I hope your 2023 is off to a great start!
The last time you heard from me, I shared reflections on why 2022 was a magical year for me, while making as my commitments for the coming year (this one!):
I’m committing to doing less.
I’m committed to spending more time with my family, particularly my family in Singapore.
And I’m committing to making rest a priority. (My inspiration is Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey, which I highly recommend and will get to later down this letter!)
I’ve carried these practices through the last few weeks––starting with three weeks offline from mid-December until early January.
It was hard. When we’re constantly receiving messages about how we “should” be doing more, producing more, working more, you feel like an outlier for wanting to prioritize time for rest.
What’s important to remember is that there is no “new year, new you” in nature.
Everything in nature continues to point to rest all winter. Animals, plants, and trees are all still using these colder months to conserve their energy. Why do we so often choose a season when our bodies are telling us to rest as the time to leap into action? You’ve seen those “new year, new you” messages abound, right? And how has not being able to keep up your commitments to some of them made you feel? Instead, what if we prioritized what we needed to keep on going? “The key to success at work and in life isn’t really starting strong, it’s staying strong,” is an amazing reminder I’m turning to from Elizabeth Grace Saunders. And in order to stay strong, we need times of rest. I only know this too well. Despite this knowledge, it’s so easy to set New Year's resolutions that are too ambitious for where we are. As you may recall, much of my decision to prioritize rest was inspired by the life-changing few days when I first read Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey (read it!) Her book is based on four tenets:
Rest is a form of resistance because it pushes back and disrupts white supremacy and capitalism.
Our bodies are a site of liberation. And that brings into the somatics the idea that wherever our bodies are, we can find rest.
Naps provide a portal to imagine, invent and heal.
Our dream space has been stolen, and we want it back. We will reclaim it via rest.
Coupled with some lessons I observed while I was in Spain and Portugal over the winter break––the importance of community over the individual, treating children like human beings rather than inconveniences (I nearly spat out my coffee reading a New York Times Opinion piece on whether babies should be allowed in first class), taking time to enjoy experiences, choosing to surround yourself with things that are beautiful and please your eye, eating and living well, resting in the afternoon––I’ve been thinking about how to commit to ways of being rather than doing in 2023. How about you? I hope more of you join me in my goal to prioritize more rest in 2023. Please let me know what you learn. I love hearing from you!