The irony of my title, as I write this entry while on vacation, does not escape me.

Away from work, I’m enjoying mountains, lakes, canoes and meaningful company.

Self-Care Personified.

Slowing down. Reflecting. Talking.

Sitting on the deck at a cabin in the Adirondacks on Sunday afternoon, someone reflected, “Living at this pace that makes it easier for people to be kind to one another. Generosity comes so much more easily when we aren’t so wired and tired with a never-ending list of things to get done.”

That hit home. So. True.

Getting back into nature, into a simpler life, I can feel the stark contrast of my driven, tightly packed and efficiently managed scheduled life back home, and was reminded of the very first newsletter post that I wrote when I began writing weekly.

It was about Embracing Laziness.

Even though I am on vacation, I still feel a twinge of guilt in not getting a newsletter out. I mean, I DID take off last week. Another week of rest would be sheer laziness. So, here is just a slight re-working of the original posting …

My grandmother Angeline’s critical, disapproving voice, is internalized, alive and well and active within me.

Loved her, and yet, she instilled a hefty dose of shame around being “lazy” in me.

  • Benefit: Work Ethic.

  • Drawback: Unrelenting Work Ethic.

A particular kind of suffering arises from constant busy-ness

  • a disconnection from self, source and soul,

  • a growing yearning for more presence; more communion with life.

  • urgecny and pressure that blocks our ability to respond with kindness or generosity to one another, because you know “we have so much TO DO.”

So, as I grapple with my own inner discernment between rest and laziness, I found some useful distinctions and awareness practices that I’d love to share with you:

Are You Checking-Out or Checking-In?

In The Places that Scare You, Pema Chodron identifies three debilitating habitual patterns that we mistake for “down time” but are instead usually ways of checking-out and numbing out:

  • Having a comfort orientation

  • Experiencing a loss of heart

  • Adopting an “I couldn’t care less” attitude.

Try to experience “laziness” fully, without judgment:

Get curious about laziness; don’t ignore, resist or condemn it. Likely, you have chronically unmet needs for rest, for presence, for awareness, for reflection or for connection, trying to catch your attention.

Pema Chodron’s approach to working effectively with laziness parallels NVC practice of mindful observation, inviting us to delve into life as is is, deeply:

“Start experimenting with the warrior’s compassionate approach …laziness has a basic living quality that deserves to be experienced just as it is. Perhaps we will find an irritating, pulsating quality in laziness. We might feel it as dull and heavy, or as vulnerable and raw … the process of experiencing laziness directly and nonverbally is transformative.

It unlocks a tremendous energy that is usually blocked by our habit of running away … This is how laziness – or any other demon – introduces us to the compassionate life.”

So my fellow life-travelers: Watch and welcome whatever arises. Slowing down is essential to the practice of a compassionate and connected life.

Get present. Get re-connected. Ground yourself. Rejuvenate. Relax. Lean into discomfort. Feel. Be present. Breathe deeply.