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Omer 45

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 five, which is six weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim v’hamesh she hem shisha shavuot ve shlosha yamim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Malkhut, beauty within majesty, harmony within presence

Today, I’m here. I may not look all that gorgeous in my onesy and my “majesty” may be limited to changing the kitty-litter and doing the dishes, but I am here. Sometime malkhut is just presense – God’s presense in the world, my presense in the family – presense. By being present, I can share in the laughter and the good times – but also in the awkward momenta and the silences. The presence of God adds a great deal to every moment, and so makes each moment more beautiful. The presense of another person in one’s life does the same. In some ways, people mimic. One serene, joyful, loving person makes a room more serene, joyful and loving. One angry resentful hating person makes a room of people more angry, resentful and hating.

Today, simply by being there and by being my best, most loving, most serene self, I can inspire others and make the world more beautiful.

Omer 38

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 eight, which is five weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve shmone she hem hamisha shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Yesod, beauty within sexuality, loveliness within intimacy

You know, there are two ways to look at everything. From one side, sex and everything about it is disgusting. It often smells funny, and it is associated with private parts and some of it is in the same area as we eliminate, and it’s not something we do in public or even talk about. It’s gross and that’s all there is to it. On the other hand, it is a way to bridge the gap between person to person, to have our bodies participate in acts of sharing and creation which bond our minds and hearts together. It is a beautiful way to relate to each other and to build connection. When done right, we call it making love, because that is what we are making or building. But it’s entirely in how one chooses to look at it.

Today, I choose to see intimacy as beautiful, not ugly.

Omer 31

 

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 one which is four weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve ehad she hem arba’a shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Hod, beauty within gratitude, grace within thanksgiving.

Oh, gratitude. In one of my favourite books, a character says

“The Japanese have five different ways to say ‘thank you’—and every one of them translates literally as resentment, in various degrees. Would that English had the same built-in honesty on this point! Instead, English is capable of defining sentiments that the human nervous system is quite incapable of experiencing. ‘Gratitude,’ for example.”

This comes from Stranger in a Strange Land, a dated, misogynistic, homophobic book, which nevertheless in its day, was sufficiently insightful to change people’s lives. The bit about Japanese is highly inaccurate too, I believe (although I don’t know any Japanese, and am simply quoting the interwebs.)

So, there’s a really ugly part to gratitude. Giving something should create gratitude, but sometimes, it seems to do the exact opposite. It creates debt. “He did me a favour so now I have to do him this one.” It can be a put down. “Oh, you poor thing. You have a disability! Of course I’ll help you with this! Whether you want help or not.” It can be a criticism. “Thanks for taking care of the dishes!” “Well SOMEBODY had to!” It can show complete non-understanding of another. “Oh, I got you this lovely porcelain pink cactus statue – I know you’ll love it!” (For clarification, I DO NOT want a porcelain pink cactus statue.) It can display a lack of caring. “Oh, you put three beads onto a string and gave them to me, and you’re 18, not 3? Wow. Um…I don’t know what to say!”

And any of those can lead to resentment rather than gratitude. So, how do I put beauty into gratitude? How do I let the resentment go, how do feel truly grateful for that pink porcelain cactus, those beads on a string, those done dishes? Mostly, I remember God. If I remember that God puts up with my random attempts at worship, my coming late and forgetting to pray and praying while doing housework and all the other ways in which my offerings aren’t as good as they could be, and yet God accepts me and offers nothing but love and gratitude, if I remember that I do my best to be like God and show care, if I remember that there’s a divinity in the gift giver, however small, that prompted the gift in the first place, then I can say a clean, heartfelt thank you despite anything Heinlein has to say on the issue.

Today, I thank people for gifts given. I let go of resentment, and let my gratitude be clean and beautiful.

Omer 24

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-four which is three weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve arba she hem shlosha shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Netzakh, beauty within power, grace within victory.

How about the opposite? Have you thought about ugliness within defeat? Because sour grapes is a thing, a thing I do A LOT. There is stuff I can’t have? It was lousy stuff, all of it. I didn’t even want it. I sneer at the accomplishments of others that I could never match and laugh at their successes. Ha, I think to myself, look at what she’s excited about; how pathetic is that? But if truth be told, I could do it. I couldn’t match that task or skill no matter how hard I tried. So, I need to let go of my sneering and start smiling instead. It is beautiful when someone succeeds, when someone wins. Just because it wasn’t me doesn’t mean the beauty of the win is any less. I can, if I let go of my jealous sour-grapes attitude, see that and appreciate the wins others have.

