Recognising when to rest.
I love this. Great art, and such a good reminder for me.
There have been so many times when I've been convinced that I couldn't carry on doing something. Either because I was thinking it was the 'wrong' thing (whatever that was in my head), or because I was convinced that I was rubbish at it. I know, I know. We all do it though, you see!
It turns out that nine times out of ten neither of those things was true. I just needed a rest. I was tired. And when I got right down to it, not just tired. Exhausted.
Operating from a base level of exhaustion, either mentally, physically or emotionally feels to be commonplace nowadays. Despite best efforts to make self care something that happens as standard, it's still an alien concept to a nervous system that's living on list makers red alert in a constant state of stress.
In this situation relaxation isn't going to just happen because intellectually it sounds like a good idea and we decided to slot it in. The body has often spent a long time dutifully honing the skill of not slowing down ever, just as it was asked to do. So coaxing it into believing that it's safe to stop can take some time.
Here we can find it necessary to practice our way out of the habit of 'overdoing' to make 'doing' feel normal again. Then the nervous system can get on board, wind down out of fight or flight and stop mistaking that familiar over-driven feeling of 'more' for our craved need for productivity, achievement or sense of worthiness.
Therapies like Reflexology, Reiki and holistic bodywork, and practices such as meditation, Yoga, Tai chi and Qi Gong all take the nervous system out of sympathetic 'doing' and into parasympathetic 'rest, repair and nurture'. They are all doing a whole lot more than just relaxing us.
This is where we check in with who we really are and this is where we create from. That's why they're so very important and deserve our time and some perseverance.
It may well feel strange when you start those slow pursuits, but all the more reason to give them some time. It shouldn't feel that weird, or wasteful to be still, calm and centered. Or to mindfully do one thing at a time.
If it does, or if you think you can't continue with something, or can't start it even, then maybe just pause and reserve judgement. Rest a while. Remember that it's not all about quantity. Restock the pot and try again another day.
Cover Photo by Katie Barrett on Unsplash