The story is told of a South American tribe that went on a long march, day after day, when all of a sudden they would stop walking, sit down to rest for a while, and then make camp for a couple of days before going any further. They explained that they needed the time of rest so that their souls could catch up with them. (from “Sabbath” by Wayne Muller)
Are you working and living without the benefit of having your soul catch up? Are you feeling like your work is soul-less and little more than a method of producing a paycheck?
In the modern “busyness” of modern life, I fear we have lost the rhythm between activity and rest. Just as exhaling without
occasionally inhaling will cause you to turn blue and pass out, busyness without rest will cause you to “pass out” from things that matter. “I am so busy.” We say this as a badge of honor, as if our exhaustion were a trophy, and our ability to withstand 70-80 hour work weeks a mark of real character. We convince ourselves that the busier we are, the more we are accomplishing and the more important we must be. But is this really so? Does more activity really mean more accomplishment? To be unavailable to friends and family, to miss the sunsets and the full moons, to blast through all our obligations without time for taking a deep breath – this has become the model of a successful life.
Can we really separate ourselves from things that matter in our efforts to get more things? Just this week I worked with a very competent lady who has reached the pinnacle in her profession, with a world class apartment and a beach house for the weekends. Although her income puts her in the top 1% nationally, she has lost the sense of fulfilling work. One of her expressed goals is to “smile more on my way to happiness.”
Embrace Sabbath days and times in your life. Wisdom, peace, contentment and insight about fulfilling work will grow in those times. Take a walk, give thanks for simple things, take a bath with music and candles, turn off the telephone, pager, TV and computer – carve out those times for restoration and spiritual breathing.