A passion for rest

I’m passionate about rest.

It’s also the one thing I struggle with above all others, and which I many times despair of ever ‘achieving’ in my life.

But that’s the trouble with rest.

How do you ‘achieve’ something that is all about slowing down? Doing less. Trusting. Being patient and quiet. Listening. Being at peace.

The very effort of resting seems to negate the whole point of rest. And how can I be passionate about something that is a constant struggle in my life?

I remember a point in my life where this was made very obvious to me.

I was at a photography workshop in Italy which for several years I had planned and saved to attend. It cost a lot of money, which I had saved and scrimped here and there and everywhere to be able to use in this way. But it was something I was really excited about, and looking forward to with great anticipation.

At the same time, I was building up two businesses – a marketing business and my photography business. I was shooting weddings all over the world and working more than full-time. I had no spare time to speak of – literally, none. And I also have an illness known as chronic fatigue, or M.E. (whose very existence is due in part to overwork and under-rest).

On my way to Italy, I combined several trips into one. A trip to London for work, then a weekend trip to Cambridge to see a friend, then a flight to Italy and hiring a car and driving to my destination.

When I arrived in Italy I was exhausted, frustrated, and getting very sick.

The first night we all sat around an old wooden table with glasses of red wine and fresh bruschetta and dripping candles and hundred-year-old traditions, and talked about why we had come, and what we were passionate about.

Rest was the first thing that came to mind, so I shared that. I may have said a few other things, but that’s all I remember saying.

I remember it most of all because of what the workshop leader said to me several days later.

My exhaustion only increased over the next few days. I was sick all night long, and got no sleep. I was exhausted, broken, sad and hurting. I started looking at flights to go home, because there was no point being in this beautiful place when I couldn’t enjoy or appreciate it.

By the time I had my one-on-one meeting with the workshop leader, I was in floods of tears and I couldn’t even think straight.

He was gracious, and Godly, and loving – but he was very direct. He said a variety of things, but the one thing I remember with perfect clarity is:

“You say you’re passionate about rest, but that’s not evident in your life.”

Bam. Caught out.

I had my eyes opened to the fact that saying you’re passionate about something is negated by not truly being passionate about it.

The turning point (again)

That workshop was a true turning point in my life. Usually turning points are hard to see – they are slow and gradual and we’re well along a different road before we know it – but this one woke me up with a shock. I remember lying on the cold Italian tiles of the bathroom floor thinking, “If I don’t fix this, it could kill me. I could end up in hospital – or dead – because of the choices I’m making in my life.”

It didn’t happen overnight – even the obvious turning points take time to shift when there are so many factors involved. I had six or seven weddings which in my zeal I had over-booked, and I had to finish those. I had to decide if I poured my efforts into either my marketing business or my photography business, because I couldn’t do both. And I needed to begin to rebuild my health.

But slowly, like a huge ship turning around within turbulent waters, it did happen. I said “no” more often. I slept more. I ate better. I went to counselling. I took a twelve month break from weddings and photography work.

And for a little while – a very little while – I was working and resting and in a better place.

And then it all happened again.

Overwork, poor health, exhaustion, frustration, tears. This time it was my minister who spoke very kindly and directly to me, and pointed out that although I was present – physically – at church activities, I wasn’t truly present. He was concerned for me that work was taking over, that all my energies were being channelled into that one area.

I was so discouraged I can’t even tell you how much. Partly because I hadn’t seen this coming, partly because of a whole variety of legitimate, difficult factors in my life that were affecting my thinking, and mostly because I thought, “I’m not passionate about rest again.”

And I despaired of being able to write the book on rest that I wanted to, because I would never truly be at rest.

But this time the turnaround was not quite as drawn out. I didn’t have quite so many things to cancel, and it was easier to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right ones. I didn’t become at rest and at peace in a matter of days, but the process was a far cry from the Italy recuperation phase.

This process will happen over and over in my life, and in yours.

Just because you have one turning point doesn’t mean you won’t have another one. And another. And another of a different kind.

Rest that we don’t understand

I am beginning to accept that yes, I am passionate about rest. I always will be. I have seen my deep need for it, and I see it in the lives of every person I connect with all over the globe.

We’re overworked, exhausted, worn out, weary, struggling, tired – and at times there seems to be no hope in sight. Although we want to want rest, we are ill-equipped to practice it, or we don’t practice it, or we don’t even understand how it is possible.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the deepest desires, and needs, of our lives.

