Marilyn Paul, PhD

Creating the New Sabbath

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Shadows in the darkRecently, one of the most e-mailed articles from the New York Times was called “The Joy of Quiet” by Pico Iyar.  In it, he writes that the future of resort travel may include “black hole” resorts where vacationers won’t have access to wifi or television.

Many of us feel we need a break from the endless onslaught of e-mails, text messages, phone calls and television broadcasts.  We’re tired.  But, more than that, many of us are experiencing stimulation fatigue.  There is just too much going on.  And, much of that too much has nothing to do with us.  We’ve burnt out a little bit on life.  Connecting and loving and living can seem a little dry and overwhelming.

This happened to Mark Bittman, a well known cook and cultural writer.  In another much e-mailed story from the New York Times he wrote “I Need a Virtual Break – No, Really.”

It’s the story of his exploration of how to unplug one day a week.  It’s not easy, he reported, he struggled with disconnecting from work and friends,

He concludes:  “But I do believe that there has to be a way to regularly impose some thoughtfulness, or at least calm, into modern life — or at least my version. Once I moved beyond the fear of being unavailable and what it might cost me, I experienced what, if I wasn’t such a skeptic, I would call a lightness of being. I felt connected to myself rather than my computer. I had time to think, and distance from normal demands. I got to stop.”

Creating a Sabbath of any kind, a no-internet Sabbath, an unplugged Sabbath, an off the grid no economic activity Sabbath gets us something that we deeply need.  Some quiet time, a chance to focus fully on friends and family, breathing space to sense that perhaps there is a greater force out there.  Sabbath time gives us perspective, deep company, and a chance to face the ways that we are addicted to constant stimulation.

I will be writing about Sabbath keeping and Sabbath creating.  A Sabbath doesn’t just happen in this world, and it need not happen with all the rules of a traditional Jewish Shabbat.  But you can create this renewal time every week and I will show you how and bring you stories of people in every stage of Sabbath creation.

In addition, I’ll give you some great recipes, guidelines for a successful Sabbath meal and point you to some music, chants, prayers and activities that can accompany your Sabbath creating journey.

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