My tomatoes have just ripened. I’m so happy eating these plump, red tomatoes and it makes all the time spent watering the plants, feeding the soil, creating the support stems, etc worth it. It’s nice to ‘produce’ something – it validates what you have been doing and spending time on. And there’s usually a concrete output at the end – a visible and tangible output that you can display to others and share and talk about to your family and friends.
This is why we are primed to ‘produce.’ There is a universally acknowledged and accepted payback. It’s great to be working on and doing something useful. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this but in our pursuit of ‘doing’, we have stopped giving importance to taking a break or not doing anything productive once in awhile.
But I think instinctively, we know this is needed. We are all living in a constant cycle of balance. A week of eating rich, heavy food is usually followed by a couple of days of detox. A couple of days of late nights and we give ourselves time on the weekend to just lay in bed and catch-up on sleep. It’s the art of rebalancing but why are we so afraid to take a break from work?
Of course, money is often a problem but I know a lot of people, who are exhausted, unhappy and unfulfilled at work and money is not an issue for them. Perhaps, it’s because there is no societal value attached to doing nothing. If you do nothing, if you produce nothing, what is the point?
Fallow periods have been traditionally used by farmers to allow the soil to rebalance soil nutrients and break disease cycles to maintain the natural productivity of the land. The soil is temporarily ‘unproductive’ but below the surface, there is a lot of work happening – work that is much required and valuable.
I took a break because I was at a point where I felt barren, impoverished and low on reserves. I felt like a barren plot of land with all my nutrients used up. Nothing was going to grow as I had nothing to give. It’s coming to two months since leaving work and my way of living is quite different now from then. I’m eating on time, meals mostly cooked by myself. I have time to take long walks during the day. I have met people I never would have met while I was working and I’ve rediscovered my love of writing. Nothing productive but I feel rich, stable and replenished. I also feel emotionally lighter. Small things that used to bother me, don’t bug me anymore and I feel excited about life and it’s possibilities.
Something which I haven’t felt in a long time.