Our lives are crowded with busy distractions, racing schedules, and self-imposed demands. We need to include some downtime to sit and rest. Even the Winter teaches us this – let go, be silent, be still and rest. I am a confessed workaholic. I love nothing more than to be busy working toward something, but that can lead to exhaustion and burnout. I am notorious for saying, “There’s rest enough in the grave.” But that isn’t true. Voting for ourselves and our well-being is not only fine but is also recommended. To gain equilibrium, we must learn to value stillness as much as productivity and not count rest as lazy or unproductive. Rest is vital.
In the Christian tradition, even the Almighty is said to have rested after days of creation. Rest is a valuable form of self-care. To say that you do not have enough time to rest is to prioritize yourself at the bottom of the list of all of the things you perceive as things you MUST do — to say that I am unworthy of being valued. It can be part of the disease to please. Like many still learning to stop and value ourselves, I am trying to do this daily. Some days I’m better at it than others.
Our fear of being still might be part of the affliction of being an American – constantly feeling the need to prove ourselves, get ahead and demonstrate that we are, in fact, worthy of occupying space in the world. In stillness, silence, and rest, things become clearer. The body has permission to relax and the mind to release all clutter. If we never stop moving, our lives become blurred streaks like looking out of the window of a speeding train — lots of movement but lacking definition. So here is my workaholic sage wisdom – Clarity requires rest, peace requires stillness, and we all deserve to stop sometimes. Let’s let the dust settle and be present in our lives this year.
To make space
To face the next moment
~Ticht Naht Hahn
Jonathan D. Cain
Tennessee Valley Museum of Art
511 N. Water St. • Tuscumbia, AL 35674