This week I was pointed to an online article called "What Happened To Downtime? The Extinction Of Deep Thinking And Sacred Space." The author is Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance and author of the national bestselling book Making Ideas Happen. He's speaking a very prophetic word to our contemporary culture. Dangers of Living in a Digital Age
Living in a digital-age where we are connected 24/7 through our technologies, the experience of interruption-free space is almost nonexistent. Even airlines these days are beginning to offer mobile and digital connectivity on flights, that last bastion of forced, no-guilt relaxation opportunity.
But this constant plugged-in existence is doing great damage to our souls and imaginations.
"Despite the incredible power and potential of sacred spaces, they are quickly becoming extinct. We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection. And our imaginations suffer the consequences."
Creating Creative Pauses
What this means is that we have to be especially intentional about carving out what Belsky calls "the creative pause"--learning to savor downtime which is one of the most effective ways to enhance our imagination for life. We have to be willing to shape times when we unplug and disconnect in order to plug in and connect to to a whole different Spirit.
The ancient Jews called this sacred experience Sabbath. It was intentional, weekly sacred space carved out for the purpose of plugging in to the Divine Life in a renewed and revitalized way. It was a tool to remind them of their spiritual identity as children of God--"We are not simply consumers and producers (brickmakers for the Pharoah and rulers of worldly empires). We are children of the God of Heaven who calls us His own and gifts us with love, compassion, and goodness--not for what we do but simply for who we are."
Benefits of Uninterrupted Sacred Space
There is tremendous power in this kind of creative pause and uninterrupted sacred space. Notice the way eminent Jewish philosopher and theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel describes it:
“In the tempestuous ocean of time and toil there are islands of stillness where man may enter a harbor and reclaim his dignity. The island is the Sabbath, a day of detachment from things, instruments and practical affairs, as well as attachment to the spirit . . . The Sabbath is the exodus from tension, the liberation of man from his own muddiness, the installation of man as a sovereign in the world of time.”
Notice all the words that describe benefits from observing sabbath: reclaiming dignity, deeper attachment to the true spirit of life, exodus from tension, liberation from identity confusion, restoring a sense of sovereignty over your time instead of being a victim to time. Who among us wouldn't want these experiences?
I truly believe that one of the great spiritual practices for our contemporary culture is this intentional choice to savor downtime, to establish a creative pause, to carve out sacred space, to learn the art of sabbathing our time--to use these sacred moments to remind ourselves of our deepest core identity as interconnected human beings, sovereign children of God, loved and valued not for what we do for but for who we are.
My Wednesday Night Speaking Series
This is one of the reasons I have planned this public speaking event for Wednesday nights, right smack dab in the middle of our busy, frenetic weeks. It's an opportunity to step into a creative pause and sacred space to enhance the depth of our lives as we reconnect with the Spirit. We need regular appointments like this because we all know the powerful benefits of regularity. You don't eat a meal only once, saying to yourself that since you've just eaten and you feel full that must be enough. You eat again and again, with regularity, in order to sustain your life.
If you aren't living close enough to San Francisco to get in on these Wednesday night events but would still like to set aside a creative pause to view them, the videos will be made available soon. I'll be happy to let you know when and how to access them. Email me (email@example.com). Here's the information about the series. Check it out.
Your Intentional Choice
Let's face it: we live in a world where we're confronted with the sometimes overwhelming temptation to stay connected and plugged in to our technologies and communities 24/7. Little by little, the life in our souls is seeping out through over-stimulation and nonstop activity. We're paying a very high price.
Belsky challenges us: "Soon enough, planes, trains, subways, and, yes, showers will offer the option of staying connected. Knowing that we cannot rely on spaces that force us to unplug to survive much longer, we must be proactive in creating these spaces for ourselves. And when we have a precious opportunity to NOT be connected, we should develop the capacity to use it and protect it."
This is definitely a word to the wise for our generation. How will you go about sabbathing your life? What intentionality will you choose to manifest to experience sacred space and downtime? Why not enjoy the profound life power in a creative pause.
My Offer To You
One of the things I do is coach people on how to develop this kind of deeply personal, meaningful spiritual path. I have a 7 Day Curriculum called "How To Breathe More Soul Into Your Life"--it's all about developing specific intentional ways to experience the benefits of daily sabbathing your week. People have found this to be very transformational in establishing regularity to the spiritual habit/practice. Over a four week process (in four customized phone calls), I help unpack this experience, provide daily assignments, and help bring support and encouraging accountability to this personalized journey.
I'm willing to give a 10% discount to my blog readers for this coaching experience which begins Monday, Nov 7. Contact me in the next 5 days (by Oct. 26) to take advantage of this discount. Email me for the details (firstname.lastname@example.org).