by Melanie Gruenwald
The Tree of Life is constantly surrounding us. We just have to be aware of it.
I’d like to start with two stories.
Several weeks ago, our family was cycling in the Courage Classic, a bike tour in the mountains of Colorado, to raise support for Children’s Hospital Colorado. I was going up the hardest-to-me hill (Swan Mountain, IYKYK), and practicing mindfulness on each pedal stroke- riding for the children I know affected by cancer. Koby, Cooper, Trevor, Chase, Martha, Samantha, Daisy, Sebastian, Nathan, Jared, Piper… and so on. I would pedal stroke and say a child’s name. Sometimes I’d forget a name, remember another, and start back at the top. There was a woman on the route alongside me, and we were leap-frogging one another up the hill. Sometimes she’d be in front. Other times, I would be in front. We were wearing the same bike kits, so I knew she was also raising funds for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. We started chatting. Her daughter is in treatment for a blood disorder, she goes to the same high school as my son, and they live very close to us. We connected two weeks later, and spent some time on her backyard porch. We talked about children, life stories, diagnoses, high school, interests and so on. We both enjoy adventures, biking, physical challenges and outdoor activities. After our first ‘friend date,’ I knew we had a deep connection. Out of over 2000 riders that day, I knew I needed to pay attention to who was showing up.
The following week, I was talking with a friend about wanting to manifest more joy in my life. The next day, I met two new people named Joy, and the following day (Shabbat), joy presented herself to me. “Joy” was in conversation wherever I was. It was like someone turned on the “joy switch.” And when someone asked me what was bringing me joy this Shabbat- my answer was clear—“Joy.” Once again, paying attention to what shows up.
Our Kabbalah Experience Awareness Practice reminds us: “Attend to what shows up as a reflection of what you need to learn and grow into.” We associate this practice with the sefirah of malchut. Malchut (the bottom sefirah in the kabbalistic Tree of Life) is often referred to as the Shekhina, the feminine aspect of the Divine. Earth mother manifesting physical reality. What does paying attention have to do with Malchut and Shekhina?
I love the imagery presented in a Rebbe Nachman tale: “Malchut is the moon which has no light of her own.” Shekhina is tied here into the cycle of the moon. She becomes the vessel of receiving all that flows from above. All the threads of the tapestry. Malchut receives, embraces, binds and shelters us, in all of our “us-ness”.
Pay attention to who and what shows up.
Malchut/ Shekhina reflecting back to that which is above and surrounds us.
Perhaps that is where we should begin to look.
That which we are looking for, is appearing to us each and every day. The problem is, we’re too busy trying to manifest the sun, that we don’t take the time to manifest the moon.
Attend to what shows up as a reflection of what you need to learn and grow into.
Whether it was my new friend or joy herself- they were there around me. I had to tune in, and pay attention to what was showing up.
How might you tune in today, so that you can see what you need is being reflected back to you?