Keeping Sabbath Helps Me See With New Eyes

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By Martha O’Hehir

Recorded by author

Last week, I forced myself to rest, to keep a Sabbath as best as I knew.
I sat in the serpentine willow rocker on my porch and pondered what I was reading.
I shook a blanket on the grass and looked up through a tree that I can’t name,
With its strong dark limbs reaching up,
And tiny, wedding-white flowers that filled me with joy.
I noticed the little seed-worms and leaves hanging by threads from the branches.
And when the wind blew, hundreds of tiny petals snowed on me.
Staring into the wide blue sky, I saw sparkles dancing in patterns in the air.
I laid down my head and there, across the lawn, was an ocean of blades of grass
in blue green, yellow green, Kelly green
and home to a world of tiny insects and butterflies hopping from blade to blade.
My dog barked and ran in circles around me, checking to see if I was still alive.
We played. I rubbed her tummy and she laid back and took it all in.
I laid back on my blanket and took it all in.
Those two hours felt like eternity.
They felt like the middle of summer vacation when you don’t know what day it is
And you only know what time it is by the length of your shadow
and the changing colors of the sunlight.
I had everything I needed,
resting in my lush meadow-yard,
Love and beauty were everywhere, inescapable,
and I knew I was loved and I belonged, too.

Keeping Sabbath is a sacred tool: an act of resistance.
It is a weekly reset button.
We say, “No,” to the systems which enslave us in endless work and consumption,
“you don’t own me.”

And Shabbat is not just for us:
Shabbat gives Earth a rest, too, every seven days.
And we have seen what our resting from labor and transport does for her!
By doing this one thing, keeping Sabbath,                                                                       A sort of “not-doing,”
We renew the face of the earth.

True Sabbath-keeping is when
we stop giving our energy to our tangential concerns,
to those  horizontal investments in everyday life, which deplete us.
Rather, we let go and connect to a deeper source,
To radial energy.

This energy is the energy of being itself.

It brings about the springtime, it forces the mushroom up through the earth,
It is gravity, it is photosynthesis, it is evolution,
it is the constancy and vastness of the constellations,
the familiar song of a cardinal, a hawk, or a rooster.
It is the phases of the moon, the rising and retreating of the tides;
It attracts us, pulls us forth, radiating with love.
On a true Sabbath, we become mystics:
Seeing our interbeing with all that is,
Receiving our share of beauty, love, and radiant energy,
And we emerge, with love and compassion for all that is.
This we bring as we make our choices…

We, a species among species,
A species with choice,
Find our numbered days as a single stitch in deep time.
In this Great Unravelling and the Greater Turning:
We become like the knitter who pulls out all the stitches gone wrong
not a Turning done to us, but one accomplished through us,
with courage and effort made possible
through right vision, seeing clearly, what is.

We practice Sabbath once a week,
until every day becomes Shabbat.


Martha O’Hehir is a facilitator for the Work That Reconnects. Her primary gifts are her voice, writing, and analytical skills. She has employed these as a musician, liturgist, educator, curriculum writer, retreat facilitator and editor. As an interfaith eco-chaplain, Martha joins fellow seekers attracted to Spirit through the Integral Christian Network and Wild Church. As an editor and writer, she serves the American Orff Schulwerk Association and the Work That Reconnects as a member of the editorial boards of their respective journals, The Orff Echo and The Deep Times Journal. In recent years, she has been exploring the kindom of plants and their medicine as a way of growing into a more earth-loving lifeway.

Recorded by Martha M. O’Hehir

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