Living One Life; Being a Rabbi Who Loves Her Leadership Development Work
Create Me a sanctuary and I will dwell there. Exodus, 25:8
When I am facilitating a small group usually I set an intention, a deep desire, before we begin. It helps me to remember why I came to work that day. The list includes to have fun, to laugh and to learn. Collaboration is my core value and gathering the wisdom of the group and not being the only expert are also my intentions. So after I write ‘Welcome’ and the above intentions on the board I have begun also drawing a circle in two parts with arrows facing the same direction; I label these arrows as ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’. My hope is that the conversations between us will be rich and fruitful.
In Zami, African American essayist, poet and novelist Audre Lord ‘s autobiography (1934-1992) she describes herself as an only child who is like her mother and her father; she wants to enter and be entered. My first reading evoked sexual thoughts and feelings. As an only child I have have often wondered ‘am I more akin to my mother or my father’ and Lorde offered me the freedom to be like both. A teacher, Marc Gafni, used to say the sexual only models the erotic and is not the only the erotic. In Mystical Hebrew Wisdom a person is considered to have both male and female characteristics and simplistically said with the female as the receiver, the left side of the body, and the male as the giver, the right side of the body, and the potentiality of the two coming together is the ultimate connection in making the world a better place. Jung and other psychologists have agreed and Jung named the parts anima and animus.
Last night when my teacher Rabbi Miriam Shulamite Ribner taught on the female essence of G!D, Shekhinah, I felt my worlds coming together. In setting an intention for giving and receiving I am creating a vessel for the Divine Feminine to be in the midst of our conversation so that creativity, wisdom, and change will be linked bringing forth the sparks of new ideas and the potential of breaking old patterns.
A few weeks ago that is exactly what happened. I do not know if anyone in the group would have called it holy; I did and I knew it was different from what I had experienced in the past and very powerful. We became One as a group supporting each other, present in our conversations and uniquely distinctive in our way of being. Some say love is a process of both giving and receiving; perhaps that was what I was feeling, what I desire from the intention I set.
Blessing of the Vav; the potentiality to rise, to give, to receive and create a holy vessel of transformation all in one moment and to experience love. After all I heard from my heroes the Beatles ‘that is all you need’.