"Work when there is work to do. Rest when you are tired. One thing done in peace will most likely be better than ten things done in panic....I am not a hero if I deny rest; I am only tired." Susan McHenry
The days I begin with writing this blog, the days I start off meditating or thinking about something like our cabin in the mountains, now covered with snow but ready for us to make it our own again in a few months, the mornings I start off in peace are days with an omen for good built in. I just thought about the days I wake up juggling to do lists even before I get out of bed, and I could feel my breathing change. When I start my day in peace, my heart is ready for more peace. To do lists for all their self-importance just don't do that!
I first experienced taking a day of rest, which many religions have built into their very fabric, maybe fifteen years ago. I attended a week long adult religious studies camp on a college campus built into the woods, and on the seventh day we rested. Groups of friends took slow walks in the forest, studied texts together, had prayer services, ate together. We didn't get in cars. We didn't go shopping or to the nearby beach. We didn't rush or call home or hurry in any way. The whole day was at the pace of a stroll. It seemed like the longest day, in a very good way, and the next day I did not want to gear up to drive home.
When I'm living consciously, I don't use Saturday, or it could be Sunday, as a catch up day. Of course this is easier done now that I don't have children at home and I'm not working, but you can do this too even if you don't seem to have the time. How can you not make time for renewal? How can you keep going if you don't? How about a day without listening to the news or television or, gasp, without your cell phone and its opportunities for hours of distraction. How about turning off the internet. Start small and see what happens. You will love it, and then, if you're like me, the next weekend will come around and you'll forget your good intention even if you loved that day and swore to do it every weekend. So start today by looking at your calendar. Look at next weekend. Write down one commitment to yourself: turn off my smart phone for the day, pack a picnic and go to the beach or the woods or a local park, Hug a tree.Yes do hug a tree. Don't open the newspaper. Do the wash tomorrow. Write it on your calendar now while it seems like a good idea. Start small until you are greedy for more, then build it into the fabric of your life.
Baruch ata adonai...may I make tomorrow a day of renewal. As I drive my grandchildren to their activities and respond to their needs, may I remember this opportunity for joy doesn't happen very often. May I awake with peace in my heart and breathe myself into calmness I can recapture when I need it. Help me to not to take anything personally and to rejoice in their lives. Thank you for placing them in my life. Amen
(Baruch ata adonai is the beginning of every Jewish prayer. You can replace that with Dear God or whatever you are comfortable with.)