Summer of Wholeness Day 10 – Sabbath

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Sabbath, Sunday, Shabbat, Sepattu, Uposatha, subbotnick and many others.   Words that have a common underpinning.  Because whether you are religious or not, just about every culture has some form of a day of rest.  A day that you take the time to recharge your batteries.  Sometimes in the context of a gathering like at a Church or Temple, for others it might be a celebration and for others still a day where you don’t work and just relax.   Every week during our Summer of Wholeness I am going to challenge you to take a Sabbath.  For the purposes of this journey I will discuss this every Sunday.

Sabbath is all about rest.  Our culture does many things well but one of the things we do not do well is rest.  When I was growing up supermarkets and most businesses were closed on Sunday.  There were a couple of mom and pop stores open but the large chains were all closed on Sunday.  In a culture that expects immediate gratification, more and more businesses are being forced to open for more and more hours.  A piece of trivia: 7 11 was founded on the idea that people needed things before and after the other stores were closed.  So 7-11 was open from 7am to 11 pm.  When other businesses saw that 7 11 was making money they decided to extend their hours.   The result is that other businesses are open for many hours a week and 7 11 is now a 24 hour a day operation.  The point of your Sabbath is to rest.  I know many of us get to our Monday and feel like we haven’t even had a day off because we are exhausted.   Sabbath is there to combat that.  The results will be amazing.

For our first Sabbath I want to give you some ideas.  In our culture it is no longer safe to assume that everyone is off on the weekends or on a Sunday.  So a Sunday Sabbath may not be practical for you at all.  I understand that.  In our family our Sabbath is currently on Saturday because of work schedules and such.  But even our Saturday Sabbath has moved a couple of times.  That is ok.  Work and family obligations may mean that your Sabbath will be during the middle of the week.  It may be that your life is so busy that you may have to take a partial day Sabbath.  Whatever works for you.  What I want is for you to get the idea of Sabbath in your head and in your life.  If you are like me, you will find that as you begin to live in your Sabbath you will want more of it.

So how should you approach your Sabbath day?  I would say that since it is your Sabbath you can structure it any way you want, but let me throw some ideas out there and see if any stick:

  • Think of turning off your phone for a bit or at least restrict the calls you take.  There are very few things that need to be responded to immediately.
  • Take the day and stay away from social media.  It is not unusual for me to turn off my computer and sign out of all social media during my Sabbath.  And you know what?  Farms continue to get built, announcements continue on and friends continue to post on FB.  It will all be there when your Sabbath is over.
  • You may want to think about not doing much work.  A Sabbath is not supposed to be the day you clean your house.  It should be a day of rest.
  • Do NOT schedule lots of activities on your Sabbath.  It is not meant to be clear time on your social calendar.
  • Think about family as part of your Sabbath.  It is a great way to connect with your family.
  • If you are one of those people who absolutely has to do something may I suggest that you volunteer somewhere for a couple of hours on your Sabbath?  Many culture has helping others as part of their Sabbath celebration.
  • It is a great day for a great big meal.  In a perfect world you would cook it all the night before so that you can rest and then enjoy the meal on the Sabbath.

As you can see I have given you many ideas about taking a Sabbath.   Take a look at your calendar and see how you can incorporate a Sabbath into your week.  I promise it will be life changing.  I would love to hear your comments about this idea of Sabbath.  Please feel free to share.   Don’t forget: Life is a journey, not a destination!

Summer of Wholeness – Week 1- Day 9 – Affirmations Part 2

Yesterday I asked you to make a list of all the negative things you feel about yourself and your life.   When I have done this with clients in the past their lists have been pretty exhaustive.  “I feel like a loser”, “No one wants to be around me.”, “I hate how I act in front of my children”, “I sometimes feel like a total failure”.   The list goes on and on and on.  For some reason people find it very easy to list all of the negative things about themselves.  We seem to carry the negative messages as if it were a well worn jacket.  When I have expressed to people that from my vantage point I don’t see the negative things that they listed, they often do not believe me.  When I try to tell them all the great things I see about them, they just get very quiet and usually say….”That’s because you don’t know me”.

Today I want to help you do away with those negative thoughts.  Once you are sure your list is complete, I want you take one last look at it.  When you feel that you are finished I want you to tell yourself that from this point on you are not going to believe the lies on that piece of paper.  The fact that you are doing this exercise shows that you are not what that list says you are.   You are a person trying to be a better you.  So let’s move on.  Take the sheet of paper and find a safe place.  I want you to burn this paper.  Definitely do this outside.   Maybe you can use your grill or maybe a candle.  It really doesn’t matter how you do it.  Just do it!    Take a good look at the ashes.  Those ashes are a reminder that all of those negative things you thought are just that…ash.  You may even see some of the ash float away.  That is an amazing illustration of all those negative thoughts.  They can just float away.

Now onto the toughest part and possibly the toughest thing you may do.   Before I explain it to you I want to preface it with this fact:  you are going to think this is stupid.  I really don’t care.  Your job is to just do it.   This is one of those trust things.  The reason it is a trust thing is that it take you trusting the process OVER TIME to really begin to see the results.   Ready?

Get yourself some Post It’s.  You know those handy little notes that stick to things.  If you don’t have Post It’s you can use small pieces of paper and tape.  In a real clinch you can also use a small note pad or even on online note app.  I really prefer the Post It’s.  You will see why in a moment.  Using your Post It, I want you to begin writing daily affirmations to yourself.  I want you to do this two times a day.  One I want you to do first thing in the morning and the other in the evening.  You can do more if you want but I want you to do the two.  The morning one should always start with one of these: “I am”, “I can” or “I will”.  I am open to other opening phrases but it should be in the same vain.  This is not to be a shopping list or a to do list.  So you can’t do “I will finish the crossword puzzle.”  It is to be an honest to goodness affirmation about you.  EVEN IF YOU DON’T FEEL IT!   So you may want to start with some easy one like “I am a compassionate person” or “I will face this day peaceful.”  If you are religious you might say “I am child of God.”  It is to be a positive thing about you.  My suggestion at this point is to either carry the Post It with you so that you see it throughout day or if you work at a desk maybe put it up on your computer.

The second affirmation that you are going to write is your evening one.  A great time to do this is just before bedtime.  This affirmation is to be something positive about your day that involved you.  It could be as simple as “I held a door for person in a wheelchair and they smiled.  That made me feel great.” or “I was loved today” or “I was a good friend today to …”.  It should be a reflection of an affirming thing that happened today.

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Great work so far.   Now for the last part.  After you write your evening affirmation I want you to post it somewhere that you can see it.  If you have a desk you may want to do it there.  If you have an empty wall somewhere that is in your space you may want to use it.  The point is that you should be able to see it throughout the day.  The Post It’s will be a constant reminder what a great person you are.

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Again, you may not feel this but if you actually do the exercise, you will begin to see and feel the difference.   We will be revisiting this exercise later in our journey and I am going to ask how you are doing.  If you have any questions or can offer suggestions on the affirmations you can post them or email me.  Please take a moment to seriously consider doing this.  I have given this exercise to several people and I know it works.  Remember: Life is a journey, not a destination!