About a year ago I heard a great talk on all of the reasons why busy mothers (aren’t ALL mothers busy!) do not HAVE to set time each day for formal prayer and more importantly why they should not feel guilty for not setting aside time each day for formal prayer. After about 20 minutes of trying to convince us to shed the guilt, Rabbi Nissel proceeded to tell us why we SHOULD set aside time each day for formal prayer. He listed many of the wonderful benefits; personal, familial, and communal reasons why our prayers are so necessary. Not only that, but he gave us a VERY practical checklist of which prayers were the most important and it could literally take between 10 and 15 minutes a day! It was very compelling and inspiring, and since then I have started each day with the intention of doing my formal prayers.
Here’s the problem… Most days I heard myself say things like this: “First I’ll run, then I’ll pray.” And after running I would say, “I’ll pray after I get the kids off to school.” A little later, “Wow, its already 10:30. Let me just throw in another load of wash and THEN I’ll pray.” A few hours later it was “I could pray now, but my coaching client is going to call in 20 minutes and what if I am still in the middle of praying and I miss the call? I’ll do it after the appointment.” By dinner time I would say “I can’t believe the day is almost over and I still did not pray. No wonder why my day did not go so well!” This was happening more days than I would like to admit.
While speaking to a good friend who is one of my “tripod of objectivity sisters” (women I check in with often who know me, support me and love me enough to tell me the truth!) I was sharing with her my challenge and she encouraged me to pray first thing in the morning. She said, “Chaya, the yetzer hara (evil inclination who is also known as “SELF”) does not want you to have time with the Creator of the Universe. It’s so sneaky. It won’t tell you not to pray, because that would be too obvious. Instead the yetzer hara will give you every excuse possible to push it off.
So since then I made a commitment that I would prayer before I do anything else. Pray before running, swimming, eating, taking kids to school, throwing in a load of laundry, etc. After a week or so of doing this, and consequently finding that I was handling my days with infinitely more efficiency and serenity, I had a huge “aha moment.”
I ALWAYS plug in my phone before I go to bed at night! In fact I plug in my phone, my portable phone charger and my blue tooth headset. I NEVER go to bed unless they are plugged in. Why? Because I would NEVER think to go into my day the next morning without my phone charged! I need to be CONNECTED to my family, friends, clients, my calendar!!! And lets just say that I fell asleep (in my clothes passed out next to one of my kids!) before plugging them in and woke up with a dead phone? The FIRST think I would do is plug it in! I wouldn’t say, “Well, I’ll go for my run and THEN I’ll charge my phone” (in fact I NEED my phone when I run to track my milaeage and to listen to music or a 12-step meeting). I would never say, “I’ll get the kids off to school, throw in a load of laundry and THEN I’ll charge my phone.” I would never say “I’ll take my coaching call first and THEN I’ll charge my phone.” How would I be able to take the coaching call if my phone was dead anyway???
It occured to me that while I would NEVER go into my day with my phone un-charged, I was going almost everyday with my SOUL uncharged! If I need my phone in order for me to be productive each day, how much more do I need my soul to be charged! By tapping into the SOURCE of Everything, I am able to avoid power outages during my day and thefore I have a better shot and living my unique purpose in the world (yes, everyone has a unique purpose….perhaps that will be the topic of a future post).
So before you turn on your phone…… perhaps first turn on your SOUL.