I vividly remember my little-girl self racing up the front walk to my grandmother’s house across the street from Farmer’s Market in Hollywood. My younger sister and I would eagerly finger
the door bell which would lead to our favorite grandmother. We would be filled with anticipation, standing on tippy toes to look into her front bedroom window. Almost always, she
would be lying down, resting, probably before one of her late night Arthur Murray balls. The fact is that our grandmother was modeling resting to us in a very real way. She knew that to do all
she did, and it was a lot, she had to rest. That value has sustained me across my life while I managed 120 rental units, was a political wife, mother to three active children, held down a
full time college teaching job and mastered portraiture. In more recent years rest has sustained me as I volunteer in my community, facilitate a loss of a loved one group, meet with private
clients and turn out books.
I admit that in those early days I was sometimes the object of a ridicule, ( I still hear other couples saying, “We’re out with Donna and Ken, gotta’ get our girl home early…”). If there was a layer of criticism, I ignored it. Over time our friends came to understand that Donna makes rest a priority. Just yesterday, as I greeted my coaching client, she hugged me hello remarking, “Donna you must have 48 hours in each day!”
I just smiled as I thought not really. It is just that I listen to my body and take time to recharge my internal engine. When I was a young, exhausted mother, blazing the feminist conviction that a mother could do it all; hold down a career while raising good kids, that same grandmother frequently admonished me, “Donna , no one will take care of you except yourself.”
I began to take that to heart. I got some housekeeping help. I scheduled weekly massages, I learned to say no to non-essential activities, above all else, I rested. An article by Emma Derman Teitelon in the elephant journal, April 14, 2015, resonated with me on this important subject. Emma notes that the people she sees are depleted, uninspired, and exhausted. She says this is because of a “deep rejection of rest…when we rest it is easy to feel unworthy. In stillness it is easy to question our value.” She goes on to discuss the social addiction to speed. Imagine drive-through dry cleaners, pharmacies, banks, Starbucks! Oh that’s right, you don’t have to imagine, they are everywhere! Somehow many of us women have come to revere the mandate of “doing it all,” aspiring to becoming superwomen. This is in direct violation of our feminine need to reflect, to be, to contemplate. Also it is not possible without paying a too high price.
Perhaps we can do a lot of it, but we must rest. There is no doubt about the mind body connection. If one is to be at one’s creative best, connected to the inner life force, it is essential to rest. We cannot be our authentic selves when we are depleted and exhausted. You know that when you do too much, your body finally screams, “time out!” You become ill. Let us not wait until then. Let us live the longest and fullest lives possible, let us celebrate the quiet, enjoy the pulse of our own hearts, for in that stillness we regenerate ourselves and there is simply more of us to go around.
Ladies you are invited to the Mother’s Day “Get Happy” Event at the Center Club in Costa Mesa on May 12th where I will be sharing more ideas about living more fully. Go to www.womansage.org to reserve your served dinner.
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