Take Back the Secular Sabbath

Ok. I am going out on a limb and suggesting that we take one day a week off from our usual obligations and obsessions. I can only speak for myself and I am starting again this Sunday.  Sunday, was always my day, as I wrote in Moodling Time and I am reclaiming the entire day again after 30 years of letting it slip slide away.  I am convinced that I/we need a break from our e-mail, texts, news, cleaning the garage and catching up on our work. A secular Sabbath is a day you set aside to do the things that aren’t part of your usual obligations. I don’t know what it will be for you. I hardly know what it will be for me. But I am sure it is worth the effort and probably is on the creative and moodling side and most likely will involve nature.

If you say you are too busy, then, you are the one I am really talking too.

I really am suggesting that we take back the sabbath – having one entire day a week to rest, play, have fun, bike, walk, reflect, turn off our devices and breathe.

Since I do everything I suggest you do, I almost changed my mind. “Where will I get the time,” I fret.

The problem is we won’t  “get” any time to do this. We must make it. There will never be enough time because there are always more and more things to do. We are squeezed in every direction and that isn’t good for our health.

We need to plan, in order to take a day for rest, inspiration and refreshment of body, mind and spirit. This isn’t selfish. Consider this essential. This is one way to remember who we are. What matters to us. What makes us human. We need slow time for that.

I don’t believe in the over arching myth of “the good old days.”

Times have changed, and will continue to change, but our need for non-digital refreshment hasn’t. Scientists who study the brain know that we desperately need music, gardens, forests. We need time in nature. Time with each other. Time to meditate, and time to pursue our unpaid interests.

Let’s create a routine for one day a week to attend to our neglected hobbies, friends and family, and leave our phones alone.

Maybe consider the spirit of this challenge and wholeheartedly see what will work for you. There is no formula.  And then come back  and tell us about it here.

Now I will go and figure out how I can do this and block that time in my calendar.


Note 1:) Pico Iyer, Author of The Art of Stillness is an advocate of the Sabbath.   Iyer writes: “Doing nothing for awhile is one of the hardest things in life for me; I’d much rather give up meat or wine or sex than the ability to check my emails or get on with my work when I want to. If I don’t answer my messages today, I tell myself, there will only be more to answer tomorrow…if I take time off I will be that much more hurried the rest of the time. Whenever I finally force myself away from my desk for a day, of course, I find the opposite: the more time I spend away from my work, the better that work will be most often.”

Note 2: ) Growing numbers of people are testifying to their practice of a “secular Sabbath” of this kind. Mark Bittman, a food columnist for the New York Times, swore off his devices one day a week after realizing he was a “techno-addict” and six months later wrote of how transformative the experience was: “This achievement is unlike any other in my life.”

Note 3:) This is a crazy time for all of us. And yet we remember how much we have to be grateful for and how things could be worse and of course how they could be better. But here we are and we cultivate our adaptive and resilient minds to figure out the next step and then the next. We are all equipped to go through difficult times and co-exist with uncertainty. Keep your eye on what matters most, which is the people in our lives.

Note 4:) Please know how much I appreciate you all, dear readers. Stay safe and do your best. Warmest wishes, Trudy

6 replies
  1. Jean
    Jean says:

    Good one Trudi am wondering if I can make it happen. I really believe one of the worst mistakes,was taking Sunday away for shopping.l will let you know,next week,if I succeed once. My old brain is busy shuffling things around.take care.

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Go for it Jean. I am going to do it this Sunday so I will report in. (note I didn’t say try) Thanks for your note and it is really, really hard. I wish you good effort and good luck.

  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    Hi, Trood. Your blog has inspired me to start a journal. I’m calling it a Covid Journal, in honor of the provocation for so much of the “free” time I find these days. I guess we could also call it “Living With Wellness Journal”, JR.

  3. Mary
    Mary says:

    Hi Trudy, Always love your practical advice and your ability to commit to doing this. I have had limited success in the past but always “I can begin again.” My grandparents had meals basically prepared for Sunday the day before and one of the children’s jobs was to polish all the shoes and have them ready in a row by Saturday evening. Only necessities on Sunday for them (like milking and feeding animals); So Sunday it is for me this week … sitting to read for a couple of hours, a walk to the bay, soup for lunch and maybe same for evening meal!! Wow I can already feel the resistance …the “what if?”
    Oh well, I notice the resistance while I sit or walk …. or meditate or moodle … take care and thanks for this Trudy. Mary

  4. janice
    janice says:

    Can you imagine if the whole world took this on? as we once did so long ago. I will go to my church of the riverpath and think of you Trudy. Thanks for your constant encouragement. love Jan

  5. Wendy Kurchak
    Wendy Kurchak says:

    Hi Trudy,
    For years I have taken one day, usually Sundays, to take a Sabbath from my “shoulds” aka expectations.
    If I feel I should do something that day, for example, I should do the laundry or I should organize my closet, I give myself permission to decide if I want to do that activity or one that is more fun or relaxing.
    The important thing is that I’m free from any feelings of guilt as I do whatever activity I’ve chosen; it’s my day to do what I really want to do.
    I love those days.
    Be well, Trudy.


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