Time to Rest

I remember reading a book in college that talked about the Sabbath. It said as most of know, that every seventh day was to be a day of rest.  What most of us don’t know is that it also went on to say that every seventh week was to be a week of rest, every seventh month a month of rest and every seventh year was to be a year of rest (hence the sabbatical).  I remember when I read about the Sabbath and this cycle of rest and repair that it made a lot of sense to me.  When I first started working I was mindful to make every seventh day a day of rest and even every seventh week a week of rest.  As time went on and life got more busy I veered from that path, but these days I find myself reflecting on what I read way back then and desiring to re-implement some of that wisdom into my life now.

These days we live in a culture that values productivity, accomplishment and general busyness.  I remember reading an article last year about how our culture glorifies busy.  in fact, when you ask someone how they are a common response is:  BUSY.  As a culture we have lost the fine art of rest, reflection, and time for self.  Everyone is too busy to rest and reflect.

In my work as an acupuncturist I see one of my main jobs is to give people permission to rest.  So often that which our bodies need is some time for rest and reflection.  Because we live in a culture that doesn’t value these things people often feel guilty “doing nothing” or taking time for themselves or taking time to rest.

But what if what we really need to heal, repair and feel satisfied in our lives is time to slow down and time to reflect?  What if the schedule of rest referred to in the book I was reading was accurate?  What if every seventh day was a day of rest, every seventh week a week of rest, every seventh month a month of rest and every seventh year a year of rest.  How might the quality of our lives change?

Now, I realize that in our modern world taking a year or even a month off might be unrealistic but perhaps we all could get better at taking some time for ourselves, taking time to slow down, and taking more time for contemplation and rejuvenation.

Perhaps if we are not ready to give ourselves more scheduled time off we could start with giving ourselves more permission to take a nap   I read somewhere that Albert Einstein took three naps a day.  I am guessing that 3 naps a day allowed his brain to function at its best and allowed insight and creativity to explode in him.  What might we accomplish if we allowed ourselves to rest more and take a nap now and then?

My Shiatsu teacher was particularly inspiring in this regard and really taught me about the value of giving myself time to reflect, rest and rejuvenate in a culture that doesn’t value these things.  It is something that has stayed with me all these years.

And so, even if you can’t take a month or a year off or even a week off, perhaps you could give yourself more permission to rest.  Perhaps we could all give ourselves more permission to take it slow sometimes, to nap, to rest, to rejuvenate and just be.  We live in a culture that values the more masculine attributes of productivity, drive, contribution and ambition.  And while these are admirable traits for all of us they become out of balance when not coupled with the more traditionally feminine attributes of rest, quietude, nurtance, and beingness.  We all need a balance of the masculine and feminine regardless of our gender.  We all need discipline and drive but we also need time for reflection and rest and beingness.  Of course, the balance will look different for each one of us depending on the stage of life we are in and our life purpose.  And so we can each learn to listen deeply within and find the balance that suites our individual life path.

For now, above all else. I would like to give you permission to rest.  I would like to give you permission to take a nap from time to time.   And I would like to give you permission to just be for a while.  Put your worldly ambition aside for a time and see what bubbles up inside of you when you give yourself some space.

And of course, you don’t need my permission for anything.  But because we live in a culture that so values busyness, I think it can be reassuring to remember that it is okay to take it slow sometimes, it is okay to rest, and it is okay to just be for a while.

So give yourself a day of rest from time to time, and perhaps a week of rest now and then.  Listen deeply and see what feels right for you.  Take the idea of balancing the yin and the yang and see how it fits into your life.

And hey, if three naps a day worked for Albert Einstein, who knows what a little rest might do for us!

Hayley Mermelstein

p.s. And if you would like to join with others in the spirit of community and healing and transformation, we will be having our group healing at 800 Main street, this Monday, April 15 from 7-8:30 at 800 main Street in Amherst.  The class is drop in and all are welcome.  The cost is $15.00 Hope to see you there!

 

Just Getting Started

Note to self: You are not too old and it’s not too late. ~Facebook

A number of years ago I got into a conversation with a client that I reflect upon frequently. My client told me about her father, a famous songwriter, who was still writing songs professionally in his 90’s . She also told he had a number of friends in his 90’s  who were still very active and pursuing their creativity and art. In fact, my client’s father said that he felt like he was just getting started and that many of his fellow 90-year-old friends felt the same way.

The line: He told me that he felt like he was just getting started reverberated in my head when I heard it, for I could relate to the feeling. I, myself, was about 48 at the time and felt like I was just getting started. It struck me that perhaps I would feel that way my whole life. At each chapter I might feel like I had finally learned enough to really get started.

I loved this story because it gave me the feeling of having time. I remember a friend telling me years ago that the ages of 35 – 55 are  generally the most productive years  but what if she was wrong. What if that is true for some, but not for others?

What if many of us are just getting started in our 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and yes even 80’s and 90’s? When I am able to reframe my life in that way, a part of me relaxes and a feeling of being timeless comes over me. I have time to create, I have time to explore, I have time to learn and grow. And regardless of the actual number of years I have left on this planet its reassuring to approach life with this feeling.

I also reflect, as I’m writing, on a talk I heard by a man named Joel Goldsmith, founder of the  The Infinite Way. He believed that many people come into there prime in their 70’s and 80’s not their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. as is promoted in our culture. He said that it is in our 70’s and 80’s that many of us have acquired the wisdom to really be able to contribute in a deeper way.

Perhaps each one of us is simply on our own time frame and each one of us blooms in our own way and in our own time. Perhaps some bloom early, some bloom late and perhaps some don’t bloom at all because that is not the type of plant they are. Perhaps we really can’t compare ourselves to each other because each is moving through life in their own time in their own way.

I remember reading that Steve Jobs had a strong intuition from an early age that he would not be on this planet for long and so he had a compelling urge to produce and contribute early in his life. On the other hand, Louise Hay struggled for many years before starting her now famous publishing company Hay House when she was 65 years old. I guess we are really all different and on different time frames.

And of course, not everyone has come to this planet to create art of to start a computer company. Some have come to be mothers and fathers, and some have come to spread joy or bring compassion to this planet. Everyone’s contribution is different. For some their contribution is related to their work and for some its related to a role they may play in life and for others it is related to a quality they are learning to bring to earth ( for some people its not about what they do, but how they do what they do.)

So whether you have come to this earth to be creative, be a parent, or bring greater love and compassion to all, I have a message for you.  (i saw it on facebook, so it must be true!)

It’s not too late and your not to old.

You have time.

And even if you are at the very end of your life, and you feel that you are running out of time, perhaps you too are just getting started on your next adventure through the cosmos.

Perhaps we really are all just getting started no matter where we are at.  And so we call remind ourselves frequently:  It’s not too late and I’m not to old.  I have time.

And just perhaps, we can all relax a little bit because we just might have all of eternity to figure this thing called life out.

Hayley Mermelstein

P.S. There is a theory that the only person we are ever talking to is ourselves. When I write I always feel I am talking to myself and reminding myself of what I most need to hear.

P.S.S. And if you would like to join with others in the spirit of community and healing and transformation, we will be having our group healing at 800 Main street, this Monday, April 15 from 7-8:30 at 800 main Street in Amherst.  The class is drop in and all are welcome.  Hope to see you there!