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In our modern society, everyone rushes from Point A to Point B. We never give ourselves a chance to relax and do nothing. 

Yet we all wonder where our anxious thoughts and worries come from. Jesus was one of the most accomplished people on earth. And even he took time off. Maybe he was on to something. 

In this episode, I’m sharing my experience from a 6 day sabbatical. And giving you permission to do nothing so you can experience true relaxation and peace.

Show highlights include:

  • How rushing around nonstop make relaxing impossible (1:50) 
  • The bizarre way doing nothing makes you more productive and energized for life (8:56) 
  • How you’ve “hypnotized” your mind to be hyper-critical of everything you do (and how to make your inner critic shut up to enjoy peace) (9:36) 
  • The “Become Nature” exercise that gives you a deeper sense of belonging than you can ever experience with human relationships (15:23) 
  • How silence and solitude banish all your worried and anxious thoughts (19:28)  

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course. 

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.6]

Bob: Welcome back to the Alive and Free podcast. Today, today, today, we're going to stop. Just kidding. We're not going to stop. I'm going to share something with you that's about stopping it's about ceasing and it's about spending some time alone. A while back, I had a good friend of mine, he gave me a book that he felt like would be really useful for me. And I don't know what you're like when someone gives you a book with me, it's it's like, okay, I don't want to read it because someone recommended it because that means they think of whatever. I don't want to live up to people's expectations in general. I don't like people expecting things of me. And so, I discarded it for a little bit. And then I went back around to it. It's called, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Now that sounds like an interesting title. I had been talking to him about all the things that we're trying to accomplish. And I don't know if any of, you know, what it's like to run a business and to keep all the plates spinning where you have to be the guy who's doing the marketing and the guy who's doing the, the initial consultations and the guy who's also helping with the coaching and the guy who's running the retreats and the events and the guy who's making the online content and recording podcasts. And I'm the guy who trying to fix all the things that break and so on and so forth, right. There's a lot of different hats, and I was in this space for a long time around hurry. And a lot of people are like hustle and grind and work hard now so that you can relax later. Ironically, that is like a miserable mantra, because you train yourself to work hard so that when you try to relax, you can't let yourself, and you end up defeating your original purpose by going about it the way you go about it. Oops point taken, right? [02:15.5]

And so here I was dealing with this rush and this hustle and I bought into it from all of the people who had been advising me about how to run a business. And it was like, yeah, just work hard now and put in the time and put in the effort and stuff. And then you can reap the rewards later. And it wasn't doing me very well, you know, my happiness level dipped some, because I was so busy and so hurried. And so, he hands me this book and I start reading it. And it's by this mega church pastor or used to be a megachurch pastors named John Mark Comer, C O M E R or Comer. And he used to run, I think, four churches and he was busy preaching the word of God. Now I don't usually read a lot of these evangelical books. I do like listening to them talk sometimes, but I don't usually read a lot of them. So, this was new for me to like extra sit down and read a book. And he tells about how, even while he was busy running all these different churches and making sure that everybody was taken care of and giving sermons and all this stuff that in the middle of it, he felt his own connection with the divine with God, or however you want to call it, depending on your religious persuasion or whatnot. [03:20.9]

He felt his own connection with it, dissipating and disappearing. It felt to him like he had sacrificed living a spiritual life in deep connection with the being that he worshiped in order to be able to be up running a church so that other people could have the thing that he lost by running the church. And this wasn't okay with him, so he quit that job. And he jumped into a position where he was running just one small church in the center of, I think, Portland, Oregon, or something. And then he started really studying, like, why was he missing his connection with Jesus? And in his words, like apprenticing under Jesus and trying to live the way that Jesus lives and his point was that to follow Jesus, to take up his cross or to take his yoke upon you, meaning it's going to double meaning there's the yoke in terms of like oxen or the yolk in terms of the number of rules that any given Pharisaical leader or rabbi would have for his disciples. And that yoke is easy and light, right? And so, to take that upon him meant to live like him and not necessarily just like to check a bunch of boxes. [04:30.0]

