Sunday, February 8, 2009


What inspires you?
Do you ever think about this question?

The last day or so, I have felt the weight of the world, so to speak, upon my shoulders. My normal mode is positive and upbeat, but I have allowed a few worries, disappointments, and sadnesses to weigh upon my spirit. Isn't it interesting that we use the word "weigh" upon us. It feels like a weight, doesn't it. And when we liberate ourselves from worries, we say "a weight is lifted."

I find for me, if I allow the "weight" of the worry to stay too long upon my spirit, the "weight" on the scale will creep up proportionately. And yet, it would be foolish to say, "never worry, never be concerned, never feel down, never grieve, never mourn." These emotions are all part of the duality we feel which is part of being a vibrant, feeling human being. We would not know joy without sadness, peace without war or fear, freedom without enslavement. So I spent yesterday, "sitting with my feelings." I recommend this exercise. It is also one we use in CPE as chaplains. "Sit with it." It was moving to me to allow the feelings and sit with them. Was it comfortable? Heck NO. But I reminded myself about the blessing of duality.

Today, I awoke and decided to allow inspiration to lift me out of my sad/worry feelings, into a more joyful, spiritual vibrancy. So I took a walk with the dogs -- which is a very sacred experience for me. And I sat by the bay-- sacred space. And I spent time in my office -- more sacred space. And during this time, as well as time spent running errands, I worked on my "inspiration list." I suggest that you too, have an inspiration list. It comes in handy. If you journal -- it would be a great place to list all the things that inspire you.

Here are a few of mine:

I am inspired when:
I think of my beloved and all of the things he does to make my life livable and possible and manageable.
I spend time with dogs, mine or fosters, or any dog who chooses to bless my life with his/her presence.
I step outside -- whether it be gentle rain, sunshine, wild winds, or stormy weather -- it still is inspiring.

When I think of many of my congregants -- I am inspired to be a better rabbi.
When I think of many of my students -- I am inspired to be a better teacher.
When I think of my special friends -- I am inspired to be a better friend.
When I read sacred wisdom --- I am inspired to be a better student.
When I watch the medical professionals respond to a trauma -- I am inspired to be a better chaplain.

When I see a homeless or hungry person -- I am inspired to be more generous.
When I see an older person struggling with slowness -- I am inspired to be more patient.

I am inspired by birds in flight or birds on a wire.
I am inspired when I see babies -- their potential makes my heart happy.

My list is going on -- some of it is not interesting, some of it is private.

Tell me, my friends -- what inspires you?

Let us truly be -- INSPIRED.

As a sidebar, so to speak, I was thinking while in the supermarket about my friends and colleagues who are in "healing" professions. And my next thought is: we are all healers (or we should all be healers.) We should spend time each day to heal our spirits (tikkun hanefesh) and when our spirits are whole, we should spend time each day to heal our world (tikkun haolam).
I bless you all, healers of the spirit and the world, as I am blessed by your healing.


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