I was introduced to the book by Gillian Strain ( do take a look at her work www.gohealth.co.uk) and so ( albeit) reluctantly picked it up – mainly on Gillians recommendation rather than an enthusiasm to explore my own patterns of work/life balance. It is a clear, persuasive and challenging book. It was like being told that my regular walking route to work via Churchill Gardens, Salisbury was the wrong pathway !
My conversation with Gillian began by sharing thoughts about where we found ourselves in these post pandemic times. We acknowedged the scale of disruption and the slow pace of recovery. There are scales of dislocation and we know that there are many things disrupting our life and workplace: the decline of manufacturing, demographics, globalization, automation and, especially, technology. I wonder what most disrupts you ?
Those of us working in some sectors face particular challenges in building back. It is not always to understand why – colleagues are continuing to engage with the tasks and opportunities on their desks. The outward face of 2023 seems unchanged. It may be that people have less energy and readiness to travel. We make decisions and choices about how to use our time and resources. We have less money and we have reconnected with the delights and comforts of home. Pang invites his reader to consider what we do with those hours when we are not working. This might be a key that unlocks some doors!
There are, also, deeper cultural and political factors at work. Is burnout the price that we must pay for success ? What is the relationship between work and home? Are they separate and opposing ? We need to break the notion that our life and work are opposites destined to be in a constant domestic squabble !
Pang writes “Work and rest aren’t opposites like black and white or good and evil,” and “They’re more like different points on life’s wave.” This is a book that holds the creative tension between deconstruction and reconstruction – there is an invitation into creativity and flourishing. Rest isn’t about doing nothing – it’s a skill !
“Rest turns out to be like sex or singing or running – everyone basically knows how to do it, but with a little work and understanding, you can learn to do it a lot better.”
Maya Angelou offers us this thought in her Book ( Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey now)
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
Let us allow Pang the last word
“Rest is not something that the world gives us. It’s never been a gift. It’s never been something you do when you’ve finished everything else. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.”
So where will you start ?