Intentional Rest

Let’s talk about rest. I’m a huge fan. Our culture tends to vilify rest and we end up feeling guilty about it. And when we do decide to relax, we tend to zone out with netflix or instagram scrolling which doesn’t exactly give us the restorative feeling we want. I want to introduce you to the quickest most powerful form of rest I have encountered. This is kind of rest is the antidote to stress, overwhelm, angst, and anxiety. It’s called Intentional Resting and it was developed by Dan Howard. Here is how it works.

You start by bringing your attention to your body.

Scan you body for an area of discomfort. Focus all of your attention there and let the discomfort get big and expand taking up all of your awareness.

Now go the discomfort and say “Relax”.

Notice what your body does. (usually tenses up or nothing changes)

Now go back to the discomfort and gently offer the word “Rest”.

Notice the difference.

This is the subtle but major difference between trying to relax and inviting rest. The same way our bodies reacted differently, our minds do as well. Think of the last time you were stressed about a wedding detail or snafu and someone told you to relax. It made you want to pull out your hair or scream at them. Whatever it made you feel, it surely wasn’t relaxed! But the invitation to rest just hits so differently.

So now that you can see how intentional resting works, you can start to use it on purpose.

Anytime you feel an ache in your back or feet, you simply start your resting practice. All you do is to say the words “I am resting for (insert source of pain). So it would be, “I am resting for my feet now. I am resting for my back.” And feel your body respond with softening and releasing.

Then you can turn this magic resting energy to your non physical tensions. All the things in your mind that are unsettling and upsetting you.

I am resting for my anxiety.
I am resting for my perfectionism.
I am resting for my anger.
I am resting for my uncertainty. 
I am resting for my heartbreak.
I am resting for my anticipation.


 
Now, here is where it gets really fun and magical. Turn that resting energy outward completely. Turn it toward other people and to future circumstances you want to create. This is especially useful around your wedding of course because there are so many moving parts and people involved. You can start resting for your vendors, your guests, the weather. Whatever and whoever you want to rest for.

I rest for my wedding.
I rest for my vision.
I rest for my hopes for the day.
I rest for my photographer.
I rest for my band.
I rest for my bank account.
I rest for the fun on the dance floor.
I am resting for the joy.
I am resting for overwhelm.
I am resting for the laughter.
I am resting for my parents.
I am resting for the family I want to create.
I am resting my single life.
I am resting for my married life.

You can just go on and on. Throw that rest around like confetti. I can’t explain exactly how or why this works, I just know that it does. I use this practice all the time especially when the stakes are high and the pressure is on. I promise you will feel calmer. looser, more centered and restored when you really start to learn and lean into the power of intentional resting.

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