Today, I will not salve my pride with sour grapes thinking. I will see that other peoples’ victories are beautiful.

Omer 21

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-one which is three weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve ehad she hem shlosha shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Tiferet, authority within beauty, hierarchy within loveliness.

Seriously, though, hierarchy is beautiful sometimes. No, no, I hear you, you want to be equal and no one can boss you around and you know what you’re aiming for and you don’t understand why you can’t just have it. Right now. And no one can tell you what to do and I’m certainly not the boss of you. But still, the set patterns of authority have their own beauty and wonder, their own comfort in knowing what comes next and who’s responsible for it. There is a lot that’s wrong with authority, but sometimes I feel that our society have thrown out the baby with the bath water. Authority saves us a great deal of time in professional situations (students listen to teachers, patients to doctors, etc…) and allows work to happen in a timely fashion. It provides mental shortcuts to ensure that not every situation is one that needs analysis – sometimes, we just follow protocol. And there’s a reason it’s romanticized – the reciprocity can be beautiful. If you do it well, with both sides acting respectfully, it can be really lovely.

Today, I try to act nobly when I have authority. It can make hierarchy so much more beautiful.

Omer 20

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 which is two weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim she hem shtey shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Tiferet, sexuality within beauty, intimacy within loveliness.

It’s pretty, spring is. To see two birds flying together, or two lovers walking hand in hand – it’s really nice to see and it brings out an answering yearning in our hearts. It is wonderful to observe and participate, and there is nothing as lovely as being in love. It has its commensurate ugliness though. The problem with Yesod is all your secrets are involved. That secret heartache? That old issue? That time, when you…those are all things that emerge in relationships, like old bits of junk that were buried under the snow when winter came. (Oh that old thing? I was wondering where it had gone…wow it’s a mess, all rusted and broken and ugly.) It’s good, because it allows for clean-up, but it isn’t pretty.

This is where there is a choice. One can cover up that nastiness, pretending it was never there. “Mess, what mess? There was never any mess. I just prefer that tarp in that particular spot.” That does make it look prettier right away but basically, it’s a denial of Yesod. If I want intimacy, I need to be willing to see the ugliness, acknowledge it, deal with it and clean it up.

Today, I will be willing to look at the messy parts of my heart. I know that it will enhance intimacy – and thus the beauty of my relationships.

Omer 19

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 nineteen which is two weeks and five days of the Omer. Hayom yom tisha-es’re she hem shtey shavuot ve hamisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Tiferet, gratitude within beauty, appreciation within loveliness.

Today is a good day to appreciate the people in my life. There are many who are wonderfully beautiful. The others have beautiful aspects – they have beautiful eyes, or there’s that time when they went out of their way. It’s amazing to see their smiles, and they remind me of good times we’ve spent together. All of these things are beautiful and there are many people whom I love. I remind myself of the beauty of others sometimes. I also ask myself, “am I as beautiful as I can be? Do I do kind things, smile, spend good times – and also try to look good for others?” Sometimes, I can be more successful than others. Beauty helps to build relationships. I enjoy it and find gratitude for the beautiful people in my life.

Today, we acknowledge that people are beautiful. We can appreciate that!

Omer 18

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 eighteen which is two weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom shmona-es’re she hem shtey shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Tiferet, power within beauty, conquest within grace.

I guess the only power beauty needs is to exist. Something beautiful can stop my worry, can freeze me in place looking at it, can bring joy. It doesn’t have to do anything complex to achieve that – it doesn’t have to go out of its way, or prepare a document or complete an assignment or do a house chore – it just has to be. I forget sometime, the power of being. I worry always about the next thing to do, to finish, to accomplish, to prepare, to complete. I am more powerful, however, when I give myself time to just be beautiful – to just be.

Today, we allow ourselves to just be for a few moments. It is beautiful and powerful.

Omer 17

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 seventeen which is two weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom shalosh-es’re she hem shtey shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Tiferet, beauty within beauty, grace within grace.

Good one because I was noticing beauty today, and thinking how good it is to go beyond the surface and see even more beauty in the world. A flower is beautiful (I just love forget me knots) but if you go just a bit further and explore the reproduction of plants and attracting bees, and having medicinal uses and being tasty in its fruit form, and so on – why it’s way more beautiful. And so am I – I may be a plump older woman who wears no make-up, but I am beautiful. It’s cool to see people and see them as beautiful and transform all of their imperfections into successes.

Today, I will notice that someone else is beautiful despite their imperfections. I also remind myself that I am beautiful.

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.