My Own Personal Sabbath #3 of 2022

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching during my Sabbath.

I am extending this weekend’s Sabbath to start today, Friday, and go through Monday. Kim and I still are grieving the death of Seamus, our cat of the last 15 years. And the weather, with lows in the negatives and single digits (Fahrenheit) for this weekend where we live, is good for curling up under a blanket with a book and a hot beverage.

I plan on dipping into more of The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell. I also am planning on starting The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, which I picked up at the library after hearing how much a few patrons were enjoying the series. And for fun, I might dip into Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld, a collection of his favorite material through the years.

Along with my reading selections, I have set up a playlist on Spotify of podcasts that I saved for this weekend:

I also borrowed The Good Place, The Complete Series, on Blu-Ray from the library, which I might watch some of. My wife already has seen it all and loved it, but it didn’t grab me when I first tried it. I’ll try again, though, and see.

So, that’s what I have planned for this weekend for My Own Personal Sabbath. What do you have planned for this weekend? Reading, watching TV, listening to music, spending time with family? Let me know in the comments.

My Own Personal Sabbath #2 of 2022

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching during my Sabbath.

Tomorrow will be a much-needed news and social media break for both my wife Kim and me, as on Tuesday, we said goodbye to Seamus, our cat of the last 15 years. Without going into all the details, suffice to say that it was his time and it was good that we both were there with him for his last breath.

And with her being off this weekend, my wife is joining me tomorrow for my Sabbath. Tonight we’re watching No Time to Die, the last James Bond with Daniel Craig. In the morning, we plan on having a breakfast with Belgian waffles with blueberry compote and sausage (vegan) and we’ll listen to a few podcasts together. In the afternoon, we’ll meditate, journal, read, and listen to music.

I found a playlist from the NPR podcast Life Kit called “A Mental Health Reset” that we might dip into:

As for reading, my wife said she is continuing a reread of one of our favorite books, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, because that’s understandably all she can focus on and that she might look through some cookbooks for meal and recipe ideas.

Me? I’m still reading The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell, which I selected as my first book of the year. I also have been reading Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross.

Later in the day, while my wife sleeps as she goes to work for a midnight shift Sunday night/Monday morning, I plan on watching The French Dispatch. We started watching it, and while I was enjoying it, she wasn’t. I’ll let you know what I thought of the whole thing next week.

So, that’s what (my wife and) I have planned for tomorrow for My Own Personal Sabbath. What do you have planned for tomorrow? Reading, watching TV, listening to music, spending time with family? Let me know in the comments.

My Own Personal Sabbath #1 of 2022

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching during my Sabbath.

This past week, I was reminded by a video on Headspace by Casper ter Kuile, author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices, about taking a tech sabbath that I haven’t done My Own Personal Sabbath in a while. Actually, according to the blog, the last time I did it, according to the blog posts, was October 3 of last year. I meditated with Eve from the meditation app Headspace, I listened to chill music in The Chill Out Tent, and I read Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman as I continued the Rabbi Small mystery series.

Since then, I’ve given up on the Rabbi Small series, I listened to a little of The Chill Out Tent to start the year, and am still using Headspace (obviously, see above) along with The Shine app, both of which I recommend. Tomorrow, I think I’ll read a little of The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell, which I selected as my first book of the year. I also have been reading Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross, which I might continue if I can quiet and harness the voice in my head.

New this year, helping me are my wife and an app called Stay Focused, which I had her set a password so I can’t unlock Chrome or Samsung Internet to read news during the day, or scroll Instagram. To be honest, with Instagram, it’s the Stories that distract me and sometimes lead to a doomscroll. It’s not that I disagree with those I follow; it’s just that I don’t want to hear about the world burning down all around us every day. Instead, what can I do maybe on this one day of (mostly) digital rest is to build up myself to face my daily struggles, let alone the world burning down all around us every day.

I say “mostly” because I still listen to music and podcasts (no news podcasts EVER) on Spotify on news, only fictional worlds. I also have decided I will check on blogs that I read regularly, but on my laptop, where I am writing this post. I just don’t use the laptop for news or Instagram or anything else, other than the blog and Zoom with friends and my therapist.

So, that’s what I have planned for tomorrow for My Own Personal Sabbath. What do you have planned for tomorrow? Reading, watching TV, listening to music, spending time with family? Let me know in the comments, and, as always, please do not include links or if you do, just know that I will remove them.

Addendum: I was just reminded by my wife that tomorrow morning we are supposed to be getting freezing rain so a good day to be inside relaxing…and if the power does go off, so be it. I’ll still be able to read on my Kindle and listen to downloaded music on my phone.

My First Book of 2022

So, without further ado, here is the first book I plan to read this year:

The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell: For the last two years, I have read the same book for my first book of the year: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, as translated by Gregory Hays. I had borrowed a copy of it from Prime Reading in late 201, but when I tried it, I had a difficult time reading the archaic translation. I then came across several reviews mentioning a modern translation by Gregory Hays. It fit the bill perfectly for two years running, but I thought it would be a bit much to read it as my first book of the year for a third year.

That brings me to this year’s selection, which is in the vein of Hays’ book, with this being a reinterpretation of the works of Epictetus by Sharon Lebell. I sampled it before purchasing it and again, like Hays’ translation, it seems to resonate with me. As it is short, I don’t know if I’ll read all 93 of the selections at once or read them over a week or two or more. I haven’t decided yet, but however, I do it, I’m looking forward to it.

Later today, Sheila of the blog Book Journey will be sharing photos of people from around the world with their first book of the year too. I e-mailed my (Photoshopped since my book is an ebook) photo above to her and mine should be among them, if my e-mail went through. Even if it didn’t, to see what others have selected as their first book to read this year, visit Sheila’s blog later today.

So do you select a first book to read each year? If so, what will be the first book you read this year or maybe you’re already reading it?