Today is Saturday. It is November in the Pacific Northwest and though it is chilly out, the sun is shining. This is some of my most favorite weather. And it’s Saturday. This means that the shape of my day gets to change into something fluid and very flexible for the sake of rest.
When my kids were small, and our family was touring all over the place, there was no rest. We were packing and unpacking, loading gear into venues and out, setting up merch and taking it down. And that was just the “work” aspects because I was raising a family as well. So, laundry, schoolwork, food, baths, bedtimes, in strange homes and hotels all over the country. And sometimes the reality of all the movement and doing would settle into my body and I felt like a dead woman walking. But there was never time for rest.
And then I was on my cancer journey, and it was imperative that I rest. But I was close with someone in my life who was very unhappy and afraid and so conflict subverted rest and I fought him and cancer. Plus, the drugs in my body were disruptive, to say the least, so instead of sleeping, I would pace the living room endlessly all through nights I should’ve been in my bed.
During the time after cancer, and after all the conflict, a space opened up for me. A space to be wise about healing and resting and I found something out about myself: I’m really bad at rest. It’s hard for me to slow down. When I’m tired or it’s later in the evening, a switch flips in me and if I look around, suddenly everything needs my attention. There have been times I was on my way to bed and instead, got on my hands and knees to scrub the kitchen floor. This is ridiculous, I know this. But this is a factory setting in me that has been difficult to reset. Plus, I watched my dad do this, my Gram too. It’s a Sanderson tradition.
My Body, The Good Teacher
Turns out, my body is a great teacher. Learning to Rest 101 was a class that started with some refusals from my body. I had 2 frozen shoulders and couldn’t raise my arms at all which crossed off a whole heap of things on my perpetual to-do lists. This is when we got a Roomba, Edgar, named after my great grandfather for some reason. I don’t remember why we named it that. Meals got a lot simpler around the house as I wasn’t preparing anything. It turned out, everyone figured out how to feed themselves. The kitchen floor didn’t get scrubbed for a long time and nothing terrible happened. No primordial creatures crawled out of ooze. In fact, there wasn’t even ooze.
I was so tremendously tired in my bones to the core of my soul. Utterly exhausted. Some days were spent entirely on the couch watching movies or binging a show. I used to hate sitting on the couch for too long, but out of necessity, we became friends. And so, these are the ways I learned how to rest.
I learned that I wasn’t responsible for everything. I learned that my kids could take care of themselves, sometimes better, when I wasn’t micromanaging them. I learned that if I listened to my body, and gave it what it was asking for, we flowed forward instead of being stuck and tight. I healed.
For me, resting involves a pause. Listening to myself and being flexible enough to move in a different direction. When I am able to do this, joy comes to me. And peace and inspiration and creativity. There are plenty of times I miss the memo, but I am still learning, and much more aware than I used to be.
Monday through Friday Greg and I are up early and plugged into routines that carry us right up to dinnertime. When Saturday rolls around, it’s time to switch things up. To sleep in a little, to move at a more fluid pace, to linger over coffee, watch some home improvement shows. This way there is a little more room. A little more time and space for me to feel the life within me, to move through the world a little differently.
On this Saturday, as I can still see the moon in a blue sky, heading to its own rest, I’m looking forward to being out in the world. Maybe taking a little drive. Maybe stopping in a sweet little town to buy a loaf of bread, to look at some art. Who knows what serendipities lie ahead of me today! One thing is for certain, my pace will be slower, my breaths will be deeper, and I just might smile all day.
If you know how to rest, or don’t know, if you are exhausted or have joy, let’s be friends~