Nothing To Do
Wednesday evening. 9pm. I just finished guiding my girls through a little yoga nidra before bedtime. After a full day, I got to my bedroom to take some rest myself. Not even five minutes and I can hear some movement from the girls’ room. Slowly following the pitter-pattering of feet, Sophia emerges from the hallway. “Momma, I can’t sleep”, she said in a slightly restless way.
Sophia tends to have a little trouble sleeping at night. The yoga nidra has been helpful, but even so some nights, it takes a few times and a lot of patience in encouraging her back to her room for rest.
I responded to Sophia saying, “It’s ok if you can’t fall asleep right away. Don’t struggle with it. Let the body rest anyway and maybe you can think about things you enjoy or that make you happy.” Feeling a little exasperated, she said, “Yes momma, but… there is nothing TO DO. And I can’t sleep”. I smiled and giggled and told her that nothing to do was exactly the point of rest. To make a longer story short, I eventually sent her off to bed with a big hug and a kiss. And thankfully today she seems to have surrendered to rest.
For many of us rest and relaxation does not come easy. We are almost patterned to be constantly doing, and more so the pace of doing seems to only be getting faster. I am currently teaching an iRest Yoga Nidra series in town that is designed specifically to encourage time for conscious rest. I am not talking about the tuning out to television kind of rest, which serves its own purpose. I am referring to making time for resting both consciously and deeply into all the intricate layers of our being. A handful of students in this series feel both intrigued and challenged. “This is hard, I didn’t realize how wound up I really was” or “I am not really good at relaxing”. Yes, rest does not come easily in a culture that rewards the do more, be more attitude. However, without pause and rest, how do I make time and space to examine the direction and the intention of all my doing? How do I make time to hear and feel the more subtle things in the background of the busyness that really help me to know the state of my being? And most importantly, how do I create space from the patterned chatter in the mind, the patterned habits of the heart and body so that I can arrive fresh and free from these patterns and open to new ways and ideas? Deep rest is quite significant in more ways than I can elaborate in this post alone, but perhaps I have piqued your interest enough for you to continue your own exploration.
“Nothing to do”. Rather than from a place of frustration, as Sophia expressed, I will carry this as a sweet mantra in the evenings for myself and my family. “Aaaahhh, nothing to do, just the sweetness of rest”.
Sweet dreams. Sweet rest. To All.