You know you need to take time off when you start to seriously contemplate calling in sick and then you realize that it is your day off. I’ve crammed so much stuff into my days off that they aren’t days off. I still do just as much work – I just don’t get paid for it.
Now, I’ve come to realize how important momentum is for me. If I laze about all day, then I tend to keep doing that. I’m a binge lazy person. Doing nothing is the same to me as eating sugar is to some people. Once I start, I can’t stop.
Well, I can, but I don’t want to.
I think the trick is to set limits. I have to allow myself time to do nothing. From this time to this – say from 12 until 3, I’ll do nothing on my day off. Nothing at all. Lay on the couch and read, or make jewelry. Something for me. Something fun. That sounds like a good plan. Maybe I’ll do it someday.
Right now, I’m playing a bit of catch up. I decided to skip going to my yoga class. The teacher is more challenging than the first one, but she needs to change things up to keep it interesting. I really get bored if nothing changes. I need to be challenged. I need to try different moves. If nothing else, I need to hear different music. I’d like to think that a yoga class with a real live person is different than watching a videorecorded one.
However, even though it is dull sometimes, I need the discipline of getting up and going. I need to be out of the house early on a Friday, otherwise I’ll stay in my pajamas all afternoon long and not get any of my chores done. And then I start to think – is that so bad? Is it bad to rest? Is it bad to actually take a day off?
It is for me. I feel guilty if I rest.
I have a bad relationship with rest. I really am starting to like the idea of the Jewish Sabbath. One whole day where you are commanded to do as much nothing as possible. You can’t feel guilty about doing nothing – you are supposed to do nothing. You are supposed to feel guilty if you do something. You are to rest and recharge and refuel.
We just don’t have that in Christian culture. Sure, we sometimes refer to the day we go to church as the Sabbath, but we don’t treat it with anywhere near the preparation and seriousness the Jews approach their Sabbath. And I think we suffer because of it. Imagine how cool it would be to have a holiday once a week. Once a week you take a vacation from the world, and enter into a special time where there is nothing you have to do except rest. Sounds just like heaven to me.
I have a bit of the “get things done” feeling in part because my parents died young. I feel like it is important to not waste time. I see how quickly time slips by and then you are either too old to do something with your life, or too feeble. Some things take time to get going. Better start now.
But then I am starting to understand that I need to rest too. There are rest periods build into yoga. It isn’t go go go. The human body just can’t handle that. The space between the notes is what makes the music, so says Claude Debussy.
This is why I’ve signed up for another retreat. It is a time of silence and rest. All my physical needs are taken care of. There is a place to sleep, and food is prepared for me. All I have to do is show up and be present. The only electronic device I use is my Kindle – and I use it to write. I don’t check email. I don’t check Facebook. The only input is from God.
I think that I need to do this more than just four times a year. I need to set aside a chunk of time to just listen, and by that I don’t mean little snatches of time. The more I pack into my day, the more God can’t get a word in edgewise. I pray throughout the day, but it all seems to be in five minute pieces.
Sure, bills have to be paid. Sure, the housework needs to be done. But if I don’t take time off, time to just be, then I’ve become something other than a human. I’ve become an automaton, a robot, a thing. I’ve become a human doing, and not a human being.
So I still wrestle with this. I feel like I’m in overeaters anonymous. Having a bad relationship with food isn’t like having a drug addiction – you have to eat food. You can give up heroin. You can’t give up food. So how to you create a healthy relationship with something you have to have in your life? I think boundaries are part of it. I can allow this, but not this. I can allow this time to be work and this time to be free. I think it is important to self-police too. I think it is important to not allow my free time to become work time.
I’ll report back on whether this works or not. As of right now, I’m still in my jammies and it is 1:30. I think I have to wrench myself free and go out for a bit, just so I can say I’ve done something. My head gets a little fuzzy with too much nothing.