Counting the Omer: Day 36 — The Foundation of Emotional and Spiritual Life
Today we begin the week that focuses on Yesod, the bonding and emotional connections that serve as a foundation for our emotional and spiritual lives. In preparation for writing today, I was thinking recently a lot about foundations and how I relate to establishing foundations in my life. As a performing artist, I have always loved working on technique. Ballet is the technical foundation of the other dancing that I have done.
As a teenager determined to be a strong and expressive dancer, I used to spend additional hours outside of dance class reviewing the technique, using exercises to improve and strengthen my technical abilities. Recently, I returned to the ballet class after a long absence, and was surprised at how much technique my body remembered, and how having the technical foundation in that discipline enabled me to return to it with some competency and enjoyment at an older age. Similarly in acting, it is having a technique for how to read a script, how to approach a scene, and a character that gave me a foundation on which to build my recent role as Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank. This same premise works for me as an educator. Knowledge about how children learn, how to teach Hebrew reading, how to engage children intellectually in critical thinking and mastery of pedagogical techniques establishes the foundation on which I build all the work that I do with Ohr Chayim.
The Omer spiritual guide challenges me now to think about how caring for technique as a foundational element translates to my emotional and spiritual life. What are the bonds that serve as a foundation for me in those realms? I am lucky to come from a large intact family with connections and bonds that cross multiple generations. It is this foundation of love and strong sense of belonging, that is at the core of my being, how I relate to the world, and my ability to function within it. It is from a place of love and sense of belonging within my family that I build and relish new relationships. In the spiritual realm, it is the combination of all of the above, the artistic, educational and emotional foundations that interact with Torah and text to form a foundation for creating new spiritual insights, interpretations and finding meaning and relevancy in life.
What are the bonds and connections in your life that serve as a foundation for your emotional and spiritual life?