Rhythmic Procession

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” ~ Ovid

It is so easy in today’s complex world to get caught up in a constant stream of activity. Goals beget goals, bigger and more are assumed to be better, and rest, relaxation and serenity are somehow lost in the mix. As Margaret Fuller once remarked, “Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.”

While you certainly can and should be at rest deep within, even in the most intense times, there is tremendous value in taking the time to rest, to do nothing, to simply sit and enjoy the world around you. To some such a thought might equate with boredom, but those thus cursed will live lives filled to the brim with unrelieved tension.

Developing an understanding of the oscillation between action and rest is fundamental to staying productive and happy over the long run. Many have tried to power through life without pause, yet such an approach often ends early. No doubt you’ve had phases in your life characterized by great bursts of action and others notable more for the lack of action, and as with the seasons, it is the variation that makes life interesting.

How you handle the times of intense productivity is as important as how you handle the periods of quiet rest. You can miss a beat in either. Fail to relax and exhale during the restful phases of creative activity and you will slowly deplete your energy reserves. Miss pulling the trigger when the time comes for a major push and the wrinkles in the carpet will surely trip you up in the days to come.

My point this morning is this: in times of rest, rest; in times of activity, act. Don’t wish you were somewhere else, be where you are! Far too many people waste precious energy bemoaning their circumstances, crying for a break in the action (typically at the worst time) or conversely, wishing their life had more action, drama or excitement during the dormant phase of creative accomplishment.

Think of your life in much the same way a farmer views his land and you will find a rhythmic procession that is utterly enjoyable and magical. After a quiet winter of inactivity, take time to prepare your field of circumstances with a careful and caring hand, plant the seeds when the time is right and care for what was planted until harvest-time. Rest and action can be found in each “season” and as I mentioned above, recognizing and making good use of both is vital to successful living.

Life is a marathon and not a sprint. You cannot win a marathon if you do not take time to rest.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~ John Lubbock

7 thoughts on “Rhythmic Procession

  1. Duffer

    I recently lost a long time friend and former co-worker who died suddenly at the age of 61 from a heart attack while playing a round of golf. What is remembered about him among many other fine attributes is that he never let go of the business that he was in; he was always talking about it exclusively and with a tunnel vision that did not allow for him to consider other elements going on around him. Yes, he was very successful in his business, but at what cost? We can’t say for certain what caused his heart attack, but clearly he was always wound up tight as a drum, seemingly never relaxing. In hindsight not a pretty picture, or even legacy is it! Quite naturally one has a tendency to look at themselves at times like this, and I certainly have been doing plenty of that. As you do eloquently put it Gregg, “life is a marathon, not a sprint, and you can’t win a marathon without stopping to rest” at appropriate times.


  2. Joshua

    With each pulse of our heart there is a “rest period” just prior to the firing of the active impulse. This rythym is contained within everything around us, right to the core of who we are. Relaxing into that deep impulse, is something I have taken for granted in times past. My wifes ability to simply “Do nothing” at certain points…..like an hour or two immediately following the children going to bed…has amazed me, yet she’s all along been on to something…hmmmm.
    I feel humbly schooled,by example
    She’ll love to read this one,
    Thanks Gregg!


  3. Doug

    I think this is one of the secrets of success. This should be taught in business schools. Entrepreneurs especially have to be careful as we wear so many different hats; we still only have one head…balance is the key.


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