I worked a twelve-hour day today. My brain hasn’t really had a chance to rest because I’ve had to be in work mode and uncomfortable clothes for the whole time. I sat down to try and write a new entry and wasn’t getting anywhere. I started writing a paragraph at least ten different times. Now, if you know me, you know I like to talk. But even for me, sometimes the words just don’t come. Every line I wrote I thought, “That’s not a good opening,” or “That’s dumb,” and I would just end up erasing it getting nowhere.
I remembered a piece from a documentary I watched about South Park. When Trey Parker (the guy who pretty much writes the entire scripts) hits a wall in his writing and the ideas and jokes aren’t coming, he said he likes to put together Legos. He said something about separating himself from what he’s been doing and completely focusing on a new task helps refresh his mind. He also said that he likes following instructions and having someone else tell him what to do for a little while.
That also goes along with something I heard John Lennon say about songwriting. He talked along the same lines as Trey Parker. John said when he hit a wall in a song that he’d separate himself from it for a while and then come back to it later. Sometimes he’d come back days later, even.
Luckily, I just moved into a new apartment and have bookshelves and dressers to put together. I had a new one to open tonight. So I separated myself from the blinking cursor and put together a 6-foot bookshelf. I like putting together furniture. It makes me feel like I’m better than I am even though I follow instructions and drill screws into pre-made holes. Still, like I said, I enjoy it.
And now I’m back to the computer and I’m writing this. I started thinking about this post while I was thinking about the furniture. There’s something to a little bit of separation that can do wonders when you return.
I think that’s true for many parts of life. I guess we need more than one type of vacation. Sometimes we can get so focused and driven on what we’re trying to accomplish that we get stuck. No amount of hard work or brainstorming will break through the wall. Sometimes you have to just move away in order to eventually move forward.
It’s not easy for a lot of us to let go and relax in America, but you have to do it. That’s why I like the idea of a Sabbath Day still being in effect in my life. If you’re stuck on something you’re chasing or building, try giving it a Sabbath. Take a break and focus on something else and come back to it. Even if it’s a much bigger scale than something you’re trying to finish in a night, I believe a lot of good can come from silence, prayer, or just someone else telling you what to do for a little while.
Find what helps you rest. Rest isn’t laziness; it’s smart.