31 Days of Poetry{day 11} Rest

Today, I’m a bit worn out from late nights, from writing, from life.

I need to rest and do the mundane, and this is okay and necessary and good.

We cannot write poetry or stories or anything if we burn ourselves out. In order to give, we must replenish our souls, and too often, I forget to do this.

 Let’s rest and replenish today.

  • Let’s read a book of poetry. Doesn’t matter who or what just read some poetry.
  • Let’s put the kettle on and brew some tea, then watch the clouds or rain or snuggle beneath a blanket.
  • Let’s read a book.
  • Let’s nap.
  • Let’s cook or clean or be normal.
  • Let’s rest.

The Art of Rest

Picture courtesy of Mark Askins

Cool evenings, frost threatening the fading roses and herbs—an autumn evening quietly enfolds me into its darkness. Chores undone. Dishes waiting for their dip, soak, scrub, dry routine, but my arms feel like gelatin. I’m exhausted again. After hours spent tearing into boxes and placing clothes, I can barely carry the weight of my own body. Yet, rest eludes me. I see toys covering the blue carpets and laundry peeking out of the hampers. Every muscle aches from standing on my feet, rushing about working, trying to live out my work as art mantra.

My work is art, but too often , we forget about the art of rest.

I suppose we can see our work as art. We produce some commodity, provide some service. We associate art with an end product. Monet painted his sunsets. Beethoven composed his symphonies. All art, each piece is something tangible , a reward for the artist creating them. Somehow, I picture Monet and Beethoven and Shakespeare scoffing at the thought of resting, sleeping. The art takes full advantage of their energy. Perhaps, they sat up by candle light, moonlight, the waning sun to create their works. When did their hands start hurting? Did they tell themselves to suck up? Or simply plod onward?

As a writer, I work tirelessly on crafting my words just so. Even now, my whole body cries for a bit of rest, but I must write. It is my art, and rest has no part in the production. This blog post must be written. Pages of my books and writing need sorting out—rest takes a secondary place to art. Besides, I can simply sleep when I’m dead, right?

Why do we treat rest like a luxury, not necessity for our art?

Our times of rest are part of our art just as much as our times spent laboring. Our rest is the other half of our productive work. During those quiet moments, we listen. Our muse or the divine may change our art’s course. Perhaps, we shall light upon some new idea. Maybe, we only live half-lives as artists because we are so unrested, so tired all the time. Does our art suffer? I think so. A well-rested mind and body are two tools great artists cannot afford to waste.

 

Question: How are you practicing the art of rest?