Don’t think, just move.
These are words of advice from a dear friend (and part of the Cool Shul family) on how to get up in the morning at the crack of dawn to exercise. I’ve set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning many times to do just this, but inevitably, I start talking to myself and shut it off. In my mind, my inner-voice says, “Well…. you could always exercise tonight. You didn’t really get a good night’s sleep, you need more rest.” So, my friend said:
As soon as you say “well….” to yourself, it’s over. Just keep saying to yourself, “don’t think, just move.”
Excellent wisdom for this situation. But imagine us all telling our elementary school children, “In life, don’t think… just move.” Don’t we usually spend most of our time saying, “Think before you act”? Clearly this doesn’t work for all situations. 😉
With the Holy Days around the corner, I started thinking about which way this thinking-versus-doing thing works for those of us deciding whether or not to attend Holy Days services somewhere. So, for that process, I offer you this piece of advice, inspired by my friend:
Don’t think, just move…. and then think.
For those of us who don’t really feel connected to a Jewish community or to Jewish practice, there can be much internal chatter that inevitably prevents us from finding a place to at least explore the Holy Days even when something inside us is drawing us there.
Here’s the chatter:
“I don’t really believe in a Book of Life”
“I think it’s silly to think we can erase our bad deeds with one day of fasting.”
“I don’t believe in God.”
And then the next thing you know, on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, we’re at work, eating a hot dog at our desks.
Halt! Don’t think. Move.
Quiet that chatter for a second and find a place to experience the Holy Days. Do a little research. If you want a more traditional setting, with grand ceilings, pews, maybe an organ… go find it. If you want a place that is musical and experimental… go find it. If you want small and intimate… go find it. Don’t think about it too much. Don’t tell yourself why you shouldn’t go. Just go. Get in the room. Be shoulder to shoulder with other people… some who know exactly why they are there, and some who, like you, aren’t sure at all.
Then, as the prayer book is opened and the ark is opened… you open up to. Open your mind to sounds and words that didn’t call to you in the past. Concentrate on a word or a phrase in the prayer book that speaks to you, and don’t even move on with the crowd if you don’t want to. Allow the wake up call of the shofar to shake things up for you, even if you didn’t think you needed a shake.
In this moment of openness, now start thinking…
Who am I? Who do I want to be? Where did I succeed this year? Where do I fall short? Can I be proud of how much I’ve grown? Is there still room for improvement? Can’t I allow this structure to help me explore myself without having to believe in God or books of life?
Yes. That’s it. Don’t stop. Keep thinking. I’m proud of you. 😉
Of course, I hope you will consider spending your Holy Days with Cool Shul. We will be in Temescal Canyon, surrounded by the glorious trees, with amazing musicians, a choir, and a non-judgmental, open-minded, come-as-you-are atmosphere (with child care!). Services are short and sweet… just enough to get you your where you need to go spiritually without weighing you down.
I’ll see you there…
Join us for a pre-Holy Days Shabbat this Friday at 7pm. Evite here.
Join us for the Holy Days. Info here.
P.S. I actually did get up today for the first time at the crack of dawn to do some yoga. Let’s see if it lasts!!! 🙂