March 22 – Sabbath Time – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“Work when there is work to do. Rest when you are tired. One thing one in peace will most likely be better than ten things done in panic. I am not a hero if I deny rest; I am only tired.” Susan McHenry
When I need to be refreshed or renewed, I return to doorways of heart that have opened to me before. I walk and stand beside the big willow and wait for its familiar sway to speak to me. I replay that special piece of piano music that made its way into the sore crease of my heart and let things unfold. I make some tea ands it in my favourite chair and carefully pull out my old and tattered E. E. Cummings book and read “I thank you God for most this amazing day.”
I try to open the hours with softness and silence, the two threads that unravel into gratitude and wait for the miracle to return. This is the renewing atom of Sabbath for me. I try to start each day with such a small endearing moment, before the bumps and nicks and noise rush in, before the confusions and conflicts tighten my sense of things.
For me, the heart constricts and dilates like the eye. When it’s constricted, there is no rest; the world seems smaller and meaner and full of danger. So Sabbath time becomes essential as a practice that dilates everything tight. These private moments of rest restore – make ore out of rest – and loosen the knots of the world by slowing down the heart.
In rest, I always remember that what ties me do the earth is unseen. Just the other day, I was constricted. My heart was beating like a heron awakened in the weeds, no room to move. Tangled and surprised by the noise of my mind, I fluttered without grace to the centre of the lake which humans call silence. I guess, if you should ask, peace is no more than the underside of tired wings resting on the lake, while the heart in its feathers pounds softer and softer.