Slowing down and embracing the spaciousness of the un-scheduled moment has been an increasingly important and elusive goal over the last few years as I experience too-regular calendar overwhelm and a daily Sisyphean battle with my in-box.
Thomas Merton articulates the problem perfectly in a quote I've used here before and will no doubt come back to again:
"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.
More than that, it is cooperation with violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys her own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful."
To begin to redress the violence I've been doing to my soul and restore the tender roots of my own inner wisdom, I've decided to begin this new year by re-claiming something I'd almost forgotten - the weekend.
No small thing as - slowly but definitely - the weekend seems to have migrated from rest-time to work-time in the popular imagination. Turning the tide appears to require a personal declaration of some kind, a stance against the cultural pressure to over-work. Therefore, I have ordered home delivery of Sunday's New York Times and hereby publicly proclaim that I can no longer be relied upon to read email over the weekend.
Yes, you heard that correctly. I'm embarking upon a "occupy my life" campaign in 2012 that kicks off by fully occupying my weekends, so unless we have arranged otherwise, you can pretty-much figure I won't read anything work-related after 5pm Friday until Monday morning. With the accumulation that's sure to have piled up by then, you may not even get a response til Tuesday!
Even God didn't work 7 days a week.