Yesterday, I finished reading Wayne Muller’s book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Daily Lives.
From the time I received the book from Amazon in September 2017 I had started it many times but had barely worked my way through half of the first section.
Each time I resumed, I started again from the beginning.
Sometimes, that’s how it goes with a book. Despite the best of intentions, you don’t get very far. But you know there’s a purpose to reading it. So you return, over and over. Each time starting again.
Come to think of it, that’s how it works in many areas of life. That big project on which you can’t seem to get traction; the big dream; a relationship that you know is meant to be pursued.
Timing vs Time Management
If being in nature has taught me anything, it’s that life is about timing much more than “time management.”
Back to the book.
Rather than feeling inadequate for my inability to finish this book last year, I realized that this lined up perfectly in its timing.
Now having finished it, I can see that it was waiting for me to be in a place like Santa Catalina, a place where I could viscerally feel in my bones the benefits of rest that Muller describes.
I needed to slow down enough to appreciate the beautiful poetry of his prose, where I could soak in his message about the risk of a life lived without pause, quiet contemplation, or rest.
I needed to be in a place where I could feel what he means when he writes about things that are nourished only in the soil of time.
Reading and Living the Message
This book was waiting for me to be in a place where I could actually live the message in the book while reading it.
I read this book the way I imagine that Muller wrote it.
I read this book in luxurious stretches of time. I read it while I reclined on a lounge chair overlooking the Pacific, while my breath entrained to the rhythm of the waves. I read it while cocooned in the soft embrace of the vivid hammocks that dot the property at the Hotel Santa Catalina.
I punctuated each chapter with a long pause for stillness, to contemplate and integrate the wisdom he offers.
I read passages out loud to myself in the stillness of the evening hour.
I read and re-read some sections many times over. The pages are marked with yellow highlighter and notes in every margin.
I read this book as though I had the luxury of infinite time, and I learned that when we pause in this way, when we slow down, we do have the luxury of time.
The book became like a dear friend, and I treated our time together as I would my time with any friend: with presence, openness, and a willingness to hold space for what needed to emerge, so I could hear the deeper messages that lay beneath the words.
And like all dear friends, this book will remain with me. I will return to it over and over, for its wisdom is vast and I know I will need reminders to continue to absorb it.
Each moment spent with this book was a Sabbath moment — a time to pause, to be, to listen, to rest in stillness, to hear the wisdom.
A Book About Life, Not Religion
This is not a book report, or a book review.
What I will tell you is that this is not a book about the religious Sabbath. Although Muller, a minister, draws from both the Jewish and Christian Sabbaths (as well as Taoism, Buddhism, and other traditions), this isn’t a book about religion.
It’s about something bigger, deeper, more profound. It’s about what we’re missing in our fast-paced, over-achieving lives.
I grew up in a home where we observed the Jewish Sabbath — no driving or talking on the phone, walking to synagogue, the whole deal.
I know many people who observe the religious Sabbath and don’t actually create a Sabbath in the way Muller describes.
Should You Read Sabbath?
If you do read it, be prepared that it will leave you with a different outlook on rest, on productivity, on marketing, on social and political issues, on the economy, on service, on relationships, and on life itself.
Have you read Sabbath? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought about the book!
This post, like many on this website, contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on the link and buy the book, I will receive a small commission. Please know that I only recommend products that I have used and absolutely love. What I share here and throughout this website is from my heart. I purchased my own copy of Sabbath and was not asked to write any review about the book.