Yesterday I emailed my family a link to the Sabbath Manifesto, something I bumped into while doing my requisite Jewish web-surfing at work. I was drawn to the “10 core principles” of observing the Sabbath (or Shabbat, in my parlance).
One of my sisters found pictures of Talachito, where we used to spend two weeks every August with my Aunt Bobbi’s family; obviously that was years, decades before email, cell phones, and the World Wide Interweb.
Now, we sign up (online) to unplug and invite our friends and family (online) to do the same. The irony is pretty much ridiculous.
More and more, I’m offline when I’m not at work. I spend almost all day in front of a screen, and just want to smell, hear, see, taste and feel real life the rest of the time. Saturday night, I got busy at the dining room table with origami paper, glitter, a glue stick, some cardstock, and a couple of magazines making Valentine’s Day cards for my girls. The DVD player in this house crapped out a couple weeks after I moved in, so the big fancy flat-screen TV stands in the corner, a black rectangle of unknown use.
Yesterday, I also found these six-word memoirs I wrote a few years ago. Most of them pretty much still apply. Stories, striving.
The first line of this post, and all the lines after it, woke me this morning:
I knew you before you were a victim,
before you were a wreck, a mess, and a bomb.
Without a crowning success or crippling failure.
Before you had an issue, an axe, or a cross.
No disorder, no syndrome, no label –
without a blemish or scar.
Before that night and the morning after,
before the after and before the before.
Before the fall, the crash, the crime,
without an upgrade or makeover.
no narration, no closed captioning,
no footnotes and no bonus features,
before you remembered to forget and forgot to remember.
I knew you before you were what you say –
what you think, what you fear, what you know.
Do you know yourself before?
Even this online space is, quite literally, a box. Another form of flat-screen TV, a story. My mind goes on overdrive, until I snap myself out of it and remember what a friend shared with me last week, a prayer that gently unwraps all the boxes:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be free from anxiety.
May I manifest lovingkindness.
May I have abundance in all my affairs.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be free from anxiety.
May you manifest lovingkindness.
May you have abundance in all your affairs.
May my enemies be happy.
May my enemies be healthy.
May my enemies be free from anxiety.
May my enemies manifest lovingkindness.
May my enemies have abundance in all their affairs.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be free from anxiety.
May all beings manifest lovingkindness.
May all beings have abundance in all their affairs.
I have been saying these words every day, breathing each line in and sending each line out to the people I love, whether we’re in touch or not. As the crow flies.