Remembering a day of REST.

A long time ago in America we use to have a day of rest. Which usually fell by what is termed the weekend period of timing- give or take some hours.  Many people chose religious activities and/or social activities to fill the time or simply caught up on all the stuff they missed during the week.  This was considered the REST concept – yet even then it sounds pretty busy.  Mainly because the REST became a break from working during the week and moved into a more social expansion of needs.  Flash forward 40 years and technology has made constant contact front and center while managing to isolating people further and further into themselves.  So that basically we have forgotten what it means to REST.  Both from daily activities and for that precious need for solitude.  If rest means sleeping and solitude means to be total alone or uninvolved then I would like to suggest the follow liberty.

Get into some purposeful steps to solitude:  Start little by little and keep a journal if it helps.  Here is my method as I started.  I now (with the exception of meditation which I do daily) use these tools as needed but when you start it is best to try them in the order I have suggested- but it is up to you.  (Please remember that changing your routine may affect others and you should be clear about your activities and also do them in a safe way for yourself and others).  

Week one:

First Day:  Spend 1/2 an hour not talking to anyone and try to do as little activity as possible during that time.

Second Day: Spend one hour not talking to anyone and try to do as little activity as possible during that hour. As for your environment:  No music, TV, electronics, no texting, no smoking, no reading no distracting activities.  Your space needs to be quite or have just sounds of nature coming through (if you do this outdoors).   Does this not seem like really relaxing?  Maybe.

If you cannot sit still for an hour of no talking and silence then choose an activity that you can do alone where the pace is relaxed in movement.  Example:  switch back and forth from sitting to walking at a leisurely pace to very light exercise movements sitting or standing.  If you cannot settle down at all then draw, color, needlepoint, knit, observe your pet without talking or engaging ect.  activities that are repeating or fluid in nature will work stimulating activities will not.    

Third Day:  spend a 1/2 an hour not talking to anyone and in silence sitting or lying down.  Do some breath exercises and use this time to pray or meditate.  You can use the following external means means for this exercise.  Guided Meditations, prayers, mantra, meditation music or sounds of nature music Garden/Ocean. The purpose of this exercise is for you to practice taming the mind chatter with a focused thought.  I use Om Namah shivaya- from my Guru., the Hail Mary, the violet fame etc.  Others have worded meditations that can be used as well.  Pick your words wisely as your purpose should be to move from the mind chatter into the internal well of peacefulness and joy that is your connect to the source/God within. 

The rest of week one: Continue to spend 1/2 and/or 1 hour per day not talking to anyone and in silence. Do this either in meditation or prayer or with a quite self activity (as described above).

Week two:  Now do two hours in total of silence without talking to anyone but observe others or the general activity around you.  This is fun because you will maintain your normal activities during the time  except that you will not talk and you will keep yourself in silence for this period of time (no phone, reading, smoking, eating ect.).   This exercise is to keep you present in the moment but to shift your focus to observing others.  Whether in your home, out shopping, at a gathering or walking the dog.   The purpose is to observe without judgement the activities around you.  Kind of being there but “not doing” being there.  Sometimes we are just to attached or involved in our own projects, wants, needs and abilities that we forget to observe what is around us without judgement. 

If you can do the whole two hours at once then go for it.  If you find that you need to break up the time into 1/2 an hour sections that will work and you can do it once a day for 4 days.   It is not a race it is an exercise I use to  tune into my awareness and actually circle back to regenerate my sense of well being.  

Week three:  Review the following exercises you have done.  Did you stick to the schedule listed?  If not, Why?  Which came easier for you and could you make this something you do more regularly?  Why do you think it helped,  if it did.  Check back in your journal to see how you felt, your thoughts.  Again, this is not a race it is an exercise in tuning into yourself and your environment.  Try to pick up doing 15 mins of meditation each day.  You can always book a private appointment with me to learn my guided meditation together we can get your started.  I am happy to be of service as you move forward in exploring your power within.    

Fourth Week:  Continue with your 1/2 hour silence and when you feel like it combine some observing.  This practice works good when dealing with other people’s drama. Not because you do not talk but because over time your self development towards being calm will anchor you in the sea of emotions.

Tips:  If you really have a lot of internal chatter you may need to focus on your breathing going in and out or jump start yourself by doing prayers, mantra or meditation before you go into the exercise of silence. You may find this acts as a primer.  I usually dress in my sari when I do these exercises because it feels best for my body and it lets my household know that I am focusing on some internal discipline.  It is like workout clothes for the gym. Lets everyone know you are working out.  It is by no means necessary to wear on buy anything to do these exercises.  Just dress comfortable for you.  If it helps to have a sign or signal that you are going into meditation/pray mode or doing your silence exercises then make it fun!  Design a no talking/silence T-shirt or wear your no talk/silence color.  Kids can get into it too however normally they are extremely observant of things just they do not talk about it as well as being at a different communication levels at different stages.  Meditation can also be taught to kids as well.

May you take the liberty to grow into your day of Solitude – REST!




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