I hope you’re having a beautiful weekend. I’ve been back home in Toronto for the last two weeks for a little rest and quality time with family before I head out again for an exciting and action-packed few months of living the dream
I’ve been loving spending time with family and friends. There’s only one problem: I’ve forgotten how to rest.
Sure, I can sleep like a baby for long stretches of time and I’m a professional nap taker but even when I’m emerging from the most cozy slumber, I’ve noticed the constant presence of a feeling of guilt and a low-level mental noise that seems to be saying there’s something I should be doing.
It’s as if I’ve lost the ability to pause and allow myself to take a break from the constant striving, aspiring, creating and growing. In some senses, I’ve been seeing that this tendency is heightened by the entrepreneurial nature of what I do. If I’m not chugging along, the locomotive stops, or so the voice in my head would have me believe. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the life I’m living and all the freedom and self-accountability that comes with it but sometimes, this is the one aspect of 9 to 5 living that I envy. There’s a definite end to the workday and there are specific times of the year for vacation designed for a break. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that the time will be used for actual rest and that’s ultimately the realization I’ve been coming to.
On one level, rest is definitely about sleep, and taking care of our bodies. How often do we push ourselves beyond our body’s ability to heal and restore itself and find ourselves forced into bed by an untimely cold or injury? And at the same time, true rest is so much more than just physical nurture. It’s about resting our heads, quieting our minds, being still and allowing ourselves to just be, to do nothing, to listen and to replenish our spiritual energy.
And whether you’re a 9 to 5′er, an entrepreneur, an artist or a stay at home parent, this is a great challenge for all of us in these fast-moving times. Especially when we are passionate, inspired and driven towards a vision or outcome. And yet, there is a balance to be struck. Between movement and stillness, between creative output and “filling the well” with inspiring experiences (J. Cameron), between doing and being, between action and rest.
In music, a rest is an interval of silence, a pause between notes. Without this space, music would be very difficult to listen to because it would just be one, long, continuous sound. It is the space, the silence between the notes, that makes the piece of art we call music perceptible to our ears.
Similarly, it is in the space between constant activity, both within and out there in the world, that we can truly listen to our heart’s desires, to our soul’s whispers, and to Divine guidance. When we take the time to rest and tune in, to restore ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, we can then return to action with renewed clarity, precision and enthusiasm.
This essential balance between grounded action and true rest applies to all facets of life. In our pursuit of our calling and our grandest aspirations, it is equally important to take time to acknowledge where we are and what we have as it is to push forward towards our desired destination. In relationships, it’s all about connecting deeply, with our hearts open and ready to give love and yet without time apart, and time to nurture the individual, we would not be able to come together with an overflowing cup from which to give. And in any process of expansion or growth, whether it’s training our bodies at the gym or on the yoga mat, our mind in the classroom or our spiritual core with a mindfulness practice, there is always the balance between the time spent doing and the time spent assimilating and integrating the benefits of our practice.
When we honor this balance, life, love, creativity and wellness flow naturally and and with a greater sense of ease.
To help remind myself what it means to truly rest, I’ve been using the following definition of “REST”.
R.E.S.T. = Relax, Enjoy, Surrender, & Trust.
Relax: allow yourself time to do nothing and just be.
Enjoy: celebrate and give gratitude for all that you are and all that you have. Smile, laugh, dance, sing and play!
Surrender: let go and let the Divine plan of goodness for you and your life unfold in perfect timing. It’s all happening!
Trust: all is well. You’re alive and your heart is beating. You’re accounted for and you will be provided for.
Wishing you a peaceful and REST-full day.
Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.
Chris is also a member of the TDL Mentoring team. To learn more about the TDL Mentoring Program click here.