David Whyte writes so eloquently about rest that I had to share it here. The phrase that stands out to me is that “To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right.” I’ve been guilty of this frenetic, ego-driven kind of work-driven life but this time of Sabbatical has made me stop and consider that perhaps my life purpose lies somewhere other than in fixing the world. But I know I have a place and something to contribute. So I rest, and get ready for the world – ready to offer my gifts more generously than dutifully. Consider taking some REST!
is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.
The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and the measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe, to walk as we were meant to walk, to live with the rhythm of a house and a home, giving and taking through cooking and cleaning.
When we give and take in an easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested. To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.
In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself. In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival. In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both. The fifth stage is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; a sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and that receiving and responding occur in one spontaneous movement.
A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain or sitting at home surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.
Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press 2015
Available from davidwhyte.com
Photo © David Whyte
June 4th 2016
Creative rejuvenation. Spiritual revival. Professional development.
You hear about pastors, professors and corporate execs taking time off for study, rejuvenation, travel… But business owners??
This business owner is going to do it!
I need time to heal and get my strength back: mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
You may or may not know that I was recently diagnosed with CRPS in my foot. CRPS is a nerve disease that is very painful and has kept me from wearing a shoe for over a year. I’m getting around fairly well on a knee walker, but my mobility is limited. I’m scheduled for surgery at the end of February to implant a Spinal Cord Stimulator to help manage pain. We’re hoping this device gets me back in a shoe, on my feet, and ready to get my energy and strength back after months of inactivity. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers during my recovery.
So if I am this close to getting back up and running (at least walking!), why would I choose to pause now for a Sabbatical?
A Sabbatical is a time for refreshment, study, reflection and rejuvenation. I feel my heart, soul and business all need a time to dive deep, to rediscover the roots of my passion and purpose, and then clarify the calling and focus of my life’s work. I promise you I won’t be simply watching Netflix and coloring mandalas — however I do anticipate doing some of that too! I plan to use this time to read, talk with people who inspire me, write, and listen.
So no new clients, speaking gigs or marketing for the next 9 months. I’ll fulfill the contracts and promises I’ve made over the next few weeks… and then I’m done!
Lots of fear is popping up in between moments of thrill at the thought of time to rest and write and read and think and possibly travel — but I am confident I will emerge with more focus and clarity, passion and purpose.
You’ll still see me here and on social media. I’ll keep you posted on projects and progress. But I will also probably take a bit of time offline too.
And at the end of these 9 months we’ll just see what is born from this time of refreshment.
If you’ve been reading my posts you know that profitability is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. What makes a business owner truly profitable? That is exactly the question we’re examining in the new Purposeful Profitability Lab. Take a look at the video below where I share why I’m excited about this new program:
Last night Matthew McConaughey accepted the Oscar for Best Actor for a film I haven’t seen. McConaughey isn’t my favorite actor, although I have enjoyed several of his films. But something in his speech stood out as a leadership lesson I think is worth considering. “There’s three things, to my account, that I need each day: One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase,” McConaughey said. He went on to explain that the person he will be in ten years is the hero he is chasing. What a powerful concept to consider.
Every day, week or year McConaughey can look out ahead and examine what he needs to do to be the man he wants to be in ten years. When decisions are made with this kind of vision in mind, the choices are clearer and more easily made to do what it takes to move forward. If I want to be healthy in ten years, then today I will eat nutritious foods and get some exercise. If I want to have money to spend, then I will put some cash from my next pay check away in savings. If I want a successful business, I will connect with clients and create the best possible experience to keep them coming back for more. If I want a community with fewer hungry children, I will do what I can to feed one today.more.
Who will you be in ten years –
and more importantly, what do yo
u need to do to become that person today