Apr 7, 2020
Malka Fleischmann

Yours To Take Or Leave

A woman relaxes on a couch

In recent days and weeks, I have been deeply conflicted about contributing to the vast amounts of online content being made available to readers and viewers as we navigate this global crisis. Am I helping? Or is my putting yet another thought piece into the universe increasing the sense of oversaturation some are feeling?

On the one hand, I have been comforted and enlightened by some of the ideas, voices and images I’ve encountered, and it’s not lost on me that we are privileged to live at a time when we can reach each other, despite enforced separations and great physical distances. On the other hand, I have developed an increasing frustration at my being tethered to screens and inundated by messages, pings and rings from email, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc. The influx is constant and relentless. My days have too often been dominated by and lost to the screen.

As a friend texted, just the other day, “I’m exhausted from the torrent of things I could be doing. I don’t want to tour the Louvre today, I don’t want to do guided deep breathing, I don’t want to list 10 reasons why I’m grateful, I don’t want to try any new recipes, I don’t want to learn a new language…I want to read a good book, have a bowl of ice cream, take a nap, and repeat.”

So where should these conflicted feelings of appreciation and resentment leave us? Should I be writing this piece at all? Should you be reading it?

I think the answer, at this time, is for all of us to practice non-judgment.

Though we are in this mess together, we must make some of our decisions alone. What enlivens one of us may enervate the other, and we should allow ourselves those differences. We should give ourselves and our friends a wide berth and the grace to navigate this period however our hearts, minds and bodies direct us.

As this article pointed out, we are experiencing various levels of grief amid this pandemic, and there is no one correct way to grieve or move through and beyond our anxiety and mourning.

So, here we are. I’ve written and published this—yet another—piece, and our organization will continue to upload content to the virtual space. It is yours to take or leave.  

We hope that, however you choose to care for yourselves and others—however much content you choose to absorb or ignore—you are closely listening to your own internal voices. If you master no other skills throughout this period other than learning to follow the beat of your own heart, dayeinu.

Malka Fleischmann is the Director of Knowledge and Ideas for The Jewish Education Project. 

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