by Jordan Braunig, Hebrew College intern
Who knows how long I’d been sitting at my desk. Hours? Days? Months? It was time to write my blog post for Mayyim Hayyim, but what to write! I racked my brain, and still, nothing; literally, nothing. Sure, I’ve had the occasional case of writer’s block, but this was getting ridiculous. What is a person to do in such a situation? That’s when it hit me. Of course! Had I learned nothing from my time as an intern at Mayyim Hayyim? When all else fails, create a ritual immersion to help you out of your bind. For instance:
Your pet ferret ran away –
let your rodent-sorrows be swept away as your body is embraced by the waters.
Your favorite sitcom just got cancelled –
step into the warm waters and recognize all the potential that exists in the next television season.
Ate too much at the Indian buffet –
feel your saag paneer-stuffed-belly grow lighter as you immerse in the calming waters.
So, it goes without saying that a wicked case of the blog-writing blues would be no match for a dunk in the living waters of Mayyim Hayyim. Within a few short hours, I found myself at the water’s edge with a newly penned “Immersion for Blocked-Up Writers in Social Media Platforms.”©
Kavanah – My Intention
I stand in this moment prepared in body and in spirit. My body is fully rinsed of writer’s block. I have pumiced away procrastination. Distraction has been discarded with my nail clippings.
I arrive with a sense of amazement at the miracle of not being in front of a computer screen (is it ok that I still have my iPhone with me?).
Hineini– Here I am, ready to be inspired in my blog-writing, thinking of all those great bloggers who came before me. May I have the courage of Julie from Julie and Julia to chase my dreams and the fortitude to shamelessly self-promote.
First Immersion – To Recognize All that Has Blocked Me
God of all things viral, as I approach these living waters, I offer thanks. Even as I’ve been distracted by countless videos of news bloopers, of sports bloopers, of pet bloopers, I wish to express my gratitude for all the joy that they have brought me. Even as I plan to leave these distractions behind, I cherish the memory of ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing).
Slowly descend the steps into the mikveh waters and immerse completely so that every part of your body (except for your iPhone) is covered by the warm water. When you emerge, recite the following blessing:
Blessed are You, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the web.
Second Immersion- To Remove Impediments
Allow the sense of being “refreshed” that I’m experiencing now to keep me from pushing the “refresh” button again and again to see if anyone else has commented on my picture on Facebook. May the sense of “connection” that I’m currently feeling keep me from being able to “connect” to the wi-fi signal at Peet’s and then waste hours playing online scrabble. Let the feeling of being created in God’s “image” keep me from “image”-searching random acquaintances from middle school.
Immerse completely so that every part of your body (again, with the exception of your smart phone) is covered by the warm water. When you emerge, recite the following blessing:
Blessed is the One who causes signal disruptions.
Third Immersion- For Inspiration
God of the water, throw me a life-preserver of an idea!
Let it be buoyant, that its gimmickyness might cause it to rise above the rest.
Let it be bright, that its flashy title might allow it to trend.
Let it be brilliant, that some celebrity from the Jewish-professional world might tweet about it.
Immerse completely…you know the routine. After you’ve bobbed up and down a couple of times, say this:
Dear God, why are my fingertips getting wrinkled. Is it time to get out? I don’t think I know what to write about yet. I’m pretty sure I just need a few more minutes in this glorified hot tub.
Fourth Immersion- To Kill Some Time
As long as I’m in here, I should work on my elementary backstroke.
Float on your back with arms and legs on your side and lift your knees towards your chest. Thrust your legs out and apart while extending your arms like an airplane. Finally, coordinate your arms and legs, then glide.
Happy Purim, a time when we ascribe to “nahafoch hu” when all is turned upside-down and silly
Jordan Braunig is a rabbinical school student at Hebrew College in Boston who enjoys both ritual-creation and mock-ritual-creation. He is currently an intern at Mayyim Hayyim focused on men’s involvement at the mikveh, as well as serving as the rabbinic intern at Ahavas Achim in Newburyport, MA. This year for Purim he will be dressing up as pickled egg.