Questing and Resting

sunset taupo
There is so much to be done every day. All those things on your ‘To Do’ list — good things, important things, life changing things — but you’re always running out of time to get it all done.

I preach the gospel of taking action; of getting out of your head and into your life. But doesn’t everyone deserve a break once in a while?

And then there’s this other pressure to be calm, centred and connected to everything. The desire to be in the moment and live mindfully sometimes seems at odds with our need to get stuff done.

Doing or Being — which is the path to happiness (living a rich, full and meaningful life)? Can happiness be found in silence under the shade of a tree, or in rolling up our sleeves and interacting with the world?

The answer lies in the middle ground. (Doesn’t it always?) It’s not one or the other, it’s not either/or, it’s a balance between questing and resting.

Questing (the way of the West)

Goals, milestones, mission and purpose. Western society teaches us we are defined by our accomplishments.

As a woman endowed with perfectionism, having big dreams and struggling to make them come true has devoured years of my life. It comes as no surprise that after pushing myself to be more of everything I turned my back on all the ‘doing’. I read all the books and believed that simply ‘being’ was enough.

But I was wrong.

We create energy and vitality when we devote ourselves to forging relationships with people and things outside ourselves. Throwing ourselves fully into the pursuit of more knowledge, risking everything to be with those we love or abandoning ourselves to the passion of creativity is important. When we uncover goals that are aligned with our deepest values we come alive. We can call this Questing … it’s how we leave our mark on the world.

Resting (the way of the East)

If questing reminds us we are separate beings that thrive through our relationships with other people and things, resting gives us a chance to experience our ‘oneness’ with all things. When we allow ourselves to be in the moment, to connect with the world as part of ourselves, the work stops and magic happens.

When we rest, we let go of our desire to change and welcome things as they are. We stop struggling and striving to be better because we know who we are right now is enough. It is where we hand over control to the Universe while we pause to get our breath.

Too much is always too much

When we quest for too long we burn out. Like a warrior on the battlefield our sword arm eventually tires.

When we rest for too long we grow complacent and bored. Like a cloistered nun we long to return to excitement that lies outside the walls of the convent.

I’m guessing that both questing and resting have given you some trouble. Too much, not enough, one is right and the other wrong, no time for that, no need for this …

Maybe you’re longing for a rest but you think your quest is more important so you keep pushing…

Maybe you live in the moment but you feel lost without a quest to light a fire underneath you…

Questing and resting are two sides of the coin of happiness.

You need both.

How much of your life is a quest? How much is a rest? Could you build a life where both are equally important?


About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

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