Thursday, January 15, 2015

Live Your Best Life

"It is a happy talent to know how to play." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The January issue of O, The Oprah Magazine features the above saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This particular quote reminds me of Martha Beck's advice to play until you feel like resting, and then rest until you feel like playing. And that's it. 

Beck explains this theory in a April 2010 blog post, some of which is quoted below: 
Although we all have the same amount of time in one day of our lives, we can put a great deal of life in our days by re-establishing our natural rhythm. It’s not about working harder, smarter or faster; it’s about working in harmony. 
The rhythm of our essential selves is like almost every other rhythm in nature. It has two phases which I call “rest” and “play.” When you rest in harmony with your essential self, you feel as drowsy and contented as a cat in the sun...
As you stay connected with your essential self through rest, there will come a moment when something piques your interest. You will want to get up and investigate, or you’ll be thrilled by the idea of exploring some area of your life – familiar or unfamiliar. (For me, this often takes the form of something I want to write.)

This is your signal that the essential self has finished resting and wants to play. Let it.
This is not to say that play is easy. Real creativity, which is the essence of play, can feel absolutely grueling. But ultimately there is a sense of joy and meaning in having done it. The essential self doesn’t mind hard work. But it will reject meaningless work.

When we're working in harmony with our essential selves, work feels like play and rest feels juicy and restorative. Not to mention, we're doing our most fulfilling work and living our best lives.


Image via Steve McCurry

[O, The Oprah Magazine, January 2015 and "I Rest My Pace...Insight From Martha," April 4, 2010]

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