The Art of Taking a Weekly Rest

I’ve begun celebrating the Sabbath here in Tokyo as a complete day of rest. No television. No phone calls. No computers, no Kindle or iphones or text messages. And if I forego Facebook my son is ready to forego his computer games too. And my daughter doesn’t turn on the stereo. And my husband too. We’ve gone completely anachronistic–and it feels sensational!

WIthout the constant din or mechanical, digital or electronic noise, home is transformed. We read books. We take walks. We visit friends and eat wonderful food. We visit friends and they visit us.

I don’t do art on the Sabbath–Jewish law prohibits all manner of work and that includes writing, drawing and painting. It’s no hardship really. I find that my imagination is flying in anticipation of the end of Sabbath, and this anticipation grows throughout the day. When Sabbath is over, I’m raring to go . . .

When the Sabbath is over, that feeling of rushing to get back to normal is gone. In its place, I notice I don’t really want to plug in, don’t really want to hurry back to ‘normal routine.’ But I had to pick up some food, so I walked to the supermarket after shabbat and noticed by the checkout a branch of tightly closed plum blossoms on a few straggly branches. They looked promising.

I want to celebrate this wonderful feeling that comes from putting boundaries around my regular work week and taking a break. I invite you to do the same–in your own way, at your own pace.

If you have your own practices for observing a sabbath or break from regular routine, I’d love to hear form you. By taking a break you’ll see that by shutting down the noise you open the senses.

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