Skip to main content

The Blessing of Balance and Humility - A Spiritual Trifecta

Four days ago my cousin, an herbalist, created the "10 Days of Positivitea" challenge. No dumping ice water on my head (which I did), her gentle invitation was to spend a few minutes a day with myself, a meditation, an intention, and a cup of tea. Truth be told, I'm not a tea drinker, so I enjoy my husband's yummy daily coffee, but the rest is as directed.

Simultaneously I am participating in my colleague Rabbi Phyllis Sommer's #BlogElul, a daily opportunity to prepare for Rosh Hashanah using prompts provided by Rabbi Sommer. 

And one more thing, I and several dozen rabbis and cantors are engaged in a program of learning mussar, Jewish text-based method of self-explorative learning of how to apply middot (Jewish values) such as humility, kindness, righteousness, patience, and equanimity to our lives and – by extension – within our communities. As do all mussar students, we began a month ago with anavah, humility. 

Today the three opportunities gently brush up against each other. 

Day 3: #balance #10daysoftea 
Day 4: #bless #blogelul
Anavah: No less than my space, no more than my place.

#Bless, #balance, #anavah/humility mingle today as I reflect on how I have grown as a person and as Jew.

In my natural, untamed, undisciplined state, I tend to be an either-or kind of person. Black/white, immersed/distant, passionate/detached. I exercise daily or not at all. I study ferociously or waste time in front of the idiot boxes of my laptop or television. I fiercely organize my space or leave my stuff wherever it lands. I either want a lot of attention or believe that I have no value.

But all that is changing. Physical injuries demand that I get off the treadmill so I can heal. Preparing for the High Holidays demands that I apportion my day wisely. Becoming aware how humility crops up in my personal and professional lives is changing the way I approach both.

The #blessing of #balance and #anavah/humility is that my soul feels so much more peaceful and able to live and work in a place of calm. I can let others join me on my bench, I allow myself enough space to exist sweetly, and I am trying mightily to appreciate how I can learn from every person and experience I encounter.

So my #intention today is to make my pre-Shabbat to-do list, believe that with my Source of energy and spirit I can accomplish what I need to for the day, and be open to the lessons that God and the universe are teaching me.

Shabbat shalom ... l'shanah tovah.


Popular posts from this blog

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777: WAIT

I got the best advice from my son: "Mom, why are you even engaging with these people? Please stop."

I've got people on Facebook who - while holding similar philosophies in some areas - are 180 degrees from me politically. I long ago determined that arguing with these people is counterproductive, only useful if I believe - science notwithstanding - that heartrate-raising arguments is equal to a good cardio workout.

And so my goal for today is to WAIT (by the way, not an original concept - I learned it from Rabbi Andy Sklarz): Why Am I Talking?

Provocateurs and bullies want to be engaged. They poke, someone responds, and the game is afoot. Like fire, they need constant air renewal. So if don't engage, don't respond, they will run out of air.

So for today, I grit my teeth ... and wait.

Elul 23: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 6:50 (Begin)

Someone I knew hated the expression "new beginning" because it was redundant. The argument was that beginning implies new, right?

Not necessarily. A "do-over" is a beginning of sorts that acknowledges that the first try got muffed up. "Start again, from the beginning" and "begin again" are phrases I use regularly with students and choir singers. A "new" beginning is an attitude, a mindset, an awareness that we have a chance to do something with a fresh take, a new vision. 

Even  בראשית ברא אלוהים, B'reishit bara Elohim, the first words in the Bible, are translated frequently as "when God was beginning," implying that starting this new venture was an ongoing event. It's suggested that God had given this new world thing a go several times already, was about to abandon the effort, and only the angels' intervention gave God the oomph to give it another try ... this time with feeling (as the saying goes).

We're about …

Elul 21: The airline safety guide (Love)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai. (Lev. 19:18)

You shall love the stranger that dwells with you (who will be for you like the native-born among you), as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Adonai, your God. (Lev. 19:34)

And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might ... (Deut. 6:5)

If you've paid attention to your flight attendant, you know that in the event of an emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on first. Only then do you help someone next to you, including a child. Why? Because if you don't have oxygen, you're useless to anyone else.

It's the same with love.

Start by loving and caring for yourself. It's not selfish; it's just a place to start.

Then move outward: your neighbor, your community, the strangers around you.

Then, finally, the realm of God: the spiritual love that holds all the others together.

But it all starts in your own home.