Week Four of Counting Omer we examine the nature of Netzakh (נצח), the 7th Sephirah of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. For many English-speaking people, one connotation of endurance is the act suffering through suffering. Endurance also means to remain in existence; to last. While these meanings are in the translation from Hebrew to English, there is more: Eternity, For Ever, Glorious Splendor, Perpetuity, and Long-Lasting. Taken together, Endurance is Lasting, Living and Being Vital as well as Suffering through Suffering. In other words, suffering through suffering takes place in the context of living and being vital. Netzakh is also defined as victory. It can be military or political. In this context it is the spiritual victory gained through being in relationship with one’s suffering;.
Lovingkindness, Grace, Compassion, Benevolence, and Loyalty within Eternity, For Ever, Glorious Splendor, Perpetuity, and Long-Lasting, and Spiritual Victory.
Quality: Loving the Journey – no matter what!
No Thing (no person, no place, no spot, no culture, no people, no idea, no value [midot]) endures without love. Suffering occurs because we love and have lost (fill in the blank). One part of loss that often gets overlooked is the vision, the dreams we held of our future before the news, the event that shattered Life as we knew it.
If we are lucky, we spend little to no time feeling targeted by God or the universe for our misfortune. None of us deserve misfortune. It’s just the price of being human. We cycle through the many feelings of grief over the time we individually require. For some losses, its minutes to hours. Others we eventually learn to live with what or who is missing. When we don’t, we may land in the self-made prison of embitterment.
The many facets of love (self-love, family love, friends’ love, partner’s love, community love, teacher's love, love of nature, the lovingkindness of strangers, love of Life…) are the medicines that aid us in being in relationship with our suffering.
The loves are the supplies we need to move through the valley of pain to whatever is next and the graces that aid us in building, rebuilding, or renewing our resilience.
In living “loving the journey – no matter what!” we are called to be in service to how Life shows up, now. We may pause before we welcome sorrow as a guest. Yet we must say “Okay, come on in. Have a seat.” so that we may begin the journey of being in relationship to this sorrow and the unexpected gifts that come with the journey, preparing us for the new normal to be discovered on the other side.
It is important for me to recognize that welcoming the guest love is not safe for all of us. However, welcoming the ghosts of the past that accompany love, including yesterday’s argument – even with hesitation, is one path to accessing the ocean called resilience and could lead to deeper healing.
© Sabrina Sojourner 2020