“I want to do the best work possible, and I can only do that if I’m relaxed and have a lot of energy. And that can only come from taking time off.”
–Jason Scott Lee
I learned the principle of taking regular rest stops six years ago when I first began learning Nia Technique® routines with the Goal of teaching classes to help others develop greater wellness through movement. Learning the routines was my first intentional activity towards achieving my Goal.
I scheduled a set time each day for this intentional activity and I expected that each time I practiced my first routine I would feel more comfortable in my movements. I also expected that I would keep practicing the same routine over and over again daily until I perfected teaching it before moving on to the next routine on my list to learn.
What I did not expect is that I would come to a point in my practice that I simply could not stand to practice the routine one more time!
I began to dread the approach of my practice time. The thought of listening to the music one more time literally made my ears ache. My joy for experiencing Nia was diminishing quickly….along with my passion for achieving my Goal.
While taking a rest stop from practicing the new routine, I realized that I didn’t have to wait to finish that routine before I could listen to the music for a different routine. I started listening to the new music while I was driving to appointments and running errands I found I truly loved the songs.
As I was driving my body naturally and easily moved to the music! I became curious as to the movements of the routine. The next day, instead of pushing myself to practice the first routine, I played the DVD for the second routine. I loved it! I found my body easily took to the movements and I learned how to teach the 2nd routine very quickly. My joy for Nia was full and present and alive again!
Now that I had fully learned and was teaching the second routine, I felt ready to finish learning the first routine. I was amazed that when I returned to practicing that routine, the movements seemed much easier to me. I felt as if I ‘understood’ the routine for the very first time. I fell back in love with the music. I now had two routines I felt comfortable teaching.
Resting is not the same as being stopped on the path to our goal.
Resting is a conscious practice of rejuvenation. It’s a pro-active pause in the activity to catch one’s breath and to ensure there is a balance between action and non-action.
Master Chi-Lifter Monika Greczek explains why she takes rest stops: “Looking back to when I first started my business, I kept working until I dropped. Sundays and Mondays I would be at home in bed because I was drained, so tired that I couldn’t move, or I was sick. I never said ‘no’ to any of my clients and never gave myself a break. Now I totally understand the meaning of taking a rest stop. I take the necessary time and do the thing that I need to replenish my body, mind and soul. I take time to quiet my mind, relax my body and nourish my soul. I AM healthier and have more energy. I fulfill my daily routines, goals, and intentional activities that I have scheduled with velocity and ease. I AM so much happier and love what I do. The passion that I once lost has returned and I enjoy taking care of my clients and myself.”
Rest Stops Are Like Musical Interludes
Consider how rest periods are used in music. Take a moment now to think about your favorite song. Consider the rhythm, the melody, the phrasing of how the song is composed. When you have the chance to actually listen to the song, notice each beat and instrument. And, notice when each instrument rests. It is these rest periods that actually create the mood of the music.
Without the rest periods, all there would be is beat, beat, beat, beat, beat, beat, beat, beat, etc. and it would just sound like noise.
Together, the beats and the rest stops create what is known as music. So, without the silence, there is no music; there’s only noise.
Master Chi-Lifter Valerie M. shares how she takes rest stops: “As a stay-at-home mother of three young children, I can easily forget about the rest stops. Lately, I have been waking up to a quiet home before the kids begin their day. I have celebrated those moments in between, when no one else is awake and I am left to my own energy, intentions and thoughts. My husband is a professional musician and he jokes of being paid by the note….I can appreciate the value of the notes between for it makes it possible for the notes played out loud to have their true meaning. Like the shallow brook who babbled most, the opposite is always recognized.”
How will you know when to continue to focus and when it’s time to take a rest?
The answer is quite simple…as long as you feel you are ‘in the flow’ of the project and you are making progress, continue to put your energy into the project.
At the point at which you notice that you no longer feel energized when you think about the project…that’s the time to implement a rejuvenating rest stop.
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