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Omer 44

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day forty four, which is six weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim v’arba she hem shisha shavuot ve shtey yamim laOmer.

Today is Gevura be Malkhut, strength within majesty, might within presence

I was talking on the facebooks yesterday, and ran into this bit about executive dysfunction. On “That Spoonie Feel”, a blog, someone wrote:

The more I find myself having to explain executive dysfunction to people the more I realise it’s near impossible. There’s a thing. I wanna do that thing, I really do. But no matter how hard I try to tell my brain to do the thing, it won’t do the thing. I can’t tell you the amount of hours I’ve spent scrolling mindlessly through social media wanting more than anything to stop, but I can’t. This concept is so ridiculously alien to abled/neurotypical people and makes awareness/acceptance for it so hard to achieve. If an abled/nt person wants to, say, have a shower, or get some food, they just up and do it, no second thought. But the amount of mental exhaustion that goes into getting myself to get up and do one of those things can honestly be disabling in itself. It’s not laziness, or not caring. It’s a total mental block between wanting something and doing something about it. I really wish the concept of this was more widely acknowledged. We are not lazy.

So, I thought about it and here was my reply:

“Tell me about it. I actually explain this using a business. Think of the executive function as the boss. I have a terrific brain – my r & d team. My workers, who make the stuff – my arms and legs – quite functional. My sales staff – mouth, ears – very well trained – does their job well too. I have people buying supplies, and stocking shelves. But my admin staff – the foreman who says, “keep working “, the secretary who manages the schedule and says where everything is, the boss who sets priorities and directs staff to tasks – in fact, the executive of the company- is missing. Imagine how well a company would work with no admin: no one to deal with bickering staff or conflicting priorities, no one to schedule anything or make sure that a team doesn’t go off on a tangent, no one to find the flipping replacement light bulbs! That’s what it’s like for me when I want to shower.

The other thing I do is i spell it out in painstaking detail. So, first, I have to decide it’s time to shower. Then, I have to convince myself to put the phone down. Then I have to stand up. I have to make it past 2 bookshelves without picking a book up. Then I leave the room, and remember to close the door quietly. Then I walk to the bathroom, but once there don’t remember why I’m there and return to the bedroom and pick up my phone. Then I repeat all this ten minutes later, and make it to the bathroom at last, only to realize I need a towel and I forgot to bring mine. Back to the bedroom I go!

By then, people are staring at me with a horrified expression on their faces, saying, “stop; please stop!’ ”

For me, strength is making myself get through the morning routine, making myself mark papers, making myself prep materials, and then STILL show up in front of people and lead them too. Strength is never giving up even if it took me 7 attempts just to make it to the shower this morning, because the blog isn’t going to write itself, and neither are the midterm report cards. Strength in leadership is being clear with people that no matter how hard it gets, it’s doable and worth the effort and I know, because I do it every day. Whether it’s with lists or games, sticker charts or points, candy treats or check boxes, I keep looking for ways to inspire myself, direct myself, lead myself and be the executive.

Today, may I have the strength to keep working out ways to be my own leader.

Omer 37

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day thirty seven, which is five weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve sheva she hem hamisha shavuot ve shtey yammim laOmer.

Today is Gevura be Yesod, strength within family, endurance within intimacy

I was thinking of a lullaby today, and I was thinking of how long I’ve been singing it. I sang it in Russian before I knew English and I still sing it in Russian, so most of the people I sing it to don’t know what I’m saying. Here are the words, roughly translated by yours truly:

“Fields of moonlight shining, night is bright as day.
Sleep my child, my darling, sleep as I once lay,
In your pillow’s corner, tuck your little nose
Stars, the sky’s performers, like freckles look below.

Gutters out the candle, fading ray by ray
Sleep my heart, my handle, sleep as I once lay
In your pillow’s corner, tuck your little nose
Stars, the sky’s performers, like freckles look below.

Gutters out the candle, fading ray by ray
Sleep my heart, my handle, sleep as I once lay
Like all lullabies, it is fairly meaningless, and evokes emotions more than a story or coherent thoughts. The words, however poorly I may have translated them, take one from one time to another. With this lullaby, that’s particularly appropriate. I’ve been singing it for almost 40 years. One of the people I sang it to is 38 now, and another is 8, and many are between those ages, with their own interests and lives, loves and lullabies. Because it was always in Russian, I don’t know if any of them remember or know this one – it was not my main one for most of them, it was the “Gosh, I’m so tired, won’t you please go to sleep so I can stop singing” one. But it was often there, somewhere, and today, it’s the one I think of.

