Why Don’t You Sharpen Your Axe?

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

I thought the 21st century was exciting and challenging enough, but, COVID has upped the ante. With this globalized problem, we have had to acclimate in so many novel ways. Some of us are coping well and finding creative alternatives to things we did B.C. (before COVID).  Many have found benefit in running around less, taking time at home for projects. However, a lot of us are not managing very well at all. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide have skyrocketed during this time. As much as the virus is lethal, in some ways our reaction to it may be worse. Polarization, isolation, misinformation, and disinformation have inflicted additional untold harm.  Loneliness, loss, and being away from our loved ones are painful realities during this prolonged, “social distancing” period.

Especially now, we need to bolster ourselves and “SHARPEN OUR AXE.” One difficulty today is our increased dependency on digital devices while having less in-person contact.  Being online more often, hearing upsetting and frightening news that’s available 24/7, and “Zooming” all over the place, ramps up our stress response.  On top of that, the unpleasant effects of frequent exposure to EMFs (Electro-Magnetic-Fields) on our system as well as continuous “blue light*” stimulation at all hours are detrimental. This all wreaks havoc on our nervous systems, causing sleep disturbances, headaches, irritability, memory issues, anxiety, and more. Additionally, we’re not as likely to go outside because of ‘safety’ recommendations, which means we’re spending less time in nature.  Being outdoors and appreciating G-d’s beautiful world is highly beneficial to our wellbeing.

Many people say they don’t have time for self-care. They say they can’t find a few moments to exercise, meditate, “breathe,” take a short walk or even listen to brief audios. What they don’t realize is with even a short dose of daily self-compassion, amazing benefits can be accrued. By not investing in self-care, we accidentally detriment our body, mind, and spirit. The Maggid of Mezritch said, “A kleiner loch in kerper iz a groiser loch in neshoma – A small defect in the body is a great one in the soul.” Imagine a lumberjack trying to chop down trees with a dull axe and ignoring the people who tell him to sharpen it. If we neglect ourselves and do not take the time to sharpen our proverbial axe, we may become stressed and reactive, ineffective, inefficient, tired, resentful, and even sick.

Much of my work is in developing and teaching practical self-care solutions.  I strongly believe in the importance of investing in ourselves to glean benefits for now and for years to come.  In these upcoming installments, I hope to share some of my very handy, short, and easy self-care “hacks” so you can thrive more abundantly in these unprecedented times. Meanwhile, enjoy our video, “WHY DON’T YOU SHARPEN YOUR AXE? which was animated by the talented and brilliant Annita Soble. You can see her other stuff here: http://www.annitasoble.com

With Gratitude,

Rus Devorah

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