Sabbath

Last time (over a month ago!) I wrote in this space, I was in serious need of a break.  Having breakthroughs at work are good, but I had gotten so wrapped up in working that I didn’t realize that I needed a break until I had a breakdown.  Cue a week and a half of trips, the second half of which was spent sitting on the lanai reading and walking back and forth to the pool.  Just what I needed!

Even better, though, was what I read:  Leaving Church:  A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor.  In addition to being a spiritually moving book (which I am really into right now), Taylor tells how she learned to take a sabbath without going out of town by saying no to commitments and taking time to be with nature.  In recognition of my need to learn to take a sabbath without going out of town, I am implementing some plans for scheduled hours of sabbath, and it is WORKING.

So the second part of this whole thing for me is not only taking the time to not do work/chores and just BE, but not feeling guilty about it.  And in spite of knowing how much better I feel when I do these things, in our culture that extols the “passion” of people who work a bazillion hours a week, it’s hard for someone who needs to learn to rely less on external validation (me) to stay in a good head space with my need for sabbath.  Enter this article.  In it, Sara Robinson gives a historical view of the 40 hour work week, why it seems to have disappeared, and how to bring it back.  The piece helped me to feel extremely validated, both from the science of productivity and emotional standpoints, and you should all read it, but here’s my favorite quote:

There are now whole industries and entire branches of medicine devoted to handling workplace stress, but the bottom line is that people who have enough time to eat, sleep, play a little, exercise, and maintain their relationships don’t have much need of their help. The original short-work movement in 19th-century Britain demanded “eight for work, eight for sleep, and eight for what we will.” It’s still a formula that works.

So from now on, I’m aiming for the 8-8-8 formula.

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