Sometimes, the universe in all her wisdom sends you a message, through the whispers of the wind.
You hear her, in a moment of quiet, say, Rest, you need rest. You will feel the truth of her words settle inside your body, as one by one, each part of you starts to tune in.
She will continue and say,
Place your hands on your heart and listen carefully; what do you hear? Stop your brain from moving, stop the thoughts from thinking and listen to your heartbeat. In this stillness, you will feel the exhaustion hiding away in every part of you—your bones, blood, skin, muscle, tissues, organs—your very heart—all crying out for rest; your body, mind, soul and spirit are weary.
And you realize that yes, indeed, you have hopped onto to a fast-moving train, and you are watching it gain speed as the ground becomes a blur below you.
You are human, she reminds me. You are human and you, despite everything that is possible in this world and the next, you cannot move faster than the speed of light or sound—you cannot move so fast and expect to take off and fly without stopping to refill yourself.
As you continue listen to beat of your heart, you know that she is right. You know that you have been moving forward (too quickly) and that you have not been balancing you-time, between work and rest.
You know that you cannot survive on five hours sleep and you know that you need to bring more love and attention into what you’re putting into your body.
You know that you want to keep up with the shifting and change and magic of the world, of the blossoming of this life, but that do so, properly, whole heartedly and without abandon, means stopping, right now, to rest.
The world—your world—that is spinning and sprouting wings, must pause; there is a slight thrill in the thought of taking a day off, and even in the stomach bug that slowly starts to gain on you (for, along with her words of wisdom, the universe has devised a plan that you simply cannot argue with: she has knocked you out of the game—physically—and you know that there is no way out of this rest-thing) and so you send a message from your heart to your mind.
You think to yourself, What is the worst thing that can happen if I take just one day off?
As one day becomes two, before you know it you have cleared your schedule for almost an entire week. Five days; an eternity in the land of the movers and shakers.
You spend your days in the warmth and comfort of your home, not moving around the city from place-to-place, but only from couch-to-bath-to-couch-to-bed and back again.
Mornings and afternoons are spent reading (your imagination has been hungry and you continue to devour books as if you have been starving yourself of this joy without realizing it) and evenings watching movies and eating food made with love.
Bedtime gets earlier and this morning you wake up at 4:56 am, sweating, awake, but groggy, sandwiched between your love and your dog (in an effort to win the ongoing debate of having the dog sleep on the bed at night, both your dog and you understand that it can only continue if he stops pushing your love out of bed and so his new place to snuggle lies on the other side of you); you are between two heartbeats, creators of fantastical heat and you know you must move but it is warm and one of the cats is curled up beside your head and licking your arm.
You rise, slowly, sleepily, doing your best to not disturb your family, rearranging the covers carefully, so that your love is covered and as you shuffle out of the room, you can see the shapes in the bed spreading out to fill the space that was once full of you.
On the couch, you curl up with your favorite blanket that still smells like tobacco and sage, with a tinge of agua de florida, the tools of the trade of your heart, and you settle into the familiar support of the couch. (The bed, as warm a place as it is in your mind, hasn’t been forgiving to the bones of your body lately, and so although you need sleep, the nights have been full of fidgeting as you try to find a place to settle that doesn’t hurt.)
The couch understands and reaches up and wraps it’s arms around you to hold you in a suspended place of love. You hum slightly, as you gaze out of the windows (the windows you wish were covered but are glad are not) and marvel that the birds are up this early, singing brightly.
You will drift into an early morning sleep, the sounds of the birds bringing you back into the time you were in the jungle, until the cats cannot stand to have you so close and yet so far away, and start bellowing for their breakfast.
After rousing yourself to make the animals happy, you crawl back onto your still-warm spot on the couch, this time joined by your partner in crime, seemingly overjoyed by the continued unexpected turn of events (you, curled on the couch, for hours at a time) and he nuzzles his wet nose into you and stretches out his long lean body, in only the ways a dog can do.
You both lie there listening to the birds and the rain, a book, resting on your chest; a mug of hot water with lemon beside you—and the stunning realization that this is your life.
This is your life.
You were moving so fast that you didn’t realize that you had to slow down to bask in how fucking awesome this life is.
You drink it all in and even though you are still feeling off of your game, you know that when you step back into the outside world, your heart will open up and you will welcome the world inside, with a spring in your step and a sparkle in your eye.
You will let love lead the way and you will follow, one step at a time.
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(Photo: Irving Penn)