The Importance of Rest
What if I lie down Right Now? What if I trust that giving myself permission to rest is part of my healing, part of my commitment to nurturing body and mind?
This week has been a very busy one for me. I’m already tired.
October is a full month with my daughter. There is a national holiday and at least 4 half days for teacher inservice and parent conferences. Halloween looms large and costume planning begins early. There’s the sock hop, book fair and school carnival.
In my home, there’s another event in October that rises far above national holidays. My daughter’s birthday.
Last Thursday, she turned 9. Yesterday marked the end of a week of festivities for my little extrovert, who loves big parties and plans events to the last detail.
October is quite an anniversary month for me. It holds memories of excited anticipation about her upcoming birth. I remember getting her little onesies ready, diapers arranged, and the changing table set up.
Because of what followed, it also holds the memory of having a painful lump in my breast that wouldn’t go away.
Two weeks before my scheduled due date, I went to see a doctor about the lump. After examining it, he recommended that I get an immediate biopsy. I was so surprised. I remember nodding that I understood this strange suggestion. Really?
“What exactly is a biopsy?” I asked myself a few minutes later in the car. How bizarre. What would be the need for that?
I was in my best health ever and preparing for a beautiful home birth. I felt strong and full of faith in my body’s natural capacities and strength, as well as my faith in God. Things were working out exactly as they were supposed to.
I put aside the idea of a biopsy, and went to my appointment at the midwife’s office. I was planning to pick up an inflatable birthing tub so we would be ready.
After visiting a few minutes in her office and telling her of the suggested biopsy, I started labor, 2 weeks early, without getting the tub into the car!
In retrospect, I believe my body had a deeper wisdom.
Thanks to my body’s knowing, it was my daughter’s good fortune to be born in hope and joy, free of the parental fear that would soon envelop us.
In my Yoga and Talk® Groups and classes, I hear a common desire from cancer survivors to make every moment count, and to get back to “normal” as soon as possible.
But we need rest in order to heal. After surgery, chemo, radiation, ongoing medications, and adjusting to side effects, we need lots of sleep and self care.
Instead of treating tiredness and fatigue with caffeine and sugar, we must give ourselves permission to take a break.
These days I am listening for the answers to these questions:
What foods will be truly nurturing and energizing to my body?
How can I schedule my life so there is room for mistakes, forgetting, traffic, running late?
Can I schedule in some fun and play?
Can I arrange to be present for my kid when she’s sick or sad?
Can I give myself permission to lie down and rest? Even when I’m no longer ill?
Today, the answer is yes.