Rest to become wiser

You’ve done a lot of good, hard work. You’re full, fatigued, ever-committed.
Do you want to go even further? To be more effective, radiant, more powerful?
Then rest.

Rest because you need it.
(Notice I didn’t say “deserve it.” Rest is not something we need to earn.)
Rest because you love—yourself, your body, your mind, the world.
Rest because there is always more beautiful work to be done.

Rest to become stronger.
Rest to become wiser.
Rest is love.

. . . . .

What does it say about us that resting is a difficult feat? It says we are steered by capitalism, toxic patriarchy, and the mortal coil of self-worth issues. We know this. So let me try to convince you how rest will move you forward. (This is a mind trick, I’m appealing to our obsession with productivity. My plan is to get you to rest for performance enhancement reasons and then it’s going to touch your spirit and you’ll be like, Rest is love, and love is all, and that is that. And then love wins. But for now, let’s approach the ego’s demands with a payoff for resting…)

There is an uncomfortable—and sacred—space between exertion and restoration. If we bypass it, we’ll miss the insights of all the work we have done—insights that will guide us to the next step. If we don’t rest, we can’t see what we learned along the way. If we don’t learn from what we’ve just done, we’re going to repeat bad habits and eclipse healthy impulses that we should be building on.

We rest in order to integrate the benefits of the work we’ve done. To assimilate the healing, the lessons, the efficacy, the insight.

Rest to become stronger.
Rest to become wiser.
Rest is love.

. . . . .

Savasana (usually pronounced “sha-vas-nah”) is also known as the “corpse pose” in yoga. Typically, Savasana is done at the end of practice. Lie flat on your back, palms to the sky, eyes closed, relaxing every part of your body, focusing on your breath rising and falling. Savasana is not so much about chillin’, as it is about integration. Some teachers believe that if you skip Savasana, you lose the benefits of your entire yoga session—of all the work you’ve done.

Creative and work cycles need Savasana—consider it a divine debriefing. This is the most under-valued practice in both business and living. We resist. We fidget. We race forward. For similar reasons, Savasana—undoing, unwinding, letting go—is also considered to be one of the most difficult of all yoga postures to master. Yep, we need to learn to master laying down and integrating.

My favourite yogis teach that Savasana is the most important of all yoga poses. My Vancouver teacher, Wesley, pours on the hot sauce in his classes (his Saturday Zoom classes are my rudder), but he’s always saying that everything we do is leading to the importance of Savasana. My friend and yoga hero, Eoin Finn, explains it:

“Savasana is the most important time in the yoga practice, by far… The way I see it, doing all the poses in a yoga practice is like mixing cake batter. But Savasana is the time we get to put the cake in the oven to make our mindset more delicious.

 

I believe that in today’s busy and anxious world, the best sign for our health (and our immunity) isn’t how many burpees we can do in a minute, how deep our splits are, or how long we can hold a plank pose. The best litmus test for our health is Savasana; how much we can simply lie on the floor and chill.

 

Why? Because the more we can relax, the more we can let it all go. The more we can let it all go, the more we can let it all in. We become more permeable to the greatest force in the universe, Love. All the tension that blocks our heart is released and we can show up in our highest vibrational self.”

Rest to become stronger.
Rest to become wiser.
Rest is love.

. . . . .

At the end of a big project or cycle of output, you’ll probably be pulled with equal force in three directions: cleaning up, stillness, and newness.

CLEANING UP. You’ve been in the creative bubble. Your auto-responder was set to “please eff off,” your door mat said “Unwelcome.” Your inbox… can’t even go near it. There are many things that legitimately need tending to, people you care about are waiting, and you genuinely want to move into responsive mode. But you also really need… to rest.

STILLNESS. Your mind’s been burning for so long that it needs to cool down. Like a motor. Your nervous system needs suspension, you need to amble. You need a nap. You need to read a book unrelated to your line of work or global crisis. Unscheduled time. Listening, receiving. Basking in the nourishment of the Divine.

NEWNESS. Part of you is raring to get going on the Next Big Thing. You’re wired to make stuff. It’s what you do. I feel this way when I finish writing a book. I’m so jacked, I want to keep going. But this is adrenaline speaking, and I know better—it’s Savasana time.

Rest to become stronger.
Rest to become wiser.
Rest is love.

. . . . .

