and I will give you rest

3 01 2011

January:

  • New Year’s poker with great friends and inviting acquaintances: New Year’s eve/day
  • CoTA:Epiphany; (Take the) Long Way Around the Sea:1.2.2011
  • 6 hours of baking + one game of telephone pictionary = awesome 1.6.2011
  • A lap around Green Lake and sitting down to a marvelous spread of lamb, pita, and Greek salad knowing the only reason I eat alone is because I choose it to be so 1.7.2011
  • Virtually every single moment of our weekend getaway to Oregon. Highlights: Sharing secrets and first impressions in the hot tub. Cross-species bonding. Executing a perfect form tackle in the snow. Hiding out with Baby J. Scribbling in my journal after everyone else had gone to bed. Folding the towels. 1.14-17.2011
  • An hour with Paul feeling genuinely heard and cared for and the redemption of an old catchphrase, “Not yet” 1.20.2011
  • Two hours watching/playing with the sweet Sky and insouciant Graci 1.31.2011

February:

  • A) A rare moment of genuine, heartfelt tenderness toward that portion of myself tenaciously and abrasively demanding I face and fight all of my unresolved issues, which I am usually so quick to flee. B) Sharing Canal Street Coffee, Fremont Peak Park, and everything it means to live inside my skin with my lovely friend. 2.3.2011

In Texas I taught myself that relaxing could only be defined by doing nothing. If I felt the need for a little R&R I would do less, no matter my prior level of (in)activity. If I had only left the house a half dozen times the week before but still felt the need to relax, by golly I’d only leave the house twice next week! Had I averaged ten hours of sleep every night? Guess it was time to bump it up to twelve.

But no matter how little I did, I could not find peace.

Summer arrived and I waved goodbye to Texas with a blessed sense of finality. I moved back to Colorado, found a full-time job at my old High School (making my mother and I work colleagues, which was strange and awesome), and stumbled upon the very relaxation I had been pursuing with such futility.

From whence did my rest come?

I found rest in toilet bowls. I vacuumed it from the carpets I cleaned 8 hours a day for three weeks. I dug it from the earth and felt peace settle around me like the concrete I poured around fence posts. I rediscovered the rest brought by unreserved laughter with good friends. I was reminded that seven hours of sleep after working my ass off all day is infinitely more recuperative than fourteen hours of sleep clung to because nothing I could think to do during the day was as exciting as the worlds I explored in dreaming.

I fell in love with the mountains all over again.

And I recalled the truth in the words of my favorite book in the Bible:

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them.

Why, then, did I abandon the lessons of summer once winter arrived and I found myself overcome by the trials of grad school, academically and emotionally?

What would have been more relaxing, an early start on final papers with the intention of making them the best I had ever written, or my chosen course of procrastination resulting in less than mediocre work?

I cannot speak to the first, but I am here to say that every day I took “off” in hopes of rejuvenating my mind and soul only left me ever more strung out and desperate. Every movie I watched rather than digging through my Interpersonal readings for that beast of a paper found me more unsettled, more certain I could never string together a coherent sentence.

This must not happen again.

Thus have I dreamt up Project Rest. Throughout the course of this semester I shall take note of moments when I am feeling most at peace with the world around me, most confident in my ability to contend with the demands of life, and record them right here. This way when I am inevitably feeling overwhelmed and inadequate I will have a solid foundation of effective examples to turn to for comfort rather than the patently false coping strategies I refined in Texas.

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8 02 2011
Subbing for Eden

[…] I first began Project Rest it was formatted around the assumption, learned via a tapestry of life woven with threads of […]

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