16 September 2012

Observing the Sabbath

I've decided to observe the Sabbath!

July and August were weird months for me. I felt like my insides were struggling to get a proper space within my body. That's the best way I can describe it. It was the caterpillar struggle to get out of its gunk to become a butterfly. Except of course, I haven't had any major transformation yet, just the continued struggling.

I've had face to face discussions with a number of my girlfriends and I noticed one theme. We all feel as if we've given up doing the things that kept us enthusiastic. You know? Keeping a journal used to be filled with pictures and quotes and ideas and song lyrics. Now our journals are bland, "The weather was nice. I bought groceries today."

I marveled with one girlfriend about how I stopped doing my morning pages because I was boring myself! I seemed to have lost the stream of consciousness rhythm that I normally have when I do my pages. The rhythm that digs into the subconscious because the self editor is asleep. We both sighed that, "where did I lose my enthusiasm for life," sigh.

I told the same girlfriend that I'd started going to cheap Tuesday night movies weekly just to add something, anything. And I'd written up a list of healing activities that might actually push me toward the butterfly type transformation that maybe my insides were struggling for. I've got the list, I still haven't done what's on the list. (hangs head)

To make matters worse, my part time job has kicked back in since the beginning of September. So I'm back to working two jobs and in my free time, heck, during my work time, I'm always tired. And my list has been burning in my thoughts. Each day that I don't do anything on that list I'm disgruntled. Every day I begin the day asking, "How am I going to fit this in?"

Thursday, September 13th, I woke up and said out loud, "I'm going to observe the Sabbath." It's been something that has floated in my mind since July 6th when I read Gretchen Rubin's email from her Happiness Project blog. It was an interview of Joshua Foer who, you guessed it, attributes his happiness to keeping the Sabbath.

What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

I keep the Jewish Sabbath, which is not something I did when I was 18. For 25 hours each week, everything gets turned off. No email. No phone. I don’t make anything. I don’t destroy anything. No matter how much stress I have in my life, it all evaporates on Friday night.

Joshua's mention of keeping the Jewish Sabbath brought me back to almost 30 years ago when I was a part-time live in Nanny for an Orthodox Jewish family. I was hired to care for their 6 kids specifically for the Sabbath. The family had their lights on timers so the proper lights would turn on in specific rooms like the dining room during Sabbath lunch. The Mrs used a crock pot for their lunch and put the food in before the Sabbath started and it was ready in time for lunch.

But the best part of observing the family keep the Sabbath was watching the kids devour books because there was nothing else to do. They'd each borrow a pile of books from the library before the Sabbath started and they would read, for hours! I remember telling my mother about it all those years ago. "What a great idea," I'd told her, "It's a great opportunity to slow down." The Mister and Mrs had a nap while I kept an eye on their children and the children read books and books and books and books!

Of course I'm not Jewish, nor am I religious but I know I need something drastic. I need to give myself the gift of time. So just in time for the new moon in Virgo, I've committed to observing an Artistic Sabbath for at least 4 Saturdays in a row and I'll revisit my commitment to see what changes I can make.

Here's the full interview. Oh and in the comments someone posted this Sabbath Manifesto for those who are doing it for non-religious reasons. Awesome! I hadn't thought of wine! lol


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