by Melanie Gruenwald
In early 2020, before we realized COVID was a pandemic, before we spent a year with limited physical and social interactions, David Sanders published Pass Over to Freedom: A Spiritual Journey, Kabbalah Experience’s Haggadah.
Reviewing the pages of the book, and preparing for my spiritual journey in these weeks leading up to Passover, the themes of the Haggadah resonate deeply. Please join me on reflection and commitment as I walk through five stages of change for this year.
Reflect: Imagine and Contemplate a Change
I look at my world with curiosity. I peer at the walls in my house with which I have become so familiar this past year. I look into the walls surrounding my heart and spirit and I wonder, “What is one change, that I can imagine making on this journey?”
In the past several years, I have been working harder to cultivate stillness. This continues to be my intention, as I set more of a meditative and prayer practice in my day-to-day life. As the world starts to open up again, how can I maintain stillness, hold onto the pieces of this pandemic which have served my family and me?
Resolve: Commit Fully to Change
This can be internal or external shifting. The Israelites had a choice to leave slavery and move towards freedom, yet a large percentage chose to stay in slavery, because it was familiar and comfortable. Sometimes, not taking action is also a choice.
My busy-ness is quite familiar and comfortable, but it does not support the mindfulness I strive to create and model in my life.
In this reflection- I commit to pre-bedtime meditation practice and daily prayer or other morning meditative practice.
Release: You know you will never return to the past as you fully release yourself from the narrowness of the past.
How many times have I intended to start a new habit, with the fear that I will fail to maintain it and experience shame? As Brene Brown teaches- courage takes courage-ing. The only way to get better at courage is to practice.
I continue to stumble in this new practice, yet keep practicing meditation and mindfulness, and find opportunities to embrace stillness in my day-to-day life. They say it takes twelve weeks to form a habit. I’m working on it! Even when I miss an opportunity to practice stillness, I know there’s another opportunity ahead.
Reveal: Transforming and inventing yourself anew
“Slip into something uncomfortable; it’s the only way to change.” As I embrace stillness, I am also learning how to say no. I say no to filling my schedule just because there’s an opening, to more time on ZOOM, to people and experiences that drain rather than fill me. I look at stillness as an opportunity to create space, and open myself up into new ways.
It is not always comfortable to be still. I have shpilkis (ants in the pants) all of the time! But, I continue to work on it. I try to present with each moment, and be intentional about where and how I create space and stillness, and where and how I embrace the busy-ness of work, community and family life.
Realize: Transcending our story and identity
This stage, which reflects Elijah’s cup, or ‘the world to come’, is manifesting in acknowledging that my mask, is my mask to share, and to relate to. My narrative is also just my narrative. I might have the narrative of my family, community, or society, but the way I relate to all of these narratives is limited by my experience as an individual.
As I strive to cultivate stillness- I recognize that this journey is not mine alone- and my actions, and inactions, also impact those around me.
These five stages of change, and other interactive, meaningful tools are part of the Kabbalah Experience Passover experience. You can download or order a bound copy of our Haggadah and transformative and spiritual omer journal on Amazon today.
Please join us this Sunday, 4pm MST/ 6pm EST for the Kabbalah Experience virtual seder.