Do Less

The key to having more is wanting less. Consumed by progress and momentum, we often loose sight of the fact that where we are used to be a dream. Consider where you are right now and trust that you are exactly where you are needed. It is necessary for you to be here right now. Can you do less? Be less? Accept where you are and resist the temptation to ask for more.

As human beings we are forever growing and changing. As Americans we are forever consuming and capitalizing on opportunities. We live in a consumerist society. Our purchases are made from big name stores. Our homes reflect the images we see on HGTV. The best wisdom I have heard on this is from author Thrity Umrigar. She said, “By the time your kitchen is finished the style will be outdated. It only makes sense to only do what you like anyway.” 

How many times do we finally nail down a style only to find that it is no longer popular? The answer is not to stay ahead of fashions or buy more. The answer is simply to consume less. Style changes, taste is forever. We continue to emulate Coco Chanel’s style and she was just copying the nuns in the convent where she was raised. True elegance is finding your own style and sticking with it.

We do not need more stuff to be relevant or worthy. Focusing on lack gives us all a feeling of inadequacy. We fear that we have done so little and blame ourselves for not having achieved or accomplished more. What if instead of convincing ourselves that where we are is less than where we want to be we appreciate all the work that we did to get here? We worked hard to arrive in this place. It is not perfect and that is ok, but this moment is something special.

Oprah tells us that when we celebrate more we find more to celebrate. Take the time to celebrate yourself and all the you have done to reach this place. You don’t have to get anywhere else. You don’t have to achieve or purchase anything more. Don’t do one more thing today until you feel fully the pleasure of being here. Savor it. Enjoy it. Do less. There is nothing further that you need to do. This is enough. You are enough. Isn’t it wonderful?

Give Yourself the Gift of Rest

Today instead instead of meditating and moving on as I usually do, I I completely fell into a blissful and silent rest. My rest was dreamless and I awoke somewhat startled by the time elapsed. What a wonderful surprise on this day of business and errands. I have worked hard today and taken on much. I have pressed myself to do more and complete a variety of outstanding items. I have done them all responsibly. But clearly my body needed a break. Clearly, all of this hustle and bustle has required a lot of me, it has sapped my energy.

Before lying down to meditate I realized that I had prepared several items for future meals but nothing for this evening’s dinner. And that’s ok, we will not starve. Another day will pass and we will do other things, We will find a way to meet our family’s needs for nourishment. It will all come together. Actually it was wonderful to rest more and to find comfort exactly where I am. 

Rest is such a necessary and fulfilling experience. I am reading much about rest as a form of resistance. I follow the Nap Ministry on social media and find their wisdom profound. The act of resting is not in order to do more or take on more but simply to be more rested. This is a profound perspective. The emphasis is rest is in and of itself, this is particularly relevant to communities of color where rest and ease have been weaponized or used as rewards only for intense and strenuous labor. The fulfillment of rest is that the practitioner be more nourished – NOT so that they can better serve others or give to anyone else.

I just want to pause for that thought again – rest is not done to serve others but to serve yourself. Rest is not more work it is a necessary component to a healthful life. The very act of resting has been denied to people of color for generations and our society in its desire to press forward, constantly consuming or creating does not respect or value rest for rests sake. The fulfillment that comes from taking time for oneself is valueless because it cannot be monetized in a capitalist society. When you are resting your are not consuming and that does not have value. Therefore we are encouraged not to rest but to consume or purchase items and tools to better equip us to rest – luxurious sheets, blankets, hotel rooms, spa treatments, and aromatherapy oils. We are encouraged to moisturize – not for the sake of our skin or health but because if we are bathing ourselves in expensive lotions, oils, and elixirs before we rest then our rest is monetized. We have spent money to do it and therefore it has value. 

Many of us have rested in the care of an herbalist, or masseuse, or in a luxurious hotel. Rest need not be expensive to be healing. Wear what you have on, take a nap. Let yourself be at ease, be healed and be whole without any additional investment. Make whatever herbal tea you have in the pantry when you’re done. Breathe easy, open the window and listen to whatever sounds float in. Do not rest out of obligation or out of some duty to be productive later or some such rot. Be productive when you wish to be of course – but rest simply because it feels good. Rest because you are entitled to rest. Rest because in a society that is constantly asking you to perform, complete, and produce rest is a deep act of resistance. 

Fight with the resistance by lying down and letting yourself relax. This is a labor of love and to learn more I would encourage you to investigate the Nap Ministry and their BIPOC community of educators and content creators that share these most valuable lessons and more. I am grateful for my surprise nap this afternoon. Grateful that my body knew I was pushing too hard too fast and it needed a reprieve from its exertions. I am so grateful to my body for helping me get this far and for giving me all I need to both accomplish and complete work but also to rest and be easy – to clam down and soothe myself. To locate that which I needed and make the time to nourish, relax, and rest as needed. I hope you are able to make the time to do the same – it is a profound and generous necessity.