The Important Ritual of Rest, Part 2.

lying down in the grass
Photo from Pixabay

I grew up with the belief that the world was created for some days, then the creator rested after the work was completed. So, I was trained to rest on the last day of the week, like the adults did. In my home, we would work only to reserve this one day for rest, but it was the same day that we had to go to the house of worship. I often wondered whether we were resting, or doing another activity of worship altogether. This is not a debate on the rightful day of rest. Have you ever wondered who is responsible for your rest? How many have paused and asked themselves that question? Can you decide one day that you are putting off everything for the purpose of rest?

Yet it is possible. How free are you though to make such a decision? The majority, are always left at the mercy of their employer, who decides when they should take a day off. I think this begs the question, how free are you to make such a decision? In the current predicament (the situation in most Kenyan high schools), students have been setting schools ablaze, and talk in the street is that they are exhausted, because of the tiring school curriculum. Teachers are also exhausted, as they spend more time in school than with their loved ones at home. It hurts the family more where both parents are teachers.

When I first talked about rest, I thought that I did not cover the topic extensively. That is why I have been pulled back to preach just a little more. I know that some of us would do anything to take a job, but when in the job, we suddenly realize that we gave up all the freedom we had, including the freedom of rest. I have been in this situation before, I was in this job that grew demanding by the day. I began carrying assignments at home, and even though my weekends were spent at home, I was always worried about the assignments that I had not completed. To add on to this, were the clients that kept calling me, to check on the status of their service.

All this happened in a very short span of time. But then I stopped and asked myself, whether I wanted to be in that situation for the next year? Even though I had overheard a colleague saying that they planned to stay on for three years, I wondered whether I could put up with the status quo for the next few months. A short while later I became sick, and even then, it was not obvious to me that I was straining myself, and forcing myself to stay at a place that I was not at peace with. I came to learn about this later. I had to leave the job because I had lost contact with my internal peace, my health was in total disorder.

For me to regain a stable condition, I had to slow down and take up just enough rest. I have said here before that I treat rest as a ritual, the same way I treat the work that I do. I give importance to both. For me, none is more important than the other. I see people toiling in service, and only remembering to enjoy life after they have retired, and are given a token of appreciation named pension benefits. Would one still have the strength to partake in enjoyable, or fun activities? The idea of putting work first, and rest later does not just resonate with me.

I must be honest with myself. I need to enjoy this rest now. Nobody is ever sure if they will make it to tomorrow. To me, it is pointless making big plans for tomorrow, and doing that at the expense of rest. while growing up, I heard it often said that we will rest after we die. This was commonly said by those who believed that they were here on earth to work, and only rest when they ‘rest in eternal peace’. While it is true that there is always work to be done, make it a point in your life to include the rest in the list of what you should do. Having enough rest will surely leave you desiring to work again. For in resting, you get to balance your energies.

In society sometimes, if you give yourself time to rest it is assumed that you are too idle, and some people then suggest to you the tasks that could be done instead of sitting down to enjoy rest. A lot more goes on in our body, than what is visible to our eyes. Do we ever read the signs that the body sends to us? It is also important to take enough water while resting, thus far my experience as taught me this to be true. There were times when one would sit on the grass and fold their legs, and there on the grass they would be humming a song while breathing slowly and thereby cooling the body.

How do we get rejuvenated in our cities where there are buildings in every square inch of space? How do we rejuvenate the body, when the ears are always listening to something? If it is not the noise outside in the street with the hooting and screeching of tires, it is with the electronic gadgets that we plug to our ears for more than twelve hours a day. We keep our eyes active while working, reading, and watching something. When you get home, you still want to watch a movie or the news. When do you ever get to rest? Do you not know that your eyes and ears are strained by all these activities that you have engaged in? Some even sleep with the television or the radio on.

We need to take good care of our bodies. The more you strain your body, the more your life span reduces. While you think you are resting, when watching the movie or reading the book, you are in fact putting more strain on your senses. Some of us have all these gadgets on at the same time. Take some time off and unplug from all these gadgets. Take some time off from work, rest is equally important. I have met those who burry themselves in work, because they are avoiding a certain situation, it usually has to do with sorting a relationship issue with someone. Now, how do you make your body suffer at the expense of running away from something else?

The best place yet, to spend this rest is in nature. Our bodies are usually evolving to higher levels, and while this is true, everything that we participate in, takes some of our energy away. The more reason you need to get back in balance. We all know what a state of imbalance would do to a person. Such things as diseases start showing up, if this is taken notice of early enough, the situation is salvaged and does not get out of control. Otherwise, we will work ourselves off expecting to rest upon retirement, when there is no surplus energy to even support this rest. Spending time in nature helps to balance your energy, as you give and take from nature. This is preferable to taking up someone else’s energy.

Of course, with less rest there is more strain and frustration follows next. Performance goes down because you are overusing even the surplus energy. There are many slow rhythmic songs that can help one to rest or relax. Steam your body if you feel that it is necessary. I find it rejuvenating to seat on the grass and bask in the sun. I feel the energy of the sun. And if you have a cup of a drink that resonates with you, then even better. Worship the rest session as you would worship work. Allow no interruptions as I am sure you would not want your work to be interrupted. Rest as often as you are guided to. Be fully present during the exercise. Let us give thanks.

“Thank you for this day, thank you for the air that I breath, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you. And so it is.”

Namaste.  

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