Some moments, my life feels like an intricate web that I’m weaving. Other times, it’s like I’m dangling by a swaying thread in the wind. With five kids, a working husband, two guinea pigs, a thriving blog and a new career budding, the words “gorgeous chaos” start to look more like the aftermath of a tornado—that is, until Friday evening at sundown.
As the sun sets, I light candles with my two daughters, ushering in a spiritual sabbatical and instantly, all the noise, frenzied social media volleys, telephones ringing and videos blaring shut down. The silence expands like a balloon inflating.
If every day of the calendar gets a “to do” list, then Saturdays would be marked by a wide open circle—full of emptiness. No matter how hectic our week, or how many tasks are left undone, it makes no difference.
We drop everything to go hands-free and it feels like sipping fine wine for the spirit. We become drunk on pure existence with an indulgent fervor.
My husband and I made a pact years ago to reserve one day to ceremoniously turn off all devices and electronics, leave our cars parked in the garage, and rest body, mind and spirit. In these frenetic times, this is our soul food to rejuvenate the spirit and refill our cups. The technology purge is our gift to ourselves and to our children. Quite frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without it.
It may sound like a daunting task to accomplish. Most of us don’t remember how to survive without addressing emails promptly, sharing the latest activities on Facebook or capturing a sunset on Instagram. What’s fascinating is how easy it is to slip off the grid for a day and return unscathed 24 hours later without missing a beat. Nobody gasps in horror over your absence. Most won’t even notice you were gone.
But you can bet that your family notices when you show up, fully present, without a distracting ping of a Facebook “Like” chiming in your purse. And you’ll be aware that it’s the one day your kids don’t beg you for yet another video. . . and another.
How do we fill the time? Lots of ways! From the moment the candles start burning, our creative expression ignites. We pull out the books that we’ve been hoping to read all week but didn’t
carve out enough time to complete. Thus far, we’ve finished reading aloud several classics and enjoyed vibrant discussions about them.
Remember those board games that got shelved when the Xbox took over—like Monopoly, Connect Four, Rummikub and Sorry? We play them. We also bring out the Magna Tiles, chess sets, checkers, Legos and cards. Go Fish, War, and Old Maid never get stale and still make us laugh. New games keep us alert and are fun to learn.
We started out putting together puzzles with 24 pieces, and now we’re up to 500 and counting.
What’s magical is that the kids find ways to reinvent their entertainment and stretch their capacity to stimulate themselves. That’s a valuable life skill often overlooked in the educational system. You would not believe the structures
you can build with a pile of pillows, a bunch of blankets, and a well-fed imagination.
It’s the one day that it’s ok to do nothing. What’s wrong with taking off your shoes in the grass
and allowing? Human beings are wired to need connection to the earth and luxuriate in play time. Acts of fun spark creativity and keep our channels flowing, giving us renewed energy that surges into all our other activities.
Fun includes connecting with other families and friends, too. By origin, we humans are gatherers who love a good tribal story. When was the last time you laughed with friends without stressing about how many emails needed answering?
Our family meals come alive and extend long past our weekday suppers. With nowhere to run and no distractions, we take time to relish these bonding moments. Naturally, I prepare special food that the kids anticipate all week. The familiar aromas add to the flavor of the day.
Sometimes when I’m online all week, I can feel a dizziness creeping in. My eyes can’t seem to settle on any one object without wanting to scroll to the next scene. My head swims with disconnected thoughts and ideas.
Taking a spiritual sabbatical is an opportunity to stay present, reboot and reconnect. I find these days to be both grounding and immensely uplifting.
In an age when insects are not the only creatures tangled up in a web, it is liberating to free myself from it and fly. I am beholden to nothing else but savoring. And let me tell you—I am worth it.
Sarita holds a Master’s in social work and is a holistic mom of five children. She runs a thriving blog called The Hub of Clean Living at www.saritacoren.com. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter: @saritacoren. Photo by Brigette Muller. Want more inspiring articles like this? Subscribe to Savor Life Magazine here!