As an avid student of the subject of "productivity" or "time management", I am aware that currently in the zeitgeist, we are moving into a time of resistance to the very idea. Oliver Burkeman's 4,000 Weeks struck a very strong chord with the world a year ago (including with me). The idea of the conscious use and awareness of our time or attention, as opposed to treating time as some sort of "resource", is emergent in the culture.
I am really struck by the parallel between this idea and the transition from an extractive cultural attitude towards nature. From the famous Francis Bacon quote about "putting nature on the rack" to reveal her secrets, to a movement to a shared and stewarding relationship to Mother Earth.
So that is an interesting thread, but now we are back to the topic of rest. I have seen many books that begin to speak to this topic. For example, one I bought for my sister in May, called I Didn't Do the Thing Today, by Madeleine Dore.
Although I have not read it yet, it looks really good — more importantly here, I love the idea behind it. The value of not-doing. This is well and connected to this imbalance between the yin and yang as well!
For many of us, our days have become containers for internalized capitalism.
—The author reads, in her lovely Australian accent. OMG — I have to get this one!
So, I've got two Audible credits right now (yes, Amazon, I know, ah well. Anyway...). Here is a sampling of books I get on the topic of "rest". It's a hot topic now! (Wonder why?)
- Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (2017)
- Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath, by Curtis Zackery (2018)
- The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age, by Claudia Hammond (2019)
- Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, by Celeste Headlee (2020)
- Laziness Does Not Exist, by Devon Price (2021).
- Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto, by Tricia Hersey (2022)
- Pause, Rest, Be: Stillness Practices for Courage in Times of Change, by Octavia F. Raheem (2022)
- Tired as F*ck: Burnout at the Hands of Diet, Self-Help, and Hustle Culture, by Caroline Dooner (2022)
This last one reminded me of something my friend said once, a few years ago about East Bay people. It really, really struck me:
People are busy as fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk.
Oh my God.
Of course we cannot separate this from the phenomenon of the Great Resignation, and the little break that a lot of us got to have in 2020. Hmmm...
Here's a good chat I found between the author of Rest and Arianna Huffington:
And lastly, I think we might mention Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, by adrienne maree brown (2019). Yet another book I have not read yet, but it seems to speak to thing that are quite related.
How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Author and editor adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism,” a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, she challenges us to rethink the ground rules of activism.