Practicing Rest

Practicing Rest

My grandmother used to say “I heard that on tv!” what she meant was, the tv was on while she was ironing, mending or puttering. She could not sit still unless it was to have a conversation with someone, and if she wasn’t serving tea or a meal, she would often be hemming something for one of us grandchildren. I am a lot like my grandmother, it is not easy for me to rest, especially if I am at home, where there ia an endless list of things I want/need to do, not even including basic housework, which I really don’t enjoy doing very much anyway!

What often happens is that I go, go, go until I stop. Most of the time, this stopping is not really resting, because I am just too tired. Rest is something I am working on though, and I am better at resting my body than I have been in a long time. I can sit happily, or take a sweet stroll with my husband, or float in a warm body of water like nobody’s business. Lounging with a good book is hard to beat too.

What is still challenging for me is resting my mind. It likes to race even faster than my body. There is so much to worry about: climate change, the well being of all my nieces and nephews, the well being of my parents and my in laws, as well as the questions like: will I ever have an income again, can I ever get used to my 45 year old metabolism, what will I do when I run out of my favorite show on Netflix? On and on my mind goes, mostly mulling over so many things I can’t control.

I have found a few things that do help me rest my mind. One of my favorites is being in the mountains with my sweet husband, walking with him and discovering new flowers, a new path or spotting wild life reminds me to be present to here and now, being distracted about Netflix means we might miss something amazing right in front of us.

Yoga helps my mind rest, I can’t worry about my grocery list, while I am focusing on my breathing and working to relax into poses.

If I can’t get into the mountain, a walk around the park, or the neighborhood also helps rest my mind.

Given a good amount of time, cooking helps rest my mind too, with the repetition of chopping and stirring and creating.

I like to rip beautiful paper and create collages. As long as I remember to let go of the outcome, and allow the process of creating to be enough, I can rest my mind doing this as well, and sometimes something beautiful gets created!

I am learning how to meditate, or practice what Christians call contemplative prayer, I find just about when the time set aside for this meditative activity is ending, my mind begins to settle. I spend an awful lot of time analyzing myself and wondering if my feet will fall asleep, that it takes a while to settle.

But I keep practicing, because I am noticing a difference, and with each practice of stretching, walking, chopping, ripping and gluing, or meditating, my mind is beginning to rest a bit more easily.

Author: Rebecca Crummey

I am an Episcopal priest, photographer, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, yoga enthusiast, and foodie.

4 thoughts on “Practicing Rest”

  1. turning my brain off is a lot of energy, but I too find that yoga is helping. what an act of discipline! thanks for your post.

  2. What can be better than a walk in the park, cooking or ripping beautiful paper. Thanks for a message I need to hear.

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