I felt like I had been hit by a truck last Friday.
Too much going going going and doing doing doing left me feeling sad, depleted, and exhausted. At 3:30 in the afternoon, I crawled under the safety of the covers, willing the softness of the blankets to work their magic on my frantic mind and sore body.
And, here’s the thing…it took me getting to that point to learn a big lesson. Sometime, we have to give ourselves permission to “not.”
To not do anything, say anything, be anywhere. To not have to engage, or work, or whatever it is that keeps our minds and bodies teetering on the consistent edges of exhaustion. We live in a world that demands constant connection and fast responses. How many of us have sent a text and then tapped our foot impatiently as the seconds and minutes roll by in anticipation of a text back. These responses we wait for have somehow become affirmation of our existence on this planet…the yes, we are here, and yes, we do matter. Do they “like” me, do they “see” me, am I “good enough,” and is what I am saying “worthy?”
Rather than holding our own existence gently in our core being, we farm it out – on social media, in our interactions with people, in the the things we purchase, and in the spaces we work. We are beholden to being there, doing that, meeting this person, showing up here and there and everywhere despite the call of our souls to come back home. Not home in the physical four walls sense, but home in the space that resides in the stillness and quiet deep within. That space I needed to reconnect to under the covers last Friday.
Not doing can feel (and has been labelled) lazy. Not doing conjures up this idea that we are missing out somehow. Not doing suggests an unwillingness to participate – and that, in our society, is just not acceptable. When we give ourselves permission to “not,” we are in fact doing one of the most important things for ourselves…we are giving ourselves a chance to rest, restore, reconnect, rewire. We are giving ourselves a moment to take a deep breath and feel those things that haven’t had a chance to be felt. We are allowing space for processing and integration.
That’s why the practices of restorative yoga and poses like savasana are so important. They give our bodies a moment to recalibrate, to absorb, to surrender, to let go. Meditation itself is the practice of finding stillness and “not.” Not overthinking, not judging, not moving. These are practices that ask us to come home again and again, to recognize when we want to distract in order to avoid, and to experience the feeling of “not” – even for just a brief second.
There is a sweetness and power in giving permission to “not.” A care and respect for body, soul, and mind. A practice we should be undertaking much more often.
I’m getting better at giving myself permission to “not.” Last Friday was my reminder.