I have a short, sweet guest post today from a writer named Christian Ray Flores about “practicing a weekly Sabbath day.” I found it interesting because Christian never mentions religion or God in the piece, and so I inferred that he was writing about spiritual habits, but from an atheist or at least non-religious perspective.
Great perspective on saving time for your”self”, Bill. As for the errant flamingoes, perhaps the one who hasn’t shown up yet just got rid of his ankle id. He’s blending in. Smart bird! I wish the other one would do the same!
Their are atheists, who believe there is nothing else; agnostics, who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God; and there are the rest who believe in one of the many religious dogmas.
Regarding a sabbath, Covey addressed this with his Seven Habits for Highly Effective People through habit 7: sharpen the saw. He told the story of a man walking through the woods when he encountered another man frantically sawing at a log with no results. He asked the man why he did not stop to sharpen his saw. The other fellow said “I don’t have time to stop.”
The 7 Habits book is a wonderful distillation of 200 years of self-help books that shows the importance of and how to focus on character over personality.
Interesting newsletter! At the end of it I thought, why do I work every day? It made me think about the exchange between my husband and I on Saturday/Sunday. What do we have going on? Need/want to do? The first response is always, well I have work to do. But why? I am self-employed, so its easy to say to work on the business, but that is never ending. Fortunately or maybe unfortunately (guess it depends on how you look at it), I really enjoy my work and on weekends I can be a bit more creative with less pressure. But then I thought again and realized there are other things I want to do that I never get around to doing (reading more, taking a sewing class), so I guess in short, this newsletter was a reminder to do what I already know I need to do. thanks for that.
all the more reason to pick it up again!
When I became a therapist, I started taking more vacations. At first, after every 8 weeks of work, then 7 and I worked down to 5 weeks per year. That’s 9 weekly vacations per year. I also split my work week with Thursdays and Sundays off. I mostly heard “you must be doing well to have that luxury.” But it’s not a luxury at all, it’s a total necessity! Clearing the head, relaxing the body, playing with the dog, reading, napping, taking walks on Sunday and vacations days. Thursday is reserved for any appointments or classes. Or if free? It’s another Sunday. Needless to say, my work is more fun and constantly being updated, my dog is happier and I am content. I make less money, but I’m sure I’m living a longer, more content life. Oh, BTW, I try to live by Buddhist principles.
I’ve handed out over 1900 copies of Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living by John McQuiston II since 1998. This small book is a meditation based on a 1600 year old rule for living in Christian community without mentioning Jesus or Christianity in the meditation’s text. Ray’s call for a balanced life is at the heart of healthy spiritual practice which is what I find compelling about the Rule of St. Benedict. Here’s a link to a review of this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23951818-always-we-begin-again.
Two or more servings of avocados a week? I haven't had ONE serving in my life!
I didn't know the Japanese word. However, for twenty-five years now I have upheld the maxim: work kills. I consider myself an independent republic and I do what I like, when I like.
Jews invented the idea of a weekly day off. At first, people found it odd. The Greeks and Romans thought it was crazy. Who would cook the meals? Why stop yourself from making money? But it caught on because it was so delightful. Then Christianity came along and they moved it from Saturday to Sunday. And yet Saturday managed to hang on. No one wanted to lose it. So now we have this thing called a weekend. The French have it right. We live in a Puritanically based culture. They live in a Latin based culture, where the enjoyment of life is a priority. They eat better, dress better, and live better. And they probably work better, because they have time to recharge. A Sabbath day is essential. Thanks to the Jews for inventing it, thanks to the Christians for expanding it, and thanks to all the countries that are not Judeo-Christian who observe it anyway because it's just so great to have. Who among us would vote to eliminate the weekend?
1. As children of the 60s/70s we loved bumper stickers and T-shirts that told us we could “do our own thing“.
2. After college/military service we started acquiring the “necessities“ of our newfound careers and stations in life: stereos, the latest hip clothing, cars, etc. .
