Getting back into Shabbat was the best choice for me last week. I know I have yet to fully experience it as a true converted Jew, but even observing it in the small ways I did was not only meaningful but also something my mind really needed– a time for rest. I made a commitment to go through the blessings, light the candles and bless the food, but also to stay away from my phone for just the night. It was totally worth it.
Right after work I went to the grocery store to buy my dinner (rotisserie chicken– perhaps this week I’ll make my own chicken in the slow cooker?) and get some grape juice since I can’t drink alcohol. Let me just say, it’s so nice being able to get off work at my regular time, be able to stop by the store and still get home before it’s time to light the candles. In fact, I had enough time to get home, prepare the meat for my weekend meals, do some dishes, and get the table set for myself. Of course I loved the ritual of it all, it felt really good to be a part of something bigger and older than myself. I could just imagine all the other people in the world doing the same thing I was doing, saying the same blessings around the same time and it made me feel like I was a part of something really cool.
But that wasn’t even the best part. The most important part of the whole thing was staying away from my phone for the night. I left it in the kitchen and I pretty much stayed in the living room so I could hear it but I couldn’t see it which made it easier to ignore. Of course I let Kourtney know that I wasn’t going to be picking up my phone for the night so she didn’t get worried about me not answering the phone (is she dead? Did she fall of a cliff? Was she kidnapped?!). Anyway, being away from my phone felt so good because it’s really been a source of anxiety and obsession for me lately. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about numbers (see my last post) and obsessing over weight, and being on Instagram really fueled the fire for me. I have a wls Instagram account that follows a lot of other wls patients at all stages of their journey so numbers and weight and all of that are all I really see in my feed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s not like people post that stuff to trigger me (I’m a big girl, I don’t need to blame others for my own reactions to content), but it DOES trigger me. There’s that part of me that can’t stop looking, can’t stop internalizing a message that says Focus on Thin and Stay in Control. That’s the eating disorder talking. So having a time during the week to remove myself from that was such a blessing.
It’s like a gift from the Divine, a glorified mental health day. I didn’t think about being in a stall, I didn’t think about weight, I didn’t obsess about my caloric intake or even really think about food other than making sure my meal was (mostly) kosher– as kosher as one can get when they don’t live in a kosher household. Anyway, it just felt really good to stop obsessing, even if it was just for a night. In fact, that feeling actually stayed with me for the rest of the weekend. I was definitely on my phone, but a lot less than normal. I spent more time doing things that made me happy, like taking walks with my wife and watching new shows on Hulu. So! I think that overall, Shabbat was a success and I’m really looking forward to observing it again this week. I think that for the month of April I’ll continue with the no phone policy for Friday nights, and then starting in May I’ll cut out the phone for all of Shabbat. Once I master that I’ll cut out a different prohibition. Baby steps, right?