Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav’

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.

This week I started reading Martin Buber’s, I and Thou.  While I have tried a couple of times and probably read excerpts over the years, this is the first time that I am determined to read the book in it’s entirety.

Buber I & Thou

At this point, you might be wondering why I am sharing about a book I am reading.  In truth, I am not sure exactly why I am sharing, yet I know  that the time has come to share a little more of my soul.

Each and every one of us has gifts and limitations, fears and dreams.  The key to moving forward in life is to accept who you are as you strive to be everything you want to be through work and perseverance.  So with that in mind, I want to share a little bit more about myself than I have yet to share.

While I love books and read them frequently, I have stayed away from books that force me to focus, to read/reread passages, and to feel limited.  Over the last couple of months, I have actively engaged in changing my default mode.  I am reading articles about the authors and thinkers I want to explore.  I am pushing myself to read excerpts from those that have previously been unreachable to me.  And a couple of days ago, I started reading Martin Buber’s I and Thou all by myself knowing that I will have a group of friends that will explore this work with me when I am done.

Reflecting Back In Time

Most of my life, I did great in school.  I was able to keep up with all of my studies and excel too!  But inwardly, I have always felt a little limited.  I surrounded myself with really smart people and benefited from the wind in their sails.    But inside, I always struggled with whether or not I was really smart; I also believed I was inarticulate.  At this point, people that know me might be rolling their eyes because I did do great in school and I am usually able to speak out in a class or a lecture.  I have also been known to teach some good adult education classes along with children too.  But still there is a quiet voice inside of me that challenges my right to teach, to speak up, or even to write.

Over the past 16 years, I have learned to push through my fear of writing and sharing my writing.  Writing sustains me as it strengthens my core being.  I remember the precise moment that I realized I could write again.  Weeks after my second son, Dovi, was adopted, a magazine wanted to do an article on our amazing adoption.  My initial response was “sure”.  And then I realized that I had to be the one to write our story.  I had to bury the skeleton that had kept me from writing for over a decade.

A decade earlier, a professor had told me that I should give up writing because I was really “quite horrible”.  Until that moment, becoming a writer had been a secret dream of mine.  I wrote in daily journals and looked for ways to share my writing as often as possible.  And in just a brief moment, I walked out of my upper level writing class and left it all behind.  I was crushed.  During that period of time, I believe the only thing I wrote was a shopping list.

Today I write.  I write nearly every day and I am getting ready to begin writing a book.  At this moment the details don’t matter, but I am hoping that this book will lead to more open doors and to my sharing some of what I know with others in workshop formats.  I am writer.  Yay!!! I overcame my inadequate feelings by working my way through the writing journey, word by word.

Jumping Ahead to Today

And now I am doing the same with reading Martin Buber.  I am reading each word out loud.  I am asking questions as I go, reading books and articles to help me understand one of the greatest philosophers and scholars of all time.  Word by word, I am reading his work.  After I finish Buber, I will read the works of Franz Kafka, Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav in Hebrew, and Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan.

The time has come for me to stretch myself and to trust that while I feel limited at times, I am human.  I have a brain that needs to be stretched and a voice that can be part of the conversations that will help not only myself understand what I am reading, but others too.

And now that I am feeling comfortable enough with myself to be transparent, I can say that I love that I am not alone in struggling to grasp Martin Buber.  Many readers struggle to understand this brilliant man.  Perhaps, I am really not too intellectually limited. . . . perhaps?

In this moment, I am happy that I am beginning to silence the quiet voice that kept me from writing for over a decade and kept me from exploring amazing scholars for much longer.

Reality check:  I am really not so limited after all!

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