I Let Myself Rest
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
A theme of this week seems to be allowing myself to rest. I had a breakthrough day midweek when I realized I was carrying the weight of every news headline, press conference, and statistic, mixed with creeping personal inadequacy for not having 'accomplished more'. Just a hodgepodge of guilt, and grief, and fear-- I carried it around like a sack of rough mortar bricks. I wasn't exercising or really meditating or doing anything to recharge besides sleeping in--and then feeling guilty for doing so. I was nitpicking my food choices, rather than simply enjoying them. I wasn't letting myself rest. I was being too hard on myself to be helpful.
Yesterday was different.
I was still riding the high of our midweek at-home industrial gig-- a simple project that filled my whole heart with purpose and intention, and helped me appreciate the things in front of me. Typically in the throes of the LA grind, the time to pause and be grateful for small milestones is sparse, but in lockdown life we can draw out our gratitude for every little step on the ladder of our goals.
Yesterday, I let myself sleep in. I indulged in a sip of Shane's mason jar of coffee when he greeted me good morning in bed. I talked about my dreams.
The pouring rain of the last few days had waned, and although they closed our little pool area, a communal area shaded by trees was still open and getting enough sun to throw down a yoga mat and do some stretches (and my signature 8 pushups). I read the first chapter of 'Walking In This World' - The Practical Art of Creativity, and even though Julia Cameron's quotes don't always stick in my memory verbatim, the feeling of poetic reassurance she gives me does.
Then, after laughing through a frenzy of TikToks, I devoted my evening to dancing in a chair on my balcony (an improv challenge from my inspiring friend Cristina Florez), dancing/singing/eating/loving with Shane all over the house, and diving deep into music and architecture holes on Youtube. Shane made vegan risotto, we playfully bantered as we tidied. Feeling like rebellious teenagers with a night to ourselves, we pulled the couch out with all our blankets and pillows on it and did the night, sleepover style, in the living room. We got high, laughed, snacked, and watched wildlife docs until dawn.
I woke up pretty early today, despite falling asleep with the sun up. I didn't make a ton of plans, respecting that no business can really be done on Easter/Passover weekend. I just let the relaxation and reverence continue to sweep me up. I talked to my dad all morning about music. I talked to my Aunt and Uncle and their grandkids in Saskatewan for a good chunk of the afternoon. The kids sang songs and showed me their Easter gifts, art projects, and one-year-old puppy. It was heaven.
The point is: we're clearly in this new version of the world for a long haul, and in letting ourselves truly rest and relax--both physically and mentally, we make space for clearer decisions, stronger relationships, and a kind of self awareness and acceptance that changes lives for the better. We are going inward and addressing all the things that had built up, pre-COVID quarantine, back when we barely had time to stop and think about the world and our journey within it.
Do what rejuvenates you--it definitely doesn't have to be meditation. Some are rejuvenated by selfie shoots in fresh makeup, putting an outfit together just for the photo op, or binge watching The Office. *Ironically, rejuvenation for me looked like staying up all night and not giving a f**k about my sleep schedule for once. Give yourself a break from the news when you're feeling overwhelmed. Eat fruits and veggies, and treats too. Let your inner child play. Get creative--not to just 'be seen' participating (for fear of falling behind), but because creativity replenishes your joy, curiosity, hope, and belief in the world. Get warm. Get cozy with your own breath. Take a day to unwind and set realistic lockdown goals that take your mental and physical wellness into consideration. Resting isn't giving up. It is one of our greatest tools for stamina and clarity over the long haul.