One Bird at a Time

The end of the year brings a lot of baggage with it. I mean, it’s not Elul, but something about the end of the school year signifies a certain end. Or maybe it just gives me a reason to feel edgy. It’s sweating in the heat, and kids calling while I’m trying to work, complaining for the umpteenth time that they are bored.

In short, I’m overwhelmed. The summer transition is the epoch of my life. I feel like there’s so much to do and not enough time to do it. So I try to do everything in twos, be here and there, and kill two birds with one stone. Or maybe ten birds. Scatterbrain at its finest.

It’s crunch time at work and crunch time at home packing all the kids for camp. Don’t get me started on all those labels for all the socks. There’s that new hobby I took on which needs honing. And that new resolution which I flaked out on, although the purpose of the resolution was to prove my tenacity. I think that’s telling me something...

Trying to balance it all and play the juggling act sounds poetic when you’re juggling a few things or speaking theoretically. Welcome to the real world, where I’m juggling a lot. I feel like too many things are in the air, literally, and my two hands can’t catch it all. And my 100% is divided. This one rock isn’t sharp enough.

That’s why I’m overwhelmed on steroids. I’m frustrated that I’m not giving anything my all because I wonder how I can. Mathematically, I’m failing, or being curved up, barely passing.

Until I tried something new. And it worked. Because this article has an end. I put the feelings to paper and turned on the do not disturb feature on my phone. The feature I thought I’d never use because a FOMO, curious individual like myself wants to know when they get messages and trivial notifications.

But I activated that feature, and I began to unleash myself of the tension that was taking up lots of real estate in my head. I gave my 100%. That was the answer. When I’m filling many shoes, I can’t think about anything. Because then I’m hovering, like the cursor on my computer. I’m nowhere, but trying to be everywhere.

That’s the opposite of a pnimi. A person who is true to himself invests his entire being in whatever it is that he is doing. Even in preparations. When you’re completely absorbed in an act, you accomplish more. When you’re present, wherever you are is permeated with goodness. The moment is enriched with clarity.

That’s what the Tzemach Tzedek intended when a Jew shared his desire to go to Eretz Yisroel. He told the man, “Make here Eretz Yisroel.” In the chaos of our lives, we need to find an oasis of focus, a focal point of clarity where our purpose is revealed. We need to create an Eretz Yisroel environment. This can be accomplished by being present. When you are present, your experience is permeated with the clarity and revelation of Eretz Yisroel because you are focused and invested. Being 100% here breeds wholesomeness. Presentness of the mind elevates the moment.

So if you’re looking for me the day before camp, I won’t be available. Probably not even findable. I’ll be fully invested (and lost) in a heap of socks and labels.

Because even the preparation needs my all.

Chaya Silver is passionate about continuously learning and finding meaning in the mundane.