What does it mean, “as I once lay?” I myself had poor sleeping nights, and nightmares. There were nights I’d really rather not have, never mind wishing them on a child. I was certainly not the innocent sleeping child of postcard pictures. Yet, this day, it struck me – this lullaby builds. It builds connection and relationship, it builds intimacy, it builds and as it builds it strengthens.

Maybe that’s exactly what I want for those children that I sing to – that strength of having lived through all those different nights, that intimacy of built relationships one lullaby at a time, that vision of the stars as little freckles on God’s tousle-haired face, looking down on me, on the kids I’ve sang to, on the kids I’ve yet to sing to – pulling us all together in a deep intimacy against the darkness of the night.

Today, I think of all the little ways I’ve used to build intimacy, and all the people I’ve built that intimacy with. They are my strength.

Omer 30

 

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day thirty, which is four weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim she hem arbaa shavuot ve shtei yammim laOmer

Today is Gevura be Hod, strength within gratitude, might within humility.

Today, I am grateful for smiles and forget-me-nots, for unexpected cake and presents, for success in meeting goals and communication. Today, I access the strength that is mine, when I simply feel grateful for the many small, insignificant aspects of my day that usually, I don’t even think about. As I appreciate the many little gifts of the day, I see the world as beautiful and my own place in it as a good one. I see each person in my life differently too. Because the people in our lives – well, you know what they’re like! Loud, demanding, selfish and uncaring or silent, unhelpful, self-centered and uncaring, all of them! There’s not a single one who just acts the way I want them to act all the time. But with a small-items gratitude list, they’re better people – I remember that that selfish and uncaring person may the one who did the dishes, invited me for a walk, gave me ride, or made me dinner. Of course, having nicer people in my life makes me stronger. So, I can use gratitude – to strengthen relationships and improve attitude, to give myself might but only when I acknowledge that our imperfections make us who we are.

Today, we are stronger both as individuals and in relationship when we are grateful for the little things around us.

Omer 23

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day twenty-three which is three weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shalosh she hem shlosha shavuot vey shtey yammim laOmer.

Today is Gevurah be Netzakh, strength within power, might within victory.

I feel a bit as I’ve been dipped in some sort of sticky gunky stuff today, which is causing me to move super slowly and stupidly. But that’s no reason to keep from writing this Omer. That’s my story today. I’m doing stuff despite the fact that I go super slow, that I get almost nothing done, that everything takes way longer than expected and that the distractions are manifold. I keep going, and sometimes, another task gets successfully done. A little task – a single thing that makes me feel better about myself, that makes my space a nicer one, that helps others live happy successful lives. That’s a victory – and the strength I need, the one that brings me that victory, that’s the strength to write one more line; to do one more thing; to take one more step.

Today, I accept that I may be moving slowly towards victory, but I refuse to stop. My strength is to keep going.

Omer 16

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day sixteen which is two weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom shesh-es’re she hem shtey shavuot ve shtey yammim laOmer.

Today is Gevura be Tiferet, limits within beauty, strength within grace.

You know what’s really beautiful? Relationships. The connection between people is one of the strongest – the reason God made the world, in some ways. It makes everything better when people form a relationship between two people. Sometimes, though, for no fault of their own, the strong, beautiful relationship still ends. At first, there’s a lot of phantom ache – like checking the place where the tooth used to be with your tongue – around this person. Gradually, limits get set in place, distance created and new different relationships are formed. Meanwhile, however, this one has ended. Recognizing and accepting that is a good step towards building a new relationship.

Today, I will cherish the beautiful relationships I have and ask God for the strength to let go of the ones that are ending.

Omer 14

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day fourteen which is two weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom arba-es’re she hem shtey shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Gevura, majesty within strength, nobility within might.

Oh, no, I don’t think so. I don’t feel strong or majestic. I feel old and worn paper-thin. I feel crumpled. I feel done like dinner. And still, I am trying to do the next thing because the next thing needs to be done. It may not be very majestic but that’s about all I have, strength wise. I’m going to keep trying to do all the little things I need to get done between today and tomorrow, be that prep or marking, writing or organization. I am going to prioritise doing daily tasks because those are the ones that can so easily get lost (I hope one day I can actually have a habit of getting things done. It will keep stuff like this from happening, maybe.)

