It’s 7:30 pm on a Saturday evening.
I’m finished with dinner. The kitchen is cleaned up. I have the evening in front of me.
I have a blog post to write. A newsletter to complete so I can send it out tomorrow Plenty of work to do. Social media posts to share.
I don’t want to do any of it.
I want to read. Maybe not even read. I don’t know that I can focus on a book in the moment. Or even a magazine.
Maybe I’d watch a movie or a YouTube video. Although I don’t know that I have the attention for that either.
Maybe receive a sound healing. Although I don’t even want to listen to sounds right now.
What I want to do is rest.
Not even sleep.
Because sleep is rarely restful or restorative. I hardly ever wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
I just want to lay down and be.
Immediately I hear the voice within ask,
What is wrong with me?
It’s 7:30 on a Saturday night. Why am I tired? When did I get so old?
And yet I also know nothing is wrong with me.
The truth is, even in my 20s I’d be tired at this time on a Saturday night, after a long day of activities following a full week of work. The difference is that back then I’d override it. Or I would take a nap.
I didn’t get a nap today.
In fact, I realized I have not stopped all day, starting from 6:30 am.
I’ve been up since 6:30 am. I started my day with a yoga practice before I left the house at 8. I drove an hour to trampoline practice. After a 90-minute trampoline practice, I drove back. Because of the traffic it took me almost 90 minutes to get back.
Immediately I got on Zoom for 4 hours for Day 3 of Gabor Maté’s Wisdom of Trauma retreat.
Understandably, when that ended I needed to get offline.
It was 75 degrees and sunny, and at this time of year I try to grab every moment I can in the warmth of the sun. So I took a 75 minute walk.
And then I prepared and ate dinner.
This is the first moment in over 12 hours that I stopped.
Of course I’m tired.
I’ve earned my tired.
My body is calling for rest.
My mind doesn’t want to spin threads into lessons right now.
It wants to process and integrate. And rest.
In fact, this is one of the key points Gabor keeps making in the retreat.
When we don’t listen to our “No,” the body eventually says no in the form of disease or inflammation or chronic pain.
Tired Isn’t a Failing
We are so conditioned to override the “no” in the belief that we have to do more to prove ourselves, or be liked, or win business or whatever it is we believe that leads us to not listen to our bodies.
In every breakout session so far in the retreat, I’ve witnessed and been witnessed by other women who are all mirroring the same feelings back to me:
We are exhausted.
Not just tired — Tired in a way that sleep doesn’t rectify. Emotionally and physically and mentally and spiritually and energetically drained.
The only thing “wrong” with me is my expectation that I shouldn’t be tired.
The expectation that a strong person would “power through” and “grind it out” because “that’s what you do” if you’re “committed” to something.
Underlying this expectation is a belief that if I’m tired that I’m somehow a failure. Like it’s a character deficit instead of a normal physical and mental response to exertion.
I am committed to my work, and my clients, and my community.
But what I am committed to, first and foremost, is my health and well-being. Because without that, I cannot honor my other commitment. Without that, I have nothing to give to anyone else.
Getting my body and mind to be in sync in my daily activities is often a challenge for me. But right now they are united, working together and asking me — begging me — to listen.
They are collectively requesting rest.
The fact that they are on the same page at last is reason for celebration. Perhaps if I want them to work together more often it would serve me to honor this request.
when your body calls
and begs you to grant it rest
why do you say no?