6 May 2022 | BY ANDJELKA JANKOVIC | Life
How 'bout remembering your divinity?
I heard myself saying “I’m doing great!” when really I was drowning.
I see it in my friend’s eyes all the time. We do a good job of holding it together when actually we’re not.
In truth, I was in a sea of rush with a back-to-back-to-back schedule and competing commitments pulling me in different directions. I kept going to drink water from an empty glass on my desk… because I didn’t have a spare moment to get up and refill it. Which is crazy to me now.
I had developed this manic pace in my work week that felt like poison in my body. I even wrote down a list of how it felt on a given day (toxic, rushed, wired, overwhelmed, distracted, interrupted, constricted, scattered, not present — and thirsty).
I was enthusiastic about everything I was doing, but it was too much.
And then on I hit a wall. Obviously.
On the day I declared I would start writing my first book, I started the day with 14 hours of old-fashioned sleep. I didn’t open my laptop for the next three days and three nights. My sheets were definitely not getting washed and it took me two slow hours to make lunch. I could feel I was teetering on the edge of a full-blown sickness.
I would like to spend the rest of my days in a place so silent, and working at a pace so slow, that I would be able to hear myself living. — Elizabeth Gilbert
Here’s the thing: there’s always SOMETHING to do. Someone to text back or somewhere that wants your attention. Trust me. I’m a Vatta Virgo type and my alter ego (Turbo Teresa) is an all-or-nothing, hyper-productive, multi-tasking gal that eventually feels like that reel of a balloon floating along, deflated.
I needed to recalibrate and decompress.
Around this time, I came across that there are seven types of rest, beyond just sleep. There is – physical, emotional, mental, sensory, creative, social and spiritual rest. I was lit up. This idea was originally pioneered by Saundra Dalton-Smith in her book Sacred Rest and TED Talk. She says poignantly: Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested — now there’s a challenge. I haven’t actually read the book or watched the talk, but I loved the concept immediately and started experimenting with it. Although I noticed that there was one missing.
I call it: cosmic rest.
When you are bone tired and your soul is exhausted and you have nothing sincere to give. I knew I needed cosmic rest when I didn’t have the energy to sit for tea and not even a Sandra Bullock film could revive me.
So I decided to STOP. To feel the sun on my face for a beat. I am in a week of restorative rest to experience the seven types for myself and experience cosmic rest. The first night I laid in the dark with two candles burning and re:stacks on repeat, falling asleep at 7:30pm. Bliss.
The first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness. – Mary Oliver
I could no longer allow myself to feel like I was always running late to the bus when there was in fact, no bus to catch. This is the modern-day equivalent of running from a tiger in Flight or Fight mode, but now instead of a tiger – there is your pinging inbox. I needed to soften into stopping. Do away with my colour-coded calendar. Fill up my damn water glass and just be.
If you think to rest is wildly privileged, you’re right — it is.
And to take rest is also your birthright to be well.
My friend Yas had messaged and after I said I was taking three days and nights of rest, she replied: “Like when you’re not sick? Never have I ever”. I know, it’s wild. A lot of us don’t give ourselves permission to receive rest. Taking time ‘off’ (I even resist saying this term because of our conditioning that being ‘on’ is productive; capitalism has made us into dancing monkeys) means saying no and saying no makes us uncomfortable.
But, in my experience, you won’t know the privilege of your health and vitality as your highest values in life until you are very unwell. So why not take a pause before that happens?
Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it. — Bronnie Ware
I literally have to stop and ask myself twelve times a day: What’s the rush, AJ? And think, as Henry David Thoreau so brilliantly said: “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
We all need to rest our body, mind and spirit from time to time.
I have never protected my serenity, joy, happiness, safety, nervous system, creative practice, self worth, or attention more than I have in the last three months. The boundaries it has taken to do this has been extremely uncomfortable. To give up people pleasing is not a simple act. The rewards are plentiful. The reward is a comfort within myself I have never experienced before now. The reward is expansive. — Marlee Grace
I wanted to share how cosmic rest is a gamechanger and the seven types of rest that remarkably brought me back to life: