“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out I found was really going in.”
How long has it been since you laid in the grass and watched clouds sail by? When was the last time you walked in the woods? Not hiked twelve miles, not climbed a rock face, not trained for an Iron Man—just sauntered through the woods on a trail, lollygagging and admiring the wild flowers. It's been a while for me, too. Even our ideas about play are stressful these days. We striving humans have the misconception that rest equals idleness, and therefore should be avoided. Instead, we spend our lives toiling away so that someday, in that far off land called “Retirement” we can bask in the sun and listen to waves lapping gently on the shoreline. That time almost never comes—either we work ourselves into an early grave, or we simply never stop working—we take care of aging parents, half of us raise our grandchildren, or we take on multiple demanding volunteer projects. Better learn how to rest now, my friend, because these are your golden years.
I was standing on line at the Post Office recently when a gray-haired delivery man came through the door with a load of heavy boxes. The guy behind the counter called to him, “Hey, Bud, how are ya?” and his response was, “Livin' the dream, man! Livin' the dream!” I almost fell out laughing. It's true. This is the American dream—toil your whole life—and maybe there's nothing wrong with that. That's certainly what all generations before us did, especially those who farmed the land, or owned small businesses. Work, after all, is noble. But so is rest.
It is during those moments of resting in the grass on a summer's day, watching clouds go by that we have opportunity to go in—to ponder and imagine, to contemplate and settle into the flow of the earth's energy. Alan Watts put it this way: “You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” Sometimes, it's good to rest, and realize your kinship with the trees and the stars. This is your home. Let it renew you.
In the Spirit,