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On Rest and Recovery During Times of Unrest

One of the first questions I ask at the beginning of a session is, “What does your self-care look like lately?” This is not a one-off, or to inject our conversation with an industry buzz-word, but because how we tend to ourselves, especially during times of deep macro, external, social and political unrest, creates the foundation upon which everything else rests.

Perhaps this seems counter-intuitive. Perhaps it seems as though to take extra time, more time, in order to care for ourselves, we are somehow taking from other areas that we think need us more. Yes, we tell our friends, and our children, and our partners, to ‘fill their cups’, and we understand this abstractly, maybe even concretely. It is often easier to tell someone else to rest, to take care of themselves, than it is to follow our own good advice.

And so it is with utmost respect for the great upheaval we find ourselves in, as individuals, and as a collective, moving through this domino run of uncertainty, that I officially give you permission to Rest. Recharge. Reflect.

It is often easy to spin out, to check the news 30 times a day (I checked many more times than this, my phone log informs me, since May 25), in order to stay informed, to know what is going on, so as to prepare, protect, plan, understand, communicate.

We can be selective in the amount of difficult news you consume, in order to be better informed, in order for it to actually stick and sink in. To pause and breathe in between, you create the opportunity to integrate what you have read and heard into your consciousness, and begin to form a clearer picture. You may even begin to recognize that what is hurting others out there, may also have a home in us, whether or not we acknowledge it. When you bombard yourself with information, you leave little time to understand how that information is best understood in your own life, your own family, your own community, and on.

As a lifelong introvert, who recharges and reboots best when solitary, I know firsthand the wisdom that comes from quiet contemplation. As a person with diagnosed ADD and Anxiety, who uses information as a way to better prepare and plan, but also as a distraction and escape, I understand the difficulty in finding quiet in a world seemingly built to fill every crack and crevice with urgency and noise.

But if everything is urgent, then nothing is.

We must actively, courageously, radically tend to ourselves and our loved ones, right now. We must ferociously protect our moments of quiet, rest, reflection, in order to be better prepared for unrest and upheaval. We must actively create opportunities for ourselves to absorb and respond to what is happening all around us, to be fully present in this moment. We must be heroic in our quest for greater self-knowledge and compassion, in order to extend that to others.

Over the past few days, I have kept a candle with the words HOPE and PEACE etched into it, along with an arrow pointing upward to lead the way. At first, the candle was intended to burn for all the people who are suffering right now, to send out my own heartfelt longing that they remember hope and find peace, in this time of great upheaval. As the candle has burned each day, it has occurred to me that these words are also for myself, for my children and partner, for my community, and for all communities.

And for you.

With Love, Hope, and Peace -

Rachel V.

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