Slowdown Friday: The ABC's of Weekend Relaxing

By the time Friday rolls around in an average week, there is a spring in my step as I know that (barring any weekend work scenario) I'll be able to relax with my family.  This is great for my spirits but can actually hinder the quality of my work on a Friday.  I know that I need to stay focused, keep moving and use Friday as an important "bookend" of the week.  As they say, "it's not who starts the game that matters but who's on the floor at the end."

The great Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote in New Seeds of Contemplation that

"the secret of interior peace is detachment". 

As we seek to experience two days of peace, relaxation and time with family and friends, it's good to detach from work and reconnect with what's important.  Here are some suggestions:

A  acknowledge that rest is good. While our American culture preaches speed, let's go deeper and turn off the noise and distractions for a few days.  Speed is good but only when it's balanced with detachment and "pulling back" from the Monday-thru-Friday.  I always feel pumped up after I've taken some time for rest.

B  become a Sabbath taker.  Sabbath is a concept that anyone can practice, whether religious or not.  It's simply the art of taking time to rest, reconnect with family and friends and do something fun.  I generally teach that sabbath is a means to an end.  Just like a family vacation, sabbath rejuvenates you so that you're ready to engage once again in whatever work or career you've chosen.  Sabbath isn't an end in and of itself but a tool that we can use on a weekly basis.

C  cultivate silence.  I know, I know this is tough!  What I also know is that the amount of noise we face on any given day is deafening.  Take a walk.  Turn off the TV.  Drive alone.  Go for a bike and listen to the wind.  Sit by yourself. 

Hopefully Merton is correct in his belief that interior peace comes from stepping back and refocusing on what's really important.  Have a great weekend.

(by the way, the photo at the top of the page is one I took at a Trappist monastery last summer in Spencer, MA)

Resources for the Road
Taking Sabbath
Mark Buchanon on how difficult it can be to take a day of rest
Duke University promotes keeping sabbath
Taking a "power sabbath"