3. Then came marriage. We quickly learned that two could not live as cheaply as one.
4. Children followed. And, if we had not encountered Step #3 we soon learned that maxim was BS.
5. Hence, the so-called American work ethic. For those of us who took our careers seriously, days off were not our concern.
6. What followed? Numerous books and articles on how to use our time more wisely, or cram more work into the same amount of hours, how to make friends and influence people, how to be more effective at “fill in the blank“.
End result: The American work ethic became a recipe for how to create a stressed out society that had more disposable income.
Which generated more jobs, more services and products to buy, and more lifestyles to “improve”.
7. Epilogue: Happiness articles started popping up telling us what we already know. Yet, we can’t quite implement that philosophy into our lives.
It’s doable. But, it requires even more discipline than our work ethic will allow.
We as a culture get so wrapped up in our work, and it seems that if we don’t, we’ll get run over by those who do. For many years, I did business with a company based in Italy and France. My understanding was business in summer had to be wrapped up by the end of July. Many companies essentially shut down for the month of August. Period. What a great concept. We could learn from this.
I love this piece. It so reminds me of just taking time to be in the present moments. Thanks for sharing it, Bill. I've also subscribed to his newsletter, Headspace. Looks so interesting.
Awww. I have enjoyed your articles and today I was especially encouraged and surprised to read one from Christian Ray Flores. We (my husband and I) have known Christian and his wife for years and even have had the privilege of serving together in our fellowship of Christian Churches. I needed to hear and be reminded of these concepts about Sabbath rest. My Mighty G-d and creator knows exactly what I need. Who am I to disagree. So thank you for sharing the article and helping me to be a better human.
I have two questions for you Bill. A new acquaintance told me that she disconnects on Saturdays and spends them with her family, at home, no exceptions. She mentioned that she has missed a lot of things because of this. So why Saturday and not Sunday? Saturdays are when weddings happen, fun events with friends, etc. To me it's a day to connect with others after working at home alone all week. And do you make exceptions on a Saturday for events that are important for you? Thanks!
I like the post and it's timing is interesting for me. I recently completed a study on work. The basic idea is that work is good and it's part of our calling in life. Like many good things it gets corrupted. We need rest, but there is a difference between rest, recreation (or re-creating), and escape. Escape is bad (hiding from responsibility). Recreation can be high or low impact and leaves us energized. Rest is basically not carrying weight for a time. In other words, no production, cultivation, or creation. It allows us to recover.
Christian's discovery must have been a revelation for him. It's nice (and gratifying to me) that another Christian has discovered the benefits of the Sabbath. It's also interesting that he "observes" the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, not the first, as many other Christians do. Some Christians I know practice the Sabbath (on the seventh day) -- and other Jewish Torah practices -- because they desire following at least some of its (God's) suggestions as their way of showing that they are the new Israel, the new Israelites of the God of the universe. As a God-loving Jew, I (and my wife, Jackie) observe the Sabbath. True, it is a key to getting a rest from a hectic week, but for us it is an act of love. To many, it's the benefits of the Sabbath that they tout. But to a Jew the greatest benefit is showing his/her love for their God. Of great interest to me is that too many Jews see the Sabbath (and following the "commandments" of the Torah) as an obligation, even a chore. What a poor way to express their thanks to the Lord of the universe!!! I will probably get criticized -- even insulted or cursed -- for what I'm about to reveal (but I'm a fool that jumps in): I am ashamed of how Jews have altered Judaism in that "tradition" has replaced almost everything "God-related." I suspect the reason for this is that tradition is more comfortable than true Torah observance (although most of the Jews I know "swear" that they are observing the Torah). The truth as I see it is they are observing a religion promulgated by the rabbis of the 1st to 6th centuries BCE. I'm quite sure their motivation was the saving of Judaism after the destruction of the second Temple. Forgive my diatribe, please!