Posts Tagged gevurah

Day 9 Counting the Omer 2013 Gevurah she b’Gevurah

Discernment within Discernment

Gevurah implies setting boundaries based on what we discern. As anyone who has raised children, trained a dog or nurtured a home garden knows, appropriate boundaries are necessary for healthy growth. Recognizing the usefulness of restraint is a sign of maturity — emotionally and spiritually.

One personal example today. The 6 year old dog we rescued from the shelter a few weeks ago gets nervous and starts shaking in some situations. We discovered, however, that as soon as we put a leash and collar on him, he calms down. It is as if he knows he is safe when there are clear boundaries — and someone else is setting them! With boundaries discerned and set Charley is a happier dog….and so are his humans!

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Day 2 Gevurah she b’Chsed

Day 2 of Omer counting
Gevurah she b’Chesed
Appropriate boundaries within endless lovingkindness

How necessary are those boundaries, defined with love. This is the essence of ‘tough love’, or parenting, or dog training (which I’m in the midst of). Personally, if I don’t remember to set those boundaries, to exercise restraint, I have a tendency to just give and give and give…and then end up exhausted, or frustrated. Self-care is discernment, well applied.

Blessings to all for careful self-care for this day of counting. Remembering, that, in the grand scheme of things, YOU count.

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DAY 23: Gevurah she b’Netzach

It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes in order to persevere, we need to stop. That’s part of the message of Discernment within Endurance….it’s the old country song of ‘know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em’! I often think of the work I do with families as parents and grandparents age and become increasingly frail and dependent. Thoughtful balancing between considerations of safety and autonomy is necessary. Sometimes, as when an adult child decides to take the car keys away from their parent who is no longer competent to safely drive, the decision to stop (driving, in this case) contributes directly to the opportunity to continue (living safely, in this case).

May we all discern carefully today in order to choose those paths which lead to continuity in the most positive ways.

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DAY 16: Gevurah she b’Tiferet

Sometimes the only way to get some sense of balance is to say NO! No, just because another person called and needed me to help them immediately does not mean I need to drop everything to help them right now. No, just because I would like to leave work and go for a long walk in the sunshine does not mean that that would be the wisest choice. No, just because I have the opportunity to do another presentation does not mean that I need to do that. In essence, keeping an inner balance, a harmonious life REQUIRES that I set up appropriate boundaries, that I discern the difference between opportunity and necessity. The mantra is this: “JUST BECAUSE I CAN DOESN’T MEAN I MUST”. I really appreciate the lesson of this pairing of sephirot……

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DAY 13: Yesod she b’Gevurah

Some of you know that, among other things, I have a degree in Architecture. Today is a good day to remember some of the things I learned in that field–applicable not only to actual physical structures, but to the other structures of our lives: the emotional frameworks upon which we rely, the intellectual assumptions that help us understand the world, and the spiritual web into which each of our moments is woven.

Firm foundations help structures be strong, but firm does not mean rigid. The best foundations are responsive to conditions (soil, culture, history) and result in the ability to be appropriate when crises occur. In the midst of those crises- hurricanes, divorces, job challenges etc–we are more able to discern our best choices when we stand on firm foundations.

Yesod is a carefully designed foundation underlying the discernments of Gevurah. May each of our boundaries be undergirded by faith that the One is the foundation of All.

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DAY 12: Hod she b’Gevurah

After a keep on goin’, keep on goin’ day full of sunshine and mild breezes and appreciation of the amazing process by which the lovely flowers on my pear tree will, B”H, develop into pears!

Hod she b’Gevurah is one of my favorites: a day which always calls me to be more aware of the details in nature than usual. As the sun was setting into this day, there were pink streaks in the clouds, no, maybe they were blue or purple, or that ’sky-blue-pink’ that is so hard to describe. I plan to spend part of tonight/tomorrow contemplating some of the many various parts of my personal history which help me make good judgments now, well into my adulthood. Hod, as amazing variety and detail…..infusing my ability to discern. There are so many choices in life…yet so many of us often see only black or white, left or right, right or wrong….today is a day for going beyond the shades of gray…into the rainbow.

