I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy, lately. Most Sunday evenings, I look at my calendar and see that my week is fully scheduled – from when I wake up until dinner time. Between preparing for and teaching several yoga classes each week, actively drumming up business to grow my company, and spending time with my toddler (not to mention, staying married), I’m booked. When I have “free time,” it’s because I scheduled it in.
This is not how I've known myself to be. I love down time with my friends and family. I deeply love to rest: I’m a voracious reader and love to journal. I love to meditate. I love all things navel-gazing.
So, to get some answers about why I’ve cycled rest completely out of my routine, join me in transcending through the Four States of Rest.
According to David Whyte, there are Four States of Rest:
1. Simply stop. In the First State of Rest, we give up on what we have been doing, or how we have been. We, simply, stop. This means shifting our attention from outer targets, and not into an inner, static bulls-eye, or some imagined perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.
2. Find the ground. The Second State of Rest is slowly coming home, a physical journey into the body and into yourself. This means stepping into a deep internal connection. To embark on this physical journey home, we ask ourselves:
3. Heal and arrive. Healing, self-forgiveness and arrival all complete the Third State of Rest. Ask yourself: Why do I hold myself back from rest? I know that my excuses for slicing rest out of my schedule include: I have no time/this is a waste of time; it’s lazy; I can get by without rest. I’m scared that if I get quiet and rest, I’m going to hear a call to embark on bigger things that might change my life and rock my comfortable world. It’s not a good reason to avoid rest, but it is one that we all share.
4. Cultivate gratitude. In the Fourth State of Rest is the give and take of what is sacred about rest: blessing, and being blessed. And the ability to delight in both. This is what makes rest a spiritual practice, meaning a practice for the benefit of our spirits.
When I walk through these Four Stages of Rest, I see how I’m tucking my head into the sand when I avoid rest. Out of fear, I keep moving and moving and moving, because I’m scared that what I want is bigger than I believe myself capable of.
But when I engage in rest as a spiritual practice, I no longer miss out on not only the quiet messages directing my life and charting my course, or on the sacred exchange of receiving all of my many blessings, and embracing the myriad of ways that I’m a blessing, too.