Rest As Resistance

Oct 21, 2020

Rest As Resistance

In my early 30’s I began to tune into the cyclical nature of life. I live in a place with very distinct seasons. Each season has a particular energy that subtlety but powerfully influences me. So, lately I’ve been thinking about rest and more specifically the kind of rest that comes from emptying. I’m noticing how the season of fall, especially in the north draws me inward and to a quiet, slower rhythm. But this inner draw flies in the face of the outer world that whirls on, immune to an underlaying rhythm that invites a balance of activity and non- activity.

We’ve all had the experience of collectively pausing at the start of the pandemic. I’ve heard from so many people how welcome that pause was, after the initial shock of the lock down passed. And now as we’ve “sort of” returned to normal, how challenging and resistant people feel to rev back up. And of course, nothing is “back to normal” now. I experience it, and hear from others, the unacknowledged stress under laying this subtle yet powerful shift that has happened. The pandemic, the uncertainty, the change that’s impacted our everyday, ordinary lives, but more importantly the forces that have been unleashed in the world that’s turning business as usual, on its head.

Recently I heard about a woman, Tricia Hersey who leads something called The Nap Ministry. How brilliant! Her tag lines offer - examine the liberating power of naps, believing rest is a form of resistance and reparations. She’s a black woman from Atlanta, Georgia who curates safe and sacred collective nap experiences, sometimes in public community spaces, to gather and harness the power of rest together. Her work confronts racialized violence and inequality, capitalism, the patriarchy, and white supremacy that is central to it all. In her wisdom, she knows and supports others to stop, as an act of power.

Then later this month I took part in an international Family Constellation workshop on the theme of the up-coming US election, looking to gain insight into the forces that are driving this universal place we find ourselves in. Again, the theme was pause - listen - stop the blind over activity; connect with each other, deeply listen, feel what’s really going on.  

We have a giant opportunity to collectively pause. At this potent time of uncertainty, in the enormous forces of change that are afoot, at a time when we need change so desperately, it might seem counter intuitive to make space to “do” nothing. But the first step must be to listen, and feel what’s truly going on. Then one might have some idea how to take back your own life, in your own hands; how to contribute to the change our world so needs.

I ask myself and I ask you - what would my life look like, your life look like, if we finally got to that place of being deeply rested and deeply restored? What might be birthed from that place?

So, in this season of fall, heading into the darkness, and perhaps daring to hear that call for quiet and stillness will we make space for this energy that invites rest and reflection?

On Tricia Hersey’s website, she has some inspiring photos of people at rest. An image can spark a revolution. I invite you to let these photos effect you and to follow the call they inspire! 

Next entry: What’s Being Lost?

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“I had signed up for the workshop with a vague idea of validating whether or not beekeeping was something I wanted to get back into, so wanted the real experience and ‘instruction’ around hive life.  But I also wanted to spend time in the imaginative life of beekeeping – so the poetry, and your story of bees as a significant part of your healing journey was really important.  Sensing into your relationship with them - the calm, the respect, the love – was an important part of witnessing how a relationship with bees teaches those very things.  I loved how the different activities dove-tailed so well into one another.  The ‘energy meditation’ of approaching the hive taught me well about respect for boundaries, and the deep purposefulness of their lives.  We can co-exist beautifully as long as I ‘let them bee.’ “

Jean Ogilvie Leadership Development Facilitator and Coach