Seek Unity, Dissolve Polarity and Thrive "
~ Sheryl Worthington
The Amazing, Transformative Powers of Rest
It's the space between the notes that makes the music, according to Anne LeClaire, author of Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence. And if space can do that for music, just think what it can do for human beings!
Our culture has been built upon achievement. We value productivity and even tend to think we are more important, alive, connected or valuable when we have a lot going on. I'm not advocating that we just sit like lumps, but perhaps we have burrowed a bit too far into the productivity paradigm for our own good.
The benefits of rest to our health, mind, spirit and even productivity are enormous. In fact, practicing relaxation affects 40,000 genes in the body, producing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant changes to reduce stress, according to Herbert Benson, MD, of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (and creator of a deep state of relaxation called the Relaxation Response).
In addition, research suggests resting, meditating, practicing yoga and having a massage can also alleviate symptoms of depression, arthritis, insomnia, infertility, cancer, anxiety, while lowering blood pressure, raising your heart rate, and increasing oxygen levels.
When living hectic lives, we don't have the opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, either. Spiritually, we can't access our wisdom or a sense of belonging. We also tend to have a “short fuse” and our relationships suffer. Conversely, if we allow ourselves the quiet time that helps us go within, we tap into our creativity and a whole new view of the world takes shape.
A former supervisor used to say we were "sharpening the saw," when we would go on vacation. That doesn't necessarily mean all vacations are restorative, but taking a break from your usual routine can work wonders. When you can’t go on vacation, some day to day restful activities you could try are:
Writing in a journal
Soaking in a hot bath
Taking five slow, deep breaths and holding it at the top of the breath for the count of one before releasing (especially good for insomnia). This practice actually calms the vegus nerves, which run from the cranium through the neck to the chest and intestines. Deep methodical breathing can physically induce a restful state or sleep.
Silence is something many of us don't always receive in abundance and it is unfortunate because, as many spiritual practitioners know, it feeds the soul. In fact, there are various orders of monks who take a vow of silence that can last weeks, month and beyond. While that may sound a bit drastic, you might try something as simple as turning off the radio in the car or walking in silence, gradually increasing the duration and frequency of your quiet times, depending on your comfort level.
As life gets hectic, you might find your own restful practices and schedule them into your week. Always go for the idea that resonates or sounds especially attractive to you. It is more likely to keep you engaged and you will find yourself acting more like you are in the calm eye of the storm instead of a stressed out (and under the weather) casualty of the season.
Delicata Tahini Squash
2 delicata squashes (about 7 inches long)
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Aminos
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Slice squash in circular discs about 1/8 inch thick, leaving
3. In a small bowl mix tahini, Bragg’s Aminos, cayenne and water, adding a bit of water to get a creamy
4. In a large bowl, mix squash slices in sauce until each piece is
5. Place on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkle with pepper and place in the oven for 15
6. Flip pieces and bake another 15 minutes, or until the squash is soft and tender.
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