I’ve been having a restful couple of weeks, and coupled with the snow, it’s brought me to a pace of slower than usual. I’m one of those people who don’t actually know how to rest, or what to do if they did, so it’s been a learning, or rather experiencing curve. I could tell I needed it when I began losing things, including my wallet, and becoming seriously forgetful and distracted. Stress, I think, was part of it, coupled with a death in the family, and I was advised to take some time off. So I walked into town, rather than driving, because there was a foot of snow on the ground, and did pottery for half a day, before buying a nice meal and walking back home. I found a fiver on the floor which confirmed the tide had turned in terms of losing things, and found the hat and Huel bottle I had left at the studio.
Today I also walked to an appointment, and back again, and I’m feeling the strange sensation of lack of pressure. Someone told me we should work from rest, rather than rest from work, and I think that’s important to understand, as it addresses the prioritisation factor that causes all cases of burnout and stress related malaise.
The strange thing is, no one is goading me into working more, or harder, or at all. There’s no external pressure whatsoever, and yet I have been pressured, so that must be internal, and perhaps that’s the deeper lesson here. Why have I been pressuring myself? For what end? It’s like a work ethic that isn’t balanced by a rest ethic of at least equal magnitude. So work is the default, the constant, and rest has to be worked at in order to be achieved or even allowed time for. So resting itself becomes work, because it is anti intuitive, and requires effort.
I’m pretty certain I haven’t been living right, and this is made only slightly less obvious by the fact that I’m pretty sure everyone else isn’t living right either.
Why are we all running around so much? There’s been hardly any cars on the road in the last few days due to snow. Imagine if that continued for a week, or a month, and we just had to walk places, and slowly at that. Would that really be so bad? I think we would become less stressed, more chilled out. Not always trying to do more and more. Never leaving time to do less, to stop. When throwing pottery on the wheel, the first and most important thing is to center the clay. If the clay isn’t centered, as soon as it becomes taller, increases in form, it starts to wobble, and if one continues to work it, the form will fail and the piece will collapse. Balance and centredness. Being centered. I think that’s what being relaxed feels like. Being centered.
A time for all things, a time to work, a time to rest, a time to sow, a time to reap. And a time to reflect on ourselves, and consider if we are the cause of our own stress, if we have been our own bad boss, or hard boss, always pushing for more, always thinking that work is the prime purpose.
Work is not the prime purpose. Which then leads to an obvious question of what is?
Perhaps peace is the prime purpose.
I think I’ll leave that there.