Omer Day 36
21 Iyar 5780
Friday 15 May 2020
Today we begin our penultimate week of Yesod — foundation and connection. As with every week, we begin with the sub-sefirah of Chesed, lovingkindness, which is definitely at the foundation of strong connection and relationship.
Today’s practice comes from Catherine Bell — facilitator, trainer, and coach who brings a wealth of experience through her time at Keshet, JOIN for Justice, and Hazon. Here, she brings in a beautiful meditative practice to strengthen our bond between ourselves and the people or things that we’re responsible for nurturing. Thanks for this practice! Hit Catherine up for her wisdom coaching at catherinebellconsulting.org.
Caring for others — for children, partners, family members, for animals, for plants — can be a profound act, but it can also be incredibly hard at times: repetitive, thankless, boring, frustrating, disappointing. In the day-in, day-out of caregiving, it’s easy to feel a sense of distance or disconnect from that which we’re caring for — and even a sense of drudgery, or resigned obligation.
This practice is designed to help us reconnect with the sense of wonder that naturally arises from the loving act of caring for and nurturing another living being. This can also help us remember our gratitude for the care which we have received in order to grow, from other people, from the earth, and from the source of all nurturing.
☀️Omer Day 36 practice [21 Iyar 5780 | Friday 15 May 2020]☀️
Finding a focal point:
Get into a comfortable seated position on a chair or on the floor, in a place where you won’t be interrupted. Allow your hands to rest on your legs.
Select as a focal point, for this exercise, something that you are nurturing, caring for, supporting in its growth on a daily basis — a child, an elder, an animal/pet, a plant. In the rest of the exercise, this being will be referred to as the Cared-For.
Grounding in breath:
With open eyes, soft focus, take seven deep breaths: in through the nose, out through the mouth.
Then, gently close your eyes and let the breath return to its natural state. Allow yourself to notice the breath and the sensations it makes in your body. Focus on the in and out, the flow of your breath. When thoughts and emotions arise, note them without judging or holding on to them, and let them go, always returning to the breath.
Reflecting on the Cared-For:
Bring your focus to rest on the Cared-For. Bring the image of the Cared-For to your mind. As you breathe in, imagine you are breathing in their scent. With your fingertips, recall what it feels like to touch the Cared-For with attention and gentleness — skin, hair, fur, leaves, petals.
As you continue to allow the breath to ground you, take a few moments to reflect on the Cared-For:
- The ways in which it is independent/autonomous from you and growing in its own right.
- The ways in which you are connected with it, and how you are supporting it and helping it grow.
- The ways in which it is flourishing in your care.
Take as long as you need for each prompt to resonate; move on to the next one when you feel ready.
Connecting to Gratitude:
Returning to the breath, take the next few minutes to connect to the gratitude within you. Again, take as long as you need for each prompt, allowing feelings, physical sensations, images, thoughts to arise in response to the prompt:
- Gratitude for those who nurtured you in the past.
- Gratitude for the ways you are being nourished by the Cared-For, the ways which you are not only giving to the Cared-For but also receiving from them.
- Gratitude for the Divine/Source/Great Nurturing/Adonai that gives care to every living thing and the planet.
Committing to Presence
Once more returning to the breath, connected to gratitude and suffused with images and feelings about the Cared-For, allow your mind to rest on one image about the wonder of nurturing that calls to you.
It may be an image of the Cared-For at a moment of peace or particular happiness, or it may be a metaphorical image such as being in a sun-filled meadow. It may even be a set of images, if there are more than one that call to you.
Allow yourself a few moments to focus on this image, grounding in the breath when distractions arise, and gently returning to your image.
This image — or set of images — are here to serve as a touch-stone for you when you return to the act of daily caring work. You can bring the image to mind to set an intention before embarking on a task with the Cared-For, or you can use it to regroup and re-ground in a moment of frustration or boredom.
With this practice to nourish our capacity for patience and gratitude, and with this image as our gentle reminder, we can commit to being more present and awake for our caring work. We can access our sense of aliveness as we engage in the work of nurturing another, never judging ourselves for negative or dulling feelings that arise, and always knowing that we have the capacity to connect to our sense of gratitude and wonder.
Chair or cushion for seated meditation and a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.
☀️ This post is part of our Omer Wellness Series – a daily 7-minute opportunity for introspection and intentional focus on caring for ourselves, each other, and our environment in this incredibly challenging time. ☀️
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