Rest, Relax and Reflect

During this Thanksgiving week, I want to revisit a theme that I originally wrote about last spring.  Several years ago I read a book by Wayne Muller entitled Sabbath, Finding Rest Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives. In the book, the author explores ways to take a break and renew yourself and your loved ones from hectic schedules and over-extended responsibilities.

So much is written about “work-life balance” which takes on many shapes and meanings.  Ironically, Muller organized the book around the themes of Rest, Rhythm, Time, Happiness, Wisdom and Consecration. Call it work-life balance, work-life rhythm, whatever you like, but we do a poor job in modern society of putting boundaries around and separating our personal lives and our business lives.

I constantly watch people so wired to their technology that they literally are unaware of the world around them. Driving through downtown Washington DC recently I felt I had everyone’s life in my hands. Maneuvering my car through traffic was enough of a challenge, but concentrating on avoiding hitting pedestrians who where too busy texting and tweeting on their smart phones to pay attention to where they were walking was the ultimate stress.

Sabbath explored interesting ideas to achieve such separation. My favorites were the Sabbath box, where you place cell phones, PDAs, and other electronic gadgets in order to take a time-out from technological interferences, and the Sabbath dinner, complete with candles, flowers and soothing music.  Playing music at dinner (soothing or otherwise depending on the mood) is a great bridge from your work day to your personal time in the evening.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to come together with families, whether they are your relatives or extended families of friends and celebrate what is important and dear to us.  It should be a day of relaxation and reflection.  Unfortunately, for many it's a day devoted to shopping, profit and the bottom line.

Take the opportunity to reflect on how we add balance and call “time out”. I continue to question, “How do we bring a Sabbath into our organizations, for the health of the organization and its workers? If we slow things down a bit and refresh won’t that bring more creativity and innovation into our organizations? Doesn't that help the bottom line?  I think its worth considering.

Take a time out this week and give thanks for the people who are part of your lives, both personally and professionally.  These relationships are priceless.

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