Article by Mary Bea Sullivan


We all “know” we need rest.  Many of us struggle with giving ourselves restorative time.  And yet, how often have we found ourselves declining in “productivity” as we continue to push on through a project … or during a busy day?


Culturally, we have erased the line between “work” and “play.”  Many of us feel we need to keep working, keep volunteering, keep whatevering, until we are depleted, empty shells of ourselves.


Wayne Muller reminds us in his compelling book, Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest, “Sabbath honors the necessary wisdom of dormancy … a period in which we lie fallow, and restore our souls.”


A few years ago a wonderful friend told me that she tries to give herself one day off each week … a day when she doesn’t answer the phone unless she wants to; reads if she feels like it, naps if that appeals to her; watches a movie if that is what calls her.  This friend is one of the most spiritually connected people I know.  


And I have to wonder if there is a correlation between her practice of rest and her connection to the Divine?


Of course the thought of taking a day off is different for someone who has young children at home, or caring for an elderly parent.  Yet this soul restoration project is particularly important for caregivers.  


Imagine the message we could give our children if they experienced rest as a natural part of their day. Perhaps they could even participate in planning this special time … maybe a day when meals are simple, or one void of cleaning.  Come to think of it, most of these same kids have taken naps in daycare or preschool.


For many of us, the greatest barriers to rest are granting ourselves permission; letting go of the never-ending demands of life; and allowing others to step in and support us.


How could you incorporate a ritual of rest in your week?  How can you create time of rest today?


Be still, and know that I am God.

-Psalm 46:10


Mary Bea Sullivan is the author of Dancing Naked Under the Moon – Uncovering the Wisdom Within, a compelling story about her pilgrimage toward wholeness.  She facilitates spiritual retreats and workshops for women’s groups and faith communities.  Mary Bea lives with her husband, Malcolm Marler, and their yellow (white really) lab, Daisy, on Smith Lake in Alabama. For more information about Mary Bea Sullivan and her work, please visit


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Posted on 9 November, 2009 in Balance, Fitness & Health, Spirituality
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