When I was in my 20s and seeking spiritual wisdom, I explored Judaism and encountered the practice of Shabbat, or sabbath. Having been raised without religion my prior understanding was limited to businesses being closed on Sundays so that people were free to go to church on the same day. But, taking a sabbath–a day off from workaday cares–is so much more than not having to go to work, or making a point to go to church or temple for an hour or two.
A world of mobile Internet devices results in potentially constant availability–and constant bombardment of messages that are most often trivial, irrelevant, commercial, or negative. We so rarely have a moment of peace let alone a whole day of peace (shabbat shalom).
Now, more than ever, we need to incorporate a weekly sabbath into our lives: a day in which we set aside work, to-do lists, shopping lists (i.e., gimme-gimme-more-more! consumerism) and spend time only on creativity, enlightenment, relaxation, and connection on a deep, meaningful level.
Creativity may mean writing, drawing, crafting, knitting, woodworking, gardening, or any other endeavor in which you are bringing life to an idea or thing for the pleasure of it. When we are creative we lose track of time and don’t even mind it. It may also mean enjoying the creativity of others, such as spending time at an art museum or a performance (concert, play, dance).
Enlightenment may look like reading wisdom texts (theology, philosophy) or exploring big picture paradigm-shifting ideas in inspiring books, films, and lectures (think TED Talks).
Relaxation through yoga, meditation, stretching, massage, soaking in a tub, hiking in the woods, sitting on a beach, watching the sunrise or sunset, listening to the rain, or taking a walk at a park is essential for good health and peace of mind.
Connection with loved-ones on a deep meaningful level means being 100% present with them and truly listening to the point that you empathize with them. When you pet and play with your cat or dog, be truly present with them, not in a hurry to get on to the next thing. Likewise, when you spend time with a loved-one or a new friend, relish that time to talk, touch, and share. You can set the stage for this kind of quality time by doing any creative, enlightening, or relaxing pastime (that you both enjoy) together.
It doesn’t matter which day of the week you choose; it may not even be the same day each week depending on your schedule, but do make time for your sabbath.
What does creativity, enlightenment, relaxation, and connection look like for you? Which day of your week naturally lends itself to a sabbath? Journal, draw, or talk with a loved-one about what your sabbath would look like. Then, make time for your sabbath this week. You may be surprised to discover how challenging it may feel to take this time and not be distracted by consumerism, rush-rush errands, to-do lists, and if-it-bleeds-it-leads news. But just keep coming back to creativity, enlightenment, relaxation, and connection. You won’t regret it.