“Leave the rest to the gods.”*-Horace
To rest, you have to stop expending energy in certain ways. Not only do you have to physically stop performing certain activities, but you also have to release depleting mental loads from your mind.
It’s easy to see someone watching television and assume they are fully “at rest,” but what is going on in their mind? What are they churning over and over that contributes to their exhaustion and anxiety? It is much harder to remove our mental activities than physical ones.
This is where the act of surrender comes in. To truly rest the mind, we must learn to release the mental load. It is a challenging task and one that requires practice. To truly rest, we must come to a place where we can surrender our mental stressors to something outside of us, whether it is a deity, the universe, a personal ethical or philosophical system, or just the wind.
We have to have enough trust in the way nature or the spiritual or the supernatural work that we can release our mental load to it and know that things will not fall apart while we take a step back. We have to trust that a solution will appear to a problem even if we are not spending hours and days actively mulling over every detail of the issue ourselves.
We have to trust that somewhere in this cosmos, there is a power or energy that will help sort our messes while we give ourselves a break that will prepare us to deal with the heavy issues again.
This is why rest is so hard: it involves releasing our mental stressors to some unseen energy and trusting that things will be okay while we step back for a moment and recover.
Surrender is a more significant part of grief than we know. We often think surrender is weak and means we can’t handle things. In truth, we can’t handle everything! It’s breaking us!
There is strength in realizing that what is best is to let things go and give our body and mind time away from the taxing activities we undertake. When we have recovered sufficiently (though maybe not entirely), we can begin to see more clearly. Solutions that were once fogged up by our exasperation and anxiety may be more readily apparent. Pieces that help nudge us toward resolution begin to fall into place.
We need to rest the mind, not just the body. To do that: practice surrendering your anxieties for a few minutes, a few hours, then a few days. Trust that everything will not fall apart and that you will gain the clarity you need to receive the resolution you seek.
*The quote was selected for its message of surrender, not to indicate that grievers must believe in a religious deity. Religion is not part of every griever’s life, and developing coping skills does not depend on religion.