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Rest is Radical a Rhythmical Rebellion

It’s taken a global pandemic to give many people the rest they’ve needed for a lifetime. A recent study even showed that of the participants asked only 9% wanted life to resume its usual rhythm. What does that say about the pace of modern life?

The simple act of understanding, accepting and cooperating with our inner rhythms and the rhythms of nature can be game changing and once most people have had a taste they almost never go back. To realise we are not mental but elemental can bolster self-confidence and provide a powerful sense of inner knowing and inner strength. Self-understanding is a precursor to self-love and acceptance is powerful.

The way many of us have been raised, socialised and schooled (though I'm pleased to say not all) means that we may have come to view the menstrual cycle and life as an exhausting uphill struggle to be fought against rather than a helpful current to be followed, a downstream flow guiding us back home to ourselves and our power. Flipping that script is a profound act of social rebellion for women and people with periods everywhere.

‘Our wild power is the feminine waiting to be known through our individual experience. It’s our personal service to the revolution. Not a revolution imposed on us but an organic evolution that works through our bodies.’ ~ Alexandra Pope

The myth of consistency, predictability and infinite resource runs deep in this culture that prioritises productivity over the health and wellbeing of its people and still believes the earth can perpetually give without consequence. A culture that views the priority of pleasure and rest as indulgent and lazy and looks down on anyone who isn’t showing up consistently in their life or work. But linear consistency isn’t sustainable and pleasure is our birth rite.

Somehow it’s become an accepted norm to view rest as a luxurious, optional layer of self-care to be added once all the jobs are done but this is simply not true. Our bodies, our natural rhythms of resting, sleeping and waking and our menstrual cycles don’t give a shit about our commitments, deadlines and duties and when we are brainwashed, pressured, forced, coerced or otherwise encouraged to ignore the rhythms of our bodies, they will have something to say about it and so often it takes getting to breaking point before we choose to listen.

'The cycle is an organic process of timing that is uncontrolled by the inorganic societal timings imposed from outside.' ~ Alexandra Pope, The Woman's Quest

And the same is true of our relationship with our planet and nature. Neither we nor our planet can run on empty, though the rampant disconnection from our natural world can often make it seem as though we can. Humans can begin to feel indestructible as a species, our governments continuing to act out of self interest without any sense of the consequences but it is time proven that even the smallest action ripples out through the entire ecosystem in ways we may not even be aware of yet. It always seems to take something big to happen for anyone to listen and for changes to be made and sometimes not even then!

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to wait for a global pandemic, a health crisis or a mental breakdown for permission to rest. Resting is as important, if not more so, as being productive and active but that can be hard to believe when a society of economically motivated ‘wakists’ are running the show. So please… lie down before you break down and be a part of the rhythmical revolution. Because as crazy as it sounds, rest is radical.

‘The cycle is your pulse, your organic timekeeper and the guardian of your inner song. If you let it be your metronome and trust it deeply enough to live by it you’ll discover the ever deepening sweet spot where it truly feels as if all life is now marching in tune.’

~ The Wild Genie, Alexandra Pope

Regular rest is not just a revolutionary and radical act on an individual level but also on a planetary one. Reconnecting to the wilder rhythms of life is a form of rewilding and rewilding is a practice of mutual healing. We are cells in the organism that is Earth, there is no separation and as we begin to heal ourselves we in turn begin to heal the earth. That may sound esoteric and intangible but it's not, it's logical and it's proven. It's almost impossible to prioritise something you don't care about.

Nature is already showing us in this small window of time how quickly she can heal if given the space to rest. Our semi-retreat from the world is resulting in nature taking back our cities and towns in unexpected ways in just a matters of weeks. Imagine a rhythmical and responsive world where rest is valued, prioritised and encouraged and where Earth and women are given regular respite from the constant demands on their cyclical resources.

Rhythmical life is crucial but it's not easy, it takes commitment and work. Cyclical living asks us to get comfortable with falling behind because the pace of modern life and the pace of our beings are not at all compatible and in order to live well something’s got to give. Cyclical living invites us to tune out from the noise of society and tune back into the sacred sound of our own individual inner rhythms. Through listening inwardly to this inner rhythm before stepping out to join the rhythm of society the possibility of a life more in sync begins to show itself and it can feel as though you finally flowing with rather than against the currents of life.

So will join me in the rhythmical revolution? This Earth day and every day taking a stand for rhythm and resting as a form of social rebellion.

Carly x

Illustration: @trindles_

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