THE BLOG

Take the Day Off

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Arjuna Ardagh Awakening coach, writer, teacher and public speaker

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Here is a practice you can use right away, from my book "Leap Before You Look."

Every one or two months,
Take a day where you do absolutely nothing,
Just as you would do if you had the flu,
But do it when you're not sick.
Switch off the phones, shut down the computer.
If necessary, stay in bed all day.
Do as little as possible.
Just lie still and give the body and the psyche a chance for deep healing.
If you're married, if you live with your family or friends,
You could even alternate stillness days:
One of you could completely take care of the other, including meals in bed, then switch.
If possible, refrain from watching television or other distractions.
Just lie still and give all of yourself,
Including your senses,
Twenty-four hours of undiluted rest.

Most people get sick every now and then. You get a fever, maybe a sore throat and a headache, and life forces you to go to bed and lie down until you feel better. As we become more attuned to our bodies, we realize that often things only get that bad because we've been pushing ourselves too hard. Some conscious businesses allow their employees wellness days instead of sickness days, days which can be used to restore the body to health, whether you are sick or not. Try to give yourself a stillness day every few weeks. Be totally immersed in rest. You may find yourself needing far fewer days off for being sick.

During this practice, you may experience feelings of restlessness, or even guilt about doing nothing. You may be overcome with compulsive needs to take care of things, like cleaning out the closet or doing all the laundry. When these seemingly urgent projects arise, bring the attention back to the body itself, to the sensations from which these impulses arise, and feel them completely. You may notice burning or vibrating in different parts of your body as you release stress. Feel all of this, and it will pass. It is the body's way of letting go. Sooner or later you will fall into a deeper place, and you will want to sleep and do nothing. It does not take very long for the body to come back to its natural state.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look. Buy it now from our online store at a discounted price.