Permission to “Chill”, by Kristin Fisher
Like most of us, I’ve been groomed to push myself toward achievement in most areas of my life. It seems that, in the current culture, it’s no longer cleanliness that we deem closest to Godliness; it’s busy-ness.
If our calendars aren’t a rainbow of appointments and meetings, if we’re not constantly exhausted and worn down, we must be lazy or falling behind somewhere. The question is, where is the time to unwind? When do we give ourselves permission or schedule in time to relax?
When I started to finally start taking yoga (after years of considering it but never taking the time to make it a priority) I noticed that my favorite part of the class, along with most everyone else in the class, was when the teacher would say “savasana” (rest or that part of the class when you get to lay down and just be).
I’ve come to understand that for the lion’s share of yogis, savasana reigns supreme. And rightly so! When else does someone let you lay down for 10 minutes to just rest?!
The thing is, if we let ourselves, we could do this at any time (okay, maybe not during a meeting or in the produce department). I think the key word here is “let.” When the yoga teacher stands before me and tells me it’s time to rest, I’ve just been given permission to do so. I’m allowed and it’s okay, in that moment, to simply be.
As I’ve come to fully embrace the extraordinary importance of giving myself that kind of permission this brings me to the point: welcome the radical idea that living a full life and loving oneself means allowing that time to chill.
Give yourself permission to stop taking calls and emails after work hours so you can sit outside and chat with family. Allow yourself to take time to rest after meals. Grant yourself the mental space to put aside a stressful situation and deal with it when you have the time and energy to process.
You can skip the gym after a long day. It’s okay to say “no” to a project or a social engagement solely based on not feeling like it. Forgo a utilitarian shower in the morning for a leisurely bath in the evening. Accept that, every once in a while, you can let someone else do the cooking.
Leave space in your agenda for doing nothing, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Embrace the relaxed feeling of sitting to meditate or making tea first thing in the morning, before grabbing your phone. Take a bike ride without anywhere to go. Unplug for an entire weekend so you can read a book cover to cover. Leave space in your agenda for doing nothing, and don’t feel guilty about it.
It seems the lesson is that our value as people is directly tied to your obligations. Grace, humility, presence of mind—none of these matters if you’re not running yourself ragged. This notion has become so ingrained that we don’t even realize it’s happening. And, we are passing this onto our children!
Ask yourself, when is the last time you (or your child) had an entire weekend without commitments? When is the last time you took a nap, or a bath? These are important activities for nurturing the body, the mind, the spirit. It’s no secret how deeply healing mindfulness is. But is it even possible to be mindful when you’re living in a never-ending whirlwind of commitment?
So, give yourself—and your children—permission to rest.