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 30 גבורה שבהוד

Gevurah SheBeHod. Discipline within Purpose. Strength within Humility. Restraint within Splendor.

As I've stated on several occasions, I've never done anything like this before. I've long had a desire to write with more intention than the occasional journal writing I do or letters that I write to G8d. I'm enjoying it tremendously. And 30 days in, I must confess to a little fatigue nipping at my heels. What a perfect day to turn to Discipline within Purpose. This project sprang from an unexpected directive, and I've had a great sense of Purpose about it. I've certainly experienced waxing and waning of energy in other areas of my life that require daily attention. What I have learned is that sometimes it doesn't matter how you feel about it, you just show up. Most of the battle revolves around getting through the door.

My singing practice is a great case study in this. There are about a million things I will feel like doing before I can even think about whether I feel like practicing. It's always been this way. It's not that I don't love it. I think it's precisely because I love it so much, I get afraid of how I will feel if I have a less-than-stellar practice. So, instead of waiting around to find out whether I feel like practicing, I set a time and arrive in the practice room at the appointed hour. There's no doubt about my sense of Purpose as a singer, it just involves Discipline when the feelings aren't enough to motivate action. Every session may not be great, but I never walk away empty-handed.

This is a good lead-in to Strength within Humility. This means so much to me. The short version goes something like this: "I can't. G8d can. I think I'll let G8d." It is in those times when I have the humility to really acknowledge my limitations that I find my greatest Strength. When I feel I don't have the Strength of my own to meet the challenge before me, I turn to the Source of All Strength for support. A better, more reliable Support Structure I've never experienced! When I admit I don't know how, my  mind opens and I am filled with ideas. When I feel I can't go on, but know that I need to, I am enabled to tap into some secret reserve of stamina I wasn't aware I had.

I've been quite taken by the aspect of Gevurah that is Restraint. It seemed to gravitate towards the Splendor of Hod as I first started sifting through thoughts for today. I'm a big fan of realizing and acknowledging one's Splendor. This is important! "If that light is under a bushel, it's lost something kind of crucial..." -Godspell. However, there is a fine line between the glow of the Humble Splendor of experiencing and sharing our gifts and joys, and the brassy glare of ego. I find it important to check in with my motives in sharing my successes or even the successes of my loved ones. I try to be sensitive to those around me as I decide how to express the Splendor of my life. I see it a bit like adjusting window blinds to create just the right kind of light in a particular space. 

Today, may our awareness of our limitations be Splendid opportunities to tap into the Source of All Strength.

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

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

Day 31 תפרת שבהוד

Day 29 חסד שבהוד