Sunday, April 13, 2014

Twenty-nine years a slave

 It's been a while since I've posted anything original, personal, or meaningful to the blog. A number of (good) things have made my life incredibly busy and so I find myself in front of the computer at increasingly sparser intervals.

Also, a number of (not so good) things going on in the world around me have been happening, and to blog would probably equate to blogging about said events. God knows that there is enough commentary out there without me adding to the mix; there's the additional factor that the particular issues at hand are so emotionally laden that they evoke surprising (read: saddening) responses from the most surprising places. While that's not a reason to avoid discussing an issue per se (which often takes us in interesting directions during therapy and makes me "unpopular" with my clients), in this instance it boils down to a matter of toelet, and I just don't see any in addressing an issue without providing/suggesting a solution.

So I've gone through somewhat of a writer's block, but really it's a resistance to forcing myself to write something. With Pesach approaching however, it's all the moreso important to say a few words in preparation.

One of my favorite lines in any song comes from Bob Marley, of course:

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our mind.

Initially that lyric was my banner of rebellion; later it became a guiding point as I attempted to reintegrate. Still now it's a rubric for my decisions even as I willingly submit to others' in the face of my own inexperience and ignorance.

And yet, when this time of year comes along - our zman cheiruteinu - I find myself doing more of a spiritual accounting than even during the Days of Awe. After all, this time of year is what Rav Kook calls aviv ha'olam, symbolizing rebirth - and as can be expected I find myself wanting.

I am still a slave.

Still a slave to subjective notions of what is right and wrong.

Still a slave to my own animal soul, my urges and impulses.

Still a slave to others' perception of me (an irony that has not been lost upon me).

Still a slave to that smallness of the mind that is so startling clear when I judge others for doing the same.

Still a slave to all the distractions jockeying for position when I can't even focus on my priorities.

Still a slave to seeng the world through an egocentric prism, to the effect that even when I'm helping others, I'm gauging how it makes me feel.

The sefarim hakedoshim describe the Exodus as this singular, sudden event in which God brought us out of bondage without us necessarily doing the necessary actions to merit the redemption. In other words, the velvet rope was lifted an we were ushered through as quickly as possible. We tap back into that every year at this time. Even if we "don't" deserve it, each of us has the opportunity to break the shackles of our own personal shibud.

So in this time of our freedom, I say another prayer that can hopefully gather up all the orphaned prayers that I've let drift over the past few months. I ask the Holy One to help me out of my own personal slavery, to finally be free; to help all of us get beyond the slave mentality that makes us keep our heads cast down , our backs bent, and out of breath.

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