This past July, every Tuesday at 2p, I would sign into a zoom call and land in a beautiful circle of parents facilitated by an educator in Jerusalem who had just put her own children to bed. Each week for an hour, we'd step back from our daily routines of parenting and focus on who we each were becoming as parents.
We spoke about souls - the souls of our children, the souls of our partners, and the souls that make us our unique selves. We grounded the conversation in Jewish wisdom, and shared stories about the struggles, challenges, and profound moments of accompanying our children through life.
The meetings were transformational, and after the summer series ended, I missed the weekly ritual we had created. So I signed up for the next series on love, and am looking forward to the May meetings on presence. Most of all, I am very excited to share the same Becoming a Soulful Parent curriculum with you starting next month (more details here).
With everything going on in the world around us - the Coronavirus spreading, the Democratic candidates debating, the Russian bots and trolls looming, and the snowless winter confusing our internal clocks - I become overwhelmed, and I know many of you do, too.
Then I take a breath, and remember: With everything going on in the world around us, making space to consider and refine how we are bringing ourselves to the enormous task of raising the next generation is crucial. Now is the time to focus on the preciousness of human souls, our core characters, and the divine sparks within that make us feel most grounded in life and connected to others.
The world needs us to be more human than ever, and I think that starts with soul speak.
Our ancient ancestors employed one Hebrew word nefesh to describe our throat and neck (that allow for breathing), breath itself, a living being, one's personality, and one's center of feelings and perceptions. Our best attempt to convey this range of meanings in English is to speak of the "soul." One practice for hearing what our soul has to say involves sitting quietly and breathing, and then speaking honestly about our experience of life.
More often than not, we have to help the soul open up. It's not always easy to hear. If music is what stirs your soul, we're experimenting with a House Concert this Saturday (details here - you can pay at the door, but we still need you to RSVP!). If nature is your ideal sanctuary, we're doing a winter walk earlier in the day on Saturday (details here), and aiming to have more outdoor experiences this summer into next year. If your children have engaged new parts of your spirit, then Becoming a Soulful Parent may be a great place for you.
May our souls speak loudly, and may we be wise enough to listen.
Rabbi Bethie Miller writes periodic reflections on the state of our world and the Jewish project. She also writes about creative ideas for combining Jewish wisdom with our modern lives. Here are links to previous ones:
Looking for Hope at the Seder Table (4/13/22)
Happy 9th Night of Hanukkah (12/6/21)
The Healing is in the Return (8/18/21)
Time to Pray (11/2/20)
The Secret to At-One-Ment (9/27/20)
Taking a Sharp Left Turn into 5781 (9/15/20)
Waking Up One Day At Time (8/31/20)
This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared (8/18/20)
The Day is Short (6/16/20)
Spiritual Mountain Climbing Without Leaving the House (5/14/20)
Shabbat Peace, Love & Light (3/20/20)
Sources of Connection as We Practice Social Distancing (3/16/20)
Purim Has Never Felt So Resonant (3/9/20)
The Miracle of Chanukah (12/20/19)
To Be Jewish is To Be Grateful (12/2/19)
What I Learned During the High Holy Days (10/16/19)
New Year, New Project - Welcome to Sanctuary (10/3/19)