"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds." -- Bob Marley from "Redemption Song"
That powerful line from the classic reggae song was inspired by the words of orator Marcus Garvey who encouraged his listeners to break away from the physical and emotional bondage that kept them from reaching inspired heights.
When I awoke this morning, I heard the words in my head, along with Marley's lilting voice echoing back through the years. It is now a few days prior to the Jewish holiday of Passover. It heralds the coming of spring, as well as celebrates the freedom from slavery of the Israelites in Egypt. It was one of my favorite holidays growing up, as friends and family would gather around the table and we would enjoy a sumptuous meal and read through the Haggadah which is the book that explains the story of the people who were compelled to build the pyramids in tribute the ego of the Pharoah. More than that, it weaves the tale of their delivery from bondage to freedom on a physical level at the "hand" of God.
For those not familiar (if you watched the Hollywood blockbuster The Ten Commandments, you will have some idea) with the history of the holiday, it originated as a result of the Pharoah being afraid that the Jews of the time would become so numerous that they would overthrow his rule. He issued an edict that the first born males of the Jewish families were to be murdered. Moses, the hero of the Passover story, was placed in a basket and sent down the river Nile to protect him from this fate, by his mother and sister and was subsequently found by the daughter of the Pharoah and raised as her own son. These, I consider the "sheros" of the tale.
The 10 Plagues are an integral part of the Seder, a Hebrew word which translates to "order" since the ritual meal is eaten in a particular structure. Some question whether they occurred as is portrayed in the book of Exodus or if they were symbolic.
1. Blood -- The waters of Egypt are turned to blood. All the fish die and water becomes unusable.
2. Frogs -- Hordes of frogs swarm the land of Egypt.
3. Gnats or Lice -- Masses of gnats or lice invade Egyptian homes and plague the Egyptian people.
4. Wild Animals -- Wild animals invade Egyptian homes and lands, causing destruction and havoc.
5. Pestilence -- Egyptian livestock is struck down with disease.
6. Boils -- The Egyptian people are plagued by painful boils that cover their bodies.
7. Hail -- Severe weather destroys Egyptian crops and beats down upon them.
8. Locusts -- Locusts swarm Egypt and eat any remaining crops and food.
9. Darkness -- Darkness covers the land of Egypt for three days.
10. Death of the Firstborn -- The firstborn of every Egyptian family is killed. Even the firstborn of Egyptian animals die.
I love the idea of symbolism and note it in my own life on a daily basis. There was a time, not too far back in my personal history, where I was a near merciless task master when it came to my own expectations for my productivity and standards. I had toted around an invisible whip (some of my friends can see it) with which I flagellated myself as a means of spurring myself on to greater feats. Awhile ago a friend told me lovingly that since we are all connected, all One, when I beat myself, it is like I am beating her. That made it easier to cast down the weapon I have used to my own detriment, since I would never do to another what I have done to myself. These days, since a heart attack provided a clarion call, I am far more self loving and far less, self deprecating.
As the holiday approaches and I anticipate gathering at the home of friends to celebrate on Friday night, I declare my own freedom from self-imposed slavery:
I free myself from judgments.
I free myself from unreasonable expectations.
I free myself from body criticism.
I free myself from feelings of unworthiness and "not enough-ness."
I free myself from time constraints, thinking I should be farther along at this stage of life.
I free myself from fear about relationship with a partner.
I free myself from any believe in ill health.
I free myself from thinking I need to sacrifice who I am in order to be loved.
I free myself from financial worries.
I empower myself to live and love fully and completely.
I empower myself to attract the right people and ideal circumstances.
I empower myself to use all of my creative gifts and talents in service to the One who planted them there in the first place.
I empower myself to stand up for my beliefs.
I empower myself to accept myself as is.
I empower myself to embrace both my beauty and my boo-boos.
I empower myself to receive abundance and love in all forms.
I empower myself to take inspired action to see my dreams and visions through to manifestation.
I also see Passover as a journey from darkness to light, from fear to safety, from doubt to ultimate trust that I will cross the Red Sea safely and be fed manna from Heaven. I am my own Moses, my own liberator.