I’m also accepting that I’ll need multiple turning points, and will continue to strive for rest (and, some days, collapse in exhaustion). But I’ll still press on.

Because rest goes hand-in-hand with hope.

Rest takes its root in the person of Jesus Christ, who in Himself is hope. It’s not that He brings hope or stirs it up or gives it out like a gift – He, Himself, is hope. Is rest. Is peace.

Without Jesus, you can never experience true rest.

With His help, you can and will have rest in the midst of this turbulent life that is always swirling about you. It is not something to be strived for – but it is, absolutely, something to be passionate about.

But what is rest? And how do you get it?

More to come, my friends.

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Popped into a fave local coffee shop in York this week and this was the mug they gave me. ❤️✨

Wasn’t feeling so superwomanny when I got it - this week was very full, plus period cramps and multiple migraines and my ankle being wonky and more travel than I’ve done in a while. I had intended to get coffee but the cramps were so bad I had to go for mint tea and just sit until they faded enough for me to walk again. 

At the same time, I also had an amazing time during this week with the @weare_pf Board meeting in person for the first time. Getting to know each other better as humans and sharing ideas and making plans and most of all appreciating that the weight of all the business decisions doesn’t rest solely on my shoulders. 

This is just one of your reminders that being a superwoman looks different at different times, and whether you’re striding along strongly or sitting weakly with mint tea, your superwoman status still applies. 

#justkeepgoing #superwoman #muglife #wegotthis #onedayatatime
Every single time I go sailing past this lighthouse on the mull-to-Oban ferry I think “this time I’ll just watch it and not take any pictures” 

And then something wild happens like A SAILBOAT GOES BY and of course I have to capture that, surely I haven’t taken that photo before (spoiler: I have), and then I have about seventeen lighthouse photos to add to my collection of seven thousand lighthouse photos from the last twenty years. 

But, I figure, what’s the harm anyway. It’s my photos and my memories and it brings me joy. I love the lighthouse as a visual of my journey from the mainland to the island (or a reminder I’ll be back soon). 

So, see you soon lighthouse. Thanks for standing there. 

#lismorelighthouse #eileanmusdile #lighthouse #lighthousesofinstagram #oban #ferry #calmac #isleofmull #sailaway #sailboat #scotland #travelscotland
I read. A lot. My list of “books to read” has over 100 titles listed, and every time I mention a book I’ve appreciated, I get another recommendation of a new one and the list gets longer. 

One of the books recommended to me years ago was “The Buddha in Me the Buddha in You”. She mentioned it had some helpful principles about how we navigate life - and whether you’re a buddhist or not, there are principles you can learn from and apply in life.

I wrote it down, forgot about it, and moved on with life. Read lots of other books.

And then when I broke my ankle, and was sitting and resting a LOT, with loads of time for reading, I went back to my list and started reconsidering some of the titles on it.

When I looked up “The Buddha in Me the Buddha in You”, the subtitle was “A Handbook for Happiness”, and that struck me.

Dealing with an injury is difficult. Sad. Wearying. It can be hard to find happiness and every day feels about the same. (Very Groundhog Day.)

So I bought the book, and put it by my bed. I started getting into a pattern of reading a chapter every morning with my coffee.

I thought I’d share some of the principles I appreciated and which are already helping me as I continue to navigate my life right now: 

[the full post on these is too long for an Insta post so click the link in bio or story if u want to read more!]

Thank the spoon - a spoon stirs up the mud in what had appeared to be clear water. Same with life: hard things stir up what you haven’t dealt with yet. So you thank them. “Thank you, spoon”

The Fundamental darkness (FD) - the “Survival Obsessed Self” who responds in a way based on survival but not growth

There’s a gift in the struggle - He describes it visually as “the lotus flower in the muddy pond”. You can focus on the mud, or on the flower, but they’re both there.

Nam - myo - ho - renge - kyo : The happiness soundtrack - I pulled out the core concepts of each of these words as they applied to me, and they are: 

Bloom in the struggle
Flow of life

#karensnotes #buddhainmebuddhainyou #books #reading #happysaturday 

[full note link in bio!]
The snow is swirling the wind is howling IT’S FROZEN OUT THERE 
#snowing #happyspringeveryone #inlikealion