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Happily Abandoning the Fast Track

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Happily Abandoning the Fast Track

I know the importance of rest now, but I didn’t prior to my journey through cancer. Before, I’d race along the multi-tasking interstate at mach speed. Before, I took pride in how much I could accomplish in a nano-second and how clearly I saw through the blur of so much momentum. Before, I wasn’t paying attention to the stop signs. I was too busy.

After my second diagnosis in 2007—a year after my first—neglecting the stops signs was no longer an option.  It became clear that the vehicle I was in could no long sustain the demands I placed upon her. After such a hectic pace, my world suddenly crashed to slow-mo…like the parts in a movie where the main character’s life goes awry and strangely out of focus. That’s when a friend gave me the book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller.

Half way through the book, I bought 10 copies and gave them to my closest girlfriends. (Right or wrong, I think men are better at chilling out.) They accepted my gift like eager children clamoring for candy on Halloween.

Then, for a solid year, I devoted one day a week to doing nothing. Once I lay in the summer grass and for two lollygagging hours, watched the clouds overhead. I was transported back to childhood when doing nothing was a regular part of life.  And it’s no wonder: it’s good for us.

In his book, Muller writes: “If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath—our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us….I am always struck by the mixture of sadness and relief that (people with life-threatening illness) experience when illness interrupts their overly busy lives. While each shares their particular fears and sorrows, almost every one confesses some secret gratefulness. ‘Finally, at last, I can rest.’”

Even though it was hard for me to stop my busy life to recover from radiation or surgery, I too felt relieved at no longer living in a constant rush. I wondered why I hadn’t learned to rest before.

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Leigh Fortson

Leigh Fortson has been writing and editing books about health and nutrition for decades. She is the author of Embrace, Release, Heal: An Empowering Guide to Talking About, Thinking About, and Treating Cancer (Sounds True, 2011). Every month, she will write about a topic in her book that was instrumental in defining her healing journey. To learn more, go to


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4:44AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

Thanks for the tips.

11:57AM PST on Nov 14, 2011


2:23AM PST on Nov 14, 2011


5:30PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Thank you so for sharing! Best of ALL to you!


6:42AM PST on Nov 11, 2011


5:23AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Mary B, I've said more than once that if the government actually PAID us stay-at-home moms for what we'd do, that would be a major economic boost right there-after all, we're shaping and molding the next generation of (hopefully) decent, law-abiding, responsible adults capable of making a solid contribution to society! I read an article in Forbes years ago that listed all the jobs we do in the course of an average day, and it said that if we actually rated a paycheck (which I insist we SHOULD), that it would come up to six figures easily. I still can't figure out how the job of homemaker got thrown under the bus when women started working outside the home-after all, it's still a full day's work and then some!

11:46PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

great article, thanks!

9:02PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

You can make up your mind to stop running in the race, but the real difficulty lies in getting the rest of the world to leave you alone!

7:16PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

Even God stopped creating and rested for one day. So why can't we do the same? A day a week just doing nothing, just letting go and enjoy every minute of a quiet day. Thanks. Great post!

4:28PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

I know what you mean by men being better at chilling out--I can't help but have a thousand things run through my mind,while I'm doing others.Seems like men can just turn OFF.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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