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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 5th Challenge: Consider A Sabbath

Probably lost some of you at the title, but even if you're not religious, hang in a minute.
Because we all need a day of rest.  And I'd like you to spend just a little bit of Sunday thinking about how you could commit to--and benefit from-- a Sabbath practice in the new year.

you've done enough.  you can rest now.
The word was first mentioned in the narrative of Genesis as the day God set aside for rest.  In Judaism, it was set apart for both rest and reflection, and to keep it was both a mitzvah (blessing) and a spiritual obligation.  All cooking and chores were completed before it began.   The word itself derives from the Hebrew "Shin-Beit-Tav", which means to cease or end and rest.  I noticed when visiting a friend at Mt. Sinei hospital in NY that on Shabbat the elevators stopped at each floor, so observers would not have the work of pushing a button.

As a nation, Americans are more overworked than nearly any industrialized  country.  In 2000 we worked 199 more hours per year than we did in 1975.  That's of course for those of us lucky enough to still be employed-- which is part of the reason we're overworked.  It's typical for companies to cut jobs and simply shift the responsiblities to remaining employees.  And we don't take vacation.  On average, we're now getting 12 days of paid holiday per year compared to the 30-40 of European counterparts.  And we tend to only use 10, because who has the energy to do the double time on either end at work?
 day is done

It's time to take back some time.  At least a little.  And to do it consciously, intentionally, repeatedly.

Your challenge for tomorrow (even if it is your work day) is to figure out some space you will take at least once a week to hold yourself and your time sacred.  And decide what that means. How can you dedicate a bit of time to nurturing and honoring your own soul?  Is it an hour (or day) where you turn off all outside communication links to enjoy some uninterrupted pursuits?  Is it a time period every day where you dedicate yourself to listening to that small still voice?

How can you offer yourself some sacred time for rest and reflection this coming week?

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

gone the sun
I also want to tell you about my work on the challenges so far.  But rather than clutter up this post, I'll put it in the comment sections of previous posts.  I really do want to hear what you are doing as well.  Please comment.   It can be anonymous, but keep in mind it may take a bit to show up because I do moderate comments to decrease the viagra ads. 

Some related readings:
Oldie but a good un with the great Andrei Codrescu on why non-believers need a Sabbath too
Last year's Sabbath challenge here

Quotes of the day:
“Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being.”--Walter Bruggemann

"Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” --Mark Buchanan

Song of the day: (thanks to my world-friend Sebastiano for this one)

1 comment:

Jana Svoboda, LCSW said...

I'm still interested in seeing here what you did with this challenge. As noted, I stayed in jammies until noon, enjoying tea, newspaper, book and a bit of bed yoga and reflecting about the week past. Finally rallied to a walk in the coastal foothills to pay my respects to our peacekeeper Marys, tallest mountain to my home. Made a leisurely and colorful dinner of tamales on salad with guac and corn salsa. read a book, wrote a blog, watched the moon set all fat and curve and big. had vague thoughts about spirit along with gentle nagging feeling spirit would like more dedicated structure and less hell-paving roads of intention. all in all a most productive day of nothing much. yet felt fields were being dressed and prepared for future harvest.