Where are we as we enter the week of Hod? Our blueprint is designed (though it may have been altered during the week of Netzach as we looked at obstacles that need to be overcome). Netzach is active trust—trust in one’s own capacities and in working with others to overcome any and every obstacle. Hod literally means to acknowledge and in the context of this year’s counting of the Omer it means acknowledging our limitations in overcoming obstacles. We therefore have referred to it as surrender.
So what is meant by surrender? Surrender is not giving up or giving in—it is giving way. Each of us has a plan for our path to growth/change. Yet, the path is never without some accommodation.
Obstacles when not overcome, need to be accepted—surrendered to. When you accept reality as it is and know that (at least for the moment) you are not overcoming an obstacle–you surrender. A business or relationship may not ‘succeed’ or turn out the way we planned—but that outcome comes and can go in a different direction. With its going we may need to mourn while acknowledging that we are not in control. This spiritual realization is the essence of Hod—to realize our human limits and give way to our soul and God.
For this week of Hod, I will share with you my “progress” on the three changes I am committed to implement through this time period.
Day 29 – Chesed in Hod
I am still keeping Chesed-love (of myself and others) at the forefront of the motivation for change. I did not arrive on time for class either morning this week. I was five minutes late for each, but on time (or early) for the rest of my classes. If I can put the issue of “being on time” behind me will that mean that I express my love for myself through that? I think the answer is yes. I do acknowledge that it is hardest to get to my first class on time (leaving home). I am not ready to surrender though. I am not aiming for perfection—aiming though for overall consistency.
Day 30 – Gevurah in Hod
Gevurah is self-determination. Today it is time to limit your acceptance, to say—I am limited but I can still…. I am not shying away from the determination to be on time. I also have to acknowledge that while I have a plan for exercising three times a week I have not implemented it. With full awareness I can say—“this is what I am capable of now.” If I am accepting some limits I do so with the awareness that I have not given up yet.
Day 31 – Tiferet in Hod
Take out the blueprint and look at it in light of accepting the limitations you have reflected on for the past two days. Can you acknowledge that it is a challenge to let go of some aspects of the blueprint? Today I must come to peace with altering the plan, the blueprint needs tweaking and I need to be cognizant of what I can and cannot change—for now. Regarding the photograph of my family—the photographer we have chosen is returning to Denver on May 28th—this means that the plan to have the photo taken and up in our home by the 49th day of the count will not happen unless we choose another photographer.
Day 32 – Netzach in Hod
Can I overcome the need for overcoming? Just surrender. Netzach here is subordinate to Hod. Sometimes our plans and the vision of our blueprint depend on knowing that we can act, that we can and will overcome. When we now realize that our blueprint has changed we need to overcome our desire to not surrender—and embrace the surrender. This is our new path. I am willing to wait for the photographer, I am willing to alter my plan for exercise but not the goal of exercising three times a week and I will hold fast to my goal of being on time for class.
Day 33 – Hod in Hod
Today is called Lag B’Omer—the 33rd day of the Omer. It is the day that according to tradition Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai, the great mystic of the first century died. His students wanted him to hold on—to not surrender to death. On his deathbed he revealed secrets he had not expressed to them yet. His ascension (as it is referred to) though was a complete surrender and that is why we celebrate the day of his death as a freedom. When death is accepted fully it is true freedom. That is the great secret Rabbi Shimeon shared. Accepting our limitations is the release we experience today.
Day 34 – Yesod in Hod
For each week’s Sefirah you can ask yourself on this day of Yesod, have I done the inner work needed to acknowledge my limits and to implement my (evolving) blueprint for change? Yesod as foundation is to be in integrity with the challenges of wanting greater or faster change and admitting limits and accepting the change that is possible now. I am seeing many other changes already occurring because of or in conjunction with the goals of change I have set in motion. I may surrender to the precise goals of change set but I can see that change brings more change with it. The foundation then of change is to change.
Day 35 – Malchut in Hod
Following our theme: what is being emphasized is that our plans are not just our own. When we surrender we may find a doubling of what we expected. We acknowledge both what we can see overcoming and what we surrender to. This includes writing this blog—I have needed to overcome some obstacles and surrender to the blog as it is. It is due.