How is this majestic? Where is the nobility? I don’t know – maybe kings and queens get tired and worn out and sit there with bleary eyes trying to read one more report on the state of the country’s budget and another set of opinion pols. Maybe it’s not the godliness of majesty within strength that I should look at – maybe it’s the humanity. Because no matter how tired they are, kings and queens have to keep going. They can’t say “I think I won’t be king or queen tomorrow.” Be they good rulers or bad, capable or otherwise, they still have to be there the next day.

I can’t project majesty and win in the whole acting nobly thing – but I can do the next task whatever that may be. That’s the kind of “nobility” I can manage – I will be there the next day.

Today, I reach deep into my reserves of strength, and I do just one more right thing – and one more. That has some nobility to it after all.

 

Omer 13

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day thirteen which is one week and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom shlosh-es’re she hem shavua ehad ve shisha yamim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Gevura, privacy within strength, intimacy within might.

Today, I respect those for whom privacy is the aspect of Yesod (sod means secret) that matters, but I acknowledge for me, intimacy is the side that I turn to. The two are very connected, of course – we are private about our most intimate moments, but it’s a question of where we draw our strength. I get my strength from close times spent together with people I love. That’s my Yesod be Gevura. It can be one person or 20, so long as they are people that I’m interacting with in a positive and sharing manner. I know there are those for whom their strength is privacy – separation from others, possibly all others. That’s a solid alternative. Most of us probably like a bit of both. So, we acknowledge that we have strength that comes from Yesod, however we chose to experience it.

Today, may both intimate and private moments contribute to making you feel strong.

Omer 12

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day twelve which is one week and five days of the Omer. Hayom yom shtem-es’re she hem shavua ehad ve hamisha yamim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Gevura, gratitude within strength, humility within might.

This is the moment when I realize how ridiculous my pride in my basic traits is. I am not intelligent because I did something. It is a gift I was born with. I can be proud of what I do with my intelligence – but having it? The best I can do is enjoy it and feel grateful. Sometimes, I get caught up in all the ways that the universe has been unfair to me. I have this issue and that and I have that problem and this and all these things make so much more difficult for me. I just need to remember that it’s that same universe that gave me all those positives too – I have a lot of strength, I have many capabilities, there is so much that others cannot do with ease that I can – look, I write this stuff as a hobby! Today, I remember my abilities and feel grateful for the gifts I’ve been given.

Today, we stop looking at our shortcomings, and focus on our strengths – with gratitude!

Omer 11

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day eleven which is one week and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom ahad-es’re she hem shavua ehad ve arbaa yamim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Gevura, victory within strength, power within might.

(Sleep within night-time?) I am very intelligent (also, modest, pretty, and…) This is my strength. I can explain complicated concepts, still learn new things pretty quickly, manage technology reasonably, and read advanced literature (although I prefer trashy fantasy – we all have our vices.) So, whenever there’s a competition in this area, I win. It makes me a bit of a snob, intellectually speaking, however. I am happy to point out your mistakes in grammar and spelling, and to explain to you why you’re wrong, I’m right and you might as well like it. The only problem is, you usually don’t like it. By being intellectually superior, I alienate people and hurt them, make them feel small and deny their strengths – that’s a pretty stupid way to behave, and can leave me lonely. When I can see other’s strengths enough to have compassion with their weakness enough to help them overcome it, when I can hold my tongue about how right I am – when I have something that I can learn from you, that’s power within strength. That way, I can use my strong point; my intelligence to achieve real victory.

Today, let my power be the ability to perceive the strengths of others.

Omer 10

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day ten which is one week and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom eser she hem shavua ehad vey shlosha yamim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Gevura, beauty within might, grace within power

So, this is stolen from my son and paraphrased. For a twelve year old, he says cool stuff:

“I love all the seasons. They are all lovely. In the fall, God is in the leaves, like the bush that burned and never went out. There is so much of everything. In the winter, everything is crisp and white and sparkly. There are fun things to do and everything is very beautiful and clean. Spring has flowers and birdies and animals coming back and baby animals being born. God is bringing everything to life. Summer still has the flowers, but also the freedom to really enjoy the outdoors, and the sun is where the fire is. God is in the sun, as it shines down on everything and lets us have a good time.” Today, we recognize that the weather, the seasons – that God is very mighty and strong, but that this strength is expressed through beauty.

Today, if I am called on to be strong, may I do it with beauty.