Learning to rest

In February I read three books that all, in one way or another, were about rest. This topic, especially now, is a hot one, how does one rest and do we, as a culture, really know how to rest? And, can we rest without being thought of as wasting time?

In Wintering, Katherine May asks this question as she’s forced to rest because of illness. There is guilt associated with rest in our culture, she touches on it, but in Laziness Does Not Exist Devon Price goes farther, arguing that we are killing ourselves for fear of being lazy, but it’s not laziness to recognize that you need to rest. And in 24/6 Tiffany Shlain is giving a guide to taking sabbath, a very old tradition, but one that’s gone by the wayside. As she talks about sabbath and putting away screens, she too is trying to teach people how to rest and recharge.

What struck me about all of these books is how much it goes against the grain of our culture to do the things they discuss. It reminded me about coming back from my semester abroad in Argentina when I was in college. That semester fundamentally changed something about the way I saw day-to-day life and it took me a long time to realize how very profound it was. I now realize that I learned how to rest living in a culture that took siesta every day and I’m so grateful for that now.

Note: I wrote this in March, but then sat on it, and in my attempts to post more here, I'm throwing out some of my thoughts, a bit unfiltered and probably in need of editing, but I hope you bear with me, it feels like the right thing for me to do. Also it's been over 20 years since I studied in Argentina, and I think I'm just now realizing the profound changes in my life and the way I look at the day-to-day that came out of that experience.