When we Sabbath, we take a time-out from our full and rich lives to rest. We all need to take a purposeful break and rest, because that’s how we can live our best lives. We were made to take rests.
Resting can take place at any time or in any form. It really depends on the individual. For some it is an ancient spiritual practice. Many people take sabbaths weekly. Today, many of us struggle to create a time and space to sabbath, so only a few hours a week are possible. Below are a few fundamental ingredients to transform an ordinary day into your sabbath day. Pick and choose what you want to observe or incorporate them all.
- Stopping: As much as is possible, work stops on Sabbath. To step away from work takes forethought and preparation. Yes, that means no procrastinating.
- Sleeping/Resting: Sleeping in, going slow, taking our time are ways to rest on Sabbath. Going about our everyday activities, deliberately and not haphazardly, can be an important way to notice where the pressures in your life comes from.
- Playing: Many of us forgot how to play when we assumed our adult roles and responsibilities. Sabbath gives us a wonderful day to remember how to play and enjoy the activities that bring us joy. Anyone want to go for a bike ride, watercolor, read, play some games or bake?
- Feasting: Holy days often have special eating rituals. Sabbath feasts may include your favorite coffee shop, a favorite meal or dessert.
- Connecting: Our souls need rejuvenation too. Some find connecting with friends and loved ones life-giving. Others, through silence and solitude, find connecting with God and meditating a spirit-cleansing time.
We’re pulled in all different directions and find too many ways to distract ourselves. But like all good things, sabbath requires practice and dedication. This is true for all professionals, and yes that group includes stay-at-home parents. We have to remember to protect this time that we recognize as vital to fulfilling the life goals we set for ourselves. For first timers, maybe a whole day is not feasible. Maybe just one hour or one evening or even small acts of night time ritual will have to do.
Starting to Practice Sabbath as a Night Time Ritual
We’ve all done it: falling asleep in front of the monitor or in the clothes worn in the morning. It doesn’t give the rest desired after a long day. However many hours you can or want to sleep, it’s always more refreshing when you intentionally go to sleep.
A simple night time ritual practice of taking off the day’s clothes and putting on pajamas might be the first step in learning how to give rest to yourself and resting well. Mindfully put on the softest garb and let yourself fall into slumber.
As paradoxical as it is, resting well takes planning. Think about what you find most enjoyable to build your sabbath practice.