I'm reading
Introducing Issue 65: Rest
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Introducing Issue 65: Rest
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Introducing Issue 65: Rest
Pass it on
Pass it on
Articles
18 November 2020

Introducing Issue 65: Rest

Editor Nathan Scolaro on the conversations and thinking behind our latest issue of Dumbo Feather magazine.

Written by Nathan Scolaro

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

Discussed in this Story

I’m often gobsmacked by how much my thinking has been shaped by the culture our dominant systems impose. While working on this issue, I’ve been unpacking my own (largely unconscious) relationship to rest, and realising how dismissive I’ve been of it in my life. Not in an overt way, more through the little stories I’ll tell myself. Like, “There’s a million other things I should be doing / learning / experiencing right now than taking time out.” Or, “The body’s like a rubber band, I can stretch it as much as I need and it’ll always return to its original form.” In the capitalist paradigm, productivity and exhaustion are heralded – we expect others to sigh and say “busy” when we ask how they are. And so for me, and I can’t believe I’m about to type this knowing what I now know, rest had always felt like a bit of a cop out.

In the context of 2020, and especially living in Victoria and other parts of the world where lockdown has been the status quo, rest has become an even more necessary thing to talk about. For one, our nervous systems have been hit with so much new information – what to fear, how to work, where we can travel – that we need to make conscious decisions now to restore. Then there is the tidal wave upon us to reboot all the systems and get back to our super “on” lives. We need to ask ourselves if that’s really something we want or need. The beauty of this year is that we’ve started to see just how depleted we actually are, and that we don’t need to grind to be considered valuable human beings. We also know we can do things differently. I’m not saying we shut the whole thing down and lay on the couch for the rest of our days. But there is an invitation here to find a gentler way, to “pulse” as Sarah Wilson puts it in this issue, between doing what we need to do for the health of each other and our home planet, and doing what we need to do for our own bodies and souls.

A big part of this invitation to rest is knowing and listening to the natural cycles that inform our wellbeing. We are so used to operating within the rhythms of the work day, the financial year, the school terms, that we have lost touch with our inner rhythms, and the rhythms of the seasons, the sun and the moon. I love the conversation between Berry and the author of Period Queen, Lucy Peach, which, in focusing on the cycles of the female body, is a provocation for all of us to honour and own both our natural phases of expansion, which enables all the doing, giving and receiving in the world (the “slaying,” as Lucy says), and contraction – the slowing down, calibrating and going inward.

We have been told for too long that the only important thing is how much we do: how much we work, how much we acquire, how much we solve. It’s a lie, and we are exhausted. I get that there is urgency in the air, on so many levels, but what if the best foot we can put forward right now is lying in the grass for a couple of hours and closing our eyes? What if, instead of working or numbing-out with television on a weeknight, we lit a bonfire in the yard and sat around it with our loved ones? Rest, in these times of great flux, is a revolutionary act. We need it to hold the complexity of this moment, to be resilient, and to return to the rich, wild, multifaceted parts of who we are.

Nathan Scolaro

Nathan is the editor of Dumbo Feather magazine, and a great lover of language, poetry and storytelling.

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