An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest can Save Your Life, like It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys is a gentle, good-natured look at human tendencies. But the books couldn’t otherwise be more different. It’s Hard focuses on STUFF, anything from the paperwork for paying the bills to the laundry, and only refers to time as a tool for organizing. It’s an excellent foundation for An Oasis, so you can always find the only worthwhile THINGS that An Oasis examines: snacks, books, games, a pair of binoculars for bird-watching, the supplies for crafting… An Oasis examines the immeasurable value of well-spent, task-less, unstructured time.
“Well-spent,” “task-less” and “unstructured”
may sound like contradictions, but they aren’t, in context. An Oasis is about using time as a source of intense physical and emotional nourishment as vital as food, sleep or water. Dr. Paul advocates purposely dedicating time to play, preferably at least a little time every day, and at least one full day a week. Dr. Paul defines play VERY broadly, as do many researchers – anything which gives you deep pleasure in a refreshing and/or challenging way. It is entirely self-defined and self-directed: for me, writing this blog is play; for someone else, writing a blog could be punishment. Somewhere, someone is careening down a mountain on skis right now, exulting in every second: the closest I’ve ever come to downhill skiing is the week I spent in a ski lodge in Big Sky, Montana, and that was almost too close. Lots of hot chocolate helped.
Dr. Paul draws on profound sources for her arguments, from the millennia-old traditions of major faiths to researchers in the social sciences. More important, Dr. Paul doesn’t just make her case and end the conversation. She offers tools for adding play and a day of rest to her readers’ routines and concrete, achievable milestones to mark their progress in gaining the new habits. The book is a measure-by-measure look at: (1) the disabling habits most people have adopted in modern society around always being busy and connected to information; (2) how to decipher your habits; (3) how to design and protect your unstructured time, and much more.
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