One Friday morning, I woke up feeling rattled. It wasn’t immediately clear to me why, so I used mindfulness to gently investigate why I was feeling this way. I noticed that my physical body felt tired – probably due to some leftover jet lag from recent travels. Then I observed that it was Friday, which for Jewish people means moving into Shabbat at sundown.
I don’t celebrate Shabbat in a very religious way, but I acknowledge it every week. It serves as a sort of separation for me from the rest of the week’s busyness. It gives me space and time to move inward.
So, why was I so rattled moving into this Shabbat?
The Pittsburgh massacre in Squirrel Hill had just occurred the week before. My subconscious knew this and suffered with it before my conscious mind was even aware of the connection.
Squirrel Hill is the neighborhood where my parents grew up, and as a child in Cleveland, my family used to visit there regularly for holidays and family gatherings. Even if I didn’t have this personal connection to the place though, I would’ve still felt rattled.
The modern day horrors of man’s inhumanity to man, of antisemitism and the vicious, dangerous political discourse we have allowed – these things would disturb and disconcert me regardless. And of course, since that rattled Friday, our country has seen more massacres, more senseless death and violence, including the Poway, California shooting of a personal friend of mine.
Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing new I can say that hasn’t been said, no new wisdom to impart. In these moments – like that rattled Friday morning – I turn inward and ask: What can I do for me? What self-care do I need?
That day, I went and got my hair done – but truthfully, that isn’t on my self-care list. It’s not fun for me. It doesn’t fill me up.
What did fill my heart was going to spend time with someone I dearly love: my father. I am beside-myself grateful that he is still alive, and one of my favorite things to do is to be in the same room with him.
Then, I did some writing.
Writing really makes me feel grounded. After that, I went out and spent some time in nature – another very grounding, healing activity.
Next time you feel disturbed or unsettled with all that you are navigating in your own personal life and as a human being in this world, take some time and do something kind for yourself.
What can you do for you? What self-care do you need?
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.