Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dallying on the Sabbath

If you feel like dallying, here's a most relaxing folk song from my childhood.  According to a commentor, the singer is Elizabeth Guest from a CD of lullabies titled "Sleep, Baby, Sleep."  Ahh.  What I need to listen to at bedtime, since I am having the insomnia problems typical of the elderly, compounded by the insomnia that is common to the bipolar mind.

I'd like to teach the world . . . wait - that reminds me of another song.  I found a beautiful rendition on YouTube with no ads on it.

Ahh.  Naturally stoned.

I wish I could teach the world to go back to something that was a given in American culture when I was a girl, in the days before the Baby Boom upset the applecart - honoring the sabbath day.  In Ohio, which was uniformally either Christian or Don't Care back then, the sabbath meant Sunday, a day to restore yourself spiritually and physically.  A day of rest.  Almost nothing was open on Sunday but the churches.  You know what? - it didn't hurt anyone.  It meant that one day a week the alcoholics had no bars to hang out in.  Maybe church hurt some people; or maybe that was really a family dysfunction that church got blamed  for. 

It was true that in the fifties the middle-class housewife often felt obliged to put forward a big meal, a nice Sunday dinner, maybe complete with her own always from-scratch cinnamon rolls or chocolate layer cake.  But after the meal, and the dishes done, even the women got time off.  You know what people did on nice days when I was a girl?  Packed food from home to picnic in the park.  Or took a drive in the country.

What do we have now, sixty years later?  Everyone working at WalofEvilMart with no benefits or pension in order to serve those who don't have to work Sunday and are running around buying stuff and eating mediocre (or worse) food out and trolling the malls and watching expensive shoot-em-up movies.  Then those people work all week to pay for that stuff, and child care.

The learned articles about why this developed nation has such poor health statistics often talk about the toll  stress takes on people.  What do all those hardworking people do to reduce stress?  Spend money they don't have (that is, use credit cards) on pedicures, massages, trips to Disneyland, cruises, more eating out, and expensive clothes to wear to hot yoga.  As for Western medicine, in desperation it has co-opted meditation, stripped it of ethics and mythological depth, and teaches it as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. It costs a lot to go to the retreats at which you can get certified to teach that.
A little aside here.  A couple of years ago I applied to teach meditation in the educational arm of a local big hospital system.  My interview ended with the director telling me that of course, I couldn't in any way talk about religion.  I thought that over and called later to withdraw my application. There are already enough people teaching practices stripped of the religion that devised them.
 Oh well. It's up to each of us to save ourselves.  I was going to conclude with a photo of Tashi demonstrating what she knows about lowering stress, but my photos are ultraslow to upload.  All of America seems to be on the internet on this beautiful spring day.

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