RX for Life: Rest, Wander, Imagine, Repeat

By Kate Kerry Spencer

Go, go, go. I love the adrenaline of go. I love tight deadlines, multiple, multi-tasking projects, and to-do lists written in different, brightly colored markers. Yep, I like busy. At least I think I do. I’ve been writing to meet a deadline for so long that the deadline sometimes writes me into a corner. Then I multitask myself out and onward to the next list. Oh, the things I’ll get done!

Okay, I’m not quite as triple-booked as my currently tired-of-being-tired self feels. But I need to listen to that triple-booked protest. We all really need to listen to that triple-booked protest. It’s our inner life calling us to spend some time in each day as a human being and not just a human doing. Sometimes what feels like exhilaration is just exhaustion wearing lipstick.

If we live life as if it were a marathon and not a sprint, we just might live happier, healthier and longer lives. In fact, there’s real evidence that allowing the mind and body to slow down, wander and expand in new, more fluid, playful directions has health-enhancing benefits. A mind that is freed to rest, imagine and daydream is a happier, more creative mind. A body that is freed to rest, play, wander a new path or nap midday on a hammock is a happier, healthier body.

You don’t have to wait until you have actual vacation time to take a mini vacation. Every day has 10-60 minutes in it that you can unwind the busy and relax into the now. If you make time for those mini vacations, you’ll not only be more inclined to take time for an actual vacation if/when the opportunity arises, you’ll actually enjoy your job more too.

Whether that job is being a full-time mom or a corporate exec, a banker or a baker, a teacher or a student, just getting into the workplace or long-retired, restoration of the mind and body is as close as your next breath. Take that breath, enjoy that rest, and let your heart and soul open more deeply to life.  

Active Meditation

This morning, set an intention with yourself to wander and explore a creative, living place this week that you have often meant to visit, but have never gotten around to seeing. This place could be a natural space, like a park, or a creative work-space, like a pottery studio. (If you happen to work at a pottery studio or a park, choose another place to visit that is brand new to you.)

When you visit this space, let your mind be as open as a child’s. Take in the sights, sounds, smells and colors of this place. Be fluid with your experience, putting aside any preconceived notions and just being in the moment. See this new place with new eyes, open yourself to its gifts, quirks, and beauty. Hold this experience as one of your new life adventures, a vacation you have built into an hour of your day.

Acknowledge that the rest, possibly best, part of your life may come after taking time to pause, to do nothing, to sleep in, take a stroll, take a nap, hug a baby, walk a dog, take a nap, take a bath, have a cry, watch a movie, have a laugh. Tell everyone you love that you love them. Don’t wait. Go ahead and tell them now.

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Kate Kerry Spencer is a Pacific Northwest writer, editor, and publisher. Learn more about her upcoming memoir, Smoke: A Story of Love, Lies and Cigarettes

Smoke is the story of fatal consolations--tobacco, denial and deceit--and the second chances that can come to us in the most unlikely places. For this mother and daughter it was a rehab center where the two women wrestled with cigarettes, scrambled brains and each other--and in the process, found the long way back to love.

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