I have finally begun to enjoy my Pesach/Passover celebrations. Prior to this enjoyment I was an angry, resentful, and none to eager participant in the preparation let alone the celebration. All ofthe preparations and cleaning and turning upside down one's home to search for chometz has been working my nerves for the past couple of years, and even more so this year. Now mind you, we are not near as "in depth" as many people, following a more letter of the law practice than all the extra chumras that some of my Tribe take on, but feeling the time constraints and attention to detail that this holiday demands was, nonetheless, beginning to wear at me.
Finally, with the couldn't-been-done-without-her daughter doing cleaning over the week, we finished on Sunday and were actually ready for the holiday the earliest we have ever been. I had decided earlier, since I only have one child at home and wasn't sure who actually would be present, to make plans to celebrate the seders in other peoples homes. I must say, they did much to flip my attitude. The first seder was quiet and meaningful with people we dearly care for. The food quite delicious and proof that the simplest of foods, without extra spices or whatnot, make for delicious and warm meals. Love truly is the most needful ingredient. The second seder was happily spent with extended family and my son so needless to say, my mother's heart was overjoyed! We enjoyed other meals out with two of my students families and they were equally wonderful.
Of course the point of all these mealtime celebrations, is freedom, particularly freedom from slavery. We use cushions, lean to the left, drinks lots of wine to remind us we are a free people. This really has gotten me thinking about what slavery and freedom really means. What exactly is freedom? Lack of ownership? Lack of restraints? Absence of boundaries? Absence of limitations? Opportunities? Choices?
"Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind."~Bob Marley
With all this thoughtfulness I decided that now would be an appropriate time to make resolutions to myself. Resolutions focused on being Free.
I want to free myself to be who I truly am. I cannot even explain what that means, as I am in constant discovery of who I am, but simply put, I want to be free to be that person at each moment, without apology to myself or others.
I want to be free to choose healthy foods and not be enslaved to what my emotions want to eat. I want to nourish my body without then becoming a slave to a particular diet or food program. I want to enjoy the food I eat and simply eat to live.
Worry is slavery.
Fear is slavery.
Lack of control is slavery.
I want to be free from all these things. I want to love and experience each moment as it comes. I want to feel great emotion and not chastise myself for it afterwards. I want to truly understand that there is a real difference between lack of control and passionate living! I want to live Passionately!
I want to be free of obligation. That is a mouthful coming from me, I know. But I am beginning to believe their is a huge difference between obligation and response-ability.
1. An act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.
2. The condition of being morally or legally bound to do something.
Mind you, I picked those particular definitions to suit me, but they better explained my point. Response-ability, the ability and desire to respond to a person, situation, cause etc. is freedom! I take upon myself responsibility, and I respond happily in a healthy manner. I am not obliged to do this or that, but am living my life and responding to it. I admit, I could be performing word gymnastics here, but I suppose that is how all revolutions start, with a word or a catch phrase
to hold on to and inspire.
"You tell me it's the institution, well you know, you better free your mind instead." ~John Lennon
Speaking of the Revolution, I realize that the revolution had to start within myself and my mind. Here I am thinking I am starting a revolution, but truly I need to revolt within myself first. I think this is the most challenging. To change and free my own mind!
"But the multitude among them began to have strong cravings. Then even the children of Israel once again began to cry, and they said, "Who will feed us meat? We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt free of charge, the cucumbers, the watermelons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic." ~Bamidbar/Numbers 11:4-5
We, all of us, are still very much slaves. Slaves to systems, ideologies, past experiences etc., that keep us tame and sedated. The sedation, I think we can shake off, but once we are fully awake then what? What happens then? We are free and awake but to what? How do we shake off the 'slave mentality'? As we see above, the Torah clearly relates the stories of the children of Israel and their continued desire for their 'comforts of slavery'. Is this simply our nature now? Have we forgotten or have we even ever known what it is to free and response-able? Once freed from any given situation or person will we naturally seek to enslave ourselves to another system, emotion, belief?
If I would unfetter myself and become my authentic wild self, who will I be? What will it mean to relinquish the bondages that I have accumulated along the way and to start the revolution within myself and to allow anarchy within my own being.To honestly be response-able to myself, others and the world around me? What will it mean to live a life fully awake and live each and every moment wild and free?
It is all at once, indeed, frightening and exciting. But to be wild is to grow and become all what one should be. The wild expensiveness of the Universe is all too awesome to try to understand. The beauty of a wild countryside, mountain range etc., is more than the soul can even consume. The earth as it was and in places still is.
It's not too late, you know. Land is constantly being set free, re-wilded, maybe people can be too.