Never forget that rest is as important as work

What Jason taught me on my Summer Vacation #2

#2: Some days you just won’t get anything done. Relax and enjoy it.

We inhale, we exhale. We wake, we sleep. Life is cycles, an inescapable truth we struggle mightily to escape.

Recreation means “re-creation,” and yet vacations, down-time and so on are often labeled “mere fun” rather than “essential time for laying fallow.” Early in human agricultural history, farmers learned to rotate crops–and leave a patch of field unplowed, unseeded. Let the soil “rest.”

On my recent trip to Cali, I had intentions of writing every day, researching, conducting interviews, and more. Everyone has a battle-plan until the first punch hits ’em. Then it’s just a matter of who you are, in the crunch.

In the crunch, I’m a dad. My concern morning to night was Jason’s well being, his happiness. I knew that would be true when we drove back to Glendora to have dinner with our former neighbors, the wonderful Nambu family. As he began to recognize landmarks, it was as if his face and mood and body language shifted. “I’m home!” he said, happy in a way I hadn’t seen from him in months.

He was home. He had such a great evening, so alive and…well, it was as if some pale, heavy syrup had been poured out of his body. And right then, all my plans disappeared. My only function would be to make sure he had that experience every day, as often as possible. So every day became a process of asking what the healthiest, happiest, most nourishing experiences for my boy. Knowing that I was actually serving myself by serving him.

So we stayed up late, and got up late. Sampled local roadside cookies in Grant’s Pass, and shot zombies out of the window in some nameless stretch of land near Ojai. Lunched in Santa Barbara and ran on the beach in Playa Del Ray. Work was a distant memory.

I watched my heart at play.

Sometimes, all we can do is relax and enjoy it. And do you know what?

At times, that is the most precious thing in the world.

1) For writers: If you’ve established a writing schedule, deliberately take a week off from it. Journal your thoughts, emotional reactions and observations…about your enforced “vacation” from writing.

2) Diamond Hour followers. Turbo-charging a single hour every day can be head-bending work. Take a few days off from that discipline, and just watch the world around you. Again, journal ideas for increasing efficiency by gaining clarity as to your true values and priorities.

3) Think And Grow Rich. Take a few days off and observe the way you move through the world. When you are aligned properly, life “glides” around you, like water parting for the powerful, coordinated motions of a shark. There is effort, yes, but there is also a sense of support for your efforts, if you are engaged in work and play that is consistent with your values. Seek this sense of “effortless effort.”

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