So, he started studying his life and he recognized there was this weird pattern with Jesus, where he spent a lot of time alone on a lot of time off by himself. And as he looked at it over and over into these like solitary places where Jesus would go, whether he'd get up early in the morning, so he could find some alone time or whether he'd send his disciples off and then go the other way to be alone, or even just starting his own ministry, Taaa---Daaa, I'm here. I'm the Messiah, I'm the savior of the world and watch me be baptized. All right, I'm going to head off to the wilderness for 40 days. Like pretty impressive how much time he spent on his own. And he noticed, he noticed that as things got busier, especially in the book of Luke, the more often, like the more things were happening toward the end of his life, the more often it mentioned Jesus going and spending time alone. [05:17.1]

And so, he really took this to heart and he was like, maybe I'm not doing it. So, he started doing a little Sabbath of his own Sabbath. The word Shabbat in Hebrew means to cease or to stop. That's why they called it the Sabbath the seventh day, because that's the day that God stopped. It also means to be satisfied if you take the other letter Siva instead of shiv. And it ends up being that God was pleased with his creation too. So, depending on how you translate it, but there's this sense of ceasing or stopping. That means ceasing or stopping everything. And let's take a note, Jesus was taking a break from a life that was at such a slow pace that it was agrarian. There wasn't and internet there weren't cars driving at 70, 80 miles an hour down the freeway. There wasn't an agenda packed with meetings all day long, every day, and four different conference calls and airplane rides across the country. They would walk for days to get to another place. And he was taking a break from that from normal run of the mill everyday conversations that you have with your neighbor after work. From normal, day-to-day work a day labor and not the kind of fast paced society we're doing with. And he was taking a break from that. [06:39.7]

He wasn't taking a break from what we're doing. And so, a lot of people would come to this pastor, John Mark Comer, and they would ask, they would, he would say, look, you need to like take some time off and take some time away from all of the things that are like bogging you down, just to get some fresh perspective, to like really get yourself centered again into who you are and what your relationship to life is. And they would tell him time and again, I know I just don't have the time and he would turn to them and he would say, even Jesus had the, had to take time. If you believe Jesus is the son of God, even the son of God himself took time off from life, in order to stay centered and focused on what mattered. [07:23.7]

Maybe just, maybe that's it good thing to pay attention to. And maybe just, maybe it's some of the wisest counsel you could possibly receive. So, I was impressed with the book. He delineates four different ways of doing things. He gets into simplicity at the end, which he basically minimalism or ways of simplifying things. He gets into slowing down and deliberate ways to slow down. But then he also covers the two bigger ones are solitude, silence and solitude, which is the one I'm going to talk about and then ceasing or a Sabbath, or having a day a week with the Sabbath. Now in his case, Sunday was his church day where he was doing all his meetings, so he actually took a Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening, just like the Jews did. And he would put away his phones and his electronics. And he would have time with his family or with friends, but none of the other intervening stuff from the rest of his life. And then he would pick up his phone on Saturday night and get prepped and stuff for his Sunday sermons and things like that. So, he took a different day of the week as a Sabbath, and he kept that holy as a way of making sure that he was making time and taking time for himself. And that if even the son of God needed to take time, then maybe he needed to take a little more time off a little bit more frequently in order to be sure that he was, he was operating at optimum efficiency for what mattered most in this fleeting thing, we call life. [08:48.3]

So, I sanded it to Jasmine, my wife, she read the book and she was really impressed with, and both of us were kind of struck by it, but didn't do anything about it. But I started getting bogged down by work stuff. And then she's like, you know, what if maybe do you need to just take some time to yourself? And I was like, oh, that's a good idea. And I've never done that. I've taken time off of work, but it's usually like now I gotta go home and I gotta do a home project or now I got to go and we're doing a family vacation and it's always busy-ness. But to deliberately take off time where I'm not accessible and where I'm doing nothing, that was the first. So, we set it up. I found a little cheap place to stay that was out in the middle of nowhere, basically for us. And ironically, it was kind of like right by the freeway, which became significant as I'll tell you. And I spent six days there and I'll tell you, I never realized the depth at which I have trained my mind to be constantly on and constantly critical of the things that I do. [09:50.2]

