It is worth doing nothing and having a rest

On Wednesday I had my annual check up and mammogram. Yes, it’s been 12 months since my lumpectomy and lymph node clearance. It’s been the longest yet fastest 12 months of my life. You’d think with the worst of my treatment out of the way I’d feel like my breast cancer journey is over but I’m starting to accept that that’s not quite the case, unfortunately.

I’ve recently been feeling energyless and wondering why. It’s beyond frustrating when there’s lots of things you want to do but all you feel able to do is sleep. I mentioned this in my check up and the response was: “Yes, this is what we’d expect. Don’t underestimate the drugs you’re on”.

This saddened me because I desperately want my life to get back to what it was before. It’s hard to accept that your life is not going to bounce back and that certain lifestyle changes are going to have to be made; that weekends can’t always be about adventuring, that you’re going to need even more sleep than before.

With tiredness turning to nausea I’ve decided it’s time to listen to my body and slow down. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you have plans and don’t want to let people down. But despite today’s beautiful weather, I’ve decided to let my body win.

This is what my morning consisted of:

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Despite feeling pretty rubbish, I also felt guilty; “I should be past this – full of energy, using my day off wisely”. Alas, going down stairs to make a drink was the best I could muster.

As I settled back under the sheets, this blog post from Gabrielle, a yoga teacher from Melbourne, popped up on my Facebook feed. It’s a verse taken from Michael Leunig’s The Curly Pyjama Letters and its timing couldn’t have been more right. I wanted to share these words with you, in case you need to hear them too…

Dear Vasco,

In response to your question, “What is worth doing and what is worth having?” I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest. In spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest Vasco – otherwise you will become restless!

I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness. While it is true that periods of weariness help the spirit to grow, the prolonged ongoing state of fatigue to which our world seems to be rapidly adopting is ultimately soul destroying as well as earth destroying.

The ecology of evil flourishes and love cannot take root in this sad situation. Tiredness is one of our strongest, most noble and instructive feelings. It is an important aspect of our conscience and must be heeded or else we will not survive. When you are tired you must act upon it sensibly – you must rest like the trees and animals do.

Yet tiredness has become a matter of shame! This is a dangerous development.

Tiredness has become the most suppressed feeling in the world. Everywhere we see people overcoming their exhaustion and pushing on with intensity – cultivating the great mass mania which all around is making life so hard and ugly – so cruel and meaningless – so utterly graceless – and being congratulated for overcoming it and pushing it deep down inside themselves as if it were a virtue to do this.

And of course Vasco, you know what happens when such strong and natural feelings are denied – they turn into the most powerful and bitter poisons with dreadful consequences. We live in a world of these consequences and then wonder why we are so unhappy.

So I gently urge you Vasco, do as we do in Curly Flat – learn to curl up and rest – feel your noble tiredness – learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment will surely follow.

I repeat it’s worth doing nothing and having a rest.

Yours Sleepily,
Mr. Curly XXX

Rest is so under-rated in our society and we feel guilty for taking time out from the constant rush. Truth is, life and its pressures can be overwhelming at the best of times – we could all do with taking some of Mr Curly’s advice.

If you’re feeling pressure from others or from yourself to be back to the person you were before your life changed, with the same energy and abilities, remember, it’s worth having a rest. Remember to be kind to yourself. Lots of love, Becky xx