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Ready to Embrace the Adventure? - Va'eschanan

During my recent experiences of three years at Ohel, I have made it a priority to impact the individuals we serve every day positively. However, neglecting my self-care can come at a cost. To address this, I joined a mindfulness mini-series at work. It was an excellent opportunity to prioritize my well-being, bond with my coworkers, and acquire valuable tools for the future.

One of the exercises we did in the session was called bilateral drawing. At first, I felt apprehensive. Holding a marker in both hands felt unnatural, and I feared I might not complete the exercise correctly. As I overthought, the instructor's voice broke through, reminding us not to worry about making our pictures look pretty and to just let go and draw. Listening to unfamiliar music, I drew large circles and squiggles in shades of red and orange until I felt free, unplanned, and spontaneous. Suddenly, I found myself transported to a brand-new planet.

As I continued my experience, a familiar tune started playing. While typically comforting, this part of the song felt too rushed. I generally prefer structure and routine, and the sudden structure of the activity made me feel less challenged and unable to be spontaneous. It felt like I had returned from my interplanetary travels.

In life, I often make plans and envision how my future will unfold. However, unexpected events can completely alter my day, week, month, or even year. In those moments, I feel lost and struggle to have faith or think about my life objectively. It is even harder to turn towards Hashem.

This week's Parsha, Vaetchanan, teaches us that even great leaders like Moshe faced unforeseen challenges and changes in their plans. Despite his efforts, he couldn't enter the land of Israel as he had hoped. This reminds us that while we can plan and dream, Hashem's divine plan ultimately prevails. Trusting in His wisdom and guidance can help us navigate life's twists and turns.

If I had dismissed the exercise as not part of my routine, I would not have gained as much as I did. The experience taught me that clinging to the known makes the unknown seem scary and impossible. However, if I let go, my experience has limitless potential. Sometimes, it's about taking a leap of faith and knowing that whatever comes out might not have been part of the plan, but in the end will be a beautiful creation.

Good Shabbos

All the best!

Avroham Y Ross

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