When I was a kid, my mother wouldn’t let me go to the mall on Sundays. Nor did she do shop on Sundays. She always said that she didn’t think it was fair for people to have to work on Sundays and she didn’t want to support the stores being open by shopping.
It used to make me nuts. After all, people had their day off on other days. What did it matter?
When I worked in retail management after college, I started getting it. Even though I got two days off a week, it would have been nice to have a day when I didn’t have to worry about the store. I relished the few holidays when the mall was totally closed.
But times have changed and working seven days a week seems more like a requirement than an option.
Our cell phones are attached to our hands, our ears, full of email, calls, chats, and even video calls. We check-in and respond early in the morning, late at night, and all day during the workday. And, of course, on weekends. Heaven forbid that we wait until Monday to answer an email that was sent on Friday evening at 7:00.
We multi-task all the time. Even our so-called downtime is full to the brim with activity. Our morning run is accompanied by a podcast. We eat in front of our computers. We talk on the phone – or listen to more podcasts – while we drive.
The other day, I caught myself trying to figure out if I could meditate and do my stretching at the same time after a particularly hectic day. Really?
Even with COVID. That changed the rhythm of our lives, but did it really change the pace? A lot of people think it increased it, at least as far as work is concerned.
I recently read an article, the Saturday Essay in the Wall Street Journal, called What We’ve Lost in Rejecting the Sabbath. The author talked about the way Americans used to set aside one day a week for rest and prayer. That day was typically Sunday, a day for church services and family meals, perhaps an afternoon drive or walk in nature. It was a day free of shopping, postal deliveries, banking, and a myriad of other things that are now part of the seven-day-a-week culture that we’ve embraced.
I agree with the author, we have lost something. It’s not just the “Christian tradition”. In many ways, it has nothing to do with that.
What we have lost is a haven, a time, a safe place for re-connecting our minds, hearts, bodies, and Higher Selves.
We’ve lost a time for extended reflection, for peace, for recharging, for family connections … and most importantly, a time for connection to OURSELVES.
Being a conscious leader, a conscious human, requires tuning into our Higher Self, and that, my friend, requires REST. It requires quieting of the mind and body and heart. It requires deep inner listening, and not just the 10-minute daily meditation from the CALM app.
Now, I’m not going to suggest that you take a whole day every week as a Sabbath. I KNOW you couldn’t possibly do that. Honestly, I’m not sure that I could either. But maybe a half-day, 2 hours, once a week or every other week, to take a time out?
Here are some possibilities:
- take a walk in nature without your cell phone
- sit and have a leisurely device-free meal with your family
- read something spiritual and uplifting to nourish your soul; journal about it
- reflect on your week and where you might have slowed down and been more conscious, more thoughtful, or listened more
- meditate, do yoga, or sit quietly outside while you enjoy a gentle breeze
There are hundreds of things that we can do to unplug, without waiting to go on vacation.
We might find, if we do, that our weeks go more smoothly, our tempers rise a bit more slowly, our attention span lasts a bit longer, and our ability to listen expands.
We might also find that we respond rather than react, that we hear our wise inner voice a little more loudly, that we breathe more easily.
I’m going to challenge myself to find two consecutive hours this weekend to rest, reflect, and connect with my Higher Self. Will you join me, however that looks for you?
Let me know how it goes, and I’ll let you know how it goes for me. 😊
With love and light,