Sunday, August 17, 2008

Holidays and Holy Days

Everyone needs time to rest and rejuvenate. That comes from love. Love for ourselves and love for others. Having more time for your spiritual practices, more time to socialize with family and friends, more time to simply do things you enjoy without being on a schedule. Granted, there are some people who enjoy their work so much that they would rather do that than take a day off to go hiking or have a late brunch with their spouse, lover or friend. But since I also work in the corporate world, I talk to people every day who are carrying cell phones, beepers, blackberries and laptops with them everywhere because their employer demands that they always be available, and clearly, some comply reluctantly. They live with the fear that if they are not always willing to be on call, then they will be replaced by someone who is.

Once I worked for a man who said that holidays were nothing more than an interruption in the normal flow of business. I quit working for him when he decided to have Saturday sales meetings so that we could devote ourselves to selling Monday through Friday. I decided that having my weekends free for my own enjoyment was more important than working for him. Of course, he was right. Holidays are meant to interrupt the normal flow of business.

Holidays and holy days are meant for us to take a break. Civic holidays are universal in that regard. Whatever kind of religion or spiritual path you follow, there are also special days that are meant for us to take time out from regular activities to savor and appreciate life, and all that means to us, from a deeper perspective.

We need our holidays and holy days. These days are important for us to simply relax, laugh and then come back to work with a fresh eye. Some of the most inspired ideas come from those moments when we are simply resting or playing, rather than working hard. And those fresh ideas later serve to make our work better. We might have periods in our lives when there might be some critical tasks that need to get done and we work through those emergency periods, skipping holidays and holy days. But if our lives are always like this, perhaps it is time to look at whether there are different life and work choices that would allow us a more balanced schedule that includes holidays and holy days.

Holidays and holy days serve everyone. Rest, rejoice, rejuvenate, recharge your batteries. Then return to your work activities with a renewed vigor. Use those time outs to reflect on all that you are thankful for in your life and reflect on what that might mean for the rest of your life.

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