Finding Rest

Rest is as good as discovering gold these days. Amidst the pressing realities of work, home projects, fitness and food goals, budgets, and daily emergencies, finding rest can seem impossible, but is it?

I’m not speaking of bodily rest, though that is just as difficult to secure. Instead, I’m referring to a form of stillness in the soul, a peaceful contentment that rolls steadily and continually over the shores of your heart and mind, stabilizing and soothing you as the troubles -that will undoubtedly come- reveal themselves. It is a skill, a training of the mind, a discipline if you will, and a lifestyle that must be demonstrated for each new generation of women. And so the question arises, have we, the current women of the world, been taught this beautiful skill? Do we have the ability to find peace in our day, to be the eye in the middle of our storms? I submit that we do not.

Women, we have collectively lost this necessary grace. Our days consist of frantic running about, trying to make the most of every opportunity. Efficiency is our mantra. Multitasking is as normal as breathing. Speeding between work, errands and appointments is considered a necessary evil. Are our efforts actually effective?

Each day ends with us losing ourselves in the plot of our latest Netflick obsession or endlessly scrolling through our Instagram and Facebook feeds because our brains are mush. We struggle to find balance with our work, our health, our families, and our friends - losing sight of those dreams and goals that once provided us hope and inspiration. Must we wait until we are on the quiet sandy shores of a Hawaiian island or find escape on a serene mountaintop to regain our rest? Can we not find stillness here, in our present moment?

There are countless solutions touted on a daily basis: Instagram presents various quotes and essentials oil remedies; Pinterest guides us through meditation how-tos, multitasking tips, and sleep dos and don’ts; and the Huffington Post reports stress and relaxation studies for us to consider. The information is endless. Yet, despite these facts, we continue to struggle. How do we truly establish a restful life, without dropping all of our responsibilities and moving to Iceland?

An obvious answer remains: simplify, simplify, simplify.

Not everything is in your control. Your job, for example, cannot just be eliminated. I would suggest that simplified concentration could actually improve your efficiency and productivity. Single-minded focus on your client, topic, or team member can be incredibly effective. Adjustments could include: using a timer at work to control the amount of time you spend on each client or project instead of checking your email, editing photos and proofreading an article at the same time; switching out an intense daily workout for a contemplative walk along the sea to reflect on a hectic day; or meeting with a friend to catch up instead of reading updates on Facebook while cooking dinner and posting your latest gym photo to Instagram. It will mean learning how to say “no” to what is needless and “yes” to what is meaningful in your life. We cannot avoid the necessary, but the fluff – the wasted time – in our lives needs to go.

Why do we fill our lives with fluff? There is a voice, an internal drive, pushing us to do more, make more, and be more. Women, we are enough. We are valuable just as we are. Soak in this truth. We are free to work and play hard, but if we stop our worth does not decrease. The true test of a woman at rest is her ability to grasp her worth without measuring it by culture’s standards of beauty, wealth, and fame. These elusive expectations do not hold her. She lives intentionally and soars high above the tide of culture.

As seemingly simple as simplification may appear, it’s imperative that it be done in accordance with your unique temperament and lifestyle. Ask yourself: are you a vivacious extrovert with a drive that rarely dims, but may cause you to underestimate the hours in a day? Or are you more of a gentle introvert with a deep desire to see others happy, but admittedly can’t say no? Identify your natural gifts and unhealthy defaults. Know yourself; understanding your tendencies will help you uncover the actions needed to quiet your life.

Develop a productive lifestyle and live with purpose; you will find success with your to-do lists at work and at home. You may even encourage and inspire women around you towards a renewed life of joy and internal freedom.

A woman at rest possesses an irresistible aura. She radiates life. We too can radiate. Choose to pause, reflect, and live intentionally within the storms of this life. Be different and pave the way for the women of tomorrow.

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