Something happened to me recently which has never happened before. Read on for all the details (this post was written a few weeks ago as our family vacation in the Carolinas — pictured above — morphed into long summer days at home.) It turns out that rest can be quite generative! And so you will also find at the end of this email a taste of the two new coaching offers I’m opening this fall. Look for details next week on all those fun seasonal coaching bonuses when my fall coaching calendar opens for new clients. September is the new January– I’m excited to step back into the fullness of this coming year and to share it all with you.
All the good,
I spent so many years suppressing my urge to rest, I came to mistrust it.
Long after I have built a life and a business centered around intuition, meditation, and self-care I am unearthing another layer of self-deceit:
I think I have to drive the show (in my life + biz) or nothing much gets done.
But lately all I feel like doing is floating through my days with my children enjoying the home we have created. Playing with the toys which require thick imagination, reading the Big books, picking back up with unwatched Downton Abbey episodes, listening to the toll of the church bells down the street and reclining at the neighbor’s house with the pool.
And more delights … Harry Potter (three of us reading this series for the first time in one house!), travel memoirs, Spicebush herbal tea (pictured above) made from ingredients I harvested on an edible landscape tour, white wine spritzer when the kids have gone to sleep. And the butterflies which show up, sometimes in glorious pairs outside my kitchen window, bright orange — flitting between my son’s mandarin tree and the zinnias i potted this spring with their bursts of red and yellow.
But can I trust myself to go over this edge? To float on these waves of doing as little as I can manage? Lazily dipping my hand in my biz, wondering what it needs to keep rowing forward and doing only that, one stroke a day. Sometimes one a week.
And my home– one extra household task a day to keep the tidy equilibrium is all I can muster on top of daily dishes and meals. Putting away two loads of laundry an accomplishment.
But will I ever return from the land of hazy rest? Or will I forever drift down this river and when I emerge be disoriented, wondering what happened to my life and my work?
Here is the strange thing: during this month of doing nothing and a social media fast I received: three new coaching clients, an invitation to teach a weekend long retreat in the spring, and a request to help design a wellness theme for parents and teachers at an area school. I’ve also been able to capture a handful of writing snippets as they emerge (you are reading one right now!) And I am enjoying appointments with existing coaching clients — showing up grateful for the quiet and the chance to be with just one person and to listen deeply, a respite from the multi-tasking which is my mama life.
In short something is moving, but it has such a different quality than my own ego-hewn sense of how work should feel.
It feels light. Driven by a fuel far distinct from my narrow-focused sense of the work equation: time at my computer screen = time of accomplishment.
As I sat yesterday and listened to my friend talk about her recent visit to a shaman (how do I find a shaman?!) I felt the world quivering at my feet: the grass moving and bending, the leaves dancing, the vibration of life surrounding me, this green nation converting sunlight to their own sustenance.
What if work could feel like that? As intuitive? As self-nourishing?
What if our love-affair with discerning our own work and offering it to the world was as simple as using the processes at our own interior disposal, chlorophyll and like, to create food. Food for ourselves yes. But leaves inevitably are food for other animals and fall, nourishing the earth.
I am coming to trust the river of rest and to know that there is an end to how long I will even want to float here. At some point it feels good to get out of the water when your fingers are all wrinkly to enjoy the rub of a towel warmed on the beach. And the hunger in your belly invites you to work again, to start the fire.
For this is what i am coming to learn: my yearning for Downton Abbey will fade, depositing me grateful and open-hearted in the real life web of human and nonhuman relationships where I make my home. My impulse to lay and read another travel memoir will transition to dreaming and research about an upcoming trip to the mountains of Mexico to celebrate a big birthday. I will eventually want to wash my hair and to cook a hot meal of fresh beet greens and basil and an omelette of goat cheese from the farmer’s market, all a drizzle with the Palestinian olive oil we got as a gift. And to reconnect to writing, coaching, and lovely you.
In short, rest deposits me back into my life. More awake to its subtleties. More grateful. I won’t get lost there, i can trust it.
And so can you.
Now many of my coaching clients are tired. Sometimes an early bed time or a nap is the next best step toward discerning the life that wants to live out of you. Other times that fatigue actually indicates that more activity is needed both in terms of moving your body in whatever way you find fun and risking sharing your talents with others.
I’m curious: what one step could you take this week to bring your rest/creativity relationship closer to equilibrium? Do you need more sleep to enjoy your days? Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight and see how you feel. Or do you need to find some support to take concrete steps which bring your dreams + desires into the material world? Read about my coaching support here.
*This post is an excerpt from some new writing I’m working on for an upcoming book called Flourish: an OverAchiever Recovery Guide. You can look for more about this book + accompanying coaching program in 2017.
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a certified holistic life coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and MindBody practices as well as supporting other “soulpreneurs,” aka women who want to lead with heart in their work + lives. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. You can read more about her coaching options here or Courtney can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.