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Omer 46

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 six, which is six weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim ve shesh she hem shisha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Malkhut, victory within majesty, conquest within presense.

There are kings and queens whose vicotries we read about in history books. There’s the conquest of country x by ruler y, and sometimes that’s a good thing and the ruler becomes a great emperor and helps the countries run be stronger and sometimes it’s a disaster and the ruler beomes known through history as a ravager and a despot and we talk for thousands of years about what a baddie that one was. There are also kings and queens we remember for hanging around a very long time. For example, we just celebrated Victoria Day, named after Queen Victoria who hung around a very, very long time. It’s a victory of majesty too – a quieter one, but just as remembered and maybe, in some ways, more important.

There is a teacher I know who has been teaching so long that her worksheets were first made by hand and copied with carbon paper. They have taught children of their former students and have the respect of every member of their community. Now, that – that is a victory.

But it’s not just hanging around a long time that shows victory. Any time persistence is involved, there is a win. Sometimes, the ruler just has to keep governing, even when the country seems in to be in shambles and every one else is yelling and everything seems to be going wrong. Sometimes, the student has to just keep studying, the doctor has to just keep working on the dying patient, the teacher has to just keep teaching, the rabbi has to just keep explaining, the musician playing through the bad notes, the painter painting even though none of them look quite right.

There is a nobility to persistence, and occasionally, despite the predictions of others and the risk factors involved, sometimes, there is a victory.

Today, I keep doing the tasks that I know are important. My victory will come from continuing to try with these tasks. Even if I don’t succeed immediately, the continued attempt is noble.

Omer 39

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 nine, which is five weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve tesha she hem hamisha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Yesod, victory within sexuality, conquest within intimacy

The victory we need when it comes to sex is victory against society’s lies. Society tells us bodies are ugly. The only bodies allowed to be seen in public are unrealistic ones that have had certain attributes exaggerated for the sake of sales. Society tells us that our bodies are trying to bring us down because they are fat, or ungainly, or whatever it is that’s wrong with us. Society tells us that the smells our bodies produce are disgusting, and that we need to rid ourselves of them. Most of these messages aren’t said out loud. They’re just there. So, our victory is to recognize them, to fight them, to reject them and to affirm: our bodies are good, beautiful, important and exciting.

Today, I remember that my body is good, beautiful, important and exciting. Appreciating my body is a victory against society’s dictates.

Omer 27

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-seven which is three weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve sheva she hem shlosha shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Netzakh, family within power, intimacy within victory.

Our strength comes from each other, and being with each other is a victory. We forget that sometimes. There are papers to fill, and notes to type, phone calls to make, and invoices to pay and so much more. I am busy every day, and tired and don’t care and don’t have time. And so when it’s time to watch a family movie or just sit around drinking coffee or otherwise “waste my time” hanging around with people, I sometimes say that I don’t have time for that. I forget that I am creating strength and power for myself. It is the most important way I can spend time, more crucial than any other.

Today, I win when I take time to be with family. It is the most important way I can spend my time.

Omer 25

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

Today is Netzakh be Netzakh, power within power, victory within victory.

What is a victory within a victory? I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I don’t win much. But I do, though. There are many things I win from silly online contests to success at motivating a student, from becoming better at something to simply snuggling through a show. I have hundreds of daily victories. But what is the victory within that victory? Well, if I don’t notice that I’ve won, that’s just sad. I miss out on a perfectly good victory. I undermine it and sour it. This, of course, saps my strength, so I’m less able to complete the next challenge I face. If I can notice and appreciate my victories, I can be that much more successful at future tasks. That is the better choice

Today, I notice, I accept and I appreciate each and every one of my victories, no matter how small they are or how hard they are to see.

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 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 4

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 four of the Omer. Hayom yom revyi laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Khesed, victory within kindness, success within love.

And what if we don’t succeed? Today, I face squarely all the times I didn’t. Because sometimes, I don’t. I snap at people instead of explaining, I waste my time instead of doing the next task, I daydream instead of staying focused, I see my needs instead of anyone else’s. So, how do I deal with failures of kindness? Well, I heard recently that the best thing was to do it right, the second-best thing was to do it wrong, and the worst thing was not to do it. So, today I acknowledge that sometimes, even being aware of my failures is a victory, because it means I’m thinking about how to be more kind. That focus, that may lead to my remembering a small opportunity to say Hello, to be kind and to succeed in loving.

