Mixed Media, 48x48"
We are designed with capacity for sensation and perception. A murmuring stomach signals hunger to us. Aching muscles remind us to stretch after exercise. Desire for connection motivates us to make plans with our friends. But however innate these pathways of awareness, the demands of this world render us ignorant of our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
We neglect our cues to rest. We strain our bodies beyond their limits. We avoid our anxieties by mindlessly plunging ourselves into content. We consume caffeine and supplements to avoid collapse. We nourish ourselves with the things of this world without realizing that they worsen our ability to truly rest.
Constantly responding to crisis takes a toll on our psyche. Our bodies release adrenaline, which triggers a pounding heart and shallow, rapid breathing. This state of being is not sustainable. We commonly experience burnout, being wholly depleted in mind, body, and spirit. Our nerves are damaged; our bodies are ever on guard. Everything seems urgent - and resultantly, nothing seems urgent.
We believe the common falsehood that we must work harder to achieve meaning, or else we are left disappointed and incapable. We fear that by resting from all manner of labor, we will cease to prove our worthiness of being loved by actions, accomplishments, and acclaim. This cruel lie provokes our restlessness, leading us to forget who we are. It leaves many without awareness that they are enough, deeply loved by a God whose ares remain open to them.
Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all who labor and are heaven lade, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Awareness of Breath; breath is prayer.
Awareness of Environment; to become aware of our environment is to become aware of God. It requires stillness and mindfulness, not passive wandering. Transferring our attention to the all-too-familiar features of our environment brings us into the constant conversation of reality that we often ignore. Our environment is a sacred place, designed to be treated with care, wonder, and appreciation. In it we will find rest.
Awareness of People; our own unawareness has significant consequences on others. In this awareness of others, we can enjoy the wonder of relationships - connection, healing, and compassion.
Awareness of Ourselves; our sense of ourselves becomes located not in self-awareness, but under the gaze and context of society. Becoming aware of ourselves is a lifelong process requiring constant contemplation and revisiting.
The simple awareness of pleasure and liveliness can help us discover where our soul thrives, and where we encounter God. The most life-giving moments we encounter are not always easy or carefree, but always meaningful. There, we experience a profound integration of our purpose, values, and existence. Similarly, we can ask and explore our inner places of pain, disappointment, and longing.
We must discern what gives us strength and where we can find our our springs of spiritual, emotional and physical refreshment.
The greatest gift we give ourselves in awareness is the knowledge that we are fully known and loved. Not by the things we have done but by who we are. When we rest in the awareness that we belong to God, we find the everlasting rest and peace that we are designed for.
Learn to rest.
Words from "Towards Rest" by Alabaster.
Inspired from the person I've fought the hardest with and learned the most from. Thank you Caeleb. I love you and so proud of you for nothing other than for who you are.