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Posts Tagged ‘Shavuot’

Middah (character trait) focus: Take the steps to be yourself

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Today is the final day of the counting of the Omer, Day 49.  In the time between Passover and Shavuot (which begins tomorrow night), I have invited each of us to look at how we walk in the world.  Looking back I believe so many of my blogs said the same thing: Find ways to be yourself.  The only way to move from slavery to freedom is to both honor the person you are as you also strive to grow as a human being.

On a fundamental level, I believe that in order for most of us to be healthy, we need to be our best selves; for most of us that means we have work to do.

Take One Step

 

Taking the steps we need to take is ultimately about being yourself and honoring how you want to move in this world.  For  me, it is about making my voice heard and about impacting the world with my words.  How do you want to live your life? What do you want to do for yourself and the larger world around you?

Don’t forget to take your first step, and then your next step when you feel ready to do so.

Thank you for joining me in this journey from slavery to freedom; may we all find freedom with our next step!

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Middah (character trait) focus: Keep returning home

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

As I was flying home from Boulder  to my sons this week, I was overcome with ambivalence. I found myself wondering, what makes a place home?

At this moment in time, I am in an incredibly expansive space; I am open to any and all opportunities.  I am happy to continue in the field that I have loved for almost three decades and I am excited that an entirely new doorway may call to me.  My physical home may continue to exist in Tucson or perhaps I will end up somewhere completely different.  The world is wide open to me and possibilities abound.

In some ways it is so simple to say that I am going home.  Home is where my family lives, my dogs await my return, or where my ‘stuff’ is.  And yet when you are navigating a possible transition to a new locale, a physical home feels more like limbo.

And then the idea of home came again on Saturday morning when I went to the Temple I used to work.  I was quite surprised that I felt comfortable there in spite of my losing my position due to financial challenges within the community.  I am still feeling lots of mixed emotions as I struggle to make ends meet.  Even so, I do have very warm feelings towards the community; I am not sure why I am shocked, but I am.  One friend let me know that she hopes that I still find Temple to be my home community.  While I don’t have the answer, I realized that the mentioning of Temple as my home left me again wondering.  Where is home?

And then this morning, the answer came to me loud and clear when I listened to the brilliant TEDTalks of Elizabeth Gilbert.  When she said, “I am not going to quit (writing), I’m going home”, I realized then Gilbert eloquently expressed what I know to be true.  For me, going home means that I am writing and that I am in a writing place.  Writing makes me feel at peace, it makes me whole.

For me, I feel balanced and complete when I am writing; it really does make any place feel like home sweet home..  Where is your safe place? When do you feel most at peace? Where is your home?

May we all keep returning home to the whatever jazzes our soul, makes us feel centered, and nurtures who we are.

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Middah (character trait) focus: Imperfection is reality

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” –  Salvador Dalí 

I have a challenge; I am hard on myself when I don’t complete tasks that I wish to in a way that I believe they should be done.  And yet, sometimes it has to be reality.

Finding the saying of Salvador Dali is a gift because it absolutely helps me keep perspective and reminds me that I will always keep growing.  Striving for improvement makes so much more sense than striving for perfection.

When I was a teenager, I used to paint as much as I could; I loved art, all art.  And  often I would find my self reflecting about Salvador Dali with each stroke of the paintbrush; he was my hero.  So many of the pieces of my younger years were inspired by him.  Years later when I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a good friend, I was again  reminded of the power of Dali’s work.  He touched me like no other artist has ever touched me before or since.  Again after seeing his exhibit, I tried to find my artistic place although that time it was and still is with writing.  Although, after meeting my hero’s work again, I did start to pick up markers and colored pencils so that I could try to doodle on my journal books.

While I was at Philadelphia Museum of Art, I purchased the a mounted poster of the below painting; it reminds me that I can navigate through time, I just have to keep pushing through, doing what I dream of, and believing that I will succeed.  Not everything happens when I want it to, as I hope it will, or even at all.  Sometimes I fail and sometimes I don’t.  I just need to remember to keep on moving forward and doing the best that i can do.

Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory  Courtesy of http://www.themost10.com/famous-salvador-dali-artworks/

Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory
Courtesy of http://www.themost10.com/famous-salvador-dali-artworks/

Imperfection will always be a reality, the question is will I find the gifts that are part of the journey?

