I am on my first real holiday in years. A holiday where the beach is the only destination on the itinerary. A holiday where reading is for pleasure only (I’m thoroughly enjoying Ita Buttrose’s autobiography A Passionate Life). A holiday where afternoon naps are perfectly acceptable and, yes, I have actually taken one.
We’re visiting my hometown of Margaret River. The region is a wonderful part of the world, but has been terribly affected by recent bush fires. My son is with me but he is 15 now, so I no longer have to spend my entire holiday creating appropriate children’s entertainment.
So, I’ve lazed around at the beach every day. I’ve caught up with old school friends. I’ve splurged on two blissful full body massages and received a divine facial. We head back to Melbourne in a few days and I’m ready for another year of work. I feel inspired again.
I love my work, my career gives me tremendous satisfaction and fulfillment. But I’m not good at work-life balance. I’m not good at switching off. I’m not good at making time for down-time. I’m always go, go, go. Setting goals. Achieving stuff. This year has been busy, successful and satisfying. But by the end of 2011, I felt utterly exhausted. My tolerance for other people was low. My creative fire was barely a flicker. I simply needed a rest.
And after two weeks of beach therapy, I feel relaxed, refreshed and recharged. I’m looking forward to going back to work, rather than dreading it. Rest is so important. I am determined to remember this simple fact. Why is it so easy for us to forget the importance of taking rest?
We are staying at my mum’s house and she has a wonderful cartoon by Michael Leunig stuck to her fridge. I couldn’t find the cartoon online but I did find the text – it is below for you to enjoy. I hope you are taking the time to rest this Christmas and best wishes for 2012.
The Curly-Pyjama Letters by Michael Leunig
(From Mr. Curly to Vasco Pyjama)
Dear Vasco, in response to your question, “What is worth doing and what is worth having?” I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause you must rest Vasco – otherwise you will become RESTLESS!
I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness. While it is true that periods of weariness help the spirit to grow, the prolonged ongoing state of fatigue to which our world seems to be rapidly adopting is ultimately soul destroying as well as earth destroying. The ecology of evil flourishes and love cannot take root in this sad situation. Tiredness is one of our strongest, most noble and instructive feelings. It is an important aspect of our CONSCIENCE and must be heeded or else we will not survive.
When you are tired you must HAVE that feeling and you must act upon it sensibly – you MUST rest like the trees and animals do. Yet tiredness has become a matter of shame! This is a dangerous development. Tiredness has become the most suppressed feeling in the world. Everywhere we see people overcoming their exhaustion and pushing on with intensity—cultivating the great mass mania which all around is making life so hard and ugly—so cruel and meaningless—so utterly graceless—and being congratulated for overcoming it and pushing it deep down inside themselves as if it were a virtue to do this. And of course Vasco, you know what happens when such strong and natural feelings are denied—they turn into the most powerful and bitter poisons with dreadful consequences. We live in a world of these consequences and then wonder why we are so unhappy.
So I gently urge you Vasco, do as we do in Curly Flat—learn to curl up and rest—feel your noble tiredness—learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment will surely follow. I repeat: it’s worth doing nothing and having a rest.
Yours sleepily, Mr. Curly xxx