Rest in the Unrest

by Daron Larson

Say to yourself, See rest…

Whisper it right into the ear of your mind.
Say it out loud softly if nobody is around,
or if your earbuds are in, 
even though you aren't talking to anyone
or listening to anything through them.

It’s just a word to remind you to notice, 
but saying it
can trigger the kind of micro exploration
that we habitually forego.

So go for it. 

For a handful of seconds,
about the length of an exhale...
give your eyes a break from
sorting the world out.

If you can close them,
gently steer your gaze into
your own private darkness.

If you can’t close them,
or don't want to,
notice how, even open, 
your eyes are willing
to not make sense for a bit
and to resist their trained impulse
to decide what is beautiful and what is not.

Savor the relief of neutral indecision.

People might accuse you of zoning out.
Let them.

The joke's on them.
Keep it to yourself. 

Give it to yourself for as long as you can.
Refrain from explaining
or suggesting
they should give it a try. 

Just drink up the available rest with your eyes.
Let others in on it indirectly
the next time you turn your eyes toward them.  
Let them not even notice the difference. 

Say to yourself, Hear rest…

and listen closely to
any or all
of the available sounds
playing outside the boundaries of your mind.

Don’t try to turn off your thoughts. 
Give your full attention to hearing the world
for three or four seconds instead.
Set the stage for the words
in your head to wind down without coercion.

Have you ever been able to force your mind to be quiet? 

Give it something to listen to other than your story. 

Say to yourself, Feel rest...

and savor sensations
you find in your body
that aren’t begging
for your attention.

If there is time, repeat this sequence.

If there is not time,
find a bathroom to hide in
and save yourself there.

Any space with a door will work. 
An office, a car —
even a cubicle if you keep your eyes open
and practice a few times.

Close the door,  
and let the world fix itself for a few minutes
while you take a break from fixing yourself.

If you fall asleep, 
they might look for you,
but they will find you
rested.

They will probably not even ask what you were doing
in the bathroom stall in the middle of the day
for a few minutes longer than usual.  

They probably will not look for you. 
Try not to read into this too much.

Try it at 2:00 in the morning
when you're wide awake and tired
of insisting on unconsciousness
as the only rest that counts. 

Don’t wait for rest
to force itself on you.

Get sneaky. Do it right now. 
Steal it while nobody's looking.

When you do,
be prepared to find it lurking everywhere,

tangled up in the unrest
waiting for someone to notice.

Don’t believe me?

Please don’t believe me.

See and hear and feel for yourself.