many of me) live life from the neck up, dragging along a tired body like a toddler at a dinner party. We may forget to experiment with pleasure, with our senses, with long pauses and gravity and touching our toes. That’s when it hit me:
Rest is a creative act.
Hold on, let me say that again for emphasis:
Rest is a creative act.
Words like “restorative” and “regenerative” mean exactly that: creating fresh life and potential. Creating something special and meaningful, something kind. Rest is as novel and daring as passing out lemons to strangers or winning a citywide cardboard tube fight tournament (YOU GO, MARY!!!!). It’s as open and raw as an art journal, and as welcoming to inspiration.
In Mary-list style, here are 3 more things I learned about rest this week:
1. Rest is whatever feels like rest in your body. (Grant yourself the compassion to define rest for yourself — see this Self-Care article by Jasmin Lee Cori)
2. Rest is accessible through the senses. (Read The Woman’s Book by Jennifer Louden)
3. Rest is wise. (As SARK says, “Wake up! And now that you’re awakened… immediately take a nap.” — Succulent Wild Woman)
And with that, I’m off to bed. I’m wishing you and your inner Energizer Bunny a soft, fuzzy weekend of audacious naps and other creative experiments in rest. May goodness meet you in the process.
PS: If you are in need of a “how-to” for burnout recovery, look no further than Martha Beck’s lifesaving guide.
A few of my friends have started their own businesses this Summer, and I’ve watched as they’ve tumbled around frantically, trying to get everything done. One night, I texted my friend to tell her that if she’s ever wondering if she’s drinking too much coffee to know that I endorse it because there’s not enough hours in the day for the amount of beauty she has to offer this world. However, I followed it up by telling her that I hope she rests and takes care of herself because I want this endeavor to be for the long haul!
We can only give so much before taking a beat for ourselves. Take Heidi’s advice and resources into account if you feel like you’re burning out! We don’t want that! And make sure you go visit her blog and tell her I sent you!