It was a soft silence that pulled me close and asked me to not to break it. Sounds of a rustling comforter, a prodding of some pillows, the small breeze passing through the opening in my window. It’s been a long week, but a good one. One that felt slightly closer to where I want to to be then where I have been. It’s in these small considerations of the morning, the seemingly lazed drifting to and from sleep that really reveal how far I’ve come. It a good feeling, one that tells me that my body is working on something that’s worthwhile.
It’s a different type of tired, a soreness, one that comes from moving instead of the lack of staying still. My injury have taken time and patience and now I have come to a point where my body can finally make up for the period spent lying still in chairs and beds. A semblance of what is on the other side of the road I failed to cross on that fateful night.
It’s a rush of things, a movement within myself trying to reach out and recalibrate my senses to the point where I can really see again. It’s a process of understanding that comes slow at first and then all at once. Like a flicking of switched in a large stations sending electricity throughout to power me on.
In this contemplative silence of the morning halfway between wakefulness and sleep I enjoy the day for all that it gives and hope that tomorrow’s adventure will be as good at yesterdays.
“I’m terrible at resting” is what I say when people ask me why I’m out and about even when I’m injured. That’s only partially true. It’s more out of fear that I can’t stay hold up in my room taking it easy, waiting for my body to heal. It’s the most dangerous place for me, because of allure, the temptation of letting go too much. It’s as if I’m a recovering comfort addict, someone who has fallen into the warm arms of a pillow that refuses to let go. One who spent a good portion of his life avoiding his problems by trying to maximize this happiness through things around him. Many long nights trying to find the meaning in life in the stories of the page or the pixels on the screen but never finding the true fulfillment until I left those things behind and decided to face reality once again.
It’s through knowing this and finding unimpeachable bliss in effort that my current situation becomes so dangerous. It’s easy to slip back into that sphere of comfort, blame my injury for the hours the pass before my eyes that see nothing done. To make excuses for the things that at the moment seem too troubling for me. To fall away and allow all I’ve done to turn to sand and dust so it can become a place to rest my weary head.
It’s hard because I know I need to rest. To allow my body to fix itself from the trauma I have caused. But I’m scared by it, scared that all of what I am may fade away with it like the atrophy of my muscles in my now broken leg. Terrified about the challenges to come and my inablity to act as quickly or as easily. It feels as if my hand’s and back can’t hold all which I find important. Like the bruises I bear live beneath the skin and touched my soul causing it to scream out and stop me because it hurts. I never had these problems when I could chase after my dreams but here I am trying to pick up the pieces of life temporarily fractured by the rain, steel, and concrete.
I feel weak again, at the mercy of the whims of time and body. What I want is peace from myself as this comfortable zone drives these negative feelings inside. It’s something that perpetuates itself and commands that the only way free of these feelings is to fold back into the comfort and push reality aside for just long enough for my problems to go away.
This is no way to live a life, or the way I want my life to go. It’s where I am but not where I will be forever. Tomorrow is a new day for a new reality to rise and that’s where I need to be. In the present, struggling against this feeling, against the hard days and the inactivity that overwhelms me, because at the end of the day fight is worth it no matter how long it takes to win.
There is a story in a book I read long ago, a story about two monks who devoted themselves to god and cloistered life. These two men though, having seen enough of the world to know of its beauty and wonder craved travel and adventure outside of the monastery walls. For them, it was hard to choose between these two loves, love of God, and love of the world. Even though they were happy with their decision to join this religious order, they both knew that they without the prospect of travel their devotion would wane as it would be seen it would one love taking away from the other. So these two monks hatched a plan, every spring they would plan to travel that following fall, to leave these monastery walls and go out into the world. Once fall came around, they would feign excuses, talking about how it wasn’t a good time to go and plan for to travel in that next spring. Years and years passed without the monks ever leaving, though the prospect of them doing so was always around the corner. They felt content, knowing that soon enough they would travel, without actually needing to leave.
