Rest is Resistance cover

Harnessing Imagination to Heal in EMDR

Musings on: Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey

This was my first exposure to the work of Tricia Hersey.  She has a large social media following and art interactive exhibits around the Nap Ministry.  If you have not heard about the Nap Ministry, or this current book, I encourage you to look into her work. 

I imagine some of these ideas will be new to you, as they were to me.  Although, Brene’ Brown has written about not needing to “hustle for our worth” and the difficulty of living in a culture that judges our value based on what we produce, Ms. Hersey extends these ideas into a social justice lens, exploring the idea of a capitalist culture where the bottom line of profit overrides the well being (and historically, the basic rights) of individuals in that culture. Ms. Hersey contends that when we are always working more, and doing more, we rob ourselves of the healing and imagination possibilities of rest. She is careful to explain that she does not mean to rest, in order to do more work. But to claim rest as a portal to our own capacities for dreaming and healing. Her language describing our capitalist culture as “grind culture”  is very evocative to me. 

 I work with adults in my practice, and I am used to counseling them to slow down, to set emotional equanimity as a goal, to learn meditation, mindfulness, breathing strategies and yoga. I work with people to help them realize that their daily well being matters, rather than always chasing the carrot of success at their own expense.  This book helped me realize that I am often as if my teens should be pushing themselves as hard as they can in every area, academics, sports, artistically, socially, and that I am proceeding as if to do less than your very best at all times, in all areas, is a failure.  If I actually believe that being rested is a worthy goal, then I need to revise what message I bring to my teens – because they live in our grind culture they already hear the “do more” motto. 

The ideas put forth in this book are wide ranging, and encompass so many more critical and important aspects that I can even touch on in this brief book blog.  But, I especially found her references to daydreaming as a way that we can refresh ourselves to be in line with work done in psychotherapy.

Oftentimes, in later stages of EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) I work with clients to imagine a future where they are able to overcome their current difficulties, utilizing the skills we have developed in therapy. This future imagining is a type of activated daydream, where we can access supernatural powers or use concepts not bound by 3-d reality. This use of active imagination, to develop health and well being in a therapeutic setting, can also be utilized in our time spent daydreaming.  In our daydreams, we imagine ourselves and our world to be more in line with what our needs and desires are on many different levels. 

There are so many ways in the EMDR protocol that imagination, imagery, and careful attention to bodily sensation, are utilized to help the client feel more resourced in their lives, and to help them develop more capacity in their own healing.  I appreciate the author bringing the importance of being rested, and allowing your  own imagination and daydream to be the source and inspiration for what we want to accomplish in our lives. Please note, there are many facets to this book which I have not touched upon in this brief review.  These ideas are worth reading about. 

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