“Take care of yourself so you are more able to receive
When I take care of myself — sleep, movement, space for not-doingness — then I’m better able to hear and see which way to go. You can’t be tuned in if your head and body are static with fatigue and stress.”
~ Danielle LaPorte
There was a time in my life when I would look at all the people around me and see that every single one of them was one or a combination of the following:
– Extremely stressed out – physically, emotionally, mentally
– Fearful / guilt-ridden
– Ill or in physical pain
This was a time and place, however, where rest was equated to laziness, a lack of commitment, failure, complaining, selfishness. So the people around me and I would push on, trying to be fearless and strong and as committed as we could possibly be. If it still wasn’t enough, we wouldn’t put up our hands and ask for some time out, to just regroup, rethink, rejuvenate. We were too scared to, for fear of being labelled weak, selfish, a complainer.
We would just do more, work harder, exhaust ourselves further. Perhaps, we thought, the answers, solutions, results would suddenly come out under pressure. You never know unless you keep trying, going all the way.
I believe ultimately it didn’t work. Things were done hastily, mistakes were made and, worst of all, people began to lose their passion and belief in what they were doing. They were just doing for the sake of doing.
I realised this when one day, someone asked a few of us, “Do any of you remember, on a daily basis, why you came here in the first place?” Nobody could answer her. In the madness, the fear, the unending hours, the pressure to do and get things done, we’d all forgotten our purpose.
I realised this too when I noticed that people were sitting in their cars crying before going into work, trying as hard as they could just to muster up enough courage just to go into another day.
I mean really, do we need to drive ourselves to this level of despair just to prove how capable and hardworking we are? I don’t think so. How can you expect to do anything with strength and vigour when you’re broken?
I’ve written often about rest since I started this new blog and while you might wonder what the big deal is, it is for someone who hasn’t had it in a long while.
I’m not merely talking here about physical rest, lie-ins on the weekend and being physically lazy. Rest includes giving yourself a break at all levels – from thinking, from working, from stress (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, psychological).
This incredible talk by Tal Ben-Shahar talks perfectly about stress/rest: it’s not stress that’s the problem, he says. Stress, in good doses, can actually be very good for us, even necessary to keep us on our toes, thinking, creating, pushing onwards beyond boundaries. The problem is the lack of recovery.
Then, I read the quote above today, by Danielle LaPorte and my heart did a little dance for this is what I believe so completely and strongly today. For it is in these moments of ‘recovery’, when we’re looking after ourselves, that the best ideas, thoughts, innovation and brilliance come.
It is when we are at our best, at every level. And when we’re at our best, energetically, good things ‘download’. At an energy level, we’re at our most open to receive. On a more physical, tangible level, our bodies are ready for anything, our minds are wide open, quick, happy. We receive and interpret messages faster, broader. We’re enthusiastic, creative, joyous about making a difference in our world. We’re in tune with the world.
Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like this? When we’re at our rested, happiest best, people come to us, as do opportunities, resources, friendships.
Not, converse to what I’ve so heavily thought for years, when you’re sporting eyebags the size of potatoes, when you’re so exhausted your back has to slump into an ‘S’ just to stay upright, when you can’t even remember what day of the week it is.
And who would want to work with someone like this?
Look after your body, it’s the only one you’ve got right now. Treat it well and it will reward with you with plenty of goodness; abuse it and it’ll shut you down – from yourself as well as the things and people you care most about.