May 5, 2015

Resting: a Top Priority (Because taking care of oneself is Essential).

I love writing

I vividly remember my little-girl self racing up the front walk to my grandmother’s house across the street from Farmer’s Market in Hollywood.

My younger sister and I would eagerly finger the door bell which would lead to our favorite grandmother. We would be filled with anticipation, standing on tippy toes to look into her front bedroom window.

Almost always, she would be lying down, resting, probably before one of her late night Arthur Murray balls. The fact is, our grandmother was modeling resting, to us in real way. She knew that to do all she did, and it was a lot, she had to rest.

The value of rest has sustained me across my life while I managed 120 rental units, was a political wife, mother to three active children, held down a full time college teaching job and mastered portraiture. In more recent years rest has sustained me as I volunteer in my community, facilitate a for coping with the loss of a loved, meet with private clients and turn out books.
I admit that in those days I was sometimes the object of a ridicule, (still hear other couples saying, “We are out with Donna and Ken , gotta’ get our girl home early.” If there was a layer of criticism, I ignored it. Over time, our friends came to understand that Donna makes rest a priority.

Just yesterday, as I greeted my coaching client, she hugged me hello remarking, “Donna you must have 48 hours in each day!”
I just smiled as I thought, “not really.” It is just that I listen to my body and take time to energize my internal engine. When I was a young, exhausted mother, blazing the feminist conviction that a mother could do it all—hold down a career while raising good kids—that same grandmother frequently admonished me, “Donna, no one will take care of you except yourself.”
I began to take it to heart.

I got some housekeeping help. I scheduled weekly massages, I learned to say “no” to non-essential activities and, above all else, I rested.

An article, by Emma Derman Teitelon, in the Elephant Journal, April 14, 2015, resonated with me on this important subject. Emma notes that the people she sees are depleted, uninspired and exhausted. She says this is because of a “deep rejection of rest… when we rest it is easy to feel unworthy. In stillness it is easy to question our value.” She goes on to discuss the social addiction to speed. Imagine drive-through dry cleaners, pharmacies, banks and Starbucks!

Somehow, many of us women have come to celebrate “doing it all,” aspiring to becoming superwomen. This is in direct violation of our feminine need to reflect, to be, to contemplate.
Perhaps we can do a lot of it, but we must rest.

There is no doubt about the mind body connection. If one is to be at one’s creative best, connected to the inner life force, it is essential to rest.

We cannot be our authentic selves when we are depleted and exhausted.

We know when we do too much, our bodies finally scream, “time out!”

We become ill.

Let us not wait until then. Let us live the longest and fullest lives possible, let us celebrate the quiet—enjoy the pulse of our own hearts—for in that stillness we regenerate ourselves and there is simply more of us.


Relephant Reads:

4 Practical ways for Women to Recover from Everyday Life Exhaustion.


Author: Donna Friess

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Image: flickr

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