Rest, Relax, Then Rest Some More

"Idle hands are the devil's workshop." How many times have you heard that phrase or something akin to that?
 
Lately I've been musing on opposites, good and bad, right and wrong, and how my beliefs about these polar opposites shape my emotions, actions and outcomes.
 
Since I spent 6 weeks in retreat meditating and then the past 4 weeks recovering from surgery my new polar opposites are busyness and idleness.
 
What intrigues me is my lack of clarity regarding the opposite of busyness. From a mindfulness perspective, I am replacing busyness with restfulness, relaxation, letting things be.
 
Yet when I checked the thesaurus for busyness antonyms what I found is: 'Idle, lazy, stagnant, unemployed, ineffectual, indolent, slothful, bone-lazy'.  I noticed my immediate aversion to the antonyms as if I would do whatever is necessary to avoid such titles being hung around my neck.
 
No wonder we stay busy. Who wants to be known as a slug? Resting, and relaxing are not viewed as antonyms. And yet according to my surgeon, resting is what is needed to heal the body from the shock of surgery/trauma. When we are so habituated to staying engaged, occupied, laboring, we really have a hard time resting, and letting things be.
 
Busyness can also lead to meddling, interfering, and being over busy.
 
If we believe that one way is better than the other, we're already setting ourselves up for chronic stress. How many readers know how to be lazy, groundless, or even wild? What would it be like to be at ease with everything going on around you, and then rest, even as you  move through varied activities? Learning to be at ease despite everything that is occurring requires paying attention and practice.
 
I have not been a good student of resting. I'm observing how my busyness beliefs frame my life. I'm questioning whether busyness is all that it's cracked up to be. I invite you to question this too.

Posted on September 10, 2013 and filed under September 2013.