Creative rest takes many forms: night sleep, day sleep, deep relaxation, intentional rest, massage, restorative yoga (also called yin yoga or yoga nidra). And of course, inspiration meditation, which is deep rest for the mind.
There are many other options. The simplest form of rest, something you can do any time, is to just stop and take seven (or if you’re really short of time, three) deep creative breaths. And say to yourself: “I’m resting now”.
Most of us spend most of our days trying to change ourselves. Creative rest asks us to welcome ourselves. In that moment of self-welcoming, profound transformation takes place. When you rest well and play well, alongside working well, outer change in the direction of your intention arises spontaneously.
You don’t have to push or force it, you just allow it to be.
Mulling and Mopping
I was at a conference recently where a very eminent (and sporting) poet agreed to write, and perform, a poem there and then, on a topic chosen by the audience. She would have 30 minutes.
“Oh,” she wailed , as she came backstage to write it, panicked by her daring. “If only I had a floor to mop.”
Neuroscience confirms what creatives of all kinds have always known: the best ideas surface more often during off-time (Creative Rest) and down-time (Creative Play) than desk-time (Creative Work). Particular kinds of repetitive, rhythmical, physical activities can be restful. Slow walking or knitting or, as for our panicking poet, housework.
Such periods are more creative and generative if we get intentional around them: if we relish the contrast with our work. If we recognizing the value of the rest, rather than thinking we should be doing something more “productive”.
Creative Work, Creative Rest and Creative Play are all equal partners in the act of conscious creation, just as your right foot, left foot and pelvic joints are equal partners in the act of walking. Over-emphasise any one and you’ll soon be limping and faltering.
Rest is deeply, mysteriously essential.
The creative way is to plan for one good night’s sleep, and six intentionally restorative rest periods, each day. They don’t have to be long: click here to find creative maps (for rest, as well as work and play), whick will guide you through.
Creative mapping will help you create more, and more creative rest, each day, week, month and year.
Rest is not time off from the creative process. Rest IS the creative process.