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 37 גבורה שביסוד

Gevurah SheBeYesod. Discipline within Foundation. 

DO be a stick in the mud! Huh? Many years ago, when I was very newly in recovery, I had a job interview. My potential boss was a kind of quirky guy, and he needed someone to handle certain administrative tasks for his business and personal life. The one question he asked that I will never forget was: "You seem like a woman of integrity. Are you a woman of integrity?" Up to that moment, I had never thought about what that word actually meant, and certainly not what it meant in relation to myself. It was just a familiar word. A group of syllables. My brain opened to a sound file of my sponsor saying to me: "I do what I say I'm going to do." I suddenly understood - that was integrity. Over the period of months I had been in recovery at time, I knew I had become someone who fit that description. I looked him in the eye and said, "Yes, I am."

I had begun to build a Foundation. I was staying abstinent from my addiction each day, and using the spiritual tools that my sponsor had given me to make that possible. I showed up to these practices, these Disciplines, every single day, no matter what. These included daily prayer and meditation (my cherished Quiet Time), phone calls to other recovering addicts, attending meetings several times a week - sometimes driving 2 hours to get there. I was aware that my staying sober was contingent upon me keeping up the Discipline of this Foundation for a new way of life.

I've also been able to develop ideas, opinions, a sense of who I am and the things that make me tick. I have a sense of Foundation as a person, apart from the things that I do. I have beliefs, standards, and values. I used to be a rather flimsy reed, blowing in the wind. A typical conversation involving opinions might go something like this: Friend: "So, did you like the movie?" Me: "Did you like it?" I couldn't just say what I thought, for fear of being "wrong" or judged unfavorably. Today, I have integrity, not just in my actions, but in my sense of myself. While it is also Foundational to my way of thinking that I need to keep an open mind, it is extremely important to have enough Strength behind my convictions that they actually mean something. If I tell my daughter that I think exercise is important, it doesn't mean much if she knows I never do it. If I tell her that I find it important to have spirituality in my life, it doesn't hold any water unless she hears me talk about what that means and how I have benefited from it. If people hadn't fought for decades against legal and societal roadblocks, I would not be legally married today. 

Today we can ask ourselves: Do I keep Discipline around those things that provide my Foundation? Do I stand by the things that I believe and demonstrate those through my actions in the world?

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

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

Day 38 תפרת שב יסוד

Day 36 חסד שביסוד