I woke up feeling exhausted and depressed again, as I usually do (a) every day and (b) every Sunday in particular, and for longer. Somehow I managed to do forty minutes or so of very difficult Talmud study (I even understood a little of it, and I’m glad my comprehension of Aramaic Talmudic language is improving even if my comprehension of Talmudic arguments is not) and spent some time rearranging bookshelves. I have over 1,100 books and limited space to put them in. I probably ought to get rid of some, but I can’t face it. In particular, I have over 200 Jewish books. Around fifty are Jewish history books and pose no particular problems, but the rest are religious books and can’t be kept in open shelves in my bedroom, as one can’t be in a state of undress with uncovered religious books, as it’s considered disrespectful. My parents let me use a bookcase downstairs, but it looked a bit of a mess. I moved about thirty Jewish books into a cupboard in my bedroom, allowing me to tidy up the ones remaining downstairs.
(Apologies for the blurring. When I take photos on my phone, my tremor is more noticeable than when I take them on my camera, for some reason.)
I had my best run in quite a while. I ran for nearly half an hour, running most of the time (rather than dropping into a walk for a bit because I was tired) and covering about two miles. I seem to be pacing myself better. So far, I haven’t got a migraine either. So that’s good. I tried to work on my novel, but by the time I had been for a run, showered and eaten dinner, it was nearly 10.00pm. I did sit down for twenty minutes or so and try to write, but I only managed a few sentences. My brain wasn’t working and I was still exhausted from running.
I feel I did manage to do things today (Talmud study, sorting shelves, running), but also feel that I never manage to do enough. I always lose a significant amount of time to oversleeping, exhaustion, depression, procrastination, distraction… I feel that what I accomplish in one day, other people accomplish in a morning, leaving the afternoon and maybe the evening to accomplish other things. I tell myself that I’m still coping with a lot of things, in terms of mental illness and autism as well as social issues, but I do feel inadequate at times. I am doing better than I was, in some ways. My mood is better, although often still depressed. I am studying more Torah, and davening (praying) with greater concentration, even if I still struggle to get to shul. I am still applying for jobs and sometimes getting interviewed. I just wish I was clearer about where my career is going, not to mention my religious, social, family and romantic lives.
I feel that, other than writing, my life lacks direction. I do things, but there doesn’t seem to be an overall plan or direction of travel. I don’t know where my life is going. It’s a Jewish belief that you can’t stay where you are; if you aren’t going up, you’re going down. I don’t know where I’m going. That’s why I’m desperately hoping I can get some work published. If I could write professionally, then my life would begin to have some kind of direction. Unfortunately, it seems increasingly unlikely I will get my Doctor Who book published and it could be years before I finish my novel.
There’s a thought I had today that fits with this, and with it being Ellul, the Hebrew month of introspection and repentance before the new year. I’m not particularly into kaballah (Jewish mysticism), but the basic kaballistic myth is that God tried to imbue the universe with transcendent light, a light of spiritual understanding, but the vessels into which He tried to fit it (this is all very symbolic and non-literal) couldn’t stand the level of holiness and shattered, sending sparks of holiness across creation and embedding them everywhere. I think, on some level, that this was necessary. Presumably a perfect universe would not be able to separate from God (as Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits puts it, only God is perfect, so the universe by definition has to be imperfect otherwise it would not be distinct from God). So the idea is that the universe is inherently broken, on some level by design, but we can redeem it, by following the Torah and improving ourselves and spreading love and justice, thereby elevating the sparks of holiness embedded in creation. So, I’m trying to accept that I’m “broken” and trying to find the holy sparks within me, but it’s hard.