This story came to mind because I’ve been talking about resting these last several months. To be honest, I haven’t been making a really active effort to become rested. It’s because of love that I don’t sleep. I love psychology, and all that I am doing, so much so that I want to do everything, but in wanting to do everything. In this want there comes a time to where all there always more deadlines. Nothing really stops, and since it doesn’t stop, I haven’t either. I keep deferring this rest, to the point where I feel wasted by it. Stuck in a daze of work, pushing forward through habit. I keep telling myself, next month, next month will be the one where I get to take a break and breath easy. When this magic month comes, I don’t know but I keep deferring knowing that this time I spend will pay off in something. I am tired, both in mind and body, I know I need rest but if I have to keep going to get what I want.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, people did a study about sleep, actually the lack of it. You see, they took these mice and put them on this treadmill, ultimately depriving them of sleep for days and days on end. The mice walked, and walked, and walked for what seemed like an eternity for them. Of course, they were taken care of, fed, kept in a “comfortable” environment, they were just forced to stay awake. After what it seemed like an eternity for mice (11-32 days) they had all died thinner, weaker, full of unhealed lesions. Even though they had everything else, without rest they died.
Now, this is an extreme example, no one in their right mind would try to keep themselves up for that long (unless they were trying to break a world record) but I think this example is a good one. Through this sleep deprivation happened all at once, how many of us have pushed back this rest, both mind and body. I do this all the time, little by little chipping away at the amount of sleep and resources I have until by the time the weekend comes I have to throw myself into it just to feel normal again.
That’s what yesterday was. A deep breath. My body and mind telling me to stop and wait. To just be and rest for a little while.
We’re all better when we have time to take a break. I do my best work when I can put 100% of myself into something I love. So for now, let me just catch a breath.
Like the sitting shores of a forgotten beach lays waveless water calm and deep. Its sands untouched, unmoved, unmanned stacks so high like a reaching hand. From atop the sandy hill, you can see the waters still. And with those waters without a wake, reflects the world we hope to make. Sky is ground and ground is sky, maybe it’s how we learn to fly. Because out on the horizon where these two skies meet, lies the eternal calm of a waveless beach.
The storm has passed for now, and my body is telling me that I need to rest. It’s in these time, right after the rain ceases to fall, that calm rolls over and we are allowed to sit and ponder before life resumes again. I have faced these fears of mine, fears of inadequacy and being an impostor. My stress levels have dropped, and my body relaxes. Many of these things have subsided for the moment, though to be honest I probably am just in the eye of the hurricane, waiting for the water wall to hit again.
I feel this weird, eerie calm wash over me. My body lightens and heavies, recovering from the burden I have been putting it through. I am a bit flat affect, much quieter and introverted. This part of me comes out to restore and refresh. To remind me that I am human and though life will move on, that things will change and the only way to get through them is to take care of myself.
So that’s what I am doing this week, not thinking much, but thinking regularly. Not doing much but moving forward. Not saying much but speaking volumes. Soon the world will become boisterous again with the tide of fall so I will enjoy the calm while I can. Today is for rest so tomorrow I can be strong again.
One day, I finally found one day. One day free of alarm clocks, things to do, people to see. One day of rest that my body so needs.
Thes black lines on a page that I so diligently have written are starting to move away from me. I keep a schedule, writing in it all I have to do and all I plan to do, but with each passing day it becomes harder and harder to write into it.
Because of the incessantness of it. My hands ache when I hold that pen to the paper because it means that there is no end. I need time, space in my book to rejuvenate, to allow these moments of rest come. Day after day, like raindrops in a forest I feel this showering of duties up me. I know this rain will end eventually but I want at the moment is an old tree to shelter me so I have a place to lay my head.
I know I ask for this, I overbook myself to the point where I can’t breathe. Where my mind goes blank, my body gets tired, and I get sick. It’s something I have to do to keep moving forward in this grand festival of life. What I do today is all for tomorrow, this place where I finally achieve what I want. I’m told I am almost there, a place where I can grab it, just make it through these moments and it will all be over soon.
I will rest today so when tomorrow comes I can be strong and free. I will rest today so when the future comes I will be ready to fight for it with all of me.