Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A modern take on an ancient way of saying "no"

This post, while originally developed a while ago, is inspired by this post.

Everyone is well aware that our world is a 24/7 world.  Not that it wasn't before, but technology has allowed us to be in perpetual motion, with live-streaming everything, on-demand everything, instant access to everything, even to the point of impacting geopolitics.  The 9-5 job - a total relic of a by-gone era - is no longer a funny thing of our past, but now it's practically the norm to work on vacations (if you're lucky enough to take any) and check work email on weekends.

Moms have pressures of looking great, being green, signing kids up for the latest classes, volunteering here, there, and everywhere, and menu-planning has even taken on a life of its own.

How can you make it stop?

So our Torah - with its timeless wisdom revealed in each letter - offers a solution, a time-tested technique used by G-d Himself.  Even G-d had to stop and say no.  It's called Shabbat (our 7th day).  Heard of it?

Shabbat is our chance to say no, to stop that cycle of perpetual motion.  So much has been written about the beauty of Shabbat, how Shabbat has kept the Jews more than the Jews have kept it - all of that is great.  And now, when there is so much discussion about the art of saying no and how do you limit your activities to only your priorities and how do you SCHEDULE IN quality time with your familiy...Shabbat offers us a way to say no.  So simple. 

It's not our decision that we can't this or that on Shabbat, I can't, it's ShabbatI can't do anything about that.

I can't check email on Shabbat.  I can't go to that party on Shabbat.  I can't volunteer for that on Shabbat.  I can't go to the store on Shabbat.  Even better - you don't have an excuse - the decision was made for you - it is just your reality.  You get to say no, and you say it with confidence, because no one can say anything to convince you otherwise.

So then the result is that you have one day a week where you don't check your email and you can't come in to the office to finish the project and you can't volunteer and you just say no - and you stop.  And breathe.

And that is your anchor.  Knowing that you have a whole 25-hour period where - since you don't have the "noise" of the external obligations - you can focus on what you TRULY prioritize, that is a blessing, you get re-energized and refreshed so that when Shabbat is over, you can spend the next 6 days doing what you need to do, and knowing that every week, no matter what, we set the table for Shabbat.*

*This line is a quote fron a children's Shabbat book my kids have, the title escapes me now.

1 comment:

  1. I love what you wrote, "you don't have an excuse - it is just your reality." Yes!