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Loving what is

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

“The more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a lover of what is.” ~Baruch Spinoza

In this final week of the counting of the Omer, I feel like it is a good think about considering where I fit into the entire universe with all of it’s gifts and challenges.  In traditional circles, this is considered the week of malkhut/kingdom.  With that in mind, I want to openly consider what it could mean to really rebirth or navigate our towards freedom.

Life is hard, really hard at times.  Sometimes it is difficult to tread the challenges.  Yet once we fully connect with what is real, even what needs to be transformed within ourselves, we can love what is because it is all part of the journey.

I always seek to find the light that surrounds me.  This past week, I found out that I wasn’t a candidate for a position even though I had spend over four hours on the phone with folks.  What is lovely is that the calls were full of positive interactions and I was able to articulate many of my ideas and hear other ideas in healthy exchange; the interview process including the rejection letter were really quite lovely. And after reflection, I believe I could have had a good experience, but it was probably not the best environment for someone who often thinks outside of the box.  I need a position, but that one lacked what I needed in a career position.

Finding the gifts within all aspects of life, good and challenging, is the only way I know how to walk through the world. Loving what is offers me a chance to embrace the moment even the ones that need to ultimately be transformed.

 

Finding light within darkness.

Finding light within darkness. . . .

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Listen to the quiet

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

“”Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.” 
~Maya Angelou’s last tweet from May 23,

When I was a little girl my father used to look into my eyes and put each hand on one of my ears and apply loving pressure.  As he did, he would whisper ‘Listen to the silence.”  I loved those peaceful moments.  When I had my own sons, my father reminded me of those moments and started doing it to each of my boys when they were just hours/days old.  Even today, I remember the warmth and the loving feeling that came over me.  I love how children always smile or relax when you hold their ears; it is so sweet.

Today I love the silence and the feeling that overcomes me when I am able to sit in the silence and appreciate the messages that surround me.  Even today I feel the warmth and loving feeling when I take a moment and listen to the silence.  Perhaps the warm feeling that washes over me is God’s energy or perhaps it is Godliness; either way I will welcome it.

May we each find a way to do that kind of listening, in that kind of quiet.

Listening to the quiet of the sunrise in Tucson. . .

Listening to the quiet of the sunrise in Tucson. . .

 

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Creating Healthy Boundaries

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

“The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.” 
~Tara BrachRadical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

We all have different needs.  While I need a lot of solitary time so that I can write, others thrive by being surrounded by family and friends.  Finding a healthy boundary that works for each of us is a key to being healthy.

In life there is so much we need to accomplish for our families, our friends, ourselves AND for our work and our communities.  We don’t always have a choice on our timing, but we do need to create the pockets of space that allow us to thrive.  We can also become more aware about how we communicate with others and allow for healthy boundaries within those connections.

May each of us honor ourselves and others too, by allowing for healthy boundaries.

 

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: ‘Say what you need to say’

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Sometime in the last year or two I found myself struggling with how to share my thoughts with someone I loved.  There were things I wanted to say, but I was terrified that I would lose the person in my life if I didn’t say what I needed to say.  And I was also aware that if I didn’t say what was weighing heavy on my heart, I would lose myself and feel forever crushed.  It was a painful time in my life.

During this time, the song “Say” by John Mayer kept coming on the radio.  Each time I heard the words with the melody, I found myself more ready to speak my thoughts.  In truth ‘saying what I needed to say’ didn’t make everything better, it rarely does.  It did, however, help me to clear the air and to ultimately move forward.

Since that time, this song has come to my head each and every time I find myself locked into what feels like a silent place.  I have to remember that my voice matters and my ideas count.  While silence is a powerful tool which inspires me to think and to become grounded, my voice and my thoughts are worthy of being heard.  The key is finding the balance.

May we all always remember that our voice matters and to ‘say what [we] need to say’.

“Say” except

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
Its better to say too much
Then never say what you need to say againEven if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide openSay what you need to say [x24]

Writer(s): John Mayer, John Clayton Mayer
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC, Specific Harm Music, Goodium Music, Reach Music Publishing-digital O.B.O. Goodium Music

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