Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Elul Day 2: You are Dear and you are One

Dear One, 

How are you? What are you doing to take care of yourself? When was the last time you allowed another to do for you? When was the last time you closed you eyes - not on your way to sleep - and checked in with your body? Your heart? Your soul?

In the Torah (first five books Christianity's Old Testament), we are told to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Leviticus 19.18). A few years ago, as I was considering this commandment, it occurred that the underlying assumption - commandment - is that we love ourselves. I am fascinated that the Divine One expects that we will love ourselves.

As you begin your Elul journey of reflection, think about how you treat and regard you. Many of us talk a good game about self-care and having a balanced life - and don't practice it! If you are a supervisor or boss, and you are wondering why your staff is so burned out, I invite you to start with self assessment. I once had a boss who came to work sick, despite an organizational policy that required people to stay home when ill. Of course, other staff also came to work sick. Once, I happened to catch him needling someone who was sick to go home. 

Out of exasperation he said, "Why won't you go home? You are here against company policy!" 

I spoke up and said, "Because you come in sick and work all day against company policy." It took a few moments, however, he did turn to the ill person and tell them to go home. After that, the boss worked from home - though not all day - when he was sick.

I referenced this theme in my published Hill Havurah Rosh Hashanah remarks two years ago. It's always timely, especially this time of year as fall begins, as we prepare for the High Holy Days, as we face all the changes that seem more poignant with the winding down of the spiritual and secular years.

Reflection does not take as much time as you might think. Start with one to five minutes - wherever you can find them. It doesn't have to be a sitting meditation. I have a friend who loves to sweep during her five minutes. I have found washing rice a grounding, three to five minute meditation. Stare out window (not your computer screen). Close your eyes and give attention to how you are breathing. It can be that simple to start or to expand how you care for you. 

When you finish reading this blog, close your eyes and take a deep breath, filling your diaphragm, not just your lungs. Release the breath slowly to the point just before you need to inhale, then repeat a few more times before going to your next activity.

Consider this special opportunity to support Sabrina Sojourner's contribution to a broader vision of who we are and can be: Living Whole and Complete is a collection of poems and essays that explore spirituality, love, heartbreak, culture, resilience and much more. Sabrina is also available as speaker, educator, artist-in-residence or facilitator for your community, school or conference. Contact 

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2014

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