Do you ever feel like life is just going on, and it is rushing rushing rushing and you are running and running to try and keep up? Like you can’t breathe? Like if you stop and take a breath it might crash, or people will get hurt or sad or disappointed in you? Realizing you can’t possibly keep this pace up, yet not seeing any time soon that it may stop? And then the coffee spills on your favorite white sweater while you are stuck in a traffic jam at the ONE PLACE there is no cell service for you to call and reschedule the client you are supposed to be seeing in ten minutes and you know you won’t be there because you are still 20 minutes away and the speedometer says you are going exactly .5mph? How long does it take to go 20 miles at .5mph? And your mind keeps calculating that, thinking maybe just maybe if it starts moving RIGHT NOW, I will get there?
Oh wait. That was my morning. And now, here I sit at my desk. Finally got service to reschedule the client-sorry about that-and now I have a few minutes to slow down and breathe and evaluate. Okay, it isn’t the cabin in the woods near a stream that is completely secluded from all the stress of life that seem to pervade both my day and night time dreams, but it is a few minutes to evaluate what I am doing, and what my priorities are, and how long do I really think this body and mind can do this…??
I realized as I was in traffic, with tears in my eyes and knot in my stomach (while talking to my mom before I lost cell service) that it is time for me to listen to what I often tell everyone else. Take some rest. REST. What does rest mean for me? I heard a Ted Talks last night about being BORED, and what actually happens in the brain when we slow it down enough (shut the phone off, tv off, the ‘busy’ off) to let it be bored. Great things happen! Connections are made from the past to the present to the future.
If there is time for it to rest, if there is time for it to be bored, and not use ALL the energy with the busy, we can be more creative, we can love more, we can spend more time with our kids or our pups, because we know we don’t get that time back. Our hearts and minds and souls need that. I know for me rest is so much about the NOT doing. There are always more things to be doing. More things to learn, more things to teach, more things to read, more things to clean, more people to talk to, more things to figure out. And yet, there is never enough time for all those things, and especially not enough time to be bored. Do you remember feeling that way as a kid? I remember saying “Mom, I am BORED!” Man, I would love to have that time again. That time in the summer when there really is just time. Time to play or not, read or not, eat popsicles or not, pick blueberries or not. Just time. And naps. Remember naps???
Maybe there is really something to be said for those brilliant kid brains we see. They don’t overschedule themselves, they are okay with a mess in their room, homework can wait, and there is room for excitement about little things like bubbles and bikes. If we look at the development of their brains we would see massive blooming of their neurons. Creating beautiful neural networks on how to navigate this world, having fun, playing, skipping, being bored. Yeah. No wonder they sleep so much better at night than we do. Their brains have time to integrate, slow down, process the world.
I think we need that. I need that. We grown ups in the world that feel the world will come crashing down if we don’t schedule that next training, or attend the meeting, or clean the stove-maybe we need some time to be bored. To be quiet. To really let our brain rest. To let some of those creative neurons reconnect and start firing again. Right? Because at the end of the day, it still is just that-the end of the day. What do our brains look like at the end of the day? Stressed, tired and worn out? Or full of peace and hope and love for all that we did and noticed? Rested? When we lay down to sleep at night, is there enough quiet in there to let our minds just rest? If you are like me, like it has been this past week, you feel the chaotic energy pulsing in your brain when you finally lay down to sleep. Your brain says “FINALLY, you are slowing down for me to have some time to catch up,” and then you spend hours with your brain trying to catch up and process consciously what happened during the day and how you felt about that meeting or that conversation with your son, whether or not you will be able to have time to get to the dentist next month, and pretty soon, all the time that your brain needs to go into a deeper sleep a restorative sleep, is gone, and it is morning, and you have to start it over again.
Yeah. So, there is that. And what do our brains look like? Probably scrambled eggs. So, maybe we need to slow down, and take the time to let our brains rest. Be bored.
Sounds simple. And SO NOT EASY. Simple answer, but not easy to implement. Maybe try this. I think this will be on my list today. No matter what else comes up, this is the time for my brain to rest.
Find a quiet place (not the living room where the laundry is piled up and you can see three dirty dishes that need tending to), maybe outside if you can. Take a journal, leave your phone off. Take a breath. Or fifteen. Let your brain catch up to what you are doing-giving it space and time to be bored. It will want to keep thinking, planning, figuring things out. Let it do that for a bit, then take more breaths. Let it feel that you are giving it space and time FOR REAL. (There are actual changes that happen in your brain when you do this, but if you are always on the go, it isn’t familiar, so it takes a bit for it to adjust/slow down/remember that it USED TO DO THIS when it was younger and more energetic). Then, when it feels quiet, and the thoughts are calm, take the time to reflect, to rest, to see what matters. Maybe write up the most important things that take time in your life and hold the places in your heart. See what connections are made from the past, present and future. See what happens when your brain is quiet enough to be connected to the whole person that you are. When you find it, let me know, and see what happens…..