Elul 17

Good morning! It’s a process, you know, waking up. You have to open your eyes, get out from under the covers, shower, find clothes, have breakfast or coffee (if that’s your thing), get the kids up and ready for the day, take your meds, brush your teeth, say your prayers, make your lunch, stretch or exercise, do your journaling, find your shoes, deal with the garbage and kittylitter, put on a jacket or a sunhat, or a coat and boots, or sunblock, grab a purse or an umbrella (love Canadian weather) – whatever it is that you do first thing in the morning, to get you  ready for the day.

There are many steps and each one helps me be more awake. One can say that there are many awakenings in each day, like the set of Jewish morning prayers that accompany each waking step with a prayer of realization and praise. It doesn’t stop with morning either. I’m going through my day and all of a sudden, something hits me: a thought, a chance word, a passing sight, who knows. Suddenly, the random, almost auto-pilot level on which I’ve been operating is pierced, and I’m concentrating that much better, that much more efficiently and effectively. I’m actually thinking and acting and doing the next thing the way I’m supposed to. I’m more awake. God’s little alarm clock has woken me up.

It won’t last, of course. Soon I go back to sleepily just walking through the day, instead of living it. It’s a good thing that God has so many alarm clocks. For instance, there’s the month of Elul. “Wake up,” it says! “What have you been doing with your life? Are you living it fully or just going through the motions?” There’s also the shofar.

It’s a funny alarm clock, extremely primitive, very old fashioned, from the days when we sacrificed animals to be close to God, and musical instruments made of bone were the latest thing in music. It’s loud rather than musical. (It’s a bit like the Jewish religion, primitive and old fashioned, connected to sacrifice and loud sounds.) It’s very beautiful, though. It stirs me up and it’s kind of impossible to ignore. It too says “wake up.” It says that the laundry and dishes, while necessary, aren’t the point. It says that connection to the world – to that primitive, natural place where one blows a ram’s horn – is. It asks “have you thought about God, lately? And magic? And how magic you are that you can blow this and make it sound this way?” It’s pretty fantastic.

Today, I hope to be able to stay awake – to stay connected to what I need to be doing – for just a small part of the day. I know I’ll actually get more done, enjoy myself more and have a better day if I do listen to God’s alarm clocks. It’s a lot of work, because we are all super-busy and super-tired, but it is worth it for me to really notice the world I live in. Being awake makes for brighter colours, clearer experiences and livelier conversations, like letting sunlight into a dark room. It makes for full days, where every day is an experience worth living and having. So, I rub my eyes, yawn just a little, and try, once again, to wake up.


Posted on September 3, 2015, in Elul and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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