Learning to Rest
American author and philosopher, Sam Keen, captured the essence of summer, when he wrote, "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." Add to this a quote from English author and scientist John Lubbock, and you have what for me is a perfect description for summer: "Rest is not idleness, and to sometimes lie on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
Rest & Play is one of the eight areas of wellness in our Living Compass Model for Well-Being. It is perhaps not surprising that when people complete the Living Compass Wellness Self-Assessment, a high percentage of them report that they scored lowest in the area of Rest and Play (If you are interested in taking the wellness assessment, you can do so here.
Our culture values busyness and doing over being. Rest and play are not highly valued and respected. Often the only time people make time for rest is when they are forced to do so because they have become sick and rundown, from too much busyness.
Summer, though, provides us a bit more permission to privilege time for rest and true re-creation. Walking in the park, hiking in the woods, taking a leisurely swim, sitting on the beach, biking, kayaking, gardening, visiting a local farmers market, or quietly sitting outside in the early morning with a fresh cup of coffee or tea are all opportunities to rest our weary souls and bodies.
The quote in the box above reminds us, "If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit." 'I'd like to make a slight amendment to the quote and change the first part to "when you get tired…." Recognizing when we are tired and making intentional time to rest is not a sign weakness, but of emotional and spiritual strength. Taking regular time for Sabbath and rest is essential for our well-being.
So here's to summer allowing us to permit ourselves to find respectability in being lazy. And let's remember that it is a sign of wisdom, not weakness, to rest when we are tired.
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