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Engage the Magic of Rest and Play

August 24th, 2011 · No Comments · Personal Leadership

“In the relentless busy-ness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest.  All life requires a rhythm of rest.” 
Wayne Muller

Most of us passion-entrepreneurs live and work at a demanding pace.  Even those of us doing what we love for a living are vulnerable to having life speed up to the point that our work stops feeling light, joyful and rewarding.  Our society applauds activity and often ignores renewal, and the need to take a break can be seen as a sign of weakness.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The key to high performance and fulfillment in our business is to value our energy as our greatest asset.  Because it is. 

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement, challenge us to learn a new kind of rhythm between stress and recovery.  Their research has confirmed that our potential for sustainable, high performance comes from oscillating between stretching ourselves with challenges, and renewing ourselves through activities that replenish our energy and restore our soul.

The cost of ignoring this rhythm is high.  Recently I was surprised to hear that the Chinese pictograph for busy-ness is composed of “heart” and “killing.”  When we’re caught up in unrelenting activity we lose the capacity to savor life and to care deeply for ourselves and others.  We become cut off from the well-spring of our intuition and live from reactive urgency.
When we honour our healthy need for rest and play, we allow our cup to be filled with fresh water.  We tap into our place of deep peace and act with perspective, creativity and heart.

Discovering Your Way
What renews you?  What activities, rather than expending energy, restore it?

When I first ask clients about their renewal practices, often it’s a new question.  We haven’t been encouraged to discover our favourite energizing ways to rest and play.  If this is true for you, the first step is to explore and experiment.  Try on some new activities, and watch what effect they have on your energy.

Resting is more than an absence of work.  It’s not just a time of catching up on errands and watching TV.  It’s time taken to listen to the quiet forces that nourish, renew and inspire you.  Give yourself permission to sleep, to nap, to lay in the sunshine.

Experiment with a new delicious way to play.  Hike a new trail, kayak at dawn, languish in a long conversation with a friend, roll on the grass with your children.

I invite you to give yourself the gift of rest and play in these final days of summer.  What simple, pleasurable, frivolous activity could you start with, today?

Make time for an act of purposeless play and allow it to delight you.

When you give yourself permission to invest in your energy, you’ll restore your optimal rhythm, stoke the fires of your creativity and feel renewed joy in your business and your life.

“The human spirit is naturally generous.  The instant we are filled our first impulse is to be useful, be kind, to give something away.”
Wayne Muller


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