Resting Isn't Lazy
It was a few months before I could finally settle down and rest. There was a part of my mind that knew it was the right thing to do yet there was also the part that resisted. You see, I haven't slowed down and laid around doing nothing for what seems like forever. It was short lived, but it was potent.
I knew how to rest. I thought I was getting pretty good at it after years of teaching meditation, yoga and the importance of relaxation on retreats and in trainings. As a yogini I thought I was an exception to the norm. I don't work Monday - Friday 9-5. I don't have children to raise and I have chosen a life that allows more time for travel, outdoor activity, experience and human interaction than traffic, computer screens and routine city grind. In my mind I thought I was slowly mastering what is to rest and relax.
I was however, manic in my approach to movement. Traveling so much and moving from place to place soon became my addiction. The magical encounters with beautiful friends all around the world and the excitement of being in a different location, particularly one I had never been, kept me going. It became fuel to keep my fire going yet I wasn't sure anymore where I was headed.
After about 2 months in any one place I would start to almost break out in hives. I felt the ants in my pants and was grateful for my next flight out of there and onto the next adventure. It was peaceful not being privy to national politics and pleasurable to enjoy the best aspects of each place. It was truly intoxicating and luckily I have all those great memories and connections to last me a lifetime.
Because these days I am learning about resting in one place and being still. I am learning to stay in a way I hadn't before. My movement and mobilization is literally restricted by the confines of a very large, heavy metal apparatus fixed to a seriously broken ankle. My freedom of movement has been severely limited by my disability. Only now do I begin to taste a bit of that freedom slowly creeping back in as I get stronger everyday since my accident. Yes, this could be a blog about how the entire world is geared toward able bodied people but I think I will have to save that for another time.
When I was forced to quit traveling cold turkey and hang up my passport for the duration it was a painful jolt to my system. Who am I if I can't run the trails and jump freely into the sea?! Who am I if I can't down dog and squat? Who am I if I can't take a leisurely stroll through nature or lay topless on the beach? Who am I if I can't work? travel? exercise? teach? practice? Who am I if I can't... The list grew longer each time I thought about it. So I decided not to.
I decided to rest. I surrendered to relaxation and ease. At first it was murderously crazy making. It felt like each cell in my body was in protest. And they were. After the surgeries I have been through I have had every excuse to rest. Plus, with what I am going through now and the past 25 years of a fitness obsession catching up with me, my bodymind deserves a rest.
It was strange at first but then I started to really get into it and gave myself full permission to chill. It was amazing how I could fill up an entire day with nothing, it was poetic novelty and pure indulgence at times. But soon enough my mind crept in with it's usual interrogation. "Why are you so lazy?", "Aren't you supposed to be doing something productive with your time?" My mind even resorted to bullying. "Come on, lets go you lazy bum!" I began to receive threats as well like, "If you continue to lay around and do nothing you will surely become depressed and you will never get up again." Which of course led to fear... You know the drill.
But something unique and magical happened. I kept resting despite the irrational fears. Hiding behind the fact that I was powerless to do anything and the reality that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, was a certain power to stay. In this strange new state was a rare gem waiting to be discovered.
I am ok. Just like this. I am ok.
Most of my adult life I have been afraid of inertia and the idea of depression terrified me. When I was 22 and loosely diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I rejected the label manic depressive and I vowed I would never be depressed again. This recent inquiry into my mind has revealed that I've been scared to truly rest and not do anything because it felt like death. Subconsciously I equated rest with being lazy, being lazy with depression, and depression with fear.
So I went into if fully. I completely surrendered. Not just my physical movement but the neurotic mental aerobics of productivity. I did as little as possible, worked as little as possible, helped myself and others as little as possible and released myself from all my future projects and projections. I did nothing but watch my mind jump around like popcorn in a kettle. I kept the lid on it and observed it close up and personal.
What happened next was something like redemption day. I resurrected from my utter lethargy calm, grounded, and grateful. I have, for the time being, staved off the impending doom of inadequacy and allowed myself time and space to rest, both mentally and physically. And when I came through the other side I was ready to write, get back on my mat and plan ahead without the stress of manic productivity but as a natural expression of healing embodiment and creative inspiration.
what I understand is that resting isn't lazy, being lazy doesn't mean I'm depressed and for me, depression isn't something to fear anymore. We have to give ourselves the space to be and release our preoccupation with busyness to let the creative juices flow from an organic, relaxed state.