Elul 13 5776
Today, we are publishing a double love letter for your double super Sabbath souls. Wishing you a restful, peaceful, and love-ful Sabbath. Be back on Sunday!
Dear Pain In My Neck,
You have been with me for years, at times so bad I had to take days off from work and just lie down with ice and pills in darkness. In the past year, it’s been better thanks to a chiropractor/physical therapy combo that finally made sense of why and what you are, what I can do to help us get along better, and for you to transform from an enemy into a gentle friend— a healthy part of my functioning and able body.
You, dear pain, are part of me; in many ways, my failure to be more diligent in my exercise regime of restoring balance to my vertebrae and limbs reflects poorly on my priorities and judgments. How many of us do not do what we can and should to be better to our selves and our bodies? I could do so much more to let you go away. I don’t. So sorry, dear pain, neck, body, self for this neglect. Excuses are silly. Is it fear of facing what is really at stake here that prevents me from doing the heavy lifting towards change?
Alan Watts once said: “We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”
Taking care of my body has been an increased priority in recent years— especially where pains, like you, invite attention. I think that’s why you show up - to highlight where mental/physical change is needed. Thank you for that.
Not that it’s always that simple. Living with chronic pain is a plight endured by many, including many friends of mine, whose endurance and patience I deeply admire. May there be relief and healing.
On this 13th day of this journey to better balance in our lives, as the second Sabbath sets, I take upon myself to take better care of myself today and in this coming year, not neglect whatever is needed for relief and health, and be more sensitive to the pains of those around me.
Let this Sabbath bring rest and healing, less pain and more pleasure.
Elul 14 5776
When I first hung you up in my backyard several years ago it was with the best intentions of resting in you often. Truth is, you’ve been out there by yourself a lot, with birds and squirrels using you much more than I have. It’s not that I’ve been away and busy— often when I’ve wanted to use you, it was raining. It’s more like I do not reserve enough time for rest.
A daily siesta or a power nap can save your life, or at least improve your quality of living a lot. And yet, how often do we pause mid-day to close our eyes or lay down in a hammock?
On this 14th day of getting ready for a better year, this sacred day of Sabbath, I resolve to love you more, dear hammock, and commit to better rest for the rest of my life. It’s really that simple.
Sorry for neglecting you, and for neglecting me. Let’s hang out. The rest is details.
PREPENT: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s annual journey to the new year, with 40 ways in 40 days to reflect, refocus, recharge and restart life. This year features daily love letters inspired by Lab/Shul’s theme for the High Holy Days, “וְאָהַבְתָּ re:love.”
This story "Prepent Day 13+14: Too Busy for Self Love" was written by Amichai Lau-Lavie.