“If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life.”
– Eugene Peterson – Author of The Message
In this Episode
You’re going to be encouraged to go beyond daily breaks and even annual vacations and commit to having a weekly or periodic Sabbath day. Not as a religious obligation but as something that’s great for your mental well-being and creativity.
Expanding on the Idea of Taking A Break
I’ve talked previously about the positive impact periodic breaks throughout the day can have on your productivity. It’s also important to take periodic breaks in your weekly schedule, not just the daily one. Yes, a 10 minute break every 50 minutes is great for your performance within the day, but let’s look at how this can break down into a weekly break.
If you remember in Episode #2, with the Pomodoro technique, you work for 50 minutes and then you take a 10 minute break. Do that cycle 4 times and then you take a longer 30 minute break.
What if you extended that in the day so you pieced together 4 of those cycles and you take a 4 hour break and then head to bed. That’s not a rule, but it’s building upon the same idea. Now, do that 6 days in a row and take a day off….. do that 12 weeks in a row and take a week off…. Do you see how this can be beneficial?
Sabbath Doesn’t Have to be a Religious Obligation
When we make our Sabbath time something we’re obligated to do, we turn it into an empty ritual. believe this is what Jesus was teaching the religious leaders in his day when they accused him of breaking the sabbath by healing somebody on that day. It also doesn’t have to be a specific day, just a periodic break from activity for the sake of quiet and uninterrupted connection and introspection.
A sabbath doesn’t have to be so incredibly rigid you’re consumed with constant questioning as to whether you’re breaking the sabbath or not. If you’re rules about down time and relaxation have you stressed, you’re missing the point. If you schedule down time or sabbath is coming up but you haven’t finished a report due on Monday morning, for crying out loud, do the report and take half a sabbath day.
We Seem to Have an Aversion to Silence
Most of our downtime time is filled with video games, movies, television, running from soccer game to baseball practice and more. There’s always some sort of distraction from the quiet times that allow us to go within.
I’ve even caught myself, at a red light, reaching over to my iPhone and checking my Twitter feed. I know there’s a good number of other people who do this because I’ve been stuck behind them when the light turned green and they didn’t go. Haha…
For the longest time, I couldn’t go to bed without the TV being turned on. Even if I was exhausted and would be asleep within 5 minutes, I had to have something on to keep me distracted until I finally drifted off.
It wasn’t until I began to incorporate a regular meditation practice that I finally learned how to control the wandering of my mind during times of silence.
I believe this is what caused me to need to have the TV on when I went to bed. Without it, my mind was thinking about this, that, and every other thing that could possibly come up in my memory. With the television on, I had something on which to focus.
This is the lesson I learned with meditation, to find something to focus on IN the silence. For me, it started with breathing.
If You Can’t Do It For a Full Day, Start with Several Hours.
Try to find some activities that will allow you to get away from all the “work” you put in checking email, watching movies, updating your Facebook and more.
- An afternoon at the beach is fantastic. The waves have a beautiful rhythm that inherently matches the rhythms of life. It’s so incredibly meditative.
- Lay in the yard and stare up at the stars in the evening. When’s the last time you did that? Watch what is happening in our Universe and just let go of your requirements (don’t make this a requirement itself).
- Spend a day on the lake fishing. Dont’ get stressed about the right spot or the biggest fish or what color jig to use, just make it about the quiet rhythm of casting and reeling, casting and reeling…
- Take your dog for a walk through a park or the woods. Connect with your dog and allow him or her to explore. Don’t be dead-set on getting where you’re going. Let your dog lead for a change and go look at what they’re sniffing (might not be pretty… but let the curiosity lead you).
- I love my hammock time in the back yard. To lay there and watch the squirrels run around in the palm tree above me. It’s so great. It’s such a wonderful mental INactivity.
Again, let your down time be reflective… let your spirit guide you… leave your phone behind or put it on airplane mode, so you have it if you need it, but it’s not going to interrupt.
Allow it to happen… just allow it… no rules… but the one… unplug.