Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Shekhinah (Divine Presence), Majesty, Sovereignty, Exaltedness, Humility; Union Of Opposites; Paradox and Limitation within Limitations; Spiritual, Physical, Emotional
Strength; and Boundaries.
Quality: The Space Between
Cosmologically and Spiritually, Shabbat is a space between worlds, between times, and between us and those with other practices. Our theology invites us to stop our busy and business lives, and to mark that stopping by ritually lighting candles. We stop everything else we are doing, light the wicks, and circle our hands to the flames and to us three times. My favorite kavanah (intention) is to bring the beauty, the blessing, and the promise into my Shabbat experience. We chant or speak the blessing with our eyes covered or closed or hidden behind the book from which we read the blessing. Then we open our eyes to the wonder, beauty, and warmth of twin dancing fires electrifying the air!
We cover our beautiful challah so that she is not embarrassed by being blessed third. We raise our cup of wine and joyously chant the Kiddush (blessing recited over wine or juice to sanctify Shabbat or a Jewish holiday)! We give family and friends blessings. Wash our hands and speak another blessing, gather back at our tables to bless and share bread and a scrumptious meal! When Shabbat ends, we reluctantly bid her goodbye with blessings, songs, chants, candles, fragrances, and more wine or juice.
Each of us also has spaces between receiving information and deciphering what it means to us, which determines how we will react or respond.
Some of us know our “buttons” or “triggers” or “stress points.” Some of don’t until we are triggered, experiencing our reaction to our pushed buttons and our melting down. There are signs along the way to the reaction. When we recognize those signs, with practice, we can learn to pause, be fully present, and respond.
In order to discern the signs, we need to be in our bodies and notice when we are not in our bodies. We notice when we are waiting to speak our truth instead of listening to hear the message of another. We notice our clenched jaw, crossed arms, pursed lips, impatience… the endless ways that signal we are not present to ourselves or to another – regardless of their importance to us.
The rituals that bookend Shabbat also exist within our own ways of being. They either aid us in slowing things down to notice or blind us from noticing. These next few days, I invite you to notice how you are relating to your surroundings, tasks, people. In other words be with this now familiar change and use the experience of impatience or irritation as an signal to pause, and pause. There is nothing to fix or change or delete. The only task is to notice and be with the experience of noticing; the experience of discovering the space between or deepening your access, relationship to that space.
When you are ready, inquire of your disturbance or irritation: Is it real, created, or a sign of something else? Is it important, an excuse to vent irritation, or actually quite delightful and funny or cute when you change your perspective?
When we pause, we give ourselves the opportunity to rescue ourselves from reactions and defenses that no longer serve us – if they ever did. We discover the Space Between is a fascinating way to look the world; a break in which we actually short-circuit stressful behavior because we no longer need to be right, taken care of, the center of someone's attention - even if it's negative, or have our way for the sake of having our way. We can experience the Space Between as break in which we actually might find rest, occasional amusement, and glorious beauty such as the smile of someone important to us!
We have now counted two weeks of Omer.
© Sabrina Sojourner 2020