1. making no noise or sound, especially no disturbing sound
2. free, or comparatively free, from noise
4. free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful
5. being at rest
6. refraining or free from activity, especially busy or vigorous activity
Small word, big impact.
“Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you;
you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.”
~ Debbie Ford
Recently, I was with the little boy for whom I sometimes nanny. He’s 1. Late in the morning, he was giving all the usual signals that he was ready for a nap. We went upstairs to read a book and begin to quiet down from our morning of giggling and play. His readiness signals continued but he was also doing lots of things to resist: squirming, muttering, flopping onto his belly for a quick second of stillness, then sitting up again, staring into space then re-engaging the book.
I stayed quiet and calm, letting him lead the way. I rubbed his back when he was still, waiting for his need to rest to overtake the momentum of activity. Eventually he flopped up against me. We took some deep breaths together (yes, I taught a one year old to do deep, conscious breathing…it is a thing of beauty to behold) and within a minute or two came that sweet moment of surrender. He allowed himself to settle into quiet and stillness and then sleep.
Know the feeling?
We live in a world with intense energies, constant noise and the seduction of distraction every which way we turn. It takes great awareness and discipline to stop resisting the need for rest, quiet and stillness, like my little friend, and surrender into connecting with self.
It’s so simple. But for many it’s not necessarily easy. Deep conscious breaths are the quickest way to achieve this connection. Allowing the space and time for stillness and quiet. Turning inward. Allowing insight. Coming back to center when things feel topsy turvy. Letting your mind, body and spirit catch up to shifts and changes.
The cultural norm, at least in the U.S., is to work…go…do. A strong work ethic is highly valued and rarely questioned. For many, needing or wanting rest still equates to weakness or laziness. Sometimes it’s not even a conscious thought, but lives as judgment in the unconscious. It is wielded both inwardly at oneself and externally at others.
Seems to me it’s time for a new norm. There is so much power in silence, so much potential in the space of stillness. Just 10 minutes out of your day. Nothing to DO. Just BEing. Breathing. Feeling and sensing. Allowing your energies to flow. Allowing the focus to be inward. Not chasing down thoughts. Not resisting. Not pushing. Just awareness and noticing.
I wonder what’s possible…I wonder what will show up…I wonder what wants to be released…I wonder what’s there to be received. Don’t you?
Just as I finished writing this post, I came across something on Facebook that resonated and seemed relevant to this post. I felt it deeply upon reading it, as did a few of my friends. Some of us were even moved to tears. It reminded me of a significant and transitional time in my life. After closing my shop and dealing with all the physical and logistical aspects that were required of me, I experienced months of hearing a loud and compelling voice from deep within, imploring and insisting that I rest. Apparently, for that period of time, my “work” was to rest. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. For what is honored and valued in my family is work…and doing…and I was being asked by the grander part of me to rest…and be. I KNEW that I had to cultivate both the discipline and the courage to honor what was true and pure at my very core…and trust that it must be the right thing for me. It has paid off in spades…led to places I could not have imagined…worth every bit of challenge it required me to face!
The person who posted this credited it to Jeff Foster. Does this resonate with you?
Your tiredness has dignity to it!
Do not rush to pathologise it, or push it away, for it may contain great intelligence, even medicine.
You have been on a long journey from the stars, friend.
Bow before your tiredness now; do not fight it any longer.
There is no shame in admitting that you cannot go on.
Even the courageous need to rest.
For a great journey lies ahead.
And you will need all of your resources.
Come, sit by the fire of Presence.
Let the body unwind; drop into the silence here.
Forget about tomorrow, let go of the journey to come, and sink into this evening’s warmth.
Every great adventure is fuelled by rest at its heart.
Your tiredness is noble, friend, and contains healing power… if you would only listen.