Week 15 - Rest

Can you believe it?
We have spent the last 15 weeks together. Being here. Take a breath. In, and out.
Are you here now? You have come so far.

You may assume that this summer of mindfully being here and present would lead us into a final catapult somewhere rewarding and exciting and exhilarating! And here it is.. the grand finale...we are going out on...rest.

It is not flashy but it is the deepest practice we can have.
It is not the bold grand thing that makes us think of big lives, big paychecks and big awards but it is the only thing that creates the space for those things to manifest.

Rob Bell tells a great story...
“I was reading a book at the time about the Exodus story in the Bible and how the Hebrew slaves in Egypt had to make bricks every day.

Bricks, bricks, bricks — day after day. Every day the same. THAT’S despair: when everyday looks like every other day. But then these Hebrews are rescued from Egypt and brought out into the desert, where God commands them to set aside one day a week and do no work.

And some of them can’t do it. They literally can’t take a day off of work.

In Egypt their worth and value as slaves came from how many bricks they produced. When they left that life, they left that understanding of what it meant to be a human being. And so one of the first things they are told to do is spend one day a week remembering that they are not slaves and that their worth and value do not come from how many bricks they produce.

One day a week to remind themselves that they are human beings, not human doings.

What struck me about the story is that even though they get out of Egypt, it takes a while to get Egypt out of them.”

Breathe.

I know this to be true of us, artists.
I know we cannot get the Egypt of “making it” out of us. And we must.
Because we are in despair.
And it is not the way.

We MUST give ourselves permission to REST.

It is NOT a luxury it is how we remember who we are.

There have been times when I have “rested” from the industry. Aka I quit.
Here is a good distinction.
I did not quit my dreams, my dharma, or being an artist.

What I quit was auditioning. Sucking up to my agent and trying to get an audition. Taking class after class to get validation from someone else that I had what it took to do this thing. I quit doing everything that was about getting somewhere else and focused solely on being HERE.

In those times I did yoga. I wrote books. I rode horses. I napped. I played. I watched sunsets. And then I thought, and why am I never doing these things when I am “busy following my dreams”?

If the actions of following my dreams take me out of living my dreams then they are the wrong actions.

Stop.
You are tired.
You are hustling and you are getting resigned. Just stop.
Rest.

Do something for the sake of beauty. Go to a gallery or paint a bad picture.

Do something for the sake of connecting.
Lie on your floor and sing a song or hug a tree.

Do something for the sake of being.
Close your eyes and just breath into your own sacred heart.

Rob says that interestingly enough once he and his wife Kristin got quiet and made themselves a day of rest they found themselves wanting that rest day to be full of fun and joy and all the things they don’t do when they were working. And all they ever felt on that day or rest was tired and lazy and lethargic. And that is the point.

Ever notice that after a vacation you come back and crash or get sick. You didn’t rest on vacation. You ate and drank and stayed up late and did adventures and have the most fun — but you didn’t rest. Your reset button was an adrenaline high and you wonder why you feel worse.

Rest is for the sake of nothing but rest.
It is one of the important reasons we need it.

And it changes how we live outside of rest.
Rob says, “When you intentionally slow down you instantly see how fast you’ve been

moving the rest of the time.
When you stop to pay attention you learn how much you’ve been missing.

“’I’d become aware that I was still carrying around wounds and bruises I had sustained during the week, but I had kept moving, on to the next thing and hadn’t slowed down enough to feel them.”

We don’t want to rest because we don’t want to feel. We don’t want to face ourselves.

The other day I didn’t get another job I wanted.
I immediately wanted to do some work, record a podcast and move on.
I had to stop and rest.
I had to put my feet on the floor.
I breathed deeper than I wanted and the tears came up easily.
I put my hand on my heart and I sat there in silence for several minutes.
I then spoke out loud to myself about what I knew.
I knew I was sad, but okay.
I know this was a loss, but a totally manageable one
I knew my heart was hurting and that the blossoms outside were blooming.

I processed it.
All the way.
Now its out.
Like a splinter.
It can’t stay. If you don’t slow down and take care of yourself it will hurt you more later.

Rest will feel uncomfortable but never more uncomfortable than the pain of avoiding yourself.

Rob uses the word Sabbath for what I will insert as rest:

“Rest forces you to listen to life.
Rest is a day when you are fully present to your pain, your stress, your worry, your fear. Rest is when you let whatever you’ve pushed down rise to the surface.
Rest is a day when things that are broken get fixed, when things within you that have torn are mended.”

THIS is why we took this summer to BE HERE.
So we could let the unhealed that has been hiding under our hustle come to the light. This is the whole point of it all.

Welcome home.
You are here, and your pain, your sadness, your grief, your fear, your frustration is here too. Finally, we can begin.

Here is to HERE, and where we get to go....from here.

With a depth of love and admiration, you brave, brave creators,

Natalie 

Jen Rudolph