Happy New Year! I love how the start of a new calendar year creates a natural pause for reflection and intention.
With a whole new decade about to start, I asked myself what I want in 2020:
The answer was simple and clear: space to rest.
I want to rest my brain, body, and heart.
In the first draft of this letter I told you ALL the reasons why I needed to rest.
But then I deleted it.
I was trying to justify to you (to myself) why it’s okay for me to do less.
In other words, I was trying to prove to you that I earned a break.
Then I called bullshit on myself and hit delete.
Because if I know anything, it’s that we do not need to earn our right to rest.
We do not need to earn our right to care for ourselves.
So I’m going to rest.
Still, it feels dangerous to say that without offering up justification. That’s how loaded rest is in our culture.
It brings up feelings of guilt and shame.
And judgments of weakness and laziness.
And fears of what other people will think.
But all the same crap comes up when I’m super busy too. That’s how I know it’s not the truth.
Because no matter what I do, the same feelings, thoughts, and fears pop up. It’s a rigged game.
So why not rest?
When it comes to rest and work, the book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives, by Wayne Muller has been my guide lately:
“All life requires a rhythm of rest…we have lost that essential rhythm. Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing…
Even when our intentions are noble and our efforts sincere – even when we dedicate our lives to the service of others – the corrosive pressure of frantic over activity can nonetheless cause suffering in ourselves and others…
Even a good heart can cause harm if it has no rest in it…We are a nation of hectic healers, refusing to stop. Our drive to do better faster, to develop social programs more rapidly, to create helpful agencies more quickly can create a sea of frantic busyness with negligible, even questionable results. In our passionate rush to be helpful, we miss things that are sacred, subtle and important.”
I’ve been rushing to be helpful for as long as I can remember. It’s not working for me anymore and frankly, it’s getting in the way of me showing up for my work in a way that feels right for me.
I need to rest, so that I can approach my work with, as Muller says, “greater ease and joy, and bring healing and delight to our endeavors.”
To be clear, when I say I’m going to rest more, I’m still working full time.
But I’m being very deliberate with my time at work and very deliberate about expanding my life beyond work in 2020.
I’m getting really picky about how I spend my time and energy.
My first deliberate act of rest in 2020 is to take 30 days off of all social media.
This includes stepping away from my private Facebook group. Which feels very scary to me. Will I be judged? Will I upset the group? Will I lose business? Lose relevance? Lose control of my work?
Here’s the truth: I love connecting with all of you, but I’m having trouble accessing that place within me that has something meaningful and original to offer.
So I need to rest. For me and for you.
I want to return to my work with something to say that comes from a deeper place, my own inner wellspring. Something that’s actually worth saying.
Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
-Tao Te Ching
On 1/1/20 I’m starting a 30 day sabbatical from social media. Just enough to let the choppy waters in my mind start to calm, so I can make stronger offers (as Patti Digh would say).
I know that many of you would also like to take a break from social, so here’s what’s helped me:
1. Digital Minimalism offers a 3 step criteria for evaluating how and when we use social, but it also has practical tips that led me to change my Facebook feed dramatically.
- I unliked 1500 pages (and kept 5-ish)
- I unfollowed all of my friends
- I bookmarked my Facebook group, so that I go directly there, instead of my newsfeed
This has been game changing. My newsfeed is now a short list of local events and a few thoughtful posts. I literally cannot endlessly scroll anymore. My newsfeed ENDS.When I want to see what a friend or group is up to, I choose to go to their page.
2. Alexandra Franzen’s free webinar on how to get off social media.
If you’re self-employed and afraid of what will happen to your business if you reduce or eliminate social, this is for you. Not only will it give you great ideas for marketing and connecting, but Alex is proof that you can be successful without using social media AT ALL.
What’s next? At the end of my 30 day digital sabbatical, I’ll evaluate how it feels to return to Facebook and Instagram.
Ethically speaking, I would rather not use Facebook at all.
I’m allowing myself to truly consider, for the first time in 10 years, the possibility that I can be off of Facebook and still have a business that supports others and is profitable.
But I’ll allow myself to make that call later in 2020. For now, I rest.
Thank you for being in conversation with me, for witnessing my attempts at figuring out how to live this one wild and precious life.
May you find the rest and renewal that you so deeply deserve in this new decade.