What’s It Gonna Take? : TorahCycle Va’eira

Va'eirah-2013After fruitcake and holiday sales is the New Year and everything that beginning represents. We start new cycles at other times, but the annual ritual of making resolutions is hard to ignore. Planning to get kinder, lighter, more focused or frugal…. Fill in the blanks with your own special challenges of this incarnation.

This week’s reading is about seven of the ten plagues. Various forms of discomfort and warning to deliver one message: Time and past time for change. P.S. The more you resist, the crappier it’s gonna get.

Moses and Pharaoh duking it out. Let my people go! Yes…No! Our own inner pharaoh knows this dance. We specialize in resistance, and are creative self-saboteurs, committed to keeping things as they are (no matter what or how much we say we want them to be different). We’re complicit with our oppression; with all the unhappiness that insight packs with it.

Why the push-pull? The list is tediously familiar: resistance from fear, guilt, laziness, shame, inertia. Stubbornness in every shape and style.

We each carry our own karma. Health challenges in one person manifest as emotional trauma in someone else. Family dysfunction, relationship problems, body shape and image, self-esteem. Pick a card, any card. All yours to wrestle with.

You know what works and what doesn’t. Know when you’re stuck, aimed in the wrong direction, faking it without real commitment, or otherwise avoiding what you say you want to do more or less of. Many of us spend huge amounts of time, effort, money, and enthusiasm making things worse instead of better.

A favorite line from the internet: I wish I weighed what I weighed when I decided I needed to lose weight. That kind of non-progress. Because knowing alone isn’t enough to make change happen.

This story, leaving slavery, is a very big deal. The first and biggest step towards freedom is overcoming resistance. Real change. Yikes!

So what’s it gonna take?

If we need to terrify ourselves with literal or metaphorical blood, darkness, frogs, or boils, then so be it. Hopefully you won’t do too much damage along the way. But it will likely be as annoying and persistent as buzzing flies.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could don a biohazard suit for the duration, to prevent our emotional toxicity from leaking out? Maybe we’d change faster if we didn’t have others on whom to project our crap.

There’s a great John Gorka refrain: We’re all flashes in a great big pan and they’re turning up the heat. Our holy spark cooking in the heat of our collective, flawed humanity.

But throughout these goings on, this testing, we are slowly waking up. We’re learning something strong and powerful about who we are, what we require, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for what we most truly need.

So take some time during this year-end for reflection. Between the festivities and toasting, find a little quiet time to look at your thrashing, at all the ways you make life harder and more anxious for yourselves and those you love. Think about how to ease the process, and how to prepare for the changes that are coming. Keep that resolution and good will follow.

2 thoughts on “What’s It Gonna Take? : TorahCycle Va’eira

  1. My dad had us go through the step of self analysis three times each year: New Years’ Rosh Hashana and Thanksgiving. I find I do the same with my family. Reviewing what has been done and where we need to make changes is at least the very first step to change.

  2. I find this portion about altering our own hearts as well. Making the change within and around us as we face a new secular year. I don’t want to be like the Pharaoh I have been in the past. I want my heart soft and aware.

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