Earlier this year, I did something I had never done before: I decided to buy a one-way ticket to a Zen center for a three-month silent retreat. Not only did I need retreat, I needed to rest in a radically deep way.
The not-so-subtle two-part message I’ve received most of my life was first: ‘Hard work is a badge of honor. It proves you’re strong, you’ve got this.’ Second, ‘Rest is for wimps; for folks who can’t work a full-time gig and a couple of side hustles without complaint.’
Obviously, this is a blueprint for burnout and more though I didn’t know that when I was knee deep in my career as a lawyer-lobbyist, but I do now.
Consider these sobering statistics from the Center for American Progress:
- There is no federal law requiring employers to offer paid sick days in the United States.
- The U.S. remains the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave.
- Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.
These and other statistics point to a gross imbalance built into the very structure, the laws and social norms of society that prioritizes work and results in workers making very hard choices between caring for themselves, their families, and work. I’m not saying that as a country we shouldn’t be productive. I am saying that the balance is off and needs reimagination.
Radical rest is reclaiming our human dignity, moving at a human pace, to a rhythm of work and rest. Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project says to be fully engaged and perform at your best you need equal measure of performance and recovery; the higher the level of performance the more important the recovery.
Beyonce’s You Won’t Break My Soul speaks to this call for rebalance:
“Damn, they work me so damn hard
Work by nine, then off past five
And they work my nerves
That’s why I cannot sleep at night. . . .
You won’t break my soul
You won’t break my soul, no, no.”
Radical rest is about right sizing productivity to fit into a life of human dignity.
Companion E-Journal: A Place to Rest & Reflect
Prioritizing radical rest led me to writing Hope Leans Forward, along with a companion e-journal, and a 20-minute audio guided mindful breathing meditation. I realized the time I spent writing and reflecting about what I was learning about creating a meaningful life actually helped me to prioritize what really mattered rather than being swept away mindlessly scrolling social media feeds. I was choosing how to direct my energy.
|Free Gifts with Your Preorder
With your preorder of the book, you’ll receive a beautiful, free 23-page Hope Leans Forward E- Journal filled with inspiring quotes from the book, simple mindfulness practices, and Quaker queries designed to help you reflect deeply into your life and what matters most. As a special bonus, you’ll also receive a free 20- minute audio Mindful Breathing Guided Meditation.
Why Preorder the Book Now?
Preordering the book now sends a strong message to book publishers to print more copies of the book to get it to more people. And this isn’t just about sales. It’s about supporting work created by BIPOC writers for BIPOC readers, and for all audiences.
Think of this book as Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love meets Eckert Tolle’s Power of Now. It’s about brave-making action that arises from deepening awareness of this moment, now.
Join me for these very special events. . .
Thursday, December 1 @ 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Hope Leans Forward is selected as Dharma-of-the-Month in Insight Meditation Society’s Book Club Fall Lineup
I’m thrilled that Hope Leans Forward is part of IMS’s Fall Book Club lineup. Bringing together authors and readers for a facilitated discussion, the book club offers participants a deeper experience and engagement with Buddhist teachings. Explore how to cultivate skillful hope in challenging times and how to bring brave, actionable hope into the New Year.
Join me for this very special free event.
Monday, December 5 from 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern Time
Explore themes of hope through life transitions: retirement, mid-life careers, divorce, aging, and more in this interactive session designed to support you to answer the question, ‘What’s next?’
December 28 to January 1, 2023
Exhale deeply and feel fully nourished through resilience-building, heart-opening, and peace-making practices to welcome the New Year. Be surrounded by a caring and supportive community and space and time to be nurtured with rest, renewal, and reflection. Limited to 25 participants.
Hope Leans Forward is like your BFF but better, inviting powerful questions for your reflection and action like these.
- How do you cultivate radical rest?
- Where are you directing most of your energy?
- What does rebalancing your energy look like?