Dear Sabbath Seekers,
I often find that when I am super busy it is very hard to slow down even if my schedule suddenly eases up. How often do you go on vacation and need a day or two to unhook from the job or to do lists you left behind? I know I do. And I also find that a day or two before I have to go back to work my mind begins to let in those little nudges about what is awaiting me. That is why it is so important to take a longer rather than a shorter vacation because it gives you chance to truly unwind and rest in between the unhooking and the re-hooking…although short is better than none at all.
And maybe that is why a 24 hour Sabbath is so difficult for us to keep. It is just too hard to slow it down for one day and be geared up the next. I sometimes feel like I have the foot on the gas pedal and the brake at the same time when I try to let go for 24 hours. Things are still revving inside of me but I am determined not to let my foot off the brake because it is important to slow down.
The more I tell myself to slow down the crankier I can become and the more I think about all that has to be done.
So what is a person to do?
Well, I have started practicing slowing down on a regular basis. Once a day I take some time to unhook and unwind. It could be a 20 minute nap, a 20 minute walk, a 20 minute dive into a good book or a 20 minute meditation. It doesn’t have to be a long time – 20 minutes works for me but make sure it is at least 10 minutes. The more you practice taking these off-line breaks during the day the easier it will be to take a day to restore and refresh yourself.
Once I got used to doing it once a day I began to extend it to once a week. Sometimes it is Wednesday and sometimes it is a weekend day. Now, this habit is still forming because I have to admit it isn’t a weekly habit yet. It still can feel like I’m trying to stop a speeding locomotive or reigning in a team of horses running scared. However, I know that the more I do something the greater the chance for it to become a habit.
And, let’s face it, I/we have no trouble overloading our schedule into a habit. We get hooked quickly on being ‘productive’ or thinking the world will stop spinning unless we finish our to do list before we go to bed. Of course, all the studies that show us losing productivity the longer we work don’t apply to us so we keep on habituating the doing until we can barely stand to stop and rest.
Give yourself permission to take a deep breath, turn the engine off, put the horses in the barn, let the engine idle at the station or whatever metaphor works for you and see how you can establish the habit of letting rest, Sabbath time, replenish you so you can be more productive in the long run. Now that feels like a win/win.
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11.28