They were chirping loudly, calling out in their own unique voices. There were birds all over the place but the boy couldn’t see a single one.
He was in a thicket of trees, the growth so heavy that the birds were well hidden from sight. The boy tried hard to catch a parrot or a cuckoo, but failed in his quest. He decided to give up and simply focus on the bird-songs instead. He understood that Nature was telling him to give his questing senses a break, and relax instead. That was why he was in the thicket that day, to relax.
“The human mind is always on a quest. It thrives on exploration, whether it be an examination of the Earth, the Universe, the birds, beasts or people. A mind in a constant state of motion is also a mind that is never at rest. But then, with rest, comes the space when ideas begin to brew. With rest, comes rejuvenation. With rest, comes the energy of inspiration. Rest, young man, is, in fact, our greatest tool in exploration.”
The boy turned to look at the old man who was standing a little behind him. His form cast a shadow that was as long as the shadow of the trees. Was it the old man who was talking, or was it the trees who were talking through the old man? The boy wondered. After all, the trees had a lot of tales to tell, and they have to say it through someone.
“But I am not of an age to rest.” The boy quipped, just to get the old man going some more.
“Neither should you be. Quest as long as the blood tells you to quest. But then, sometimes, the blood will tell you to slow down – sleep, eat, watch the passing clouds, listen to the bird songs. Sometimes, the blood will tell you to heal, in not as many words. Listen to the blood that runs within. It knows you better than you think you do.”
The boy wrinkled his brow. His curiosity was piqued by the old man’s words. The twinkle in the other man’s eyes made the boy realize that the old man’s words were intended to pick the boy’s curiosity. The boy looked up, and around, at the ocean of trees once again. He listened to the bird-songs once again. He tried to see the birds once again. He failed in his attempts yet again.
Bringing his hearing back to the tweets of the birds, the boy opened his eyes to what the old man had to say.
“Can you please tell me sire,” he asked. “Can you please tell me about the things that make sounds, and yet, remain unseen?”
The old man smiled.
Let us bring the idea behind “rest” to the table today.
I had scheduled to take a few print-outs today, in the morning, a time when I am already huffed and puffed with household chores. My laptop and printer refused to cooperate with each other, and I was throttled for time, as a consequence. After a morning filled with stress, I felt like I could take the rest of the day off. I couldn’t though. I have had my rest through the night, and that ought to be enough to get me through the rest of the day, shouldn’t it?
It would, in an ideal situation, where stress does not come into play, as often as it does for some people. Or as early as it has, for me. We know that stress drains us off our energy, causing us to grow tired more quickly. Some of us can feel this, the rest of us don’t because of our intense involvement in the work that we do. But work, any work, even if it is something we are extremely passionate about, exerts force. And all of us put ourselves through various measures of stress throughout the day, for various reasons, at increasing measure with each generation.
And since we have no clue of what is going on within us, we also have no idea about the amount of pressure our stress is exerting upon our internal organs. Stress silenced is also stress suppressed. Until it bursts out in the form of a red eye, an itchy scalp, high blood pressure, a broken relationship, and well, just about anything else.
Stress, cannot be eliminated. It can, however, be managed like a boss.
I have found, through practice, that the best way to reduce stress, is to be prepared. If only I had taken time out to take the print outs yesterday, I would have had a relatively stress-free morning, and maybe, this post would have turned out better. Maybe, my entire day would have turned out better, simply because I would have had enough energy to not just manage the day, but also look forward to it.
Preparation, it helps us look forward to that vacation, that career, that house, that get-together, that life.
Here’s to the magic of preparation!