Sunday, June 5, 2011

Purple Peonies & Bais Chana Musings


  A day and a half of 80 degrees in the beautiful Berkshires can raise anyone's spirits. Combine that with an eclectic group of women, thought provoking lectures on all matters spiritual, mountain views, a family of geese on the lake, baby goats, the distinct sounds of bullfrogs and crickets, giant bushes of purple flowers that looked like a cross between a hyacinth & a peony, the sweetest smells of honeysuckle and spring and that's where I've been. 

So why am I miserable?

On an impulse, between classes, I jotted down some thoughts and feelings (I can be impulsive). I'm going out on a limb here and sharing them with you.

... feeling the essential "power" that is essentially woman. not power at all. more of a submission. a sweet surrender to the feminine. i guess the word i'm looking for is powerful - that comes from within. not through effort, rather acceptance. acceptance of myself, acceptance of others. 
     very grateful to have this opportunity to participate in inspiring, thought provoking classes. feeling enriched through the process of blending and sharing, evolving in this symmetry of give and take. allowing myself to discover old things from an entirely new perspective. thinking way outside of my comfort zone. rocking the boat, yet feeling firmly grounded. steadfast in my new mission to embrace my spirituality - in ways that i have not previously. being mindful of spiritual moments that are everywhere, really. allowing myself to find them, seek them out, invoke & embrace them....

I'm having a hard time believing that I felt like this yesterday. It feels like last year - or last decade? I'm back in the daily grind and feeling challenged. I desperately want to hold onto that inspiration, yet I feel it slipping through my fingers.  Like trying to gather water with a fork. I had felt so exhilarated - why am I unable to actualize that feeling now that I'm home? 


The class that I found most inspiring was a yoga class. Really. Yoga. For real. I know. There are plenty of yoga classes available here in my neighborhood. Not like this one. Bracha Meschaninov taught a class called "Experiencing the Sefirot through Movement". Bracha explained how each sefira is associated with a particular limb/organ that corresponds to its position in the anatomical sefirotic structure. She walked us through the body, identifying the corresponding sefira and helped us tune into each individual strength. It was powerful, empowering and gratifying to view my body through these visualizations.


Another class that was particularly meaningful to me was given by Freidy Yanover, called "Time to Heal: Learn to tap into the source of all Healing". She explained how illness begins in the soul. Before you run away with that, I'm not talking about a vengeful G-d. The Maggid of Mezritch says "A small hole in the soul can become a big hole in the body".  When the soul is yearning, the body becomes ill. The soul yearns for connection with its source. The soul exists in perfect harmony. The body is constantly struggling with self awareness. There soul & the ego cannot work in harmony. There is only place for one or the other. Or as the Baal Shem Tov says "Ego distorts our ability to be one with our essence, to be one with G-d".



Bracha carried this same concept in her class - Mystical Dance between Faith, Light, Food & Healing. She shared tools from a Torah perspective on how to lead a healthy, integrated, balanced life. Bracha said that in order to achieve optimum health, the body & soul need to be in synch. The soul is light, the body its vessel. The stronger the vessel, the more light it can contain. 

...So back to me. Self pity doesn't get me very far. Practicing gratitude does. I'm hoping to take some of this great information and make it an actual part of my life. To find gratitude and run with it. To let my soul do its thing. To be inspired by the little moments. And mostly, to be patient with myself.

To all things good,
Chana

ps. tiny disclaimer: I did not photograph the purple peonies featured here. Simply sharing because they are beautiful.


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