Balancing Busy-ness with Rest

About a 3 to 4 minute read | 28th March, 2022

A week ago (give or take) was the Equinox - the time of balanced light and dark at the midway point through Autumn (Southern Hemisphere) or Spring.

This is a great time to examine our own lives to see how we're managing the balancing act between doing and resting. This short post shares an uncommon idea for our culture and our times: "It is safe to rest."


I don't know about you, but recently I'm finding life’s juggling act more difficult than usual. Or maybe (more likely) it’s just as difficult as usual but I’m noticing it more.

Journaling about it over the last week or so, I’ve realized that—Surprise!!—I’m trying to do too much. 

It’s such a common trap: trying to be super-woman or super-man and forgetting that when the cup is empty it won’t pour anything no matter how you upend it.

I’ve been realizing that I’m tired of feeling empty and trying to go on pouring, so I’m reassessing things to find more balance. This past week I’ve been spending more time on family stuff, and using most of my reduced office time to try to figure out what I can let go of to make time for renewal in my personal life.

Equinox season – the balance between light and dark

One of the reasons I’ve been paying attention to this is that a week ago – March 20th (or thereabouts, depending on your timezone) was the Equinox.

In the Southern hemisphere, the March Equinox is mid-Autumn. It's the moment at which the day and night are equal in length before the daylight hours begin to diminish as we move toward winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, it's mid-spring; after the Spring Equinox the days grow longer and the nights shorter.

Because of this balance between light and dark, the Equinoxes are a great time to pay attention to how we’re balancing the energies of growth/expansion and contraction/rest. Growth/expansion are represented by the light; contraction/rest are represented by darkness. 

What do I need to let go of, to make room for balance?

I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, so this is the Autumn Equinox. (Refer to this post for Spring Equinox if you're in the Northern Hemisphere.)

In Autumn, out in Nature, things are slowing down and dying back. Nature is finishing things off, preparing for the rest and stillness of Winter1

Gardeners are pruning, raking, tidying away after the busy-ness of summer, and composting the debris to build fertility for next spring. 

Around the Autumn Equinox it's a great time to ask, "What do I need to 'prune' from my life? What 'leaves' shall I let fall, what is no longer or not useful, that could be composted? What am I being guided to let go of, to make more room for balance in my life?"

Very often it's extremely difficult to figure out what to let go of. It all seems so Necessary, and so Urgent!

It helps to remind yourself that this Urgency and Necessity arise partly because as we were growing up, our value was often measured in terms of what we achieved.

Our elders taught us and demonstrated to us (with the best of intentions) that we were only worth what we produced in terms of school grades, a tidy room, polite manners, and keeping all our forms of messiness well hidden. Sad, to say the least. 

It is safe to rest

So, coming to the realization that my cup is too empty and that I need to let go of some of the busy-ness, I had resigned myself to not publishing a post this week. I had decided to be happy with just writing a letter to send to subscribers. Then the letter grew and became this post, right at the last minute.

And that, I find, is what can happen when you trust that Something Bigger than you–call it the Earth Mother, or God, or any other name you like–has your back. (I wrote here about how relaxing into Nature's rhythms can engender a feeling of connection and support.)

It is safe to rest.

Repeat after me: "It is safe to rest."

Is it maybe time to close your device and go take a nap? Or do something nourishing and restorative for yourself?

And if that seems impossible for right now, maybe you could take some kind of step toward setting aside time to examine WHY that seems impossible?

Please leave a comment - thank you!

Do you get a tight feeling in your stomach when you think about catering to yourself for a change rather than everybody else? Where does that come from? How might you coax yourself into being kinder to you?  

Please comment, below the Endnotes 🙂


  1. Tropical gardeners may hasten to remind me that this is the best time to plant all the European veggies that cant handle tropical summers. That's true, and I too have been guilty of rushing around at this time of year trying to get all the brassicas in and protect them from insects... However, I dream of successfully growing and eating enough perennial tropical food plants so I won't have to rush to plant annual veggies right when the seasonal energies are whispering, "slow down..."
  • Dear Kate, thank you so much for your thoughts on balancing and especially for the Endnote, as I am now too a tropical gardener with roots in a temperate European climate and i am still struggling with aligning my inner rhythms to my surrounding rhythms.

    • Hi Evelyn, I’m glad you found it helpful. Thank you so much for commenting to let me know.

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