I did something very unusual a few weeks ago just prior to the Fourth of July holiday. I rested for four days straight. I ate, slept, and read and did absolutely nothing else!
In the past I would have been frustrated that I didn’t feel like working, hiking, crafting, or a million other things. For the first time in my life, however, I had no resistance whatsoever to listening to my body. It was delicious, rejuvenating, and highly purposeful time. It reset my mind, re-fueled my body, and helped me re-commit to a whole new level of self-care.
If you grew up like me, you know that our culture celebrates the purpose in our busy-ness, our activities, and our achievements. Rest on the other hand, is often considered a luxury, a ‘necessary evil,’ a waste of time, or worse… laziness! It is so easy to believe we have purpose when we’re achieving something, creating something, or helping someone. It is a lot harder to embrace being ‘purposeful’ when we’re not busy.
Nonetheless everything we do has purpose if done with love. Your down time is just as purposeful as your “busy” time. Your rest is just as important as your exercise. Your time to daydream is just as important as your time to think. Whatever we do, as long as we do it with love and authenticity has purpose.
I ended up reading a great book about Louisa May Alcott (“Invincible Louisa” by Cornelia Meigs.”) I’m not even sure how it ended up on my kindle app but it was there, and so I dove into it. I had no idea the famous author of “Little Women” grew up around such amazing thinkers as Emerson and Thoreau, that she was a nurse in the civil war, traveled the world as a caretaker, and never gave up on her dream of supporting her family, nor allowed ill health to overtake her zest for living. My “down time,” spent reading about her “up time” greatly inspired me.
So this week, if you feel inspired to act with love, then by all means do so, but perhaps you, like me, could use a little rest. If so, just know that your down time has purpose. God would not have invented the fall and winter if the trees were meant to bloom all year. Even they rest, knowing that in their slumber they are gathering energy for their next cycle of activity.
Here are a few pointers to help you find purpose…
1. Pick something you consider purposeless, and list at least ten reasons why it has a loving value.
The angels challenged me to do this years ago when I was whining about “wasting time” on housecleaning. They asked me to “love my house,” give thanks for my house, give thanks for being able to share my house, for the furniture I loved, much of it with its own story. They showed me how “loving my house” was a way to share my love with both myself and everyone who visited, to save time in the future (because I could find things in an organized home) and to master the art of being present. Soon I was whistling while I worked!
Resting has purpose… it helps your brain loosen up its grip on preconceived notions and see things in a new light. Your body self-heals. You get new ideas, new guidance, and fresh perspectives. You are more apt to take better care of yourself when you rest because you let go of your addiction to adrenaline. Rest has great meaning.
Try it… Pick something you consider purposeless, and list at least ten reasons why it has loving value.
2. Before bedtime, ask yourself, “How would the world be different if I hadn’t been here today?”
Perhaps you let someone move in front of you in traffic and that kind act made their day. Without you they might have had an accident. Maybe you called a friend in need. Without you they might have spiraled into a tough mindset. Perhaps you slept all day. Without you there would be one less ripple of peace in the cosmic pond… everything has value.
3. If you really want a “greater purpose” as we humans say, write down three of your biggest complaints in life. Explore how you can you contribute to the solution.
Seeing love, being love, and expressing love are purpose enough. The angels maintain your very act of breathing and being is a contribution. However, being human, many people want to find something to do that feels like a contribution to humanity. That is wonderful, but what if you don’t know what to do?
Years ago the angels said something simple – “Your biggest complaints are clues to your greatest passion.”
If you hate the fact that people are starving, find ways to feed someone. If you hate animal abuse, volunteer at a shelter or visit and share love with one of its residents. If you can’t stand seeing people dis-empowered, teach empowerment. You get the idea. Your complaints do indeed show you your passions.
This week try to start looking at everything you do and everything you are as having purpose, meaning, and value. In that space, life takes on a new vibrancy, and starts to feel more joyful. Never, the angel say is anything we do, or anything we are, wasted in the greater scheme of life.