Saturday morning I attended a workshop by my friend and essential oil teacher/mentor, Kate Brown, and several of her colleagues from the aromatherapy school that she teaches for. It was a wonderful event, “Regroup – Reboot – Re-Emerge”, during which Kate and the other presenters shared techniques, and essential oils, for centering, grounding, setting intention, etc. But after it was over I realized I needed more one R – Rest!
I don’t mean sit with a book, the “chill and relax” sort of rest, or sit and mindlessly watch YouTube videos or scroll social media. I can decompress and relax by doing those things if I don’t want to focus on anything specific. I can unwind by looking out the window at the birds or going for a drive. I have apps and a variety of podcasts or programs to listen to that help clear a racing mind, especially if I am intensely focusing and giving energy to something I would prefer not to.
I tend to get involved in a lot of activities or sign up for programs and workshops so that I can learn more. I usually love all of that activity. But I realized I was just exhausted and overwhelmed by a multitude of daily events and responsibilities. I thought about watching my favorite YouTube artists and crafters or getting my daily “Catechism in a Year” video and notes with Fr Mike Schmitz done. But I knew that wasn’t the answer. It was Rest that I needed.
I laid down on the bed. Butters, my ginger cat, jumped up alongside me and we just rested. Not napped, just rested. It was the kind of rest that was like the Contemplatio step in prayer practice, Lectio Divina, the final phase of just resting in the presence of God.
After awhile I asked why I overextend? Why I don’t put more rest time in my day, or even my week? I am not sure who I was asking – myself, God? I don’t really think I needed an answer beyond knowing that I need to take more time to sit quietly, to listen and not talk, to just be.
In Sacred Scripture we hear that Jesus, when the apostles returned after being sent out on their own to teach and heal, told them to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6: 30-32)
Why would I even assume that with a busy week of ministry work, parish involvement, caring for my pets, keeping up with friends and family, studying and learning more about my faith and other interests, that I wouldn’t need time to rest and listen for guidance? To pause on the doing of more activities and just rest in the presence of God.
Every night, as part of Night Prayer/Liturgy of the Hours, I recite (or listen to, if using an app) this verse:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake, watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.
I think that prayer will have a different meaning for me each night from now on. Instead of just to rest in God’s peace while sleeping, I want more hours in each day where I feel I am just resting in the gentle embrace of God. I want to feel the peace of knowing if I stop talking and start listening during prayer, maybe a bit more of that peace will wash over each day.
If you feel busy all the time, or overwhelmed, I wish the same for you!
To learn more about Kate Brown, her essential oil programs and practice, visit Kate Brown Healing Essentials.
Catechism in a Year – study the Catechism of the Catholic Church with Fr Mike and Ascension Press on YouTube or download the study guide and read on your own. It’s still early in the year and the sections reviewed each day have been short, you could easily join in and catch up.
Image: My cat, Butters, resting in the sun earlier in the week. They are masters of rest.