I am squirreled away writing up a storm. Could be around 25,000 words. Not even halfway yet. And as you would expect, ChatGPT forms no part of my ideations. Thought I’d share with you the first draft of one of the sections somewhere in the middle.
Rest is NOT for sissies.
My husband and I have been happy dog owners for most of our marriage. Early on, we found an excellent breeder for our then-dog of choice, the Bichon Frise. (As much as we think the best dogs are always of the Heinz 57 breed, we both have allergies to dog fur and must, for the sake of our health, choose dogs with hair.)
Back to the breeder. We lived a few blocks from each other; she decided we were worthy parents for her dogs, and since I preferred her grooming style to others, she and I became close. She taught me that female dogs should only breed for their first four years. Thereafter two to four litters a year was too darn hard on their little bodies, and to continue to breed put their lives in severe jeopardy. So, after four years of intense ‘producing,’ they deserved a nice long retirement.
Around the same time that we became first-time fur parents, I took up gardening in a big and very expensive way. The most profound lessons I learned were never to fight Mother Nature; she ultimately knows best; everything has a season, and to bloom every year, all plants need a period of rest.
Funny thing. Throughout my life, I read, was taught, heard about and was pushed for more, More, MORE. No rest. No downtime.
Just keep pushing forward.
If the news aired a piece about the GDP going down, that was bad. Gotta keep it going up. If business profits went down, that was terrible. Gotta keep them all going up. Productivity is declining. EGADS. Change the trajectory and make it reach higher levels immediately. If enrolment levels in schools and universities slid a bit, my goodness, the end of that institution was very near. Very bad. Gotta get more students enrolled.
And have you ever paid attention to the level of howling that goes on in business every single time the government introduces a new labour law, better safety standards and even a statutory holiday? The mentality that we are still in the iron age remains with us. Which means work hard, don’t rest, and don’t get rewarded much either. Just keep your head down, push forward with all the old ideas, processes and systems that got us here, and never think about a break.
It’s even in the sports arena. How many players in any sport reach their pinnacle and then — gasp — they lose their edge because they need to rest, or worse, they age out and are ready for retirement? Yet, we don’t want them ever to stop. (And too many of them think so too.) It’s about being the Eveready Bunny — going and going and going.
And how about our children being pushed into ‘always striving’ mode? Rest was for the wicked. So everyone grabbed for the higher and higher levels of education, tutors, more debt and fancy career paths. Talk about stress! Kids today have backpacks strapped to their bodies and weighted down with yet more things to read and study.
To my mind, reading and learning are not periods of rest.
Honestly, I have never ever seen anything in nature or real life that can keep on going, always producing, always expanding, never taking a few steps back, sideways or even stopping still. Nothing. Not our cars, our cell phones, our homes, our bodies, our gardens, our kids, our pets. NOTHING. Yet we EXPECT that a never-ending, highly fueled, upward trajectory will always occur. In everything we do, touch, see, feel, buy, consume and are.
My mother was the only person who ever told me I should stop and take a rest before I proceeded further. Not my father, my brothers, my teachers, my professors, never my bosses and rarely my husband. My mother was the only person who ever told me to take a rest BEFORE I proceeded further! And she was right.
Because absolutely NOTHING can continue to expand and grow into perpetuity.
NOTHING. Rest, slowing down, stopping, and timeouts are just as good for businesses, governments, and economies as for people, animals, and plants.
Why haven’t more professors, elected officials and bosses figured out that REST is what rejuvenates and restores everything from our bodies to our businesses, to our schools and communities, to our stock markets, to our silly industries, to our livelihoods, to our countries and the world?
The globe, its biodiversity, AND humans are all collectively teetering on the edge. Exhausted. Burned out. Past our prime. We’ve all pushed ourselves, each other, and the planet extremely hard and raped and pillaged pretty much everything around us indiscriminately and forcefully. All in the pursuit of wealth accumulation and greed.
What we see today, what we are living through now and what will continue in the short term is the exposed underbelly of our collective thought and action processes. We have exhausted, taken and depleted so much more than we have given back or returned. Today, we are experiencing the dying embers of our good life and our good earth.
We must step up and make room for a new life. Or die. There is simply no other option.