lessons learned: take rest

I wrote this one several years ago, and as I sit here this morning engaged in some time of self care, I thought I would re-read it.  The one piece I would lift up from this post is the commitment to being proactive rather than reactive.  Rest and self care should be a part of our regular routines, even scheduled if need be.  Rest shouldn’t wait until our bodies are so tired or sick that it is prescribed for better physical or emotional health.   Take care of you~cameron

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.  ~Ovid

Last night, I was reading an article on biodynamic farming (I know–light reading on a Friday night!).  It happened to mention the importance of letting the land be fallow for a year after 6 years of harvest and defined “fallow” as farmland that is plowed but unsown for the seventh year so it can restore its fertility.  As I lay in my bed struggling to keep my eyes open, I thought, “Boy, I could use a year of rest!  How do I make that happen?”

Recently, in my Just Be women’s group, I facilitated a conversation on our bodies as God’s gardens.  We talked about the benefits of eating healthy foods, drinking water, being active/outdoors and getting enough sleep.  Seems that these four basic human needs are often overlooked when we get busy or overwhelmed.  What we often forget is that these four practices are actually what prevent us from becoming sick in mind, body, or spirit during challenging times.

Having the body clock of a night owl, I usually struggle with the “getting enough sleep” piece.  If I could hop in the bed around midnight or so then sleep til 8 or 9, I’d be great.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t work so well when you have a teen who has to get to school by 7:15am.  I’ve learned that if I don’t start off the week getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, I am not worth a dime at work or home by Thursday.

What farming has taught me is that a field’s being fallow doesn’t mean it isn’t doing anything, to the contrary.  At many levels, it is actually “working” to renew itself so it can be prepared for the next season in its life journey.   It needs the opportunity of rest to actually strengthen itself for what lies ahead–another period of sowing, growing, and harvesting.

In our “just do it” society, we forget to “just be” and just rest.  We deplete ourselves of the basic human needs so important to our wellbeing then wonder why we fall apart in exhaustion and illness.  As gardeners, farmers, homesteaders, or even as the gardens of the Creator, I encourage us all to acknowledge and appreciate those times of rest, renewal and care.  It will serve us well as we grow into the next season and cycle of growth on our life’s journey.

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