Tracee Stanley is, like, the Empress of Rest. She’s a renowned yoga nidra teacher who’s releasing a book called, Radiant Rest. In my last voicemail to her I said, “Hi, I’m probably interrupting your resting…” And I thought, How great is it to be known for your amazing resting? Tracee and I have talked about rest and death. There’s a relationship there—we tend to think that if we take a rest, we’re going to die.

I had to reckon with my workaholism a few years ago—and it’s not a term I use playfully. It is a serious situation and it can wreak as much havoc on your life as a substance addiction. The growth for me was to understand that my incessant striving was a way of both trying to earn my way into some kind of divine favour, a spiritual form of, “You’re in! You get good karma now! Voila!” And also a big avoidance tactic to not have to go into my subconscious where all kinds of uncomfortable emotions are… fear, shame, terror and so on. And so on.

My overworking pulled me away from introspection—which kept me from both my pain and my incredible power. Until it stopped me, and I had no choice but to rest. Seriously rest. Weeks that turned into a few months of sleeping, rambling, sleeping, therapy, laying around crying, sleeping, praying, and moving very very slowly through the days.

I’m leagues away from that crisis mode now. Praise. I’m deeply well, lots of joy, sharp clarity. But I’m still confronted with the discomfort that comes up when I KNOW it’s time to rest. It’s like flies on the fruit of my good labour. Slightly annoying.

With the upheaval that’s also known as the Year 2020, clearly the Divine Mother is saying, “Hey, y’all, slowwww down.” And the choice was really clear for me—and my team. We were going to go with it and slow down some. We did a lot to simplify—tricky because we’re busier than ever, and I want to be of service more than ever. But! Rest has become a new badge of honour and it’s slowly emerging in the company culture as a joyful thing to report on. Real weekends. More breaks. And for me that means breaks without the anxiety to get back to what I was doing-making-creating. Nourishing, lush, flowy, fun breaks. This may sound rudimentary but, the secret to going further, to getting more done… is breaks. Is rest.

Rest to become stronger.
Rest to become wiser.
Rest is love.

. . . . .

Back to Savasana for a minute. Some yoga instructors discourage falling asleep. Some say, “Sleep if you need to sleep.” The point is that it’s not about escaping, it’s about integration. In my early yoga days I used to consider it snooze time. But now I listen, and I hear so much more. And I re-enter the world more energized. The same approach applies to work…

I used to wrap a big project and crash hard—sleep, eat, zone out with movies. And then I’d plunge into the next thing.

Now… I sit with both the discomfort and the enthusiasm, the fatigue and the satisfaction. I stay awake and look at where I’ve been and how it relates, or doesn’t, to where I want to go. It’s more of a mindful kind of resting instead of a bingey kind of zone out.

We rest to integrate the benefits of the work that we have done. So… CLEAN UP after a push project without rushing, without panic or guilt. BE STILL in the ways that your body and mind need. And LET THE NEW SEEDS TAKE ROOT. Allow yourself to be sensationally excited for what’s next, or what’s left to be done… without acting on it… yet. You will rise to meet the future. And you will be very, very ready. After you rest.

Rest to become stronger.
Rest to become wiser.
Rest is love.

With Love,

  • Love what’s on your to-do list

    The Undated
    Desire Map Planner.
    A gratitude journal-meets calendar.

  • Attunements

    For life clarity + courage.

    Highly relevant. Deeply practical.

  • Heart Centered

    Practices, rituals, and perspectives that make space for the Light of the Soul to pour through.

Link Love

This is what Eoin Finn and I riff about in cafes: Love as THE guiding intelligence; heart-centered meditation versus the “mental” approach; and can you feel joy while you’re suffering? Find Eoin’s teaching schedule here + follow him at @blissology.

Zoom-yoga-gong with my Vancouver yoga teacher, Wesley Salter. See his teaching schedule.

Pre-order Tracee Stanley’s book, Radiant Rest.

Watch or listen to my IG conversation with Tracee, Luminous Resting“If we stay awake during this time, it’s not possible for us to go back to the same way we were before. Use this period of time and ask yourself, what do I want my life to be like when this is over? Who am I really?” ⁣– Tracee Stanley

My podcast theme music is I AM LOVE, by DJ Drez feat. Marti Nikko. Available on Spotify + iTunes. Please support independent, positive music. xo

  • Love what’s on your to-do list

    The Undated
    Desire Map Planner.
    A gratitude journal-meets calendar.

  • Attunements

    For life clarity + courage.

    Highly relevant. Deeply practical.

  • Heart Centered

    Practices, rituals, and perspectives that make space for the Light of the Soul to pour through.

The latest