It’s the third day of our five-day skiing trip. And my body wants to rest.
We skied all day for two days with snow falling…gliding through tree-lined mountain sides, discovering the earth’s unique expression of quiet and beauty in this part of Vermont. On this third day, my body wants to rest.
I could go out and “make it happen.” We only have one more day of skiing available to us after today. My mind starts with the various “I should’s.” But my body wants to rest.
I am not exhausted, my muscles are stronger than a year ago, but they are tired. The impulse weaved within me by a hustle culture that prizes productivity urges me to get up and get going. It evaluates that because I am not at the brink of exhaustion, I should do more. But my body wants to rest.
There are parts of my body that are constricted and tense – my tongue, my belly, my eyes – all habitually gripping as I, ironically, ease into listening to the message of my body to make this a day of ease and rest.
I intentionally soften my tongue. As I invite my tongue to soften and be plump, resting in my mouth, I get a little anxious and I inhale quickly and loudly. I reassure myself that it’s okay, I am okay, it’s okay to rest – like a kind and loving mother would whisper to her child.
[Every single one of us needs that voice of the kind and loving mother. Whether you had a loving mother or not, conjure up the most loving mother you can imagine or have ever experienced – even if it was your friend’s mom or a mom on TV. And embody HER kindness toward yourself!]
I feel my heart resting on exhale. I gently put my hands on my belly and massage it, refusing to get sucked into the habituated critiques that I have internalized from a culture that despises “soft” and “round.” I say to those internalized voice, “What B.S.!” I disown them because they were never mine to begin with. They aren’t yours, either.
My jaw tenses now. Tension released in one part of our bodies might travel to another part. That happens. Maybe you are noticing this now, too. We must be slow and compassionately aware as we guide this “not who we are” tension out of our bodies. It is not done in one sitting. But it must always begin with one moment – one gentle word, one soothing touch, one clear recognition of what is ours and what is not.
My body wants to rest. My mind wants to jump into activity. Of course it does. Our minds are not bad or wrong. They are just doing what they need to do. We don’t need to tame it or control it. We can enter into relationship with it. Compassionate, validating, and boundaried. We don’t need to make our mind out to be evil or stick a label on it. We can just notice it wants to run – it wants to keep the habituated patterns going because the influence of our culture is so damn strong.
And yet, even while that is happening, we can invite the mind to explore an original memory held deep in the body as a whole – a memory not of our conscious mind but of our felt sense — our original nature…before the imperialistic socialization of domination and control that separated us into parts and critiqued some parts as good and bad: the sacred remembrance of wholeness. Community. Relationship.
I am a community. YOU are a community. A community of brain, mind, body, heart, soul, spirit, energy…and we are in relationship with and connected to nature and everyone and everything outside of our body.
That can take us awhile to re-remember. But that memory is there – deep in our tissues, we remember. Even the neurons in our brains and nervous systems remember this wholeness, this community, this original story of our interconnection.
I recently learned that when we exhale – get this – the heart rests. Like truly rests! The bottom of the heart rests on the dome of the breathing diaphragm. And when it rests on every exhale, it fully rests!
Everything in nature rests. Everything.
When I heard that the heart fully rests when it rests, some sacred relief flowed through me and gave me permission, “See, even the heart rests fully when it rests. You can fully rest, too, Love.”
What would it be like to fully rest when we are resting?! That is something to get curious about! How might we extend an invitation to the eyes, shoulders, chest, belly and our whole body to really rest?
I believe that takes time to unravel ourselves from the hustle culture. It takes exploring. It’s takes kindness and curiosity. It does NOT take force! Forcing rest only generates more anxiety and unease! It’s more doing! We want to lean into being – and being able to fully rest.
My body wants to rest today. In this moment. Maybe in the afternoon, I will go for a walk in the snow. Maybe I will get the skis on and do a few runs. But I will not do it out of force. I will do it out of love and care. I will do it from this place of regard for the whole of me.
For now, in this moment, my body wants to rest. I am drinking my favorite decaf coffee, snuggled in bed under a down blanket, watching the snow fall, continually inviting the unraveling of old holding patterns in my belly and tongue and eyes and breath, feeling the heart inviting me to rest, feeling the pulse of the earth inviting me to rest and reassuring me that resting is an absolute necessity that exists in all of nature.
How exquisite to let go of those hustle culture stories that we have to always be on and doing and producing. How exquisite that nature shows us that everything truly rests. In any moment, we can put our hand on our heart, and on every exhale, imagine the heart truly resting supported by the domed mountain of the diaphragm.
Your heart rests on a mountain!!!! On every exhale!!!
As we practice this micro moment of our hand on our heart and of imaging the heart fully resting on the mountain within us, we are remembering that our bodies know how to rest, so we know how to rest. And our capacity to more deeply rest grows. And grows. This is connection rooted in love. And I do believe that whatever we want to exist in our world, it firsts begins within us and it begins with love. It begins and blooms from rest.
What would truly resting look and feel like for you today? Is it letting the hot water from the shower pour over your body and fully taking in that moment? Would it be slowing down as you type on your phone or computer? Would it be saying “that’s good enough” to a project you are working on? Would it be to take a break, say “no,” trust your gut and declare your decision sooner, letting go of drama, or going to bed early?
Whatever it is, play with and get curious about what it can feel like to allow yourself to fully rest.