Tag Archives: Rest

Stop


I published a book this week, but you’d barely know it. I got an email from my co-author saying “IT’S DONE!”. But I was too busy to deal with it. Only the next day, late at night, did I finally get our success posted on social media. I went to work the next day like normal and stayed super busy. No party, no celebration, not even dinner. Just a five minute pause to hammer out a post, then on to the next thing. Shame on me.

I first had the idea for the book more than six years ago. We drew up the outline 63 months ago. My co-author and I slaved over it that long. It contains all of our hard-fought leadership lessons over three decades. I sincerely hope it can help others who struggle with some of the things I’ve struggled mightily with. Yet when it was finally completed, I was “too busy” to stop and celebrate. I haven’t taken time to reflect on this hard-fought achievement. Shame on me.

I think the reason I couldn’t pause for a moment is actually directly related to writing the book in the first place. I’ve always been restless, always ready to move on to the next thing by the time the last thing is nearly done. Yup, I published a book this week, what’s next? Shame on me.

Let me try this again.

I PUBLISHED A BOOK THIS WEEK!!  YAY!  I’m so happy:  happy it’s done, happy to share our learnings with others! Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me and cheered me on through this amazing journey! It feels great! 

Now what’s next?

“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memory and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”  —Alek Wek

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Rest


Why does it feel so good to lay your head on your pillow at the end of a long day? I understand the biological need to recharge, but why would God have made us so that we need rest in the first place? The Bible says on the seventh day, after He completed His creation, that even God Himself rested. Clearly, rest is good.

I’m fascinated with the concept of rest, probably because I’ve never been good at it. I’ve always been restless, feeling like I have to be doing something. Even when I was just sitting, I was reading. Or paying the bills. Or organizing something. That is until recently. Since Megan’s illness, I’ve slowed down. It was understandable when we were in full stress mode, but it’s lasted. It would be easy to assume that it’s the result of a fundamental change in perspective, which did happen. But that’s not it. Somehow, I’m more tired. I still want to get up and organize the pantry and weed the garden and clean out the garage. But for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like it. I’ve lost something permanent, some reservoir of resilience.

I’m learning that life doesn’t get any easier…it’s been a mild surprise. I somehow had the illusion that one day it would. That once I got through school or established in my career or some money saved that I could relax. But the challenges just mature as we do. And if you’re a parent, then you suffer others’ challenges on top of your own. Yet I’m surprisingly not discouraged by this revelation. In a strangely comforting way, it’s almost a relief. I’d hate to get too comfortable with this hard life. I’m pretty sure that by the time it’s done with me, I’ll be ready to let it go.

“Any fool can face a crisis–it’s the day to day living that wears you out.” –Anton Chekov


Rest

We recently took a long weekend in a beautiful resort area nearby. While we did some fun activities, there was also time for just sitting. I spent hours sitting on the screened-in porch overlooking the Ozark mountains. It was heaven. Sitting there in the quiet doing nothing reminded me of a week spent similarly many years ago. I was working for a company under a destructive chief executive; it was taking a toll. The hours were long, the requests were meaningless, and the decisions were flawed. In addition, I was scheduled to testify in defense of my company in federal court in Washington, as they had been accused of wrongdoing. I was totally burned out.

I took a week of vacation that summer, and in that pre-cell phone era, refused to tell anyone where I was going to be. I spent the entire week in my backyard. I mean the entire week. Every day I got up at 8:00 and went out to a lawn chair under a shady tree. All day I watched my young son play outside with the neighbor kids, going inside only for food. When it got dark, I went inside to sleep, only to head out the next morning to the lawn chair. I had never done so little for so long in my life. I needed that much rest and went back to work somewhat refreshed.

Things didn’t get better. A few weeks later, my mother was scheduled for major surgery the same week I flew to Washington to testify. Our attorney asked for permission for me to leave before the trial was over; blessedly the judge agreed. My company lost and appealed…in the following round of document discovery, an internal document surfaced confirming our guilt beyond doubt. They settled. I decided to leave.

That week of doing nothing, my first, showed me what likely seems obvious to almost everyone else…that we all need rest. The challenge for high-energy people like me is that our brains can’t absorb this simple concept. I have been on a decades-long journey to learn to rest and recharge. I’m still not good at it, but I’m better than I was. A good boss jolted me along on that journey, pointing out I was a terrible role model for my team. He wisely knew he would have more impact appealing to how much I cared for my team vs. myself. But I’m working on that, too. I am trying to be selfish now with at least some of my time, doing things just for me. There still aren’t enough hours in the day for all of it, though, and working mothers always feel guilt about, well, everything. I’m working on the guilt, too. I’ll get there, probably later than I should, but I’ll get there.

“Silence

It has a sound, a fullness.
It’s heavy with sigh of tree,
and space between breaths.
It’s ripe with pause between birdsong
and crash of surf.
It’s golden they say.
But no one tells us it’s addictive.”

–Angela Long