30-Day Radical Rest Challenge: Day 28

Today’s Task: Spend time with an elder

I was reflecting today while helping an older woman do her grocery shopping today on why I enjoy spending so much time with older people. There’s a lovely slowness that’s required when you spend time with them. Things just don’t move at the same pace. And when you’re force to slow down, you start to see the quickness around you in the present moment.

I felt that in Target today while we were shopping. There was this frantic energy in the store. It also makes me laugh because I feel like Target has a certain kind of clientele. One that says you need to look cute to go grocery shopping. Very different vibe than Walmart, let me tell you.

Even as I got to the cashier’s desk, the comments of the woman were so painful. Just how she was suffering…

I don’t know why, but recently I’ve started to think a lot about the end of my life. And reflecting on the drive that we possess at certain ages. Feeling myself like I’m in the energetic space of a 24-year-old, not someone who is about to turn 29 (Hooray Scorpio season!). Wondering what it feels like to look at the way these decades just pass and before you know it you’re looking back at these memories and asking yourself why you didn’t live more fully, take more risks.

I had the pleasure to interview April Olson-Mata yesterday for the Transcendent Farmer podcast and can’t help but reflect on something she said, which is that we have choice. More choice than we realize. And it’s people’s belief that they don’t have choice that keeps them stuck in old patterns, habits, and a way of life.

As I looked at my to-do list this evening, I asked myself, “What do I wish were on this list? What would be so freakin cool to have on my to-do list?”

Like something unbelievable or that would only be in alignment with the life that I want to create for myself. Example: “Buy gift for ‘insert name of friend'”, “Design a new outfit”, “Write next chapter of book”, “Layout next section of cookbook”, “Candle-lit dinner with ‘insert name of partner'”, “Symphony concert at 7 p.m.”, “Pack for retreat”.

On the flip side, I’m so excited to continue planning ‘off grid’ days. Days that I turn off my phone completely, don’t use my computer, and just read and write and do anything that does not involve technology. Maybe that could be on my list?

Getting back to today’s task…The idea here is to focus on rest as an act of slowing down. And you are going to create a ‘hack’ by shaping your environment in such a way that you have to slow down to the pace of those around you. Hence, elders. 🙂

You may find that in slowing down, you reflect a bit on your own life. You may find that it’s meaningful to be of service to an elder or just to be in their company. You may find that your patience is challenged. And you may find something completely different than you expected.

Where do I find an elder, you may be asking yourself?

Interestingly enough, there’s actually a lot of them. And they’re all around you! Places to look to find one (or two, or fifty-seven):

  • Your home (Parents or grandparents, anyone?!)
  • An independent or assisted living facility
  • The library
  • The post office
  • The local coffee shop in a small town
  • Your local yarn store
  • A Sunday matinee

Get creative. Have fun. And don’t take it too seriously! Most older folks I spend time with are so over themselves, they just want to enjoy life and have fun with you. I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. They’re not judgmental in the way younger people are too often.

Good luck! And cheers to making it this far!

Ways that I’ve been ‘resting’ in the last several days since posting:

  • Crying – Grieving, really, about good-byes I’m not ready to fully process
  • Floating – Salt tank!!
  • Yoga – Breathing deeply
  • Farming – Being connected to my body, the soil, and the seasons
  • Sleeping in – Honoring my body’s need to rest, especially after days of intense physical activity
  • Turning down the lights at night to let my body know it’s time to rest
  • Lighting palo santo to cleanse my space and purify the air
  • Making chai – Celebrating the ritual that grounds me in the morning

Remember – none of this has to be major. It’s the small, incremental steps we take each day, the systems that support our habits, that will lead to becoming the person we want to be.

Above all, stress management is key.

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