Spiritual Practice of the Month: Renewal Published April 1, 2019 By Lt. Col. Chad Bellamy 20th Fighter Wing SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.You ask, “What are you doing?”“I’m sawing down a tree,” comes the impatient reply.“You look exhausted,” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”“Over five hours, and I am beat,” he returns. “This is hard work.”“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw,” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”The working man likely connects with many of us. Active duty military members earn two and a half days off per month, but how many of us actually take those days of leave each month? Moreover, as September 30 approaches, how many of us scramble to use those days so as to drain our use-or-lose status?Interestingly, one religious group’s sacred text similarly reads, “A dull axe requires great strength; be wise and sharpen the blade.”George Sheehan, author, describes the four dimension of life in this way: being a good animal (physical), a good craftsman (mental), a good friend (social), and a saint (spiritual). We are the instruments of our own performance, and to be effective, we need to continuously seek balance.The spiritual dimension is our core, center and commitment to our value system. It is often a private area of life, but, nonetheless, a supremely important one. It draws upon the sources that inspire and uplift us as well as ties us to the timeless truths of humanity.Working harder does not always equate to getting more accomplished. In fact, many people run themselves into the ground with seemingly never-ending tasks wondering what they gained in the end. This results in increased blood pressure, increased headaches and decreased immune systems, all resulting in years reduced off life expectancy. In reality, we are working ourselves to death.The truth is, we are a stressed out society because we forget to take the time to sharpen our blades.