Most mornings for me go something like this:
- 7:14 Roll over, grab my phone
- 7:15 Check email
- 7:17 Scroll through facebook feed, save articles to read later
- 7:22 Open NYTimes App, read headlines
- 7:25 Re-check email
- 7:30 Look at clock, realize how late it is, freak out
- 8:10 Having showered, dressed, lunch packed, leave house scattered and anxious
If I could magically change one part of my life it would be the first two hours of my day. Instead of waking up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for the day, I am often groggy, rushed, and late. I spend more time on my phone “checking in” on what has happened in the world in the last seven hours and less time checking in on myself.
My world seems to move so fast and sometimes the time between getting home from a long day of work and waking up for another long day is only a few hours. But instead of dedicating those hours as sacred and sanctuary, I let them fly away.
As I write this I am packing for a vacation. I’ve made the conscious decision not to bring a computer or iPad; I have a few paper books and a blank, new journal. Even more drastic for me, I am taking a vacation from posting and checking my social media. The world will go on. And it will be waiting for me when I return.
With no email to check, no social media, and no news to compulsively consume, I don’t know what the first moments of my morning will look like. Will I sleep more soundly without the lure of the blue light of a phone? Will I take 5 minutes (or 30 seconds) to meditate? Will I write down my dreams for future reflection? Or, will I feel lonely or disconnected from the world? What will happen if I miss a big moment in pop culture, world news, or the lives of my congregation and friends? What will be revealed to me when I step away from the world and step back toward myself?
One of the books in my carry-on bag is The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington’s newest work on the science behind the importance of sleep. While I’ve wanted to read it for months, I couldn’t bear to read something that I knew was true and that I couldn’t or wouldn’t put into action. But with 11 work-less, phone-less, life-full days in front of me, maybe I have a chance.
Karen Perolman is the associate rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ. Ordained in 2010 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Karen credits her involvement with NFTY, URJ Camp Harlam, and the Maryland Hillel community with her desire to pursue the rabbinate, including a pivotal summer traveling with the NFTY in Israel program. Karen is a voracious reader which fuels her passion to understand the intersections between food, politics, Judaism, feminism and social justice. She can be found on twitter @rabbikrp.