The Red Zone of Overwhelm

Image: Tachometer with “red zone” on fire. (visualgeneration/shutterstock.)

Some of us are well into the red zone of Overwhelm. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I’m still digesting the message of Pittsburgh, which is that anti-Semitism is back in a big way in the USA.  My Facebook feed and email are running over with evidence of that: destructive acts and cruel taunts and nasty stuff galore. I am sick of swastikas.

My nose and eyes are still recovering from the Butte County Fire – both are still running like faucets. I peer uneasily at the golden hills not far from my house and check to make sure that I’ve opted in for ALL the fire warning services in the area. It has begun to rain – that’s good! – but now we have to watch for mudslides.

The news is beyond horrible. We’ve gone from putting innocent babies in cages to tear gassing them. The second biggest Federal “holding facility” (read: prison)  in the United States as of this week is a center in Tornillo, TX, where over 2300 teens are held without due process.

I twisted (sprained?) my knee on Thanksgiving and it is taking its sweet time healing. There is nothing to do but be patient and RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. Everything hurts.

A number of people in my support networks are hurting, too. We try to take care of each other, but it is hard when everyone is running on fumes.

So this morning I put my nose to the grindstone to do what needed to be done so that Shabbat could be a shelter of peace. My to-do list isn’t empty, but it’s a lot better than it was.

For the next 24 hours I will take the opportunity to say the ancient words, to ground myself in the tradition, to count my many blessings. I will rest the knee. I will recall that I have family and friends and students and work that I love. I will give a little tzedakah before the sun sets, and I will remember thereby that it all could be worse.

If there’s someone you love, hug them. If there’s something good in your life, cherish it.  Remember that none of us are much good to anyone when we are physically, emotionally, or spiritually depleted.

Let’s take care of ourselves and be as kind as we can be. Ok?