Learning how to rest

The work needs time to integrate.

What do we mean by integration?

There is a big piece of work — a released feeling, an insight, something that comes to light that had been previously unseen.

And then it needs some integration.

This is a really important part of any growth. A big workout needs at least a day’s rest afterwards. Overstraining causes injury.

We’re like this emotionally too.

Often I have the impulse to do something right after a revelation. To act on it, to fix it, to move on to the next thing.

Yesterday my massage therapist said “it is like you are tuning into different frequencies.” She was reading in my body that I am moving the dial here and there and not yet settled on a station. I am integrating.

It isn’t easy to let ourselves do this.

It isn’t “progress”.

Today I was doing my writing practice and my mind just wouldn’t stay with it. I just wanted to stare out the window.

I can feel the stations and the static and the settling is coming. But not yet.

To add another layer — we’re always integrating many different things — collectively, within small groups, and alone.

Having something to show for our time is one thing. And letting it be is another.

Integration can mean talking about our experience. Making sense of it.

It can mean a warm bath or a walk.

Nothing is getting done — or is it?

Perhaps integration is similar to rest. It’s rest before rest is an imperative. It’s rest because work has been done and now the work is to let the newness seep into our cells. To let things happen rather than make them happen.

After a piece of work in therapy — perhaps something intense or something a client had been afraid to talk about and that has opened up many things — I find the energy shifts in the room.

Both my client and I are more relaxed.

And we speak to each other with more familiarity.

We’ve been through something together and we enjoy the other side. We talk about what the work was like. We talk about what therapy has been like to this point. Sometimes we talk about fashion or vacations. We’re enjoying the new places we are in. We’re soaking in it, revelling in it.

I write this post to remind me and remind you to take the time to integrate learning and growth. To give what you have planted the chance to become something new.

I know it’s more complicated than this. That more insights will be found on this topic. And right now I am integrating — letting rather than pushing. More thoughts are in the future, not the present.

Let’s not prod the soil. Let’s let the sun shine and watch it grow.

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