It has been a common theme this week. I started learning guitar a few months ago, and my teacher noticed how tightly I grip the neck of the instrument. How fiercely I push down on the strings. He looked at me and said, “Nicole, just let go.”
ATID (our Sinai Temple group for young professionals) hosts weekly yoga. Sitting on my mat, instead of focusing on the words of the yogi, my mind wandered over my to-do-list, the sermon I am preparing, dinner recipes for next week, and other life responsibilities. Channeling my distraction, the yogi paused in her instructions and reminded the group, “Whatever it is you’re holding onto…for this hour…just let go.”
Easier said than done. Just let go. Let go of stress, let go of the should and should nots, let go of judgment, let go of what needs to happen next. To just let go seems like an awful lot of work.
The Talmud reminds us that God gives us a boost as we enter Shabbat. Each Shabbat, we receive an additional soul, something that allows us to focus on what is most important for the next 25 hours. Perhaps the idea of extra breath, more mindfulness, a deeper space within our heart will help us settle into the comforts of Shabbat: a specific time to really let go and enjoy the blessings God provides.
The stress of life, work, relationships, and unfinished to-do-lists will always be there. But the gift of an extra soul waiting to be unwrapped is only with us from sundown, Friday to Saturday night. Who is going to turn down God’s gift?
Unwrap the present and take a much needed breath. May that additional soul relieve a burden or two and open our eyes to the wonder of letting go and celebrating life.