If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;
If we had not sometimes a taste of adversity,
prosperity would not be so welcome.
-- Anne Bradstreet
For me, Passover is a time to remember our source, let go of the regrets and disappointments of our past, and the expectations of the future, and step free as a new life emerges as well as the first bloom of spring. I put aside my deepest fears, my feelings of separation and sadness, prejudice, pain, anger and grief, and celebrate the magic of the moment.
More and more, even as my legs lose strength and my hands grow weaker, I am able to meet and embrace my deepest fears -- to, in effect, live peacefully with my Beast (illness). And as this occurs, I recognize significant changes in the way I relate to my illness and my life.
I find new depths of courage enabling me to face shadows that in the past filled me with terror or disgust, or that brought out my most defensive denials. And I find unexpected ways of viewing even new physical difficulties I may be having. I must confess there are still many times when I feel abandoned by Beauty and I lose all patience and understanding for the Beast. When this happens all my fear and hurt, my unsupportive thoughts and habits of denial, become the real Beast, oppressing and enslaving me. Envy, bitterness, anger, and jealousy drown out my joy, casting shadows across my heart.
I become a prisoner of my own making.
When we have an illness, we are constantly forced to embrace the Beast. Sometimes when it is at its most fearsome and we are not ready to look beyond the wall of obstacles we must face. It is at times such as these that we are most in need of those skills required for lasting change.
This process of change is a time to acknowledge, experience, and then put aside our deepest fears, our feelings of sadness, prejudice, pain, anger and grief. During Passover, we read from the Haggadah, the Jewish book of prayer that is a centerpiece of the Passover celebration. In one translation there is a passage that has always been particularly meaningful to me -- that we can heal by liberating ourselves from those enslavements that "warp the Spirit and blight the mind, that destroy the Soul even though they leave the flesh alive. For men can be enslaved in more ways than one."
Passover illustrates how we bring about or allow change in our lives. During Passover, we are called upon to be free from the struggle for freedom and to our healing on all levels that acknowledge the importance of this kind of transformational process.
To me, Passover illustrates how we create a future that asks us to be a bigger person than we think we are,
Consider the following questions:
- How can I be more loving and less judgemental in my relationships (including myself)?
- How can I learn to let go of the disappointments of the past or fear of the future?
- What kind of actions would leave me and my communities fulfilled and empowered?
- How can I communicate in ways that will bring out the best in others?
- How can I live a more purposeful life?
In this new life, we learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging.
In this new life, we direct ourselves and choose to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
For more by Linda Noble Topf, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.