I had some random aches and pains on Sunday, which didn’t seem to have been caused by anything in particular. This has been going on for the past few years, and I suspect it’s largely psychological, involving a combination of past stress and internalized cultural attitudes toward aging.

Whenever I get into a quiet, contemplative state and ask my body what it needs, the word that generally comes into my mind is “rest.” Well, okay, I’ve been working on that for a while now. Clearing away clutter, reshaping my life into a simpler and calmer flow, avoiding unnecessary stresses and obligations, and learning Reiki and setting aside old anger and worry—but, once again, “rest” was the word.

Given the fact that I was just sitting around on a Sunday afternoon doing nothing, it didn’t look like I needed more rest in the literal, physical sense. I hadn’t been overly busy with work or personal projects so far this year either, and I’d been sleeping fairly well. What was “rest” all about?

I considered the figurative uses of the word. Maybe I needed to be putting things to rest, such as old disappointments and outdated assumptions. Another possibility was that I had been giving something too much mental energy, and it was time to give it a rest.

I started thinking that I should write all this down as a blog post, which would help me to get my ideas better sorted. I’d have to find a nice restful image to illustrate it. A photo that I took in early January would do pretty well—a view of Tampa Bay from my hotel window.
 

View of Tampa Bay at sunset from Grand Hyatt hotel window. 

Then I looked at what I was actually doing in the here and now. After all, I’d made a resolution for this year to be present in the moment. What I noticed was that, instead of just sitting around resting, I was pondering the meaning of “rest” while busily composing a blog post in my thoughts. I wasn’t really “doing nothing” at all!

Rather than writing the post right away, I decided to let it wait while I took a nice relaxing soak in my whirlpool tub—which I’ve rarely used because I spent so many years feeling rushed and taking showers. I have to admit, the tub literally got dusty on more than one occasion.

By the time I got out of the tub and put on my pajamas, my mental gears had downshifted and I wasn’t in a mood for writing anymore. That was okay, I told myself—that blog post could just as easily get written on Monday. As it turned out, though, Monday was sunny and warm, and I did a little yard work in the afternoon because it seemed much too nice to sit indoors. Besides, I needed to pull grass out of my daylilies, which were coming up fast. I ended up playing a computer game with my husband in the evening.

On Tuesday, when I finally started writing this post, I looked up the origin of the word “rest” and discovered that it came from the Latin for “stand back.” There was also a digression about the word “restive,” which originally described unruly animals such as mules that just stood around and wouldn’t do as they were told. While that was interesting to learn, it didn’t seem to give me any useful perspective on what sort of rest I might need, unless what I needed was to stand back and let others do more.

So, after writing this much of the post, I left the rest of it (while noting that “rest” also means a portion remaining) for Wednesday. While I didn’t get around to finishing the post on Wednesday, it turned out to be a good day. Without getting into the details, I discovered that I had been mistaken about something that happened four years ago, and I hadn’t actually caused a problem that I had blamed on my bad judgment. Putting that self-blame to rest definitely did me some good, whether or not the mysterious aches might have had anything to do with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *