Give It A Rest, Okay? Or, Putting On The Breaks

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This is a blueprint for chilling, in my book.  No shirt?  No worries!
This is a blueprint for chilling, in my book. No shirt? No worries!

~~~~~~~~~~~

“I loaf and invite my soul, I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.” – Walt Whitman

Alright Walt, that sounds fine and dandy there, but I have no time to loaf.  I’m a busy guy.  I’m a “I need more than 24 hours in a day to get stuff done” kind of dude.  I have things to attend to, capisce?  I’m not a type-A personality, but certainly not a C student of life, so stop lollygagging by the stream there, dust the dirt from your smoking jacket and get something done.

Of course my conversation is a little bit theatrical.  I mean, Walt’s dead and I don’t know if he owns a smoking jacket, so maybe this chat is really towards me, or the idea of loafing about.  It all sounds like a pipe dream, this loafing – sort of like when people in the grocery store express line really have less than 16 items and no one is counting pennies. A real doozy of a dream.  But the idea of loafing about seems completely antithetical to what we are supposed to do or be…as members of society and as recovered / recovering alcoholics.

I say that because we are conditioned to be busy bodies.  Work is seen as a noble endeavour.  Work, in all manifestations of the word, is focused, positive and productive.  At least that is what is portrayed. We work at our jobs, we work at making our homes nicer, we work at getting thinner / healthier / prettier, we work at our recovery.  Work, work, work.  Put the spotlight on the workaholic and watch the accolades fly.  It’s an acceptable way to escape – work.  No one dies from working too hard, right?  (Oh wait, the Japanese have a word for that – karoshi).

It's Happy Hour!
It’s Happy Happy Hour!

So what’s this idea of idling about, like teens at the mall (do they still do that?  I’m caught in a John Hughes life here).  What’s the benefit of whittling away time, like some hobo on the boxcars?  What’s the point of just milling about, petting the cats and watching reality TV when there are a million and one things to be taken care of?

Look, they tell us that recovery is work.  They tell us that if we put in even 50% of the work in recovery that we put into drinking, we’re on solid ground.  They tell us that sobriety doesn’t just happen – it’s something we foster and build towards.

“It’s a process, not an event.”

“It works if you work it.”

“Do the work.”

“Are you working on your sobriety today?”

And you know, it is work in many ways.  I had to work at this thing I have now, and continue to be vigilant in my recovery and spiritual life so that I maintain my emotional fitness and not come undone by the slightest wind or Katy Perry song (sorry, I just can’t deal with her).

But allow me to let you in on a little secret.  Something that has taken me time to understand.  Something that has taken me off the hook countless times.  And that is this: sometimes it’s okay to do…nothing.  You heard me.  Nothing.  It’s alright to do nothing.  Heresy! Blasphemy! Off thee to a nunnery with such foul words stinging thy tongue like angry honey bees!  This is a first world nation, and we need to do everything all the time.  No one gets plaques on the wall for being the best loafer of the month.

it's okay, Skylar, all is well.  We'll just
It’s okay, Skylar, that was the story of my life too.  Just hike up your big boy pants and start working on your fake ID.

When I got hurt running not too long ago, the best piece of advice I got was from a guy at work, a fellow runner who was also injured, who said “ah – just put your feet up and eat some chips.” THAT was his sage advice.  What do you mean just put my feet up?  I’m hurt and that means I need to work at healing, don’t you know?  I need to do stretches, exercises, heat baths, cold compresses, shock therapy, massage, etc. I will not sit idle like some slovenly daydreamer at the bus station and not do anything about this.

Well, guess what?  That’s pretty much all I could do.  Idle. Sure I did some of those helpful measures, but in the end it was really about doing nothing.  Sometimes, the best action or response to a problem is to do nothing.  Restrain of pen and tongue perhaps.  Perhaps not say what’s on my mind.  Not make that amend as I would hurt them at my expense. Perhaps allow someone their pain so that they can learn from a situation. Perhaps just let things unfold as the Universe would have it, rather than have my ego dictate something that isn’t meant to be.

As they say, the doctor puts the cast on, God does the healing.  I can’t will myself to do certain things.  Sometimes I need to open up the space for things to come to me.  And that space often comes in the form of not taking an action.  Of quiet contemplation.  Of picking at the lint of a sweater while staring at the stars.  Of putting my damn feet up and picking at some Doritos (extra spicy, please, and a napkin for those orange fingers I inevitably will get.) Sometimes it’s about what I don’t do as opposed to what I want to do that gets me the right result.

She better not put HER feet up...not with stockings like that! Looks like Ed there is about to blow a gasket.
She better not put HER feet up…not with stockings like that! Looks like Ed there is about to blow a gasket.  Take it easy, Ed.

The hardest thing to do in my recovery was doing nothing.  Sometimes my sponsor would tell me to go see a movie, to stop working on my recovery.  An old-timer told me to just sit for 10 minutes daily, not meditating, but just think of something that makes me happy.  Contemplation. I’ve been told countless times to relax and take it easy.  I’ve been counselled often in my early recovery to just take some down time – go for a walk, or do a crossword puzzle.  Take a breather.  Chill the F-out.  And this was very difficult for me to do.  I was a man of action.  Which is strange to say, because as an active alcoholic, I rarely got much done.  Booze kills ambition, don’t you know? Paradoxical voodoo stuff.

So the idea of letting my sword and hair down and just being was a tough pill to swallow.  The fact remained that I was afraid to not do anything because that meant I had to be with me in all ways.  I didn’t have that distraction or energy focused on something else.  It was just me with me and I didn’t like that Match.com pairing.  I’ve spent my whole life trying to break up with myself and now you’re hitching us up for good?  I don’t like that deal.  Odd Couple stuff, but without the hijinks.  And yet, it was just me.  So doing things made me feel more productive, but really what I was doing was escaping facing that man in the mirror.  The one I used to spit on.

Puttering about, as hard as it has been for me to do, has given me many benefits.  I get recharged.  Solutions to problems come to me out of the blue. I get a new perspective on things.  I feel more connected to the Creator.  I come to others in a new way.  I see the world slightly different than when I am in work mode.  I get some joy.  And this is where play comes into the picture (that’s another topic, but suffice to say that there are those who see play as our ultimate goal in life.)  Play, in all manifestations of the word, is where we are closest to our Maker.  When I am at rest, when I am quiet and still, when I am focused on the unfocused, that is when the spirit visits me.  That is where I am met at a deeper level.  I am more whole in the something of my nothingness.

If he can abide, so can I.
If he can abide, so can I.

In running circles, the Ethiopians and Kenyans are considered to top in the world.  Countless books and documentaries have been done on them.  And one of the reasons they are so good at running is not so much their conditioning, or training or their physical attributes.  It’s rest.  They rest.  A lot. They don’t work – they are taken in / subsidized by family and friends.  So they run.  Then they rest.  That’s it.  Rest is where muscles rebuild.  Rest is where strength is constructed.  Rest is where the mind empties and refocuses for the next task.  Rest is where the real healing comes.  One of the top runners refers to sleep as his “business meetings”. There is nobility in rest in some parts of the world.  We don’t see it that way.  And that’s a shift that I am learning to take.

Religions and spiritual leaders all speak of some sort of rest and respite.  A time to (re)connect.  A time to be with family or others.  A time to pull the curtain on the world and be in solitude and peace.  There is a reason for this and in our recovery, this is vital.  We have strayed from our authentic self for so long, the only way to discover ourselves is in the times where we are just sitting with ourselves.  In park, engine shut off.  Sitting on the beach thinking of nothing and everything.  Walking in the park.  Watching the kids play.  Playing Angry Birds (that’s just me.)  Meditating. Staring at lighting in wonder.  Doesn’t sound like something you’d put on a resume, but it’s important stuff.  Critical to our sobriety.

It’s taken me time to enjoy and look forward to unstructured time.  I do get caught up in the idea that every moment of my time needs to be formatted, allotted and planned.  I do get my days where I will tell my wife “I did nothing today!”, in a fit, upset I didn’t get things done, and she will reply “Good!”.  So she reminds me too that it’s okay not to be constantly busy.  When I have my moments of nothing, I realize just how important they are.  They are the water to the fire.  The stillness to the maelstrom.  The thought to the action.  The answer to the question.

More like Little Miss Nosey.  Get out of my head, showoff!!
More like Little Miss Nosey. Get out of my head, showoff, and take your wicked womanly wiles away from us!

Look, if you’re new to this recovery thing, be forewarned – it is work.  We have to shift our ways of perceiving the world, we have to move away from a lifestyle that once served us but no longer does, we have to do some self-examination as to why we reached for the bottle.  We are shifting so many things – our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives.  Some of us hit meetings, do service, read and write.  Go to therapy. We meet with others, make phone calls, help other newcomers.  But sometimes we need to put on the breaks – take time to be with ourselves, to lift our eyes towards the other things in life, to look at the big picture.

And as time passes, you will see that the holes that alcoholism once punched in our lives heal with some down time, time with our selves, time with the Universe.  Like that injury to my leg, the best thing I could do was nothing.  Time takes time, as they say, and those Whitman-like moments are the ones that will be stamped on my spirit, rather than the hectic day-to-day that tends to dominate me.

So for today – chillax.  Slow down a bit.  Take a moment to find something that brings a smile to your face.  Breathe.  Find that momentary oasis that will iron out the wrinkles of your day.  It’s worth it.

It works if you don’t work it.

Namaste, lard ass.
Namaste, lard ass.

56 Comments Add yours

  1. missris7892 says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, it really resonated with me. Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you for reading. 🙂

      Blessings
      Paul

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Good timing with this one. I just mentioned this past week that I was too busy/distracted to do any of my self-harming behaviors, but as boredom creeps back in I face that temptation again. It’s another part of my life that I have to shift to work with me in the different recovery periods I am in right now.

    Thanks as always for your words and wisdom ((hugs))

    1. Awww…J, I hope that you’re doing well. It’s true that we can get so busy that things, both productive and non-productive, fall to the wayside. But I guess it comes down to how do we feel when we’re with ourselves? That’s the biggie for me. Am I kind to myself or am I not? I can go both ways, frankly, depending on where I am with my spiritual life.

      Be kind to yourself, please. 🙂

      Paul

  3. mishedup says:

    learning, early on, that we are not in control is crucial…it takes a lot of sitting back and watching to truly see that. Little Miss Busy misses so much.
    Love this Paul….much needed

    1. Thanks, M. I think you’re right about being able to see this when we are sitting back and watching. hard to observe when you’re going 500 miles an hour. Hard to take anything in, in fact. I am reminded of this “not in control” thing by how my body likes to tell me to cut it out or it’s going to fail on me again. Like these knees now killing me. I guess that means I am taking tomorrow off on the running. Like anything else, when I push it and try to control it, I get the shaft…lol.

      Thanks for the wise words 🙂

  4. jrj1701 says:

    Very good post Paul, those self critical moments that scream at me, “YOU ARE BEING LAZY!!!” I have to keep reminding myself that that pain in the toches voice has its place and time, and its time ain’t everytime I take a breather, this is where the slogan easy does it comes into play. God ain’t just in the storm, He is best perceived in those quiet moments where I ain’t thinking, talking or doing, just laid back and listening to nothing but Him.

    1. “God ain’t just in the storm, He is best perceived in those quiet moments where I ain’t thinking, talking or doing, just laid back and listening to nothing but Him.” I love this, JR. It’s like when they say God isn’t in the tragedies around us, but in those who come to help and heal us.

      I have had to push through the “I am lazy” thoughts, as I am now starting to discern between lazy and/ or procrastination (avoiding things I should be doing) and just chilling / being. If I am actively avoiding something, I won’t have much of a good time relaxing. But if I’m in a good space, then rest becomes even more pleasurable.

      Thanks for this – wise words as always, kind sir.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  5. sherryd32148 says:

    Oh man…this is the hardest thing for me to do…nothing. I can’t take the guilt! This needs doing or that needs doing and here I sit on my fat rump not doing it. Oh yeah…that reminds me…I should be exercising as well!

    But you’re right about one thing, when I do take the time to actually do NOTHING I feel so much better later. That’s when I truly recharge.

    Thanks Paul – a great reminder.

    Sherry

    1. Busy, busy, busy…that used to give me a sense of purpose! Still does at times. Who *doesn’t* like to show off their entirely checked off “to do” list? It’s like a gold medal in the Olympics, fer chrissake. 😉

      So I’m with you on this…guilt starts to slide in (those dishes won’t wash themselves!) and then I think of all of life’s issues that need fixing NOW. But I have to think – do they *really* need fixing now? What I’m fixing for is a nice chill couple of hours to just space out. THAT will fix things…lol.

      Thanks for being here, my friend 🙂

      Namaste

  6. Lauren says:

    Hey there buddy!! I’ve been absent from hardcore social media lately and I’m laughing because I am chilling with a sleeping kid on my lap and decided to read your most recent post. Funny enough…I JUST put a post up yesterday about how I’m sick of dramatically telling people how “busy” I am like I had nothing to do with creating the chaos and it just MAGICALLY appeared before me. Hahahaha…so I’m losing the glorified “busy” and going for a little more balance. Maybe we should start a #BanBusy campaign. 😉 Oh, and side note…I finally broke down and reluctantly bought sneakers (I’ve got a few runs under my belt, or um, under my sneakers). Nice to connect!!!

    1. Well HELLLLLLOOOO stranger!! So nice to see that smiling mug of yours 🙂 You HAVE been absent – not even on the Twitter!? Ya gotta stop and say hello – that’s less than 140 characters, yes?

      Anyway, I have to get to your post then. See what you’ve been up to. But glad you got the sneakers (don’t be so cheap!) – they make a world of difference, believe me. You can skimp on pretty much everything else, but those…they’re gold. I have been picking up shirts and all sorts of accessories (lights, reflectors, water packs, gels, etc.) that I am finding I am needing the longer I go. I may have to bite the bullet and pick up another pair of shoes. I am told that rotating a few pairs saves on the wear and tear.

      Anyway, glad to see you – don’t disappear so quickly again! 🙂

      Hugs
      Paul

  7. Paul, I’m starting to wonder if we share the same brain. Are we like Michael (God rest his soul) and Janet Jackson, where we can’t be in the same room together?

    We think the same, but your ability to string words together to create this beautiful tapestry… well, I am in awe, as I have said before. Well written, and great melding of ideas.

    In terms of kicking back, you’ve hit the nail on the head. It drives me bonkers, the people that talk endlessly of how busy they are, as if there is a competition and the busiest person wins.

    It’s okay to do nothing are the words I will carry with me, and after the kids have been run around, that is exactly what I intend to do!

    Oh, and PS… what the WHAT on the top picture. Is that for real? A real band? Why are those two shirtless men grabbing that old woman’s hands like that? They look like they are restraining her, and she looks like she is in pain. I just may have nightmares about these three tonight…

    1. byebyebeer says:

      Haha! Cracking up over the Janet/Michael comment 🙂

      1. Not sure how to respond to that…lol.

    2. What I found funny is that we both mentioned restraint of tongue and pen in our posts today…lol. One mind split! That’s pretty ferocious…love it. 🙂

      More threadbare quilt than tapestry, Josie, but thanks 🙂 I’ve been taking it somewhat easy these two days (it’s my weekend), so it felt kind of right to mention it…plus my legs are killing me now from the excessive running, so rest really is at top of mind!

      And yeah, I think that really is a true album. I’ve got some real creepy ones in my folder for future posts. that one is pretty tame…yikes! I might have some nightmares myself…lol.

      Great to have you here as always, Josie. you put a smile on my face!

      Paul

  8. REDdog says:

    Dude, how much chillaxing d’ya reckon the Boys Town Gang would bring on? That’s some serious self-confidence going on with that album cover!

    Good stuff, as per. Respect Paul

    1. That’s one creepy cover. As I mentioned to Josie there, I have whole virtual collection of insanely weird and tacky and odd album covers which I plan to trot out at some point. But it takes a quick Google search to find them…wow. It’s all filed under “What were they thinking?” lol.

      Thanks brother for being here. Respect back at ya.

      Paul

  9. byebyebeer says:

    I feel busy, but with not much to show for it. Busy running in circles? Procrastinating? Playing candy crush? (That’s my time suck.) And I am tired of my self perpetuated busy-ness and know something’s gotta give. I’m just starting to noodle it through, so your post came at a perfect time. Interesting fun fact on the Kenyans too!

    1. Great that this came ’round at the right time. There is always something that gives, isn’t there? We are always in awe about the moms around here who get everything done and it’s flawless and perfect and we wonder what time-bending machine they own because just putting the dishes away seems like a monumental task. Or those I have met online who write books left, right and center, run businesses, run ultra marathons and volunteer three times a day. something has to give, and we end up finding out later on that their kids eat take out almost daily, or the house is a disaster or that the nanny has the kids parked in front of the TV all day so that mom / dad can get things done. There is always something that gives!

      And sometimes it’s our minds that give! I get tired of being busy, and I don’t know if it’s my getting older, or my bum knees or my wife’s influence or all of that and more, I am just not interested as much as running the rat race.

      Here’s hoping that if we ARE going to run the rat race for now, we are at least as fast as those Kenyans and Ethiopians…lol.

  10. Kate says:

    So great, Paul. This really speaks to me. I am driven, Type A – and this is a hard one for me. I am coming to that realization for the summer, too – that it is okay not to have every minute scheduled to make the most of it- even if it is leisure time. It’s okay to go with the flow. I am definitely not good at that!! lol So thanks for confirming what I know I need to make room in my life for!

    PS – Love the Whitman poem that comes from! (That’s where my blog title comes from). Whitman was a little wacky, lol…but he got a few things right.

    1. Oh Kate – so nice to see ya! I am with you – I so very much used to be go, go, go Gadget go all the time. I couldn’t relax ever. It’s not that I had things planned per se, but I had a make-work list with me at all times. I was my own worst task master. I had this vision of perfection where everything would be finally done THEN I could relax. Well, life ain’t like that, is it? lol. so I have learned to fit these moments in the day. My ever-so-slow lesson on balance, I guess.

      And funny that you mention the Whitman poem – I found that line by happenstance and really loved it. I read some of the poem too (would like to revisit it and learn more about Whitman). I looked up the poem again after you mentioned it here and got an even greater appreciation for it. Very cool! I learned something here today – thank you for that.

      Hope you’re having a good (and RELAXING) summer 🙂

      Paul

  11. What step is stop and relax? I feel like Sherry, guilty when just sitting. It comes from being called lazy and worthless when not doing something productive during my formative years. So now I run myself into the ground, IPod in my ears so I don’t have to spend time in my head.
    This was a great message. I will have to ponder this, once I get the garden done, the front door painted….: (
    I seriously need a pedicure but am arguing with myself about the time it will take, and if I can fit in a run if i do it…blah blah.
    I need an off switch. I never had one while drinking nor do I now.

    1. I get like that too sometimes. I am not quite there yet in the fully relax mode, but frankly, with all this running and having issues with my legs, relaxing is much less guilt-ridden!

      As for the ipod thing, I wrote about that too a while back – spending less time with the earbuds in my ears as I found I was just tuning out unconsciously. But that too is common for us 🙂

      “I need an off switch. I never had one while drinking nor do I now.” True to some extent, but I have found that a dimmer is a good thing, instead of an on-off switch. 🙂

  12. *raises hand
    Guilty as charged. Just reading about resting made me itchy. You ‘work’ at recovery and I ‘work’ at being worthy enough for whatever. I’m a happy girl…maybe happier everyday, but I can NOT sit still. It’s annoying and unhealthy.
    Thank you (as always) for a relevant post and for making me stop to pause, think…and rest 🙂

    1. I guess the intent is where it lies, eh Michelle? We do have busy lives, especially when the wee ones are involved, so I guess the question is what are the motives? I can busy myself to oblivion, the way I used to numb out on the vodka. We all have our ways to numb out, and that’s why workaholism is an -ism. I, Self, Me. I can usually tell when I am just busy and when I am keeping myself busy…lol.

      Thanks for your honesty, my friend. Always love seeing ya here.

      P.S I still owe you an email with songs, don’t I? lol

      1. “numbing, workaholism is an -ism”
        It seems that you’ve just uncovered why I’m so drawn to you and other tell-it-from-the heart sober bloggers. I’m a recovering work-a-holic. That’s the first step in the journey, right? Admitting the truth. I’m way better than last year at this time, but coming out of the work piles aren’t as easy as getting into them. I started writing last October and it was with the intent to get away from being perfect, being busy and numbing. I gave up answering work e-mails at all hours, getting on 5 a.m. flights, and volunteering for every project and going to any part of the country my colleagues ‘needed’ me. Admittedly, I’ve gone to other things to replace what used to be work…gardening, running, cooking…Writing! It’s certainly more healthy than working 18 hour days, but the crux of the problem remains and dear friends (and YOU!) in your space help me in ways you’ll never know. So does that creative Creator who blessed me with a 4 week medical leave not long ago. xo

        PS: And oh, yes!! This is song delivery week, dude!

        1. Yeah – sounds like that break of yours was divinely ordained 🙂 “Rest!”, the Universe cried out. I think there is a line between busy and make-work busy. Nothing wrong with getting things done. I like a to-do list, frankly. But I guess it’s my intentions behind being so busy that is what I have to look at. I mean, I enjoyed doing the cooking at dinner parties because that meant I had an excuse not to talk to anyone because I was busy. That’s the wrong kind of busy then 🙂

          Anyway, be kind to yourself!

          And yes, I will send you that email soon. I was too torn about a few songs. I made it more complicated than it should have been…typical me 🙂

  13. Anne says:

    I’m trying to just be. To not be working to fix or change something about myself.
    To find self acceptance in my life as it is today.
    It is harder than it sounds. To just relax with the knowledge that things are as they should be. That all is well right now. In the moment.

    1. Anne – those are as wise words as I have ever read. I need to tattoo that to my forehead 🙂

      Thank you. Wonderful comments.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  14. big mike says:

    Hey Cookie
    Happy Saturday !!!!

    Are you enjoying your present?

    1. I’ve never been called cookie before. Glad it’s you.

      Oh hey – I spoke to my oldtimer dude friend and he’s agreed to take me through the steps again. Very cool. We’re meeting in a few days.

      Thanks for your support and thoughts, Mikey.

  15. Erika says:

    Hi Paul! I’m not dead! haha. Doing nothing is my worst enemy… maybe that is why I don’t get many things done, because I overwhelm myself with to-do lists, and stuff i have to be doing.
    This concept is actually genious! How are you? I miss you, recovery friend.
    I am sending you lots of love!

    1. The dead have risen!! lol

      Yes – the all-or-nothing bug bites again, eh? If we can’t get it all done (and done perfectly, by the way), why bother doing it at all? I have been there and now and again behave like that. Luckily I have kids, so sometimes I *need* to get things done, perfectly or not! But balance is key and I am getting in there. I am at the point where doing nothing is nothing I feel guilty about, unless I am avoiding something.

      As to how I am, I am good at the moment. I am doing some more step work, so that should give me a nice spiritual charge. Much needed. Been sleepy in that department.

      How are you? Miss ya too!

  16. Hey Paul, I’m not dead either, which is probably more amazing than Erika not being dead. But I don’t really know that. Erika could be one gnarly, death-defying woman. One that makes my stunts look downright kiddie-klown in comparison.
    Be that as it may. Neither of us being dead is pretty good. You too. Grateful you’re not dead.
    (is that an okay thing to say? Somehow seems wrong. Well-intentioned, but a wee awkward. I’ll work on something else)
    Anyway, I would love to graft some of your busy-bee genomes onto my dangling DNA strands. My sloth can make The Dude look downright Type-A. Seriously. Hillbillies with Lyme’s disease, who rip bong loads, chip heroin, and chew benzos like Tums, have more pep in their step.
    I don’t know if having limitless inertia could be considered a super power, but I’ve got plenty. Enough to make the entire city of Milwaukee stop what they’re doing and stare vacantly–for an entire three-day week-end.
    That’s why when I saw that chapter, Into Action, my gut sunk.
    “Looks like we’re not staying sober, buddy.” That’s what I really told myself. But then I did that asking my Higher Power to propel me thing and yadah yah. No worries.
    Now here’s where you and I converge again. Even though I can loaf and putter like…like if there was a Greek god of that, I still struggle with being okay with it. Get me in a hammock on a cruise ship and you will notice that my foot is still tapping. I’d be thinking “I should be building a shed, instead.” Even though I have no need for a shed. Or capacity to build one. But I’d be bludgeoning myself over the fact anyway.
    “Yeah, this is nice, but I really need to be working on a shed.”
    Or starting my own stem-cell research facility. Or strip-club laundromat. Or any of my other genius, and highly practical, ideas.
    So while I’m lazing around physically, I’m still wound up inside. It’s the worst of both worlds. Don’t get anything done but still stress out.
    When I remember to pray for help, to help me relax and enjoy my stillness, it works. I just forget to. A lot.
    But I’m not going to pray for help with that. I’ve got this. I’m going to force myself to remember.
    I’ll keep you posted on how it’s working.
    If I remember to.
    I thought about this (brilliant) article tonight, when my friend Liz lead the meeting. She was talking about how she’d gotten so obsessed with cross-fit, that she was leaving her program by the wayside. Then she had to get an operation for appendicitis. Which cut the cross-fitting way down. She also got some new sponcees. At just this very time.
    Weird.
    And she didn’t have to do anything. Because appendicitis.
    What a gift.
    Shit. I was going to talk about the “it works if you don’t work it,” part, because that’s an f-ing gold mine, Jerry, but I’ve gone way over my 3 to 4 minutes. Again. Sorry sorry.
    Uh, wrapping up, I’d just like to say…everything Paul said. And now I’ve asked another alcoholic to read either A Vision for You or The Promises, and then lead us out in a prayer of their choice.
    Hope your hoof is healing,
    love you to pieces,
    B.T.G. for life.
    Marius

    PS. I’m really digging this wallpaper you picked out. Very Jetson’s acid trippy. I love it. Oh and square wheel murdered.

    1. It’s great to hear that you’re not one of the undead, although I am sure you lived a little on that side of the tracks during your William S. Burroughs days. Scrape humanity off your skin now and then like spinach from your teeth. Erika may have been like that too, but that’s between her and her exorcist.

      ” Hillbillies with Lyme’s disease, who rip bong loads, chip heroin, and chew benzos like Tums, have more pep in their step.” Dude, that killed me. I didn’t know you could chip heroin. Or is that a new Lay’s flavour? Into Action – got it. I think so. Maybe. You mean I have to *work* at this? Ugh. I’ll hoist myself off my haemorrhoid donut and see what I have in the dilithium chamber. Could be on empty…oh but wait, this is life and death stuff. I guess I have to fill ‘er up.

      You know, I was reading what you said about your friend Liz’s story (which is awesome, by the way) and I get that. I mean, I don’t have an emergency of any kind, but I have what they call runner’s knee, and it’s a bit of a byatch and it demands that I ice, ice baby that SOB and elevate and chill the Fugazi out. So I do. Twiddle my thumbs on the tablet. Chew some unhealthy food. Listen to some tunes. Threaten the children. Fun things. But that twitch…yeah, sheds are needed in this part of the world, aren’t there? As I mentioned to The Holistic Wayfarer below, I have to do a pro’s and con’s list even to nap. I crave a good rest, but when the opportunity hits, I cower and wonder what I could be doing instead. Reconciling the Russian and Chinese, perhaps. Streamline an igloo. Learn the pan flute. It’s limitless, Mr. G.

      But you had to mention the HP, didn’t you? Damn, I wish you’d keep that out of the picture. We’re self-will propelled, aren’t we? And you can see just how fine we do when we…oh, never mind. Ok, let Him in. You can vouch for Him at the door. No cover charge. We’ll let Him hook us up with whatever is behind curtain #3. I know it’s best for me, even if it’s a rusted wheelbarrow full of mouldy tacos. His rules, what can I say. He’s kept me away from the hooch and given me a great life, etc. So what does He know? Into Action again, yes?

      Sigh.

      Anyway, Mr. G, you’re a good man. Great, in fact. You have the squishy insides that glow with that HP juice. Thanks for spreading that around. That jazzes up the place more than any wallpaper can.

      Hugs,
      Paul

  17. `’It was just me with me`’ … I have spent a lot of my life running from that one. I loved this post, really resonated with me. You articulate ideas so well. I think this was kind of what I was trying to say when I posted “Green spaces for the soul” (http://moretomethanthis.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/green-spaces-for-the-soul/) talking about the unstructured gaps in an over-scheduled life and how important they were for me, but I hadn’t really appreciated the way rest and healing coming into the equation, too. You are so right about the way our society / culture dismisses the importance, the necessity of rest. Bonkers. Sometimes I castigate myself for needed rest, telling myself that I *shouldn’t* be tired. How mad is that? Like being tired without sufficient reason / exertion is a moral failing. I need my “moments of nothing”, my moments for being with just me – they are as important for my soul as veggies and protein and exercise are for my body – and without them, I start spinning off course, emotionally. Thanks for the post 🙂 xxx

    1. You speak truth! I too castigate myself when I need a nap, as if I am not worthy of them – and I think that ties into it as well – self-worth. If it’s good enough for others to rest, why not us? Are we not good enough for it? We don’t deserve them? It is low-level guilt for all the drunken / hungover nothingness we used to pull? Not sure. But rest is so important, and I am just cluing into that now. Yeah, I’m a slow learner, but at least I am learning. 🙂

      And yeah, then there’s that cranky-from-being-tired thing that creeps us. It happens to my kids, so guess what – it’s going to happen to me too.

      Great comments! Get some rest now, ya hear? 😉

      Paul

  18. I’m in the resting phase lately. *yawn* In fact, when something is weighing on my mind, I’m more inclined to do nothing than try to figure it out. Not so in early sobriety for me. Life was a puzzle and I was going to solve it. Life is still a puzzle but it’s amazing how many of the pieces will fall into place if we let them. 🙂

    1. So true, Karen, me too. Plus I don’t feel like I have to be the person fixing everything anymore either. Hey, if someone else wants to do something or help me now, I’m all for it! I’ve come a long way from the control-freak, do everything myself person I used to be. Thank goodness!

    2. I crave your wisdom there, Karen. I am slow on the uptake, so I am just starting to board this train now. Years after I should have been trekking along the land of yawn and rest. But I like where you are coming from. Doing nothing as a tonic to what ails us. Let the pieces fall into place with gravity as their impetus to move, not my own hands.

      Pretty wise stuff there, Karen 🙂

  19. It definitely pays to take time to sharpen the saw. Not sure where I heard that parable, sounds like a Covey thing, but spending all day trying to chop down a tree won’t do you a bit of good if you’re blade is dull. Instead of spending 8 hours with a dull axe, spend two hours sharpening and one hour chopping.

    The Dude and White Russians. Ah the good ole days. 🙂

    1. I like that parable / analogy there, Christy. It can’t be non-stop action all the time for me any more. I get tired, physically and mentally, frankly. This running has actually forced me to get into that other kind of recovery – recovery of the body. My knees are now getting on my case (runner’s knee) so I almost have no choice but to listen to that and sit on the couch, iced and bandaged up, and play Angry Birds. Or read. I know that pushing it will make things worse. So I am trying to pull that analogy across to the rest of my life. Yet another great thing running has brought me! (Also reading George Sheehan books – that man was quite the wise one)

      The duuuuuudddee….what a killer movie. Never get tired of that one.

      Thanks Christy for being here – nice to see you around again 🙂

  20. Perfect post for me to read today. Thank you Paul! Your words always bring a smile to my face. Today is Saturday and I’m going to read and nap. I’ve seen you mention Angry Birds a few times lately, so enjoy doing some of that 🙂

    1. Yes – I am a fan of the Malcontent Aves. Got them all, for the most part. My guilty pleasure.

      I’m a little jealous of your day there. Then again, even if given the chance, I would probably think of some project to sabotage it a bit. But I have a line up of books that I need finishing. That’s my issue – I start all these books and finish none of them! That’s annoying, isn’t it?

      Anyway, hope your Sunday is a good one too.

      Glad you’re here 🙂

      Paul

  21. Love that last shot. =)

    Ok, so my mind put up a shield against this post, though this strand made it through:

    “I was afraid to not do anything because that meant I had to be with me in all ways.” Keen, Paul.

    If only I lived what I know. I know the universe runs in cycles of greater activity and less. I know even God rested and commands that we do as well, and His injunctions are our utmost good. I know my husband is obeying the simple wisdom of his body in that sweet nap he takes after hours of busyness with our son. But — but. But I have my reasons A-Z why I keep going, going, going. In a fierce battle for time, I believe in productivity, efficiency – hec, I call it all good stewardship of the sacred resource called time.

    Sigh. I am
    tired.

    LOL.

    It would drive me crazy to have to (notice, not be allowed to) just put my feet up. Of course I’ll manage to write if I had to do that.

    1. ” I call it all good stewardship of the sacred resource called time.” That’s some fine wordsmithing there, D. And I am fine with that when I check my motives and understand that I am moving towards an end that satisfies practicality and common sense. Where I tend to fall by the wayside is when I put myself in that gerbil wheel because I am avoiding something. Namely, myself. I am still guilty of that at times, but I catch myself before I go off the deep end.

      “Time is my enemy” is what one of my high school teachers used to tell us. And I picked up that mantle and ran with it for years. Time, time, time! It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time, but wasted much of it. Today I still see it as a resource, but prioritize a bit differently. I love a nap like hubby there, but I always weigh it against what I *could* be doing instead. That’s my challenge. In the end, nap usually wins though. Rest, like God did. If it’s good enough for Him, why not us? Ha ha.

      Thanks for the keen insight here, Diana. As usual.

      I hope you have rested. At least enough to get you through your next good stewardship. lol

      Paul

      1. You really put your finger on it. It comes down to chkg what drives us in our heart. This goes for everything.

        I’ll bet you’re the only man who thinks twice, thrice before napping LOL!

        1. I know! I am letting the brotherhood down…ha ha.

  22. Fay says:

    After a long day at work this post was incredibly refreshing! I’m a great advocate for il dolce far niente!! Thanks 🙂 Namaste!

    1. Thanks Fay for reading and commenting! Nice to have an advocate for tasty sweet doing nothing there. Does it come with an even tastier badge? mmmmm…..

      Namaste
      Paul

      1. Fay says:

        Hmm having a dumb moment. Explain?!

        1. Sorry. Was probably over-caffeineted AND sleep deprived when I wrote that. I don’t even know what I meant…lol. Whatever I wrote, though, it was in appreciation for what you originally wrote…ha ha.

  23. fern says:

    I love how content you seem. 🙂

    1. Thanks Fern – I hope so! 🙂

      How are you?

  24. jeffstroud says:

    Boy Paul that was work! Just to get to the point of letting ourselves do nothing, ever we ever do do nothing, is work. Or a practice. Life is as hard as we make it, when drunk we made it most difficult. I recovery we try to work at working it. Yet there does come a time that we need to join old Walt in the field and the blade of grass. To watch the clouds drift by, to stop being busy and being busy.
    Anyway thanks for working so hard to write this blog about taking time off. I think you might some. LOL

    It’s all good my friend! Keep coming back!

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