|A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte |
by Georges Seurat., Art Institiute of Chicago
“Anyone can observe the Sabbath, but to make it holy takes a week.” ~ Alice Walker
“Some keep Sabbath by going to church. I keep Sabbath by staying at home.” ~ Emily Dickinson
Excerpt from Sabbaths 2011
by Wendell Berry
Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind's
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer.
I don’t know about you, but for the past couple of months I feel like I’ve been running non-stop. My schedule looks something like this: Wake-up, shower, wake up child #1, 15 minute meditation, make sure child #2 is up, eat breakfast and journal, tidy-up, say have a nice day to both as they head to school, go to work, come home, oversee soccer practice and/or game for child #1, oversee soccer practice, band and/or game for child #2, make sure children’s homework is done, make sure my homework is done for Wednesday night, eat supper, clean-up after supper, tidy –up, and go to sleep. Repeat four more times and when Saturday comes around everything that didn’t get done during the week around the house (e.g., oil change, grocery shopping, bath room cleaning) needs to get done.
The problem is I’m finding this busyness is seeping into Sunday and everything is blending together and I can’t think and I’m trying to locate the cord for the emergency brakes because the train is moving very fast and there are still things needing to get done and it is Monday all over again.
Does this sound familiar?
I heard this story last week about a medical explorer in the Amazon. Apparently, it is a well-known story. The explorer is hunting for medicinal plants by traveling with an indigenous tribe. The first day of the journey happens quickly. They hike many hours through the swamp and jungle and cover lots of ground looking for a specific plant. The same happens on day two and three. On the morning of the fourth day, the explorer eagerly hops up from sleep and prepares for another day of trekking. The tribesmen, however, are all sitting down.
“What are they doing? Tell them to get up. We have to get going!” urges the explorer who is also looking at his watch.
The translator explains that the men have pushed themselves too hard and had moved too fast. They are now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies
I can relate to the tribesmen. I need some time for my soul to catch up with my intellect and body. I need to find the cord for that brake.
Six days shall you be a workaholic;
on the seventh day, shall you join the serene company of human beings.
Six days shall you take orders from your boss;
on the seventh day, shall you be master/mistress of your own life.
Six days shall you toil in the market;
on the seventh day, shall you detach from money matters.
Six days shall you create, drive, create, invent, push;
on the seventh day, shall you reflect.
Six days shall you be the perfect success;
on the seventh day, shall you remember that not everything is in your power.
Six days shall you be a miserable failure;
on the seventh day, shall you be on top of the world.
Six days shall you enjoy the blessings of work;
on the seventh day, shall you understand that being is as important as doing.
How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household - Blu Greenbert
I recently completed the January series of Deepak Chopra’s Mind, Body and Spirit 21 day meditation. One of the nuggets that I took away was about breathing. Between the inhale and exhale there’s a point, the top of the mountain sort of speak, where everything stops before you exhale. In that moment you are connected with you mind, soul and spirit. This connection allows us to connect with others and with Motherfather Spirit. I see this moment as having a personal choice concerning the next breathing cycle: Will I be more conscious, more loving and more connected with others?
I believe taking a day for Sabbath is supposed to be like this only more extended. A day or at least two hours, when I can stop this need to get things done. A day when I can be fully in the moment connected with Motherfather Spirit.
I think Barbara Brown Taylor says it plainly:
“At least one day in every seven, pull off the road and park the car in the garage. Close the door to the toolshed and turn off the computer. Stay home not because you are sick but because you are well. Talk someone you love into being well with you. Take a nap, a walk, an hour for lunch. Test the premise that you are worth more than what you can produce—that even if you spent one whole day being good for nothing you would still be precious in God's sight—and when you get anxious because you are convinced that this is not so, remember that your own conviction is not required. This is a commandment. Your worth has already been established, even when you are not working. The purpose of the commandment is to woo you to the same truth.”
Inhale then exhale……
I don’t know how many are familiar with the blue laws. These laws restricted purchasing of alcohol and times stores could be opened on Sunday. By the time I was in college many had disappeared. Stores were opened 24 hours a day even on Sunday. Ironically, when I visited Europe it was one of the things I wished we still had. It forces people to focus or in my case practice.
Within ten minutes of coming home from school, I’d hear one of my parents saying, “Have you practice yet?” If I’d answer no they would follow-up with, “How do you expect to be good at something if you don’t practice?” The same can be said for getting better at your spiritual craft. If you only practice recipes and rituals on the holidays how do you expect to become an expert?
The Goddesses Vesta and Hesta urge their followers to stop and take time to focus and create the sacred. These Goddesses embodied the notion that wholeness and inner peace was related to the time one focused on their spiritual center. It is ironic that hearth means focus in Latin. The image of an older woman knitting, rocking – staring into the fire comes to mind. I see that woman as a symbol of what is important – a time when I’m not working and exerting force, but reflecting, paying attention and working in concert with Motherfather Spirit. That woman is living a magical life.
I take a weekly Sabbath as part of my recipe for magical living. It is an extended time period devoted to the craft and my connection Motherfather Spirit. It’s my time to practice new recipes by blending herbs and spices; to sew blessings and tie blessing knots into a baby’s quilt, to pull weeds and harvest vegetables by singing songs of thanks, to hold a crystal and listen to it talk, lite a candle for the health of a friend, and to make a nice Sunday dinner to share with friends.
Focus Sabbatum (Hearth Sabbath)
Carve out at least 2 hours to devote to your craft and your spiritual gifts.