Day 13: Relaxation

In the Christian faith it is said that the world was created in 6 days. That’s how long it took to create the sun, the moon, all the galaxies, rabbits, squid, antelope, pimples, and farts. Six days that it.

And then after creating the entire universe, what does this all powerful being who is the ultimate protagonist of the most epic story ever do?

He or She relaxes.

This omnipotent being doesn’t check their email, doesn’t tinker with their website, and doesn’t put that shelf up in the bathroom they’ve been meaning to get around to. Nope.
Step 1: Create universe in 6 days
Step 2: Chill the f*ck out.

Whether you believe this story literally, figuratively, or think it’s only a myth, the lesson is a powerful one. No matter how badass you are, you’ve got to rest.

The Answers In My Life
More than a few times in my life I’ve tried to create the universe. Now for me this didn’t mean creating all living beings and figuring out how the laws of physics were going to work, but the effort felt just as big.

I tried to shape my own world and the living beings in it. I tried to create the structures, systems, and ideas that would help my universe run with an elegant smoothness. And though most of the time I fell short, there have been a few times where I thought I was really close.

I’d be in the midst of creation and I’d get everything very, very, close to perfect. I’d start telling myself that if I just worked a little harder, got a little more done, stayed up just a little later, then my universe would be complete.

But every time I’ve pushed myself like this, everything slowly but surely creeps off the rails. It’s like a perfect painting gently devolving into a mess of excess brush strokes. Or like an amazing start to a date that slowly unravels in a string of off color and awkward moments.

Every time I look back, and I see what I did wrong. Instead of resting and allowing space to take the next step, I grasped at each moment, hungry for satisfaction, and like Tantalus, satisfaction creeped further away with each grasp.

I’ve seen this in my clients, too. I’ve seen them hungry, but I’ve also seen them slip into a mental starvation and watched them run themselves into the ground. Watching this in my own life and in the lives of my clients has taught me this truth: You must relax.

You must relax, because rest and relaxation are the magical elixirs that makes your dreams obtainable. Yet when you are reaching for your dreams, rest and relaxation are often the first things to fall away.

You figure if you slow down, if you let go, or if you pause for a moment it will all fall apart. But the truth is that if you learn to drop one ball every now and again, you can keep juggling for a lot longer.

So today’s challenge is about learning to relax and discovering what, if any, resistance you may have to this essential practice.

Challenge #13 – Learning to Chill

1. Practice: Normally I have you do something for the challenge. But instead today your practice is to rest, relax, or chill. And to make it easy I’m going to let you define what that means.

It could mean taking a hot bath, taking a nap, shutting off your laptop for an hour, or taking a slow walk.

If you’re not sure what to choose, then close your eyes and think, “If I could only rest” and notice what image pops into your mind. Then do whatever is closest to that.

If you have obligations or other things that you think will get in the way, then cancel them. You can blame it on me. Just tell them your Happiness Challenge coach told you to and man, will he be pissed if I let him down. It’s cool; I can take the heat.

It also doesn’t matter how long you chill for. Longer is better, but if you only have 10 minutes to relax, that’s fine. Rest fully in that 10 minutes. Relax. Breathe. And Let go.

2. Reflect: After your period of relaxation think about your experience:
What felt good about it?
What was difficult?
Did you feel guilty?
Did you find it hard not to think about work or what you “should” be doing?
Did you have distractions or impulses to engage with something that wasn’t rest?
Nothing you notice is good or bad. Just notice.

3. Share: Finally please share in one or all of these ways.

  • Blog – Write a post about the type of relaxation you chose and why. Write about how it felt to rest. Write about how hard it was to return to activity after you were relaxed. Or write about how you feel about taking time to relax in general.
  • Post – Post something short and simple about resting. Don’t make a lot of work for yourself. Rest in the truth of your experience and share it with us by tagging #30dayhappy and/or posting to the facebook group.
  • Comment – Think resting is dumb? Tell me about it. Or tell me why you loved this challenge. Or tell me why you can’t rest. (Beware! I may question your assumptions).

And remember rest is powerful. So after you finish today’s challenge please please please don’t forget to rest. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Day 13: Relaxation

  1. I slacked off on the challenges and commenting. While it felt good to let myself let it go for a bit there was that nagging guilt that I’m just going to have to catch up.

    1. No worries dusty. Forgive yourself for taking a break. And do what makes you happy to get back on track. I enjoy reading your comments, but it’s not big deal if you miss a day or two. Enjoy!

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