Life happens in cycles. Look at the seasons, or the economy, and even yourself. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re a motivated high-achiever. This is a good thing, but the constant motion has a dark side and a high price tag, too. Over the last few posts, we’ve talked about the pure magic that happens when we take time to pause. Energy returns, vision grows, and your ideas just seem more creative and more doable. It really does seem like magic. However, we must beware of the tendency to see rest and reflection as just another productivity tool in our achievement toolbox. While increased energy, clarity and even achievement are natural by-products of rest and reflection, they are not the only reasons we rest. In fact, they are not even the best reasons we rest.
We’re entering the thick of the holiday season, just beyond Thanksgiving with Christmas just ahead. It’s an inherently busy phase of life. What if you pulled back this month and enjoyed the holidays and family and friends and didn’t try quite so hard to achieve? What if you look at December as a time to celebrate all you have accomplished this year, big or small? What if you slept in and rested more than usual? What if you were quiet and still more than usual? Does this sound like a waste of time? It’s not.
Consider this. Every move you make need not be to leverage some future move or goal. Yes, a period of rest now will likely yield increased energy and clarity in the next stage of life, but I want to ask you to forget about that for now. We achievers suffer from a sickness. We struggle with focusing on what’s next at the expense of what’s here now. Take a minute or two and think back over the past year. What have you accomplished this year that you should be grateful for? What should you celebrate? Who do you need to slow down with and just enjoy their company? Perhaps your family? Your friends? Your church?
Consider the cyclical nature of life and embrace a time of rest. Not for what it’s going to yield to you in the next phase, but so you can enjoy and reflect on this time, right now. You’re not a machine and your family and friends don’t need you to be one either. Just be present during this holiday season and enjoy the other people in your life.
The next stage of your life will be here soon enough. Not only will you be ready to maximize it, but if you slow down intentionally now, you just may learn to enjoy the fact that all the phases of life are to be enjoyed and celebrated.