What Kind Are You?

TuB'ShevatFriday’s a Jewish holiday called Tu B’Shevat. The questions it raises are worth contemplating whenever you think of them. You can google it and find everything from “the Jewish new year for trees/Arbor Day” to “when spring begins in Israel.” The best explanation I’ve ever heard came from a teacher who said, It’s when the sap remembers to begin to rise. How lovely.

There’s ritual gatherings of people to celebrate everything from environmentalism to mysticism. Regardless of the specific words, each gathering centers around plates of fruits and nuts, and the assembled folks think and talk about some of the questions below:

The First Kind: Things like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, or brazils; oranges, bananas, or coconuts. Things that are hard on the outside. Encased. That have their sweetness concealed. Ways we protect our most intimate selves, and hide in the illusion of safety. Ask yourself when, how, and with whom you are guarded. Whether that helps you or if you should let more of your true self show.

The Second Kind: Think olives, plums, cherries and dates. Apricots and peaches. Things that have a stone in their center. That are sweet and inviting, until…… Ask what parts of yourself you keep open, and when you do not. Where you set your boundaries and why. How you are vulnerable. What you show and what you keep hidden. What would be different if?

The Third Kind: Berries, figs, raisins, and grapes. Things you can eat the whole of. No barriers or pits. Less effort or danger. Ask where you feel completely joyous, open, and good. When you have a level of trust that doesn’t require layers of protection. When you let your fullest self be seen.

Blessing: May your sap remember to rise, and may it bring you into deeper connections with other living things.