Permission, a Practice, and the Pursuit of Rest


Last week, I spoke at a virtual conference on Lead AND Have a Life.  It was a powerful experience of sharing with school leaders from around the world.Following a couple of sessions, I wondered, what was the simplest and most powerful teaching I offered.  Well, that’s easy.  What got the biggest response and reflection from school leaders is…

You have permission to rest.

Have you ever asked, “How can I even enter into rest?”  Possibly, even that feels like one more thing on your To-Do list.  Plus, you already feel the pressure of the upcoming school year, particularly the hiring!  Then, you may just simply give up and say, “Well, that’s just the life of service I chose.”I’ve been there.And, I continue to inquire about this permission to rest daily, seasonally, and when my body cries out with need.Giving ourselves permission to rest, in both active and quiet ways, is exactly what we need to sustain the emotional labor of our work.  What if it actually is the fast track to a terrific school year?!

A Practice to Rest

Do you remember this toy?A twisted rubber band powers it.  You turn and turn, tighten and tighten until the power is pent up.  Then, you release and the butterfly wings flutter.This is like stress in our lives.  We twist and twist.  The tension can be powerful and effective.  However, eventually, we run out of power and need to replenish.  Possibly, ‘rewind’ (pun intended).My colleague and yoga teacher, Sonya Thomlinson, of Mindful Rest uses this metaphor of the rubber band as well.  Then, she offers, along with her husband Jeff, yoga nidra as a practice for coming to rest.  Definitely check out their free recordings to experience rest.

The Pursuit of Rest

I feel like the first decade or two of my adult life, rest was something I pursued with collapse at the end of a long day of ‘earning.’  Or, I pursued it by season, I would find it on vacation in a drool-by-the-pool experience.  Now, I realize chasing rest isn’t as effective as designing for it. 

  •  Creating margin in my schedule, 
  • breathing, 
  • experiencing life in the moments of sensory bliss, or 
  • ritualizing rest with my evening tea…

All of these daily experiences remind my nervous system that I’m safe.  They are experiences of rest.  This summer, how will give yourself permission, practice, and pursue rest more regularly.For the sake of the children,Karine