Sunday is upon us. The Abrahamic religions have a tradition of a day of rest on the sabbath. Arguably, some sects say that day is actually Saturday. But for convention’s sake, I’ll pick Sunday as the default day of rest. If you want to get hardcore about resting on the sabbath, there are strict punishments for people who don’t rest on that day that are proscribed in the Torah/old testament of the Christian Bible. Ie. Anyone who gathers sticks on the sabbath is to be stoned, etc. Last night’s hailstorm brought down some twigs. I still plan to later pick them up and to sweep the walk and driveway. I hope my fundamentalist Christian neighbor to the north doesn’t stone me.
In today’s business obsessed culture, we often see the need to justify and quantify relaxation. Employers grudgingly grant employees a day off to promote better morale amongst the workers and to thus gain better productivity. (During the robber baron years, and increasingly these days, this hasn’t been the case.)
It seems extremely perverse that we must use the profit motive to allow human beings to simply be human. Even on our day off or during a vacation, we pack activities and tasks into that “free” time. This is when we mow the yard, wash the laundry, perform maintenance for the house and vehicle. Attend functions and meetings of organizations and clubs; maybe go to a concert, ballgame, movie or nightclub. After all, we certainly have earned our fun.
This notion is drummed into our offspring. We burden them with extracurricular sports, activities and lessons. We’ve acculturated them to video games and other amusements. It’s rare to see a kid just laying back in the grass, watching the clouds. Just hanging out for no other reason than to just hang out. Not fiddling with his mobile phone, not engaged in some organized activity. Just hanging out being a kid…and not at the mall.
One of the self help gurus, a few years ago, wrote something pointing out this idea, you won’t find an epitaph on someone’s gravestone that says, “If only I’d spent more time at the office”. I think that sums it up nicely.
When do people just begin to live? When do we all just get a life? I’m of the opinion that you get a life when you allow yourself to simply be. When you relax and (gasp) allow yourself to be lazy for awhile.
The big taboo in the west is active, on purpose relaxation. Just plopping down in a favorite chair doing nothing. No teevee, radio, phones, computer, etc. Just plopping down and becoming idle. That notion is frightening to lots of folks. To just sit or lay back and simply be.
You don’t need a special day of rest to do it. You certainly don’t need a reason to do it aside from the need to be fully human to do it. My wish is that everyone will find the time to be fully human.
The Blue Jay of Happiness wishes you much humanity and relaxation.