Most of us do not rest enough.

Most of us need more rest.

And by “rest,” I mean more than your standard 8-hours-of-sleep.

I mean rest. Quiet. Stoppage. Retreating within.

Unfortunately, our days, our reputations, our self-worth is in many ways based upon how much we can do and get done, how well we plow through our to-dos, how consistently we are able to go-go-go.

Resting is a scary thought for some people. Stopping is scary. Retreating within is scary. Maybe if we stop, we will be left behind. Or maybe others will think less of us if we do less while they are doing more. Maybe we will be bored.

Needing to rest is a sign of weakness. An admission that we can’t keep up. A sign that we aren’t superhuman.

* * *

This past weekend, I gave myself permission to rest. I worked hard all week and had finished everything that needed to be finished so that nothing was hanging over my head.  (In the past, my non-finisheds always spilled over to the weekend, creating a weekend of catch-up and two more days that were just like the five I’d just had.) I spent two days radically resting — no expectations of myself, reading, staring into space (or at HGTV), going out only to the grocery store and on a double-date Saturday night.

It was lovely. And Monday, not only did I hit the ground running (depsite the pesky time change), but I felt energized even after a 11- or 12-hour work day jampacked with writing, client projects, admin tasks like invoicing and scheduling, and everything else that goes into a day in the life of running a business.

The thing about resting is that the need for it is consistent. It is not a one-and-done thing. It needs to happen in some form every single day. It is more than a day or two off every few months. It is a practice sustains, improves and betters us, emphasis on the word “practice.”

For me, resting incorporates many other areas. For instance, letting go of reactions to things and people that don’t matter is, to me, a component of resting. Planning my days, knowing what to include in a to-do list and what can wait, that, too, is a component of resting. Saying “no” to projects and clients that don’t fit (even if the money is great!) — resting, too.

The “radical” part of radical rest is not about the type of rest or the nature of the rest. It is about the ‘radical” idea of putting rest before doing sometimes. That’s what radical.

It may sound funny to say “I am working on my resting,” but perhaps that is exactly what I am doing.