Sabbath

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. I recently read a blog taking exception to the terminology and the writer called it “work-life rhythm”. Ironically, Muller organized the book around the themes of Rest, Rhythm, Time, Happiness, Wisdom and Consecration. Call it what 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. I stopped at a church between appointments to ground myself give thanks.

Sabbath explored interesting ideas to achieve such separation. Two of my favorites were the Sabbath box, where you place cell phones, PDAs, and other 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 habit that my husband and I have developed. It’s a great bridge for us from our work day to our personal evening.

Recently I welcomed spring with the beginning of my weekly Sabbath – a trip to our local farmers’ market. It’s in town every Thursday morning and since I am an entrepreneur, I have the luxury of taking 30 minutes (almost) every week to browse and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I see summer friends (the vendors who bring their goods to market). This adventure grounds me each week and refreshes my outlook.

However, the ultimate refresher for me is my journey to my second home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to reconnecting with old friends from a time that we used to live there, I get to enjoy a more relaxed and peaceful pace of life. I drove up the Turquoise Trail between Albuquerque and Santa Fe once again marveling at the landscape that always moves me and never bores me. I spent time in Madrid, NM, a former mining town, turned ghost town that is enjoying its own renaissance of sorts. I chatted with the locals and told them how I remembered Madrid decades earlier, when it was closer to a ghost town. What has not changed is the relaxed and creative spirit of the town.

I took 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? I think its worth considering.

Cornelia Gamlem

1 comment ()

1. Sue Blouch wrote:
Cornelia, I've never thanked someone for a blog, but thank you for this one. It was thoughtful, well written, and "spot on" as former colleague David Michelson used to say. I had this exact conversation with a friend yesterday. (Actually, she's my financial planner/manager, who turned into a friend, evidence of how the boundaries in our busy lives have blurred for the better sometimes).

And, I've never thanked anyone for sending me a broadcast email, but thank you for sending the one on Communication. I'm writing a Communication Plan for a client putting in an ERP, and I am going to quote you in the Principles section. In fact, I need to source my citations (imagine that) in this format if possible: Peslak, A. R. (2005). A Twelve-Step, Multiple Course Approach to Teaching Enterprise Resource Planning. Journal Of Information Systems Education, 16(2), 147-155. Can you send or direct me to it?

We must catch up - back to finding time in our busy lives - did you see the blog yesterday on our CSC Alumni Listserve/ LinkedIn? mentioning a UK alum's practice area as "Emotional IT" ???
We coulda thoughta that - if we'd had time to think!
All best. Fun "seeing" you out there!

May 31, 2012 @ 10:14 AM

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