Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Post - Ian Metcalfe (Rest 2)

Here is part 2 of our Guest post series on rest - and an auspicious moment for the blog - as Ian is my first ever Guest Blogger!

Ian (aka "Bunz" - I can't get used to his real name, although he assures me most people do use it) is a very old friend, who has seen me go through a lot of changes.  I'm particularly thrilled that he decided to contribute to this series, because I know his feelings towards "religion".  I'm sure my attachment to such things has tested his tolerance, however I have always known Ian as a man of deep integrity, who cares about justice and truth enough for it to reflect in his life choices.   Unlike myself, Ian is juggling blogging with a life ;) - so although he will be available to answer comments, his response may not be immediate.

Rest is a State of Mind
Ian Metcalfe

Given the nature of this blog, I feel the need to declare that I am an atheist.  For me, there is no being, supreme or otherwise, at the centre of creation.  There doesn't need to be.  I attribute the joy I receive from the world around me to the realisation that I am as much a part of it as it is of me.  And it is in this context, I relate my little story...

Several years ago, I found myself somewhere that I really didn't want to be.  I had damaged my knee, and the specialist strongly recommended surgery, partly exploratory, and partly remedial to repair damage to a meniscus.  After a few weeks of post-surgical painful restrictive hobbling, the knee began to come good, but my mood didn't.  I felt inner tension and exhaustion I couldn't account for, despite getting plenty of rest, re-watching most of the X-Files and a myriad of new movies, sleeping in, relaxing, and lazing about.

Why? I could no longer run.  I could no longer walk all day through the bush.  It was pursuing these physically exhausting pastimes where, ironically, I could find true rest.  In these times, when alone, my body ached with the repetition of one foot following the next, but my mind was free to travel.  I would see my place in the cosmos.  I would feel at peace with the spirits of nature.  I would dream.  I would conceive fragments of stories, and optimise C++ algorithms and subroutines.  Paradoxically, this was restful in the extreme.

Rest is a state of mind. Find a place where your mind is free, lose yourself from the physical, and true rest will come.

 Ian is an IT professional and all 'round geek. 
His idols are Galileo, Charles Darwin, Frank 
Zappa, and Sheldon Cooper. He lives in the 
 country near Canberra, Australia, where he
and his partner breed horses and kill orcs.


  1. Bunz, it's a bit quiet here so far... but I am wondering if you would also share some of the practices you use to find that "place where your mind is free", and to "loose yourself from the physical"? I think that's where people like me struggle... When life is crowding in on you, how do you switch off and rest?

  2. "I would conceive fragments of stories, and optimise C++ algorithms and subroutines."

    Good to know someone finds rest in these things - they just make my brain hurt thinking about them. =)

    It definitely sometimes takes an extreme altering of our lifestyles to engage in true rest. Love your thoughts here, Ian!

  3. I don't know, Ian. I get where you're coming from but I'm not a fan of the exhaustion method! I think the same head space can be achieved not from getting 'out' of the physical so much as getting completely 'in' it. And by this I mean where your mind and body are operating as one cohesive unit.

    I think (I could be wrong) this means being fully present in the here and now and being okay - being accepting - with this state (many people I know are not okay with this state, meaning that they feel they simply HAVE to worry or think about about something else).

    I know a lot of athletes who get to this head space by physical means and a lot of academic types who get there by intellectual means and artistic types who get there by creative means. But I get the sense that, in each case, the person is fully present and finds this refreshing. I don't know if that means the same thing as 'rest' but it seems to yield a sort of enhanced sense of well being, of time well spent even if nothing substantive in outward appearances is achieved.

  4. Tildeb, I think there's something in that... what you are describing sounds like what I have heard referred to as 'mindfulness' - something I've been working on...

  5. Bunz I hear you. It's particularly good to go bush walking. Not sure if it is PC for atheist to say he feels at one with the spirits of nature. I think Dawkins would tear you apart, it's more like something I would say. Anyway, yeah I think the zone is a bit different to rest Tildeb... I liked the picture Kerry drew of the river, and merging with the river... That to me is rest in a true sense. I get in a creative zone with lots of different types of activity from math to drawing, to singing and acting, to writing a business report on emergency management. To rest is something different to meditate, to sleep, to chill out, maybe with a bottle of wine, maybe not... To float down a river. I sat in a creek once, and it was full of sparking fresh water bubbling over agates and sapphires, and little freshwater shrimp that had neon blu coloring came out to nibble my toes, and I sat back in the water and let it all flow over me in the rainforest. Now whether you think in creation terms or evolutionary terms, I felt it was magical, wondrous, exhilarating mystical all at the same time. k. Then a tropical tick bit me and I had to see the dr, but hey nature is nature. I still have the scar 20 years later.


Feel free to leave comments - I love discussion, & diverse opinions! So comment, add your own thoughts, disagree - you are welcome.

Its okay to comment anonymously if you are shy, but I'd much rather know who you are, & always appreciate it when people "own" their own opinions. Look forward to chatting with you :)