keskiviikko 24. huhtikuuta 2013

Day 214: Resting


from a play; me on the right.

How do I know when I actually need rest and how should I give it to myself?

The answer to the first question is relatively easy: listen to your body and don't be fooled by the mind. Lol. Listening to one's body is done by stopping, breathing and allowing oneself to be fully aware of one's physical experience. For example, last night I didn't really notice myself to be tired and completely ready to go to bed and fall asleep until I stopped myself, told myself to stop working on my tasks and sat myself down with a cup of tea and nothing else to do but to drink the tea. This is when I became aware of the fact that my muscles were sore, and this is where my eyes started closing immediately when I stopped myself from rushing around and stopped my hurry-busy-overload-mode. I realized that the fact that my physical was giving me these signs meant that I was indeed in need of rest, and so I gave myself rest. Had I followed my mind I would have continued working and perhaps collapsed sooner or later – if not during the night, I would have run out of steam today had I not slept enough.

But the second question I proposed is more tricky, because the experience of something being “rest” or “relaxing” or “not demanding” is subjective and also relative as compared to that which one is taking rest from (i.e. work, tasks, responsibilities, burdens, obligations etc.). I just got to thinking about this when I had been studying for a couple of hours, noticed myself to be getting weary and stiff from working and realized that I needed rest – but then I started conflicting with myself as I did not know how to give myself rest. My first thought was to lay down and play video games – but then I thought of yoga because my back was really screaming for it – and then I thought: “but yoga isn't rest” - which I realized to be a value I have assigned yoga: [exercise = work], so [yoga = work] as well. I then went on to do yoga because I saw that it could actually support me to recover and heal from my day of work, which in the long run serves me more than playing video games, which is just sitting still and entertaining myself with mathematical stuff – which does hold value at times, but this wasn't what I needed at this moment.

So I guess there is no “right way” of resting or a perfect pattern to follow, which means one has to make the assessment individually for each situation: what is it that would right now assist me in recovering from this specific kind of fatigue? If the tasks one does vary, so does the “damage” done in the process – and so does the method of recovery. If I had just run a marathon I don't think yoga would be the optimal choice for recovery then, lol.

Right, to re-define the word “rest” for myself.

Dictionary definition: cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself or to recover strength; allow to be inactive in order to regain strength, health or energy. (Source: Oxford dictionary)

My old definition of the word “rest”: to be lazy, unproductive and passive; to not give one's all at every moment; to slack off; to justify inaction with imagined weariness.

My new definition of the word “rest”: to live as one with and equal to one's physical body and to take care of it's needs and requirements by allowing it the appropriate way of recharging and recovering from a preceding activity that has caused the body to become stressed, weary, tired, damaged and/or worn out.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that my physical body has its inescapable limits, be they permanent or temporary, and that in order to keep myself healthy, stable and fully functioning I have got to live according to these limits as there is no way to “transcend” the physical reality for as long as I live within this body.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel guilty for giving myself rest as I have felt ashamed for my past where I escaped my reality into sleep and entertainment – a state of almost constant rest – and have wanted to “make up to” the opportunities I wasted during those years of escapism by not resting at all or resting as little as possible.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that it is possible to “make up to” the mistakes of my past, not realizing that these mistakes have already been done and that I cannot “work extra hard” within the present moment to live both for my past and my present as all that my physical body allows me to do is within the borders of the present: I can only live a full NOW, not a full yesterday or tomorrow.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to assign rest a negative energy charge through guilt and shame, not realizing that rest is neither positive nor negative but a requirement of the physical reality – it is what is here – a tool that can be used and/or abused.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that even though the boundaries of one's stamina may be pushed further, there is still a certain limit for how much I am able to do right now and that this limit cannot be crossed – and that this is what makes it impossible to “make up for” my past inaction.

I commit myself to gift myself with rest when and as my physical body indicates it requires it.

I commit myself to find ways to be more sensitive to the needs of my physical body – firstly by building myself a foundation from breathing and moment-to-moment self-awareness.

I commit myself to trust myself to spot the moments when I would be abusing rest to escape my responsibilities as I see, realize and understand that I am capable of noticing when my starting point for resting is not in my physical but in my mind.

I commit myself to realize that fatigue from studying is also physical as it is stress for the brain, and that the fact that the brain is located in the head doesn't mean that this fatigue is some trick of the mind which I have thought to reside in my head – which is starting to look more and more like a fallacy as I'm starting to see, realize and understand that the mind is integrated into the entire body – and that the fatigue caused by studying also requires some form of rest and recovery, whatever that may be.

I commit myself to reserve time for resting in my daily schedule.

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