Hardly a waste

Visitors wisely invest some time in resting under the cherry blossoms, Washington DC, April 2013

Visitors wisely invest time resting under the cherry blossoms, Washington DC, April 2013

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”Sir John Lubbock

Rest is not optional; it’s necessary to health and sanity, but it seems we are in danger of forgetting that.  Even our time off is compulsively scheduled with activities.

Nor does rest always consist of sleep, although we tend to think of it as such.  “Get some rest,” we say to people in the evening, and in the morning we ask “did you rest well?”  But how often have you heard anyone say “I’m headed to the park for some rest” or “I’ll be in the garden resting.”

People do collapse in exhaustion in front of the television and refer to that as “rest,” but a number of studies show that electronic stimulation is not restful, and commercial messages intrude with unwanted content, increasingly embedded into the actual productions to circumvent viewers’ attempts to delete or fast forward through them.

The advent of ever-present mobile devices only complicates the picture.  When I was looking through my photos, I came across a lovely shot of a woman with her dog, sitting in the grass near the water’s edge.  The dog looked sublimely happy and relaxed, but the woman’s gaze was glued to a smart phone.  Was she resting?  Probably not at that moment, though hopefully she tuned out for at least a few minutes, long enough to enjoy the beautiful setting.

Like most people, I feel guilty when I sit around “doing nothing,” even if I’m reading, making mental to-do lists or planning a meal.  We are so programmed to think that staying busy is our responsibility, and we often confuse physical activity with accomplishment.  While a healthy amount of activity is necessary and desirable, maybe we tend to overdo it.

With absolutely no vested authority, I hereby grant you permission to spend a few minutes today doing nothing but relaxing and taking in beauty.  It can be time spent enjoying nature, music, poetry, art, or a playful baby or animal.  What it can’t be is a task, an obligation, television, busy work or sleep.

If you find it hard to unplug from your responsibilities long enough to give your mind and body a brief time of rest, it’s a pretty good sign this goal should go to the top of your “MUST do NOW!” list.  Good luck – and “get some rest!” 😀

One year ago today:

Solace, inspiration, adventure

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


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