General WorkPlace Spirituality

Preparing to Return to Life

No, I’m not talking about resurrection. But as some of you may have noticed, I’ve been gone for a bit.

For the last month, with the exception of about 4 nights, I’ve been out of town. Shortly, I’ll be coming back, checking back in to “real life.” I’ve got to say, I think I’m ready. I needed a break, but it will be good to get back in the swing of things.

This weekend is the last of the out of town stuff. I’m going up to Mt. Ranier area to perform a wedding for a couple. It should be fun, and beautiful. It will also be a nice transition between vacation and working: working in a vacation setting. Next week, it’s back to the real world.

Next week begins the job search in a more targeted way. Next week I begin to dig out from underneath the piles of emails I’ve allowed to accumulate. Next week it’s back to networking and meeting folks, and figuring out what comes next.

I’m definitely facing this transition with some ambivalence. I’m ready to move forward, tired of feeling like I’m sitting still. Yet, as with all transitions, there is some fear about what the future holds. Nonetheless, without some fear, there is little sense of accomplishment. If we stay within our comfort zones, we aren’t stretching to achieve as much as we can. It’s time to stretch again: career yoga, if you will.

And so, once more into the breach, and we’ll see what the future brings.

Jewish Spirituality shabbat

A Peaceful Shabbat

This Shabbat, I have very little planned. I’m looking forward to a lot of rest, maybe  a little knitting, maybe a little reading, maybe a little gardening. But mainly rest.

Eva and I will both be home this evening, which doesn’t happen all that often. So it will be a quiet evening together. Yay! We might light shabbat candles and say kiddush, or we might simply luxuriate in the fact that it is shabbat, recognizing it by doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is a spiritual practice.

Tomorrow morning I will get up at some point, and wake up slowly. Make some tea or coffee. Sit with a cat and read. Maybe knit. But there’s nothing that needs to get done tomorrow. That’s the beauty of Shabbat.

I’ve commented on this before, but I love the fact that there are multiple ways of spending shabbat: I can lead services, I can attend services or I can do nothing. And all are traditional observances of shabbat.

The text from the Torah which is used as the “proof text” of shabbat* concludes with the line, “and on the seventh day, God rested and was refreshed.” But the word we translate as “refreshed,” vayinafash, comes from the root nafash meaning “soul” or “spirit.” So vayinafash might be better understood as “was re-souled.” And part of what I love is that shabbat is when we are “re-souled”, our soul is returned to us, or restored. Whether the image is understood as being like the sole of our shoes which are worn away over the course of the week, or like a work of art which is covered by grime and the accumulated dust over the week and is then restored, Shabbat serves as the element which allows our soul to start the new week fresh.

Shabbat Shalom, everyone.

*The VeShamru which is included in the Friday evening service, the Saturday morning service and is said as part of the kiddush before lunch on Saturday.

Jewish Spirituality

One Shabbat, Coming Up

This week, Shabbat will be a day of rest. I am not leading services this week, which is lovely. While I normally love to lead services, at the moment, I just want to collapse in a heap of relaxation. And the wonderful thing is, I will get to. Shortly.

It’s been, I believe, 2 weeks since I had a day off. I’m kind of looking forward to it. I won’t get much done, which is okay (at least mainly okay, or at least the way things are going to be whether it’s okay or not). But regardless of the household chores that need doing, they’re not happening in the next 24 hours. Nope. It’s Shabbat.

Maybe I’ll read a little. Or knit. If I get really inspired I might even read something non-fiction, but let’s not set expectations too high. The only reason I know that I plan to wake up in the morning tomorrow, rather than sleeping until mid-afternoon, is I’m pretty sure my coffee addiction won’t allow me to sleep that late.

A day off. A wonderful thing. Brought to you by the Torah (available in fine synagogues everywhere).