05 July 2013

Importance of a Day Off

Feeling those old feelings of pressure and guilt when I'm not working all the time on my dissertation.  Yesterday, the July 4th holiday, I was able to take a day off.

Taking a day a week and perhaps a weekend a month to rest is something I know is invaluable.  And, I'm reminded of a mentor who told me that in a day there are three parts, and we must make sure to take one part for ourselves to relax in any way we see fit. 

I am aware of that fact that in a productive and task-oriented society, resting is a subversive act of resistance as I've heard some say.  In my life, I assume that resting encourages the dynamic process of being as present as possible moment to moment with space for self-reflection.  Such a life rarely manifests every single moment, but we are lucky if we have a handful of present moments in our day, week, month, or year.  Rest is the means, I believe, to cultivate our creative fire.  They, rest and fire, are in a trans-formative relationship.  (I'm reading the writing of Lyn Hejinian, and this paragraph is, in part, an attempt to emulate her style).

In my process of celebrating rest and fire, and in the midst of summertime, a friend and I read Mary Oliver's "Peonies":

     Do you love this world?
      Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
       Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
   and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
       fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
        nothing, forever?

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