When I'm pressed for time, overwhelmed with stress, or just need a grounding transition in the midst of a busy day, I pop in my favorite yoga DVD. I spread out my yoga mat, press my toes into the cushion, center myself, and tune into the instructor. We start tall in mountain pose, swan dive down, and find our foundation, supported by the earth, in constructive rest.
Stretch. Move. Curl. Return to constructive rest.
On August 8th, I married my favorite human. Two days later, we packed our car, dropped our pets off with my parents, and headed north to celebrate our honeymoon together. In a little cabin just outside of La Conner, Washington, my new husband and I found ourselves nestled against a little inlet of the Puget Sound, tucked sweetly in the forest, away from our typical bustling, urban life. Apart from daytrips to neighboring state parks, the only noises we heard were the sounds of waves lapping against the shore and birds crying out in the distance.
We spent our time integrating and reflecting on the magic that had occurred at our wedding celebration just days before, reading side by side, and staring out into the vastness just outside our door. We explored the shoreline with childlike curiosity, watching the crabs scuttle at low-tide and sitting with giddy anticipation as the tide crept closer and closer to our driftwood benches. Good wine. Good food. Nourishment for the soul.
Ground. Release. Integrate. Constructive rest.
If we're being honest, we're not so great at rest. Yeah, yeah, we're great at bingeing on Netflix and losing time in the internet vortex, but, when it comes to rest -- the kind that fuels connection and integration, that feeds and rejuvenates the spirit -- well, we're not so great at that. For many of us, rest equals laziness, a guilt-ridden experience of lost time and wasted energy.
But true rest is constructive. It shifts our perspective, allows for integration and reflection, makes space and time for alignment and grounding. It provides healing to our muscles, physical, emotional and spiritual, and prepares our body for future growth and stretching and expansion. Rather than the exhaustion that comes from a day of bingeing on Netflix, we're fueled for greatness, for joy, for connection.
For the two weeks following our wedding, I didn't have anything on the to-do list. I didn't use the time to brainstorm or strategize, didn't touch my website or write a single sentence for future blogs. But, rather than lost time, it feels instead like I plugged back into life and love and joy. Rather than wasted energy, those two weeks provided me with the alignment I need to fuel my business, relationship and world.
Whether it's a 20-minute yoga video or a two-week retreat, building constructive rest into our lives is essential for physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Beyond the lazy Sunday (which is delightful and delicious, don't get me wrong!), our bodies, minds and spirits crave a deeper rest. Just like a catnap won't do the job that 8 hours of quality sleep can do, constructive rest can give you what an hour in front of the TV never could: rejuvenating energy. The kind that emanates from the soul.
Next week, I'll be sharing the 4 essentials for guilt-free rest, and how to get your hands on the good stuff even if you can't get away. This week, I invite you to join the conversation. When was the last time that you experienced constructive rest? What does rest typically look like in your life? What are you missing?