The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

September 2010: Rest

Posted on Sep 14, 2010

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time”

~John Lubbock

Life can be very draining—as well as uplifting and energizing. However, at this moment in time, I am intimately acquainted with the former.

With all that has been going on lately, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of rest. Not just physical rest, but emotional and mental rest. While both forms of rest have their challenges—like getting to bed at a decent hour—the emotional and mental strains wear a person down differently and can be harder to address. When coupled together (physical and psychological fatigue), it becomes a train wreck waiting to happen.

This of course reminds me of my journey metaphor for life. It is for good reason that certain trails in various communities and hiking systems have benches placed strategically along the way. Sometimes these benches offer a great view, other times they are placed at the top (or even midway) of a strenuous incline. They can come in all shapes and sizes. Some rustic, others ornate, often influenced by their location. A few are even au natural—such as a fallen tree that is perfectly situated as a rest spot.

Life’s journey can be like that. Our rest spots can be rustic, ornate, or au natural. Sometimes we have to work hard at finding and/or making time for rest. Other times a tree falls in our way demanding that we stop for a minute and reassess where we are going.

Times of rejuvenation and refreshment can be ornate, like a tropical cruise, or as simple as a walk in a nearby park but away from the regular demands for our time and attention. And there are times when just a diversion will do—whether that be participating in the thrills at an amusement park, or losing oneself and one’s cares in a good book, television program, or movie.

Lately, I’ve come to realize that 5 minute rest breaks are also good for the soul—such as listening undistracted to a favourite song, watching the sun set (or rise), sip a cup of tea while watching the birds outside the window. Restful moments can be created anywhere, anytime. Takes a little practice—kind of like mindfulness—but once they are part of the routine, they can slow down an out-of-control day.

So my question to you is, what settles your spirit? What do you do to catch your breath? If you are running downhill or straining to make it uphill, what kind of bench would you like built into the pathways of your journey?

May you find the rest your spirit yearns for as you continue on.

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