#BlogElul2013: Be

How do we train ourselves to be in the moment? To be present in our relationships with other people, to fight the increasing encroachment of our phones, of the urge to grab our phones even when in the presence of other people? When engaged in conversation but our mind starts to wander? When sitting in shul waiting for services to begin, head down instead of up and smiling, trying to build relationships and connections?

It’s something I struggle with a lot, and it’s a habit I not only dislike, but one that I think is detrimental. When we are not being in the moment, when we are not giving someone our undivided attention, our relationship with them suffers. I’ve hurt people and had to seek forgiveness for behaving this way. I’m sure others have in turn hurt those they love with these behaviors. The less we “be” in the moment, the more absorbed in our own internal world we become, observing rather than participating. And that’s sad. It’s one of the main reasons I’m thinking of banning smartphones at our wedding – so that our loved ones are focused on us and our vows instead of being distracted by their phones.

Spiritually, more and more, I find (sensing a recurring theme here) that I’m struggling but very much needing to be in the moment of Shabbat. To disconnect, to engage, to recharge and to be in the moment, in the peace, and the quiet, and the rest that is Shabbat.

I have some teshuva to do in the context of my human relationships, but as far as my relationship with Hashem is concerned, I need to work harder at being mindful and present and just being in the moments, big and small and everything in between.

#BlogElul 2013: Do

Things to be done. Things to do. Doing, doing, doing.

Sometimes, it’s really easy to retreat from the seemingly endless list of things that need to get done, and fall instead into a hopeless puddle of inertia, enabled by the internet.  The “to-do” list seems to grow ever longer, the alerts and notifications creating a buzzing sensation in my brain, all the things that need to be DONE, but aren’t, that I’m not doing, or only partially doing, but are not done.

So, I take a deep breath.

I work on the lists of things to do. I break it up. I do what I can, when I can, which takes more effort some times than others.

And yet, when I do do things that need to be done? I feel great.

It’s not always easy to do the things we need to do, should do, ought to do. But it’s also not helpful to get stuck, or to beat yourself up when you don’t do all the things that need to get done.

Instead, do what you can do. Some days, that’s a lot. Others, not so much. In the end, it all gets done one way or another and if it doesn’t, well hey, it couldn’t have been that important, right? 😉

#BlogElul2013: Know

It’s hard to explain how I knew I wanted to be Jewish all those years ago. I just did.

It felt like a lightning bolt, crystal-clear moment of insight, a voice in my head that instinctively said “I want to be Jewish.”

Since then, I’ve learned to trust that voice. Whenever I find myself confused or uncertain, if I listen close enough, that voice, that instinct, is still there. And when I follow it, I know I will be ok.