I was even like, I would wake up a little bit later one day or go to bed later than maybe I had planned to, or I plan to do some yoga or some martial arts training, or go on a walk. And, you know, I spent time like a dumb jump in a river. I do these or the river nearby. And I go on all these walks, but there was so much beating myself up happening at this really subtle level. Or it was like, oh, you should be up already. That's an accuser inside me, a Satan that I trained inside myself over a years of believing in the God of productivity and the God of money and all the other idols I had placed before myself and worshiped without realizing I'd worshiped them. And it was amazing because I'd been doing nothing. I mean, I would be doing something sitting, watching the, you know, the animals or I would be doing some martial arts practice or something, whatever it came to, there was no television that sometimes I would sit down and write and I would be like, oh no, I shouldn't be doing this. Or that's taking too long. And I was literally beating myself up for doing nothing wrong and telling myself I should be doing nothing better. [10:52.8]

And you'd be surprised how much that's an I, I was so good at handling all the big ways that I had trained myself to be hard on myself and those gone. I didn't realize that there were these subtler and subtler ways of dissatisfaction with self, dissatisfaction, with the way things are working out and ultimate resistance to how life was showing up in any given moment. And it was only stopping that led me to that. And it took me the first time I did this, like four full days to finally have everything slow down and stop, o that I could finally just sit there with myself and not be like worried about a bunch of things. [11:31.1]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [11:58.9]

And as I was sitting there, and I remember I was sitting there out in the open field and I was watching all these cars go by night after night on IAT. And their drive driving 80 miles an hour, 70 miles an hour through the canyon, I'm looking at them. For the first time, it occurs to me that we're on a spinning planet, where are they going so fast? Why such a hurry? There's all this stuff that we're missing. We don't even realize it because we're so focused on getting from point A to point B. And that if I live my life that way, getting from point A to point B in life means racing as fast as I can from birth to death. That's not what I'm after. There was so much happening on that mountain side, on the hillside, there were ospreys out hunting, there were people fishing, there was llamas in the place and there are soars and peacocks and horses and cows. And there were trees, blossoming and flowers out there and bees buzzing and there was a river running. And, and I was able to kind of like sit there with that. And there were all of these things happening, meanwhile, all day long day and night cars rushing by, on that freeway, going from point A to point B and giving their whole life to chasing their sustenance and to chasing these fleeting experiences. And I don't think it's wrong to go from one place to another. I mean, I get in a car and I drive places, but it was just so fitting for me to be sitting there stopping on a spinning planet while the rest of the planet is busy, chasing around not even able to tune in to the planet and the life that they are, because they're so busy trying to go from point A to point B. [13:46.6]

And so, as I sat there for hours one night, just in a field, just sitting there and watching the sunset and watching it get colder and just feeling into my surroundings. And if you know anything about my history, right, I've trained a lot of perceptual exercises to be able to feel things that are really sensitive and subtle level. And when I remember to do that, it's pretty profound and to feel the agitation and the grass and the plants around the freeway and, and what that sound pollution was doing. And to recognize that human beings of all the species on the planet, we're the only species that are so unsatisfied with the way life presented itself to them, that they decided to wreck the planet to change all the different things. And I'm not against human civilization, but to constantly be having to strive for more and to improve and to change the world. [14:36.6]

It's a common slogan right now, we want to make the world a better place. We want to change the world. It's not the world that has the problem, it's our mind and our hearts. And we're so busy resisting what's here chasing something, not here that we missed it. And we've caused havoc to plants and animals and the environment and all kinds of other stuff, because it's never enough. So, sitting there and all of a sudden, I sat up because I laid down, I was looking at the clouds and I sat up and for the first time in my life that I ever have any recollection of. And I grew up like in Germany, in a small town for six years, you know, running rampant in the woods and eating dandelions and stuff. And it was like, it was an idyllic time, but this was the first time that I remember actually feeling like I was a part of nature that this human flesh had been drawn from nutrients from the earth and things I had eaten and that it was going to return there and that I was actually just one piece of a much bigger hole and that it wasn't man versus nature. That I actually belonged on earth. [15:45.4]

