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The Cave of Rest–and the Way to Truer, Deeper Work

I’ve been sick again for the past week–a deep, liminal time of resting, listening to my body, and reflecting. 

I feel like I’ve descended into a cave on a journey of transformation. So much is coming from this experience for me to share. 

At this moment, I want to highlight one thing: the role of rest. 

I used to have an attitude of “pushing through”–after being sick, I’d get up and go as soon as possible, priding myself on my toughness and productivity. 

It was the same constant push-push-push and go-go-go energy that also led to deep issues with procrastination and an inability to do my creative work.

Whether you’re sick or well, the principle is the same. There are periods when your energy is high and periods when your energy ebbs. 

Honoring and supporting yourself through this ebb and flow can make all the difference in your long-term ability to create–and your creative success.

You’ve been through those high energy times: you’re inspired, work is flowing, you’re channeling a golden flow of creative truth.

This happens in the middle of projects–and almost always at the end, when that final exhilarating creative flow takes you through the completion of your novel, screenplay, or painting.

What happens next?

When the tide reaches its peak and begins to withdraw, what then?

When you finish a piece–or a come out of a period of high creative energy–do you push yourself to go on to the next thing? 

Do you grudgingly take a day or two off (spending it on social media or reading the news or catching up on your “to do” list)? Or, do you listen to your body and spirit–and give yourself what you truly crave?

How you rest affects your next period of creative work–and the level at which you’ll be able to create.

When you push through, you drain your creative energy. That can lead to effects like

  • An overall feeling of pushing, scarcity, and need–which makes it hard to receive inspiration (and also subtly repels people and opportunities)
  • “Crashing” and being unable to work–and instead engaging in avoidant behaviors like surfing the web aimlessly
  • Withdrawing from your creative work and other people–and then feeling guilt and shame and fear over not working 

(“Here you are, procrastinating again–you’re never going to get anywhere if you keep doing this!)

  • “Drying up”–feeling uninspired, dried out, unable to come up with good ideas no matter how much you push

On the other hand, if you allow yourself to land gently, to rest, to renew, you refill the well. 

You replenish your body, which is the channel and vessel through which your creative work comes.

By caring for the vessel, you open for deeper, truer creative work.

We, our bodies and minds and spirits–and yes, our creative work, are part of a rhythm. 

Ebb and flow. High tide, low tide. Day into night. Dark into light. Creative breakthroughs, creative rest.

When we trust ourselves to rest, when we trust that rest will once again make way for creative work, we trust ourselves as creative beings. 

We open to a deeper rhythm and we allow in a deeper level of creativity and flow.

Honor the rhythm of rest and work. 

Honor yourself as a creative vessel.

And let the divine flow through.

A note on writing this: I have been in bed for most of the week. I’ve tested the bounds of my energy here and there, doing a call, going out for a bit, listening very carefully to my body. I’ve allowed myself to read and sleep. I’ve avoided the desire to “push forward” and “do something.” And today, the inspiration arose and this message came. It was meant for you.

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