Jonathon's Closet

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sabbath time cradles us & holds us gently until we remember who we are ...

In our culture where time has become a commodity and remembering who we are is sometimes a challenge, the keeping of a Sabbath time, a time of rest and renewal, may be more important than ever.

It is all too easy to become so overcommitted that every day becomes an experience of "too much." We instinctively resist recognizing our limits and we pretend we have unlimited potential and that we will live forever. Yet in reality we have limited energy and a finite lifespan.

When we are playing "beat the clock," time is our enemy and every second has the potential to become fraught with anxiety. In the daily ticking of the clock we hear our anxiety about both life and death. Even closer to home, our heartbeat signals our aliveness, while the silence between beats reminds us of our mortality. Time is running after us, ready to devour us if we "fall behind." And time is out in front, promising us relief if we can just "catch up" with it. A vital component of human freedom is the ability to say "no" to certain possibilities and say "yes" to others. What most of us really need to say "yes" to more frequently is our own need for solitude and repose. The secret to living successfully in an age of "too much" is the ability to let go and "fall apart creatively."

Most of us instinctively tighten up under stress. The busier it gets, the faster we go; the more there is to do, the more we try to do, all the while feeling overwhelmed and fearful we'll "fall apart" under the strain. Falling apart is OK - if done creatively! Falling apart creatively means learning to let go earlier and more often instead of waiting until we feel resentful or collapse and get sick. And yet, whey you’re the ONLY adult on-deck, so to speak, letting go doesn’t come easily. When you’ve been solely responsible for every single decision and every single detail for 8+ years, letting go doesn’t come easily.

I recently had the opportunity to breathe out the responsibilities and the stress of day-to-day living and simply let go. Something that was far too long overdue. I’m not sure if I was able to redirect my stress reaction (from tightening to letting go) early enough to avoid the physiological damage that can come from prolonged and excessive stress. But I do know that after 3 days of renewal time I was once again able to eat without becoming ill, and after 5 days my constant headache had faded quietly into the background. Afterwards, with my batteries partially recharged, I have found the ability to return to the tasks at hand with renewed vigor and alertness.

And plans are already underway for next year’s relaxation time; visions of a Lake Michigan beach already dance in my head! If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can feel the sun warming my body and hear the waves gently washing against the shoreline…

Taking time to honor the inner life of the soul has always been important, but never has it been more important than in today’s non-stop society. The ancient advice to "honor the Sabbath and keep it holy" reminds us to respect our need for a "day of rest" -- a time of repose and reconnection.Can you feel the wind shift, hear the rustling the grass? To everything a season; a time for peace. Today is a time for peace.

Why not take the poet Walt Whitman's advice to "loaf and invite your soul"?