 Today, I recognize and learn from failures in kindness. They are a step on the path to victory.

Omer – Day 46

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu al s’firat haOmer.

Blessed be the Eternal God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy through Mitzvot and has commanded us to count the Omer.

Hayom yom arbaim ve shesh laOmer, shehem shisha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is day forty six of the Omer, which is six weeks and four days of the Omer.

netzakh be malkhut – victory within nobility; conquest within rule

It always comes back to the only victory being one over oneself and the only person I can rule being me. Sometimes the bad habits I have seem like they’re stronger than I am. For me, whether or not it’s noble, sometimes my victories are tiny. I didn’t waste time on that facebook article and answered an e-mail from a friend instead. I read the good book I was recommended instead of the cookie. I got off my chair to get a glass of water, and stayed away from the free doughnuts. These are my victories.

What happens when I don’t succeed? I have less time, less energy, less ability – less that I can give to the family and friends that I am responsible for. Really, when I indulge in wasteful behaviours, I’m stealing. I’m taking time and money, energy and resources away from what I should be doing, both for others and for myself. The ten commandments say not to steal. Today, I rededicate myself to being the best Anna I can be. When I succeed, that’s a noble victory.

Omer – Day 39

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu al s’firat haOmer.

Blessed be the Eternal God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy through Mitzvot and has commanded us to count the Omer.

Hayom yom shloshim ve tesha laOmer, shehem hamisha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is day thirty nine of the Omer, which is five weeks and four days of the Omer.

netzakh be yesod – victory within intimacy; power within romantic love

OK, so it’s probably not the best idea to be writing this after having a serious conversation with someone about rape. It just brings up all the wrong images. Power plays within loving relationships shouldn’t happen. Oh, of course there are everyday imbalances – one of the old Jewish jokes I remember was “I decide all the important things – who runs our country, how much to pay my workers, … -and my partner decides little things – what we wear, what we eat, what we do for fun…” It was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that even power imbalances only work in a relationship when they’re balanced out.

So what kind of victory is there in intimacy? The desire – no, the need – for intimacy  can lead to ugly feelings when thwarted. Jealousy, anger, resentment, shame – these are all the dark side of intimacy, and as with the dark side of the force, quite powerful. I win when I don’t give in to those feelings – when I say, “I will just love. Without jealousy, without any negativity for them or myself, I will love this person as hard as I can.” It is a struggle and a battle. I rarely succeed as well as I would like. However, when I manage to let go of jealousy and shame and anger and resentment and just hold love – that is a victory.

Today, I win at relationships when I realize the only one I have any power over is myself.

Omer – Day 33

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu al s’firat haOmer.

Blessed be the Eternal God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy through Mitzvot and has commanded us to count the Omer.

Hayom yom shloshim ve shalosh laOmer, Lag BaOmer, shehem arba’a shavuot ve hamisha yammim laOmer.

Today is day thirty  three of the Omer, Lag BaOmer, which is four weeks and five days of the Omer.

netzakh be hod – victory within gratitude; power within humility.

The thing is, I’m not perfect. I get easily confused. For example, not only am I two days behind (again! how does this happen?) I wrote the Gratitude within Gratitude post for day 32, when it was supposed to be written for day 33. I don’t do things in the best way possible. If there’s a choice between working for a long-term goal or enjoying myself right now, far too often, I’ll not chose the long-term goal. I have many challenges and those are only two of them.

My recognizing that – accepting it, heck, even being grateful for it – is the first thing I have to do to make any changes to who I am. First, I have to say that I have this challenge, and separate out the parts that are positives. I’m easily confused? Well, that gives me access to a whole lot of creativity that I might not have had otherwise. I like my Gratitude within gratitude post, even if it was on the wrong day. I focus on short-term goals too much? If I turn that into living in the present, it can be a very good thing.

Only then can I start to slowly work towards change, towards doing things the way I want to do them.

Once I recognize where I am and appreciate those aspects that are good, I get enormous power – the power to become a better and happier person.