Lately, I have been reading and re-reading The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, by His Holiness The Dalai ...
During the Pandemic, I am so grateful that I have been able to stay busy. Despite the shutdowns and isolation, I actually feel like it’s been even more busy than usual working on a number of great creative projects. Thanks to technology, I have also been able to continue to see most of my students and I have actually started teaching new students.
So I have made a point lately to become more conscious of how and when I rest. I think I’m becoming more conscious of such things not because I’m getting older, but because I’m getting wiser. I hear a lot of people say, “ah, you’re getting older…you gotta take it easy!” I’m not a fan of that wording because if you take care of your health, age really doesn’t matter. But anyone at any age does need to rest.
In my younger years, I did exhibit manic tendencies of a workaholic. Even if I was working on something I enjoyed, I would start to resent it after awhile if I was doing it for too long. As the years have progressed, I have trained myself to step away from whatever I’m doing.
And I have used my A-type highly organized personality to my advantage in this respect. I book time off. And I consider that time sacred. I rarely work on any music after 6 or 7pm daily. I am very regular to have a full day off each week. And even if I’m a home body, I force myself to go out or get away into nature.
My relationship with the concept of rest started off as a therapy for my physical state. But over the years, I have seen it become an important part of my emotional and spiritual side. I find it difficult to try to gain perspective on long-term life direction and even explore deeper questions when immersed in composing a piece of music…as much as I love the feeling of doing that. Stepping away and listening to others or just the nature that surrounds has given me great perspective for life.
I used to ask, what if a human being could be built to always work and never have to rest or sleep? I realize now that this question is toxic. Yearning for such an impossibility creates unattainable expectations in one’s mind. Not only have I accepted this impossibility, but I embrace it and cherish the time I have to do absolutely nothing. Letting my body, mind and heart step away and tune out is essential…and cherished.
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
― Alan Cohen