Give yourself a real break

Give yourself a real break

You’ve probably noticed that you have never been busier. Do you need a break — a real break? The oft-asked question is “Was it always like this? Did we always live in such a hurried and frenetic way?” Actually no, the pace of life was far different in earlier centuries. Yes, as a society, we were more subject to the vagaries of life — the crippling maladies and strange diseases arrived without notice. And, for the lower classes, life was often short. But curiously, as a society, we were happier. Why? (1) 

It has to do with time. Our activities were mostly agrarian-based. The vast majority of the population was involved in farming. In the spring and summer, during the daylight hours, we toiled, planted, and nurtured our crops — from dawn until dusk. In the autumn we harvested. And finally, in the winter we rested — only the animals having to be fed and watered. It was a period of true repose. The major festivals of Christmas and Easter also occurred during this time to add to the joy. The intellectuals and tradespeople lived in the towns and taught at the universities or maintained their shops. They struggled with the epistemological (2) questions of life. Most people did not. They got on with their lives. 

However, with wealth and the growth of the middle class came an interest in the exterior world. People began to realize that they could also have fun on earth, not only in heaven. In Britain, Thomas Cooke (3) developed the tour industry. People with little planning or thought could go to Europe on a rail excursion. Soon travel became available to virtually everyone. Bismark, (4) the German Chancellor, added additional leisure time to the working class. He instituted unemployment and retirement benefits. Time off became a promise associated with old age. Life began to appear prosperous and peaceful.  

As the Industrial Age progressed, however, there got to be, in reality, less and less free time. This was nonetheless, compensated by our material well-being. (5) Then, The First War War, The Great Depression, and The Second World War reared their collective heads. When this epoch was over, we had to rebuild. People became addicted to work — defined as selling their time for money. A break meant some tumultuous holiday, somewhere. An evening with friends usually involved being altered by alcohol or drugs. Suddenly a vacation was not really restful. We were not being exposed to why we relax at all. Thoughtful individuals all need time to ponder and reflect. We demand to understand why we are here, what is our mission in life and where will we go when we leave this mortal plane. These basic esoteric questions cannot be hidden or suppressed. They exist for everyone.  

That said, now, more and more people realize that to escape your present circumstances, you simply have to let your imagination run wild and dream without any preconditions. You can do this in a park on the weekend or on an extended vacation with family and friends. You can give yourself a real break by stopping and pondering the life that you have and the beautiful world around you — resplendent in all its magnificence.   

L. John Mason (6) leaves us with a thought: We have never been taught how to relax, how to take care of ourselves in a positive, nurturing way (not just going on a vacation or out for an expensive dinner). Twenty minutes of deep relaxation a day will aid your mental growth, improve your physical health and emotional stability, and possibly even increase your spiritual awareness. 

A closing thought: I have a friend who is 91 years old. In his mid-eighties, he bought a plane ticket to Istanbul with only his hotel reservation guaranteed. He then spent a month, without any pre-planning, exploring Cappadocia, Ephesus, and other noted historical sites in Turkey, coming home filled with new stories and the glow of adventure on his cheeks. Thus, to really take a break, you perhaps need to limit your planning and expose your imagination. This suggests that your true peacefulness — your real break — truly lies within.  

To sum up:  This week, we spoke about really taking a break. 

To be noted:  From Charles Dickens (7) — Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. 

Just for fun:  

For reflection:  

This week, on your restful walk, please ponder what taking a break means to you. 

Every day look for something magical and beautiful. 

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great! 

Quote: Rest is necessary for our inner self to grow. 

Footnotes: 

1) Were we happier in the stone age?

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology 

3) Thomas Cook History: The Tale of the Father of Modern Tourism

4) Otto von Bismarck

5) Tony Robinson’s History Of Britain S02E02 – Edwardian Period 

6) L. John Mason 

7) LITERATURE – Charles Dickens 

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