hazzan Diana Brewer was ordained through the aleph ordination program. she leads prayer services regularly at the jewish community of amherst, and is on the staff of the davvenen leadership training institute.

Day 23 גבורה שבנצח

Gevurah SheBeNetzach. Discipline, Restraint, Judgement within Endurance, Ambition, Eternity.

I am struck, again and again, by the revelation of the way Gevurah leads us to gentleness. Let's explore.

It is wonderful and important to have goals. I think we can all agree upon that. It is wonderful and important to work hard in order to achieve those goals. Who can argue with that? However, it can be easy to overlook the importance of resting, taking a step back, allowing for what I like to call "steep time" as we plug away at something. There is Restraint involved in the Persistence of Netzach. Having the willingness to rest and to let something steep reliably results in a better outcome for me.

The same can certainly be said of our daily goings-on. If I take even 30 seconds to close my eyes, breathe, and connect with my Source before I greet my daughter after school, everyone is much better off. 

It is also important to exercise Judgement as we practice the Netzach of achievement. Sometimes, I have to step back and ask myself, "Is this still really what I should be doing?" A number of years ago, I got excited about early childhood music education. I had been to some wonderful music classes with my daughter when she was a baby and toddler, and I felt it was something I could learn to do and would enjoy. I took some wonderful courses, I set out to establish a home practice. I bought supplies, figured out how to make a nice cozy space in my living room for all those little kids who would be coming. I printed fliers and bookmarks, visited potential host sites for classes outside my home. I offered free classes in my home. I was doing my footwork, alright! 

Thud. Thump. Thwack! I kept hitting walls. It just wasn't going anywhere. Clearly, it was not for lack of trying. Sometimes, when we take a step back to look, and we see things are just not falling into place, it becomes clear it's time to move on. Many wonderful opportunities have opened up since then, which keep presenting open doors for me to walk through. I happily persist in these things. 

As a counterpoint to the above, I'd also like to say a word on the aspect of Discipline within Endurance that speaks to the importance of keeping on. As I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Hidden Brain, this evening, I heard a cautionary tale about the potential pitfalls of positive thinking. Now, anyone who knows me knows that positive thinking is a hallmark of my life. However, the guest on the show spoke of the way in which too much of the wrong type of positive thinking, which she sometimes referred to as positive fantasizing, can be a hindrance. We can trick ourselves into thinking that if we just think about it in a positive way, it will happen. If I have learned anything in my years in recovery, it is the value of footwork, and the magic that happens when I combine a positive attitude with a nice shmear of elbow grease. 

 Today, as we work hard, let us take time to rest easy, and to be ever-open to shifts in the wind.

 For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

For a couple of different Omer counting guides try mishkan.org or chabad.org.

Day 24 תפרת שבנצח

Day 22 חסד שבנצח