Lauren Barnett, one of our Recipients of Rest, is the founder of the creative consulting company, Bound For Good. We hosted Lauren at Getaway Asheboro in October. Here is Lauren’s thoughtful reflection on rest as a power-building discipline.
There once was a college graduate whose dreams of being a journalist were so ravaged by the Great Recession that she worried she might never find her way again. She had spent her high school days earning money after school and cramming in as many activities as she could. Then, she graduated cum laude from college⸺early⸺and with three internships under her belt, while working two jobs, and adding to a long list of references. You could certainly say she worked hard. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough to help her personally overcome the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history and achieve her dream of working in news editorial journalism.
Yep, you guessed it! That person was me, and that’s hard to fathom anymore.
When there wasn’t even a volunteer opportunity at a newspaper in 2008, I just knew it was all over for me. But the truth was, I had a new opportunity to learn what I had missed in all my activities: that the world didn’t need me to grind myself into dust trying to save it. I would, over the next decade, discover that rest is not only vital for well-being, it builds power individually and in communities.
After working with all kinds of people in multiple industries, I would come to find that my power didn’t lie in how much labor I could perform. It came from my passions. My passions came from the dreams. And, class, when do dreams happen? Bingo! During rest. You are all so smart.
I am still on the journey of understanding rest as a discipline of nurturing power. Prioritizing mental health rituals has helped me continue advocating on behalf of families in the pandemic, something I am privileged to do in my full-time work. Sometimes it’s as simple as scheduling my walks for the week, and other times it’s as difficult as finding a therapist who takes my insurance. It’s worth it because the truth is, I do not think I would be as effective if I didn’t firmly believe that struggling families and I alike are owed rest. I also don’t know that I ever would have learned how racialized rest is if I had continued believing hard work would save me.
Now, after much heartbreak and regeneration, I lead with well-being in mind, and it’s why I prioritize work with people + planet over profit businesses and organizations as the way of the future. This path has brought so many gifts, and I am grateful for each and every one.
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