There’s an old axiom that says you can’t know where you’re gong until you know where you’ve been. Looking at your past usually involves both lesson harvesting and revisionism. Hard to do one without the other, because the now you will have a different perspective on past choices than then you who made them.
The need for immediate gratification diminishes in the long view. But choices made in moments of acute need or desire may’ve been valuable shortcuts to learning that might have taken far longer if you’d always taken the road of reason.
Devarim literally means “words” and/or “things.” It introduces the last book of Torah, that includes a summary of everything that’s happened since the Jews left Egypt, “the narrow place. “
Most of us have many such leavings. We’re often in the process of creating and re-creating ourselves. Hopefully each iteration is an improvement. As we change, our vocabulary about ourselves (the words) changes as our situations and perspectives change.
In the very beginning of Genesis we’re told the world was spoken into being. That words have complete generative power. So this is a great time to do a re-cap. A spiritual resume-writing week. A time to look at the big events that made you who you are, and the littler private moments, that forged your soul and perspective. Most especially at the words you use to describe those moments and yourself on your journey. They’ve become your own creation stories. But when’s the last time you unpacked them and truly listened to them?
In Hebrew the letter vav (like a V) is a connector. It ties thing-words like this and that, or place-words like here and there, or time-words like now and when. Vav is the essence of this exercise. Looking at the self you were when you began search for higher consciousness and at the self you are now.
In physics’ Heisenberg principle we cannot see the same thing in the same moment as both observer and the object of scrutiny. Like the old adage You can’t step into the same river twice. But you can look upstream, to reflect on your journey, and to motivate yourself: to find the energy and perspective to go the last leg of the way. If you need a visual, watch a recent movie called The Way, about a walking pilgrimage.
It’s the time when the hummingbirds come for the bright blooming flowers. They seem always in motion, seeking the next burst of bright sweetness. So like us: busy, busy, busy. Doing, doing, doing. Seeking, seeking, seeking, But sometimes there’s blessed moments when hummingbirds hover. They seem to pause in flight, taking in the sweetness, before they dart off searching for more.
That’s what now’s the time to do. In the heat of summer, to pause. To reflect on how you got to here and now. Take moments to feel all your words, both your memories and your dreams. Taste the nectar of knowing that you’ve travelled well and long on your road, survived the bumps, and you’ve earned the right to simply be, and to taste life’s sweetness.