By the end of yontif, my every action feels like one horribly draining physical task after another.
Cut up vegetables. Cucumbers, tomatoes.
Put uneaten food in containers. Sweep up crumbs. Go to bathroom. Eat again.
Stuff garbage bags with disposable plastic and paper. Take out trash. Pretend I don’t see the growing mound of debris.
Ignore the Dishes.
Make it again.
Find the right tights with the right shirts for the right dresses.
Find your children the right tights with the right shirts for the right dresses.
Discard them at the end of the day in a growing mound of tights and shirts and dresses.
Find new ones the next day.
Talk, talk, talk.
Mouth closes, opens. Closes, opens. Tongue lashes out, returns, continues.
What do you want? What do I want? Where do I end and you begin?
It’s the outwardness of it all that just crushes me internally. The inability to get into the flow because of constant interruptions; a friend, a child, a meal.
How does a person like me, who craves at least a couple hours a day of peaceful alone time, find the meditative space in a three day yontif to balance communal connections and internal space? To shift responsibility of taking care of my family with respectable introspection for myself?
What would it take?
I understand the grand ontological significance of bringing our infinite Gd down into this finite world, by making a blessing on food, by using the strength from sustenance to do good, by dressing in a way that makes me empowered, heavenly, radiating, to carry me and the world along for the ride.
I know that.
And that’s the problem. As the physical tasks of sustaining a family on yontif descends like a heavy weight on my shoulders, I know it, but I don’t feel it.
As my soul finds itself gasping for air, Gd remains my duty, but falls short of becoming my desire.
What would it take?
Is learning the answer?
If I learned enough inspirational stuff about the holidays beforehand, would it fill me with enough meaning and sustenance to sustain me for the length of time of the festival?
If I had an intensive shuir during the yontif itself- without children pulling on my legs- which knocked my socks off and burst through my brain cavity and helped me see the world in a completely different light, would that sustain me?
Or is prayer the answer?
I know that the traditional Jewish prayerbook is supposed to be meditative; Aryeh Kaplan wrote a great, esoteric book about how to get into that deep headspace. Maybe if I studied it? And paid a babysitter to watch my kids while I was davening at shul, so that I would have an hour of intensive deep, uninterrupted time? And made it clear to my shul buddies through my intense shuckeling, with my siddur wrapped around my face, that I was hands off for pleasant side conversation? Would that work?
Or is yoga the answer?
Not paid, just someone from the community giving it for free, for the good of all.
If I sat in on a one hour workshop every day of yontif, that would transform the rest of my day, making all the other things in this physical world manageable. A true feeling of escape from this world, a chance to get in the zone, focused for an extended amount of time during the holiday on nothing and everything, accepting bliss and chaos.
I yearn to unlock the secret to an incredibly pleasureful yontif experience, even for an introvert like me.
Let me know your secrets of integration, I implore you, to thrive and not just survive in the long festivals of our people.