HIT PAUSE. No, not on the fire tv stick remote. But on your continuous sense of being busy and doing something.
I had completely forgotten the art of complete rest. Not sleeping, but just resting. With an operationally intensive job to accomplish, work decisions to take, family to spend time with, a 3.5 year old to engage with, directing the helps who manage the house chores, keeping up with the world’s happenings and failings, listening in on other people’s lives (social media) and a whole lot of unnecessary ‘things to do’, I seemed to have forgotten to take time out to rest and do nothing.
Do you remember what it was like to do ‘nothing’ ?
When the realisation first came to me, I defended myself with “I like doing things”, “I like to keep busy”, “ What am I supposed to do sitting idle ?” and even, “I do not have the luxury to just rest”. Then, I PAUSED. I consciously tried to do nothing. I have been so good at filling in my day with everything with detailed calendar invites to myself for buying groceries too. I just sneaked in “PAUSE - REST” into my weekly calendar for 30 minutes. Initially I found myself drifting off to a nap, tempted to pick up the phone or the newspaper or a book - But the art of true rest is lost in all of that.
Gently, I found my peace with the below different kinds of “True Rest” - that feel very nourishing and replenishing:
- Closing my eyes, lying down, and doing nothing. This might or might not result in a nap. It might be more meditation. But I’m not thinking / planning what to do next or reading, doing, watching.
- Going outside without using a device. Connecting to nature. Most likely in solitude. Watching the clouds, the birds, identifying trees & flowers as I let my mind have some mental and physical space.
- Relaxing with someone else. Feeling connected with them. Not an active conversation — if we’re talking, it has to be something that makes us feel connected, relaxed. I am reminded of the closing scene from “Tamasha” where the leads are dancing to their own music and smiling to themselves.
- Being fully present with a simple non-work activity, like having tea. This isn’t a time to think about work, though those thoughts might arise. It’s about nothing other than having the tea. Relaxing with the experience. Savoring it.
- Having a long bath. I do love my newly done up bathing area as it has a natural skylight and a wonderful sense of space. I light the woody aroma candle, put on Runa Laila - “Gulo Mein Rang Bhare..” and step into my shower to truly rest my mind.
There are probably other ways to truly rest. Playing music, creating art, dancing, perhaps. But these five are my favourite.
Now I do not need the calendar notification to remind myself to rest. When I am done with an activity that I am involved in, I PAUSE, and figure out if I need rest. If so, I consciously give myself guilt-free rest. Not checking my emails, phone, reading, watching, worrying. Just Resting.