Now, for most of my life, I spent my time chasing belonging a lot because we moved around in the military and six years was the longest, we stayed anywhere, most other places where, you know, anywhere from six months to two and a half years. And so, I moved around a lot and I was constantly looking for a feeling of belonging. And I was trying to chase that down from other people and don't get me wrong, it's great to have human relationships, but to finally have a sense of belonging to the planet that destroyed so much of that sense of not belonging that I had felt. Because as I went through life before, it felt like everything was against me, like, oh, I wasn't in with the right people. And then I wasn't in with money and I wasn't in, I didn't know if I could survive if I didn't have money and all of those different things, but to finally have a sense of that, I am just another piece of this planet, another piece of this earth, and I don't know how long this is going to last. And I don't know what this life is, and I don't really know anything. [16:41.1]

So, what am I going to do with this life? It was such a beautiful turnaround to see how fragile and fleeting this life was. And to recognize that I was a part of it and that I belonged, and it shook some things in me to my very core, right down to the center of my heart, right down to the center of my being, I guess you could say. And I realized just how little I know and that all of my pretending to know things over the years really meant nothing. It had actually separated me from life instead of allowing me to be part of it. Right now, if you ask me, okay, well, Bob, well, what do you know for certain? The only thing I can tell you for certain is that life seems to be happening. There's something happening, all the rest of it are just concepts and ideas. And I know how to inter interact with and make powerful things happen in my life. But when I come down to it, what do I actually know by direct perception? All I know is this moment, all I know is this life and that it seems to be happening. And all the rest of it is just something I'm exploring and it may not last long. I have no guarantees that I will wake up tomorrow or that I'll even make it through tonight. And so, the question then is how do I want to live this moment? If it's never coming back. Everything's changing all the time. No two moments are the same and a lot of we can't perceive that. So, we think that they're the same, but they're not. And when we go, oh no, I know what's happening. We prevent ourselves from seeing what's actually happening. [18:09.7]

But there's no guarantees. How do I want to spend this then? I just have this leading moment in time. And that changed so many things to where Jasmine then we sent her on her own sabbatical and then I've been on others and so on and so forth. And we set it as like a monthly thing, where monthly, each of us gets a day. Jasmine is actually going on hers tomorrow. Each of us gets a day, at least every month where we're just by ourselves to go do what we want without any repercussions. We're not husband, father, wife, mother we're not business owner or, or person in the neighborhood, with nothing. It's just a piece of life. And I'll tell you, when she came back from hers, the first time she felt so different, there was such a grounded-ness in her and then life built up again. And then we needed to take another sabbatical. So, we've started doing like days where there's no electronics and where we're working on really shutting off things so that we can enjoy life and get involved in it when we want to and when it's necessary, but also step away and not lose sight of the bigger picture of the fact that we're not getting any of these moments back. [19:18.4]

And if we miss them, we just missed them. So how do we, you want to spend the next few moments, this one that we're in now and the next ones that are coming. And that came from deliberate time of silence and solitude. And if we don't put it on the calendar, it won't happen. So, what I'm suggesting to you today is that one of the things is it might be causing you so much turmoil and so much worry and so much pain in your life is that you feel like it's so impossible to deal with that you don't even have time to stop. And that if you would live, literally stop, cease, unplug even just for a day. And for me, six days in the beginning to try and really settle down. But even just for a day to do that frequently, you may find that your perspective about what matters most changes. And you may find that things aren't as dire as you thought they were. [20:16.8]

And that if you take a day and you're not filling your head with all the information on all the podcasts, and you're not filling your head with other people's thoughts and books and movies, and you're not stuffing your soul with everybody, else's opinions about what's going to happen. And all the dire predictions about the future. You may find that there's a little bit of breathing room for your soul. And that that breathing room alone gives you more power to take deliberate action to change your life than you ever realized. Take a Sabbath, take a Sabbath, do it alone, schedule it, give your spouse a chance to do the same. Give the, and I know a lot of them are like, no, I don't need time off. Everybody does. Even the son of God took time off. Maybe just, maybe you don't know what you need, and that's why you're, you're struggling so much. So, take a second, take a Sabbath, cease from everything and be in contact with the natural world, pay attention to your life and just see, just see if things quiet down enough for you to finally be able to take a breath and finally be able to enjoy the fleeting life that you have. [21:30.0]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [21:47.9]

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