Our passion for efficiency, effectiveness and exertion has gone too far. We live today in a unique era of possibility and productivity, but technology, media and the need to do and experience it all are hurting us as much as they help us. We love getting things done, but we are burning ourselves out.
We stay up late trying to catch up on work, but we end up wasting time online, leaving us more behind than when we started. We know we’re not showing up as best we can for our friends and family members, nor for ourselves. We try to renew and connect by checking Facebook or texting a friend, but we still feel fried. We use apps that promise to help focus our minds and our time. But none of it really sticks. Instead of savoring our one precious life, we squander our natural vitality on endless “to dos” and the stress of multitasking.
Many of us already know the value of slowing down, and we try to squeeze in a walk, a talk with a friend, or a good relaxed meal here and there. Maybe we even meditate or pray regularly— or think about doing so. But our efforts don’t make a dent in the growing burden of fatigue we carry around.
We have resigned ourselves to being spent and worn. Even when we can grab an hour or two of refreshment, our physical, emotional and spiritual weariness soon returns.
We know we need to get off the merry-go-round, but how?
I’ll tell you.
There is a way out of our sense of constant action, pressure and tension. It’s thousands of years old, but just as relevant and meaningful now as it was back then. In the popular media, in churches and synagogues, even in the corporate world, people are rediscovering the benefits of taking a Sabbath, a weekly day off for rest and renewal.
This new Sabbath — which doesn’t have to be religious, though it can be — takes the form of committed time each week to remember who we really are; to play, rest, reflect and reconnect with our best selves; and to join with like-minded others in a time and space without action items, deadlines and the pressure to accomplish.
I use the phrase “an oasis in time,” from my book An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life to describe the innovative Sabbath so necessary for healing our relentless orientation toward achievement. To truly reap its benefits, we need to approach our oasis with purpose.
It’s hard to truly experience awe for the miraculous gift of life when you are hurrying from one thing to the next. But you can learn how to put your tasks aside to protect your down time. And you’ll see how that time can renew and enrich your entire life, including your your time with loved ones, your spirituality, and even your ability to be productive. I’ll be blogging more about a path to creating dedicated time each week for enjoyment, renewal, reflection and deepening your sense of the sacred.