What Works: How Sweet to Do Nothing

Our new level of connectedness is a wonderful thing — perhaps the greatest blessing technology has brought us. But it has created a new problem. In this hyper-connected world, time in which you can do nothing is rare.

Despite how highly I value and seek out serenity, I am linked continuously to my workplace and other obligations, so it’s all too easy to feel pressured by the things I could be doing — like Fran in Black Books, cursing under her breath while answering her cell phone as she’s running late for yoga.

The seeds were planted centuries ago with the Puritan work ethic — epitomized by Isaac Watt’s 1700s hymn for children praising the worker bee, which includes the lines:

In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

What Works: Sun Worship

Summer is upon us, and the other day when I read Therese Borchard’s post on Beliefnet about how lack of sun exposure has led to a Vitamin D deficiency crisis across this country, it struck me: Our bodies are designed to need sun. Is that a hint or what? We are built to be outside.

As I write this just before Father’s Day, I am reminded that my atheist dad gave me my first spiritual experiences by sharing his love of natural wonders. Despite growing up in New York City, I saw Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, Banff and the Redwoods, the Smoky Mountains and the Rockies; flash floods in the Western deserts, a hurricane on Cape Hatteras.

I didn’t know it at the time, and my father wouldn’t have thought about it in these terms, but I was being introduced to the wonder of God. While it’s more important to see that of God in the everyday, it helps to be hit over the head every once in a while with the awesomeness of Creation. […]