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DAY 10: Tiferet she b’Gevurah

It really was a Gevurah she b’Gevurah day before the sun went down!  The clearest example was helping a couple whose combined age was 185 years (!) move out of their home into an assisted living apartment. Helping them distinguish the issues of safety vs familiarity, helping them discern the positive aspects of a change they had dreaded, and then helping their family be strong enough to insist that they accept the loving boundaries of a changed living situation….I was grateful for the spiritual strength available to me on this day of the Omer journey; I needed it to help them.

Tonight was something completely new in Albuquerque—a women’s Maimouna event.  Over 120 Jewish women gathered — from across the spectrum of affiliation and observance — to mark the traditionally Moroccan celebration that follows Passover.  Harmony, beauty and balance were everywhere (along with delicious food, great singing and warm greetings)….tiferet then helped in the discernment necessary for the more serious part of the evening–table discussions on the meaning of freedom for us as women today.  The stories were powerful, funny, informative and unusual….as we went around at each table, there were tales of oppression and liberty, of limited opportunity and tremendous growth.  The whole evening reflected the theme of the tenth day of the Omer — harmony within discernment and balance as an essential element of strength.  May the hours that complete this day follow that most memorable beginning.

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DAY 9: Gevurah she b’Gevurah

When I think of ‘discernment’ within ‘discernment’, I also think ‘judgment’ within ‘judgment’, I can’t help thinking I’m crossing the line toward being judgmental. It’s such a loaded word, but I’ve been wondering about the fine line between being a careful judge–a judge of character, for example–or the Judges in Tanach–where the word implies a kind of wisdom and thoughtfulness. When did applying that kind of thoughtful decisionmaking get to imply intolerance or guilt-tripping or negativity? Today, constraint/boundaries/strength/judgment turns in on itself. I think of that mathematical construction called a “Kline bottle”, which is a three dimensional Moebius strip–the surfaces on the ‘inside’ become the surfaces on the ‘outside’ and continue to exchange in relationship with each other. (I’m sure there’s a better explanation–any math folks out there?). Anyway, discerning boundaries is a continuum rather than a differentiator, then we can begin to recognize the interconnectedness of everything–that discernment is rather arbitrary if all is really One. Perhaps discernment within discernment is an exercise in recognizing that differentiating is an intellectual exercise, that spiritual discernment is about recognizing/discerning that boundaries blend, in the final analysis. Ein Sof, after all, is about the total lack of boundary!

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DAY 8: Chesed she b’Gevurah

Eight marks new beginnings; we perform bril mila on the eighth day! Today we recognize that each time we make a commitment, we are marking a boundary and infusing the ‘area’ within that boundary with love. Think about pregnancy–love growing inside a strong, yet flexible container. At meditation tonight, the group was strong and clear, and the energy could flow freely and strongly, lifting the entire group to a higher/deeper level….without the commitment of each individual in the group, the spiritual trust necessary for lovingkindness/G-d energy to flow would have been more difficult.

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DAY 3: Harmony within Lovingkindness

Often during the period of counting the Omer, synchronicities happen that relate to the theme of the day. Earlier today, during Day 2, Gevurah within Chesed, one of those happened. I was visiting soma patient in the hospital when a friend of hers came in, windblown and tired from rushing to get there. Spontaneously, the visitor said to her friend: “I really care about you, and I wanted to see you…but I really had to set some boundaries to be able to get here. So I canceled a client so I could be here.” Neither one of them knew about the Omer, about Gevurah, or about the theme of the day….it just happened!

Today, the third day of counting, focuses on Harmony and balance within lovingkindness. I’m reminded of how difficult it sometimes is to find balance in our busy lives. We talk about ‘centering ourselves’, about life being a ‘balancing act’..it’s interesting that we express these as verbs…as actions, dynamic…not as a state of ‘being in balance’, or ‘living harmoniously’. Today we can focus on bringing that desire for harmony, based in the center of our bodies, and in our hearts, through Chesed, lovingkindness. It’s as if the action of seeking harmony needs a coating of love to come to a balance point, to a place of stillness.

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