I am currently reading the well known book, Women Who Run With the Wolves and just finished a story, La Loba, about an old woman who travels around the world to collect bones. Once she has a completed skeleton in front of her, she sings and the skeleton transforms into a human being who runs free. This story reminds me of the work we are encouraged to do during the month of Elul, the preparation month for the High Holiday Season. This is a time to collect our bones and integrate them into who we were born to be, rather than who we wish we could be. Instead of focusing on a fantasized life that we could create if only we had this, that or the other, we are challenged to look inward and reflect on how we can transform our inner landscape to be truly and completely ourselves. Yes, it is a month where we ask others to forgive us for how we may have wronged them, but most importantly it is a time for us to return to ourselves (as is suggested by the Hebrew word used for forgiveness, Teshuvah, that comes from the wordShav- to return). In order for us as Jews, Californians, Americans, Global Citizens... etc to come together and live in peace and harmony, we must first look for our bones and learn the sweet sweet song of our soul.
During the month of Tammuz, we are gifted with lots of power. In other words, it is a time of an incredible amount of potential energy being channeled to us human vessels and transformed into kinetic energy.
It is precisely during this month, one full of heat and momentum, when the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed leading to the eventual destruction of the Second Temple. What does this mean for us in 2018? Perhaps, it suggests that this is a time, when our eyes should be extra open, and we should pay close attention to where we are directing our own energy. It is an opportunity for us to focus on the construction of who we are and whether or not we are taking ourselves closer or farther from who we aspire to be. While we may not have control over what happens to us, we most certainly have control over how we perceive and react to the events in our lives. By taking steps closer to manifesting our truest selves, we may have more joyful reactions to what we encounter on our path - and imagine the world that we could co-create with an attitude of bliss and wonder?!
During the month of Sivan, we have a birthday party for the Torah (AKA Shavuot)!
One aspect of the Torah that we are celebrating during this holiday is what is known as Halacha, or the laws of Jewish life. In Hebrew, the root of this word is to walk. As Jews, we have been gifted with magical tools to carry on our journey through life. If we let them, they can help us navigate this roller coaster- world and manifest our full potential. No matter the ups, downs and upside downs, we have our G!d box. Whether it be a law about charity, eating or dressing, each and every one connects us to our community, heightens our self-awareness and establishes a connection between us and the Divine.
As we journey forward this month, let's find one thing, no matter how small, to take with us from our Torah Birthday Party. Consider it a goodie bag with the best treats of all: family, mindfulness and G!d.
Iyyar is known as the month of healing for its name is an acronym: I am G-d your healer (Exodus 15: 26)." It is the month that connects the holiday of Passover to the holiday of Shavuot. On Passover, the Jewish People were taken out of Egypt, and on Shavuot the Jewish People received the Torah. And so it was that while the Jewish People were wandering about in the desert, G!d was our healer. Our task while wandering was to let go of our lives as slaves in Egypt and our survival mentality and prepare ourselves for serving Hashem and embracing life- a therapeutic desert experience. Since that was/is no easy task, G!d took care of our bodily needs. We were like children, our physical needs were cared for so that we could focus on dreaming and imagining who we wanted to be.
Do you remember that feeling? Do you remember that sense of possibility?
This is the month to tap into that, to find time to sit with that inner imaginative child and feel that sense of WOW. And if in this moment, our physical needs challenge our ability to sit in the spiritual, perhaps by remembering that G-d is our healer and no matter the desert in which we find ourselves, the Jewish People are with you and G!d is with you, we may be able to find a spark of WOW.
This month, Rosh Chodesh Nisan is the first month that the Jewish people celebrated. It was just as we were leaving Egypt when G-d told us to sanctify the new moon, “This month [Nisan] will be for you the beginning of the months, it will be for you the first of the months of the year (Exodus 12:1).” Something that differentiated our status as slaves to that of free men and women was reclaiming a sense of time. In order to make the most out of Freedom, G!d began to give us tools to do so, the first of which was an understanding of time. How often do we set goals but cannot figure out how to execute them? We may be free, creative and full of ideas but without good time management, our ability to manifest anything is hampered. Rosh Chodesh Nisan gives us the opportunity to not only think about our goals but also how we will achieve them.
By diving into the practice of time management that G!d has given us, may we be blessed to transform the gift of freedom into an opportunity to achieve our wildest dreams!
At what point in our lives do our costumes become us? Whether it be, a suit you wear to work or a baby stroller, the objects we use and the clothes we wear have the power to transform us. The month of Adar and the holiday of Purim give us an opportunity to change: to wear what we want, carry what we wish and be who we desire. On Purim, we let go of our regular clothes, titles and appearances and take a dive into a fantasy world. Our costumes are new, fresh and untainted by experiences or memories. It is the first time we are dressing in whatever costume it is we want, and we can fill it with whatever energy we want. No one expects anything of us. No one thinks we will act a certain way. Perhaps, no one even knows that it's us...And it's in this space, the space of a random costume, where we can tap into our deepest selves.
May the energy that we absorb from our costumes on Purim, fill our day-to-day wardrobes with freshness, and may we gain the courage to show our wildest selves even when covered in simple clothes.
But most importantly may this Purim take us closer to becoming more comfortable with who we are on the inside and less attached to what we wear on the outside.
April Showers Bring May Flowers. I heard this often as a kid, eager to move from the gray days of April to the sunny days of May. At the time, it was difficult for me to grasp that it was the rain which made the flowers and fruits of Spring possible. Shevat is like that. It is the beginning of the beginning. During this month, a month of rain, we celebrate the New Year of the Trees, on Tu Beshvat. Before the flowers blossom and the fruits ripen, we are already thanking G!d for nature’s candy. During this month, in the weekly Torah portions we read about the Jews leaving Egypt (even though it did not actually happen until two months later in the month of Nissan). Before we become free, we are commemorating freedom. Why not wait until the climax of Spring to give thanks for fruit? Why celebrate freedom when we are still slaves in a foreign land? What is it about praising the potential for growth? It’s Tikvah, Hope. A hope that is so strong, it can actually bring experiences, people and places into existence. During this month, we have the opportunity to reflect on whatever it is we wish to bring into our lives: a job, a spouse, a hobby, a new perspective ….. and find joy in all those steps that we have taken to get there. And though it may rain, or snow, more than we would like, it may just be what we need to transform our dreams into reality.