If Shabbat is a womb of sorts, a generative place, then I Don’t need to worry about where to keep track of my ideas when I can’t record them, when Doing so would violate those thirty-nine barriers against certainty.
I cannot capture the thoughts, so they may flee. It’s a risk of this rest, I suppose. They may run too far and I may never
see them again and at a certain point, I need to let go.
I have wondered, not infrequently, if the nature of my thought process is inherently different in this space, if Somehow the inability to keep written records of my novel theories and pressing questions Is what enables those gems to come to the surface, to be born. I mostly believe it.
How is it that my journal, closed
for six days when I push off my creative process, Beckons for me only When the pen is contraband?
I wonder if there is something particularly vital to the creative mind about not being able to produce for those moments of shaky solace. I cannot hold on, I may not remember; there is no list I can write today to keep track of my fears or my possibilities. Rest can take work as well.
A while ago, I used my eighteen minutes- that grace period between when Shabbat starts and when Shabbat actually begins- to make a spreadsheet, named “Tasks”, for lack of a more creative title. I sort the items by deadline, estimate the duration for each, and “assign” every goal a time. That way
each item is accounted for, put in its place.
And if it roams,
my wild mind, that monkey brain I try to find endearing,
encroaching on my Shabbat peace, I remind myself that it’s okay, I am writing that paper on Tuesday morning, and I have scheduled time
to worry about my purpose Monday night. I hardly stick to the assigned times, but at least The to-do’s have a home, and they too can rest On this sleepy, if fidgety, day.
The worst part
is the last hour or two. The twenty-three hours until right then are usually okay. At worst, there’s always the escape of a “Shabbos shluf,” cocooned and unconscious under my covers.
But in those last moments of this
supposed safe haven, all my worries rise to the surface, attracted to my near-calm as though to a magnet.
It takes a certain faithful fortitude to wait for them to dissipate, to
even believe they will.
Shabbat afternoon prayers, leading into the Third Meal, singing, and evening prayers are a time for which I brace myself. What emerges when there are no distractions?
I like to believe
I’m asking the Right Questions. Shabbat forces me to listen. It’s not easy. For all the studies attesting to the poisonous effects of cuddling with my smartphone, I resist- for what? Except for this night, ensouled, protected from my own temptations. Shabbat is surrender. It is the tough love I need.
And maybe I can let Shabbat nurture me, let it nourish me until I am Born In my amniotic sac, in my Clouded train of thought, until the fog clears.