"If you make it they will come." This famous line from Field of Dreams repeated over and over in my head as I prepared for last night to come. Born of a thought and a vision that I have had for quite some time now, I wanted to gather the women on rosh chodesh to have a drum circle, dance and share in sweet sisterhood while connecting to the One. It occurred to me about three weeks ago that if I was going to do this, Elul would be the time.
The Baal ShemTov called the days of Elul the days when the King is in the field. He explained this with a parable. Normally, in order to gain an audience with the King, one must go through a lengthy procedure. He must travel to the capitol city, arrange an appointment, and then get permission to enter the palace. Even when permission is granted is may be days or weeks before he is finally allowed to enter. When he does finally get to... see the King, the audience is likely to be short and very formal. The citizen, not used to the royal surroundings doubtlessly feels out of place, and maybe even regrets his decision to see the King. From his great fear and uneasiness, he may forget to put his request before the King. Once a year, the King leaves his capitol to visit the various regions of his Kingdom. Now a King can't just enter a city unannounced. When he reaches the outskirts of the city he is to visit, his entourage sets up a camp while a special delegation goes ahead to the city to make preparations. for the King's visit. In the meantime, the King is in the field; relaxed and enjoying the early fall weather. He doesn't stand on the same formality that he does when in the palace. The common folk are allowed to come out to greet the King and receive his blessing. During Chodesh Elul, the King is in the field and he is easily accessible. We need only make the effort to go out and greet Him.
So my idea was, "Let's have a dance party/drum circle to celebrate the King's arrival to the fields!"! I truly thought that I and the three other women I learn with would be the only ones there. It never occurred to me that Hashem would use me to actually accomplish the vision He planted in my heart. The weeks went by and women started asking if they could bring a friend or two. Others came to me to ask me if anyone could come. Suddenly, the four of us became a score of us!
With these thoughts in mind, about an hour or so before I was suppose to arrive, I was stricken with an anxiety attack that I could not believe! My stomach went into knots and my mind began slinging thoughts and accusations at me like thousands of tiny pebbles being thrown at me from every direction. "What have you done?" "What have you gotten yourself into!" "What if you can't keep a beat?" "You are no professional!" "They will be bored!" "Who do you think you are anyway?" "You are no rebbitzen!"
I felt paralyzed and frightened and then finally the Voice, quiet and firm spoke to my heart, "Who is this about anyway? Why are you doing this? This is not about you, is it?" Baruch Hashem!!! No, it was not about me at all! I was not doing this for me! I laughed a bit at myself and my oh so vociferous ego and replied, "No, this is NOT about me. It is about YOU! It is about G-d, and my desire to serve the King and my sisters."
Finally, I came to the conclusion, "Who cares?" So what if all those things my poor frightened ego said were true, I simply wanted to give a gift to the King. I simply wanted to be with my sisters to worship and sing, to drum and dance. That's all, nothing more, nothing less. That was my intention and my prayer.
As I arrived at my hostess' home, I began to get excited about the possibilities. What if indeed we could welcome Elul with devotion, drums and dance and maybe help the shift in the cosmos that happens this month to be stronger? After I set up the chairs, I went outside to the circle and prayed. I prayed that The Holy One would guide my hand, "Please let me keep a beat." I prayed that my voice would be praise, I prayed that my heart would be open and then I got down to the real business. I invited the Shechinah, the Divine Presence/Divine Feminine to join us and I asked that every woman there would leave there changed and closer to the Source. As I prayed I constantly had to stifle my ego and my thoughts that attempted to assail me again with their fears. Finally the thought occurred to me, I am a doula, I help women birth. "Hashem please," I prayed, "let this time be a time of birth and let me help these women to birth themselves, their dreams and a new closeness to You."
And with that the doorbell rang and the first woman to the circle had arrived.
I have faith that the night went well, for myself it feel it did. I simply tried to connect to my Creator and share that love with all. After the drum circle we had a time of dancing which was, oh so fun, and a lovely community fruit salad that every lady contributed to by simply bringing one fruit to share. Oh, and let me not forget our moon cakes made by our sweet hostess who opened her home to us and provided us a place for the gathering of the women.
May you all have a lovely and meaningful Elul! The King is in the field, go and greet Him!!