Who’re You Kidding? TorahCycle Shelach

34jpg(1)I watch movie violence through laced fingers. I don’t mind the faux comic-book kind but deep anger and violence turns my conflict-averse head. It’s not about running scared, but rather appropriate boundaries around what’s not good for one human to do to another.

There’s another kind of scary-ness we encounter in life. The kind we impose on ourselves. The kind of Eek! I can’t do it. It’s too hard, too many obstacles. The bar’s set too high. kind of responses that make us turn tail and wanna run all the way back to our alley in free safety zones with our tails between our legs. Even if those mythical safety zones were never so free or good to begin with. Because what’s looming ahead seems just so much worse and scary. Inaccessible. Or maybe worse, as close and real and good as we think we want it to be.

But now?!? Right now?!? What if we’re not really ready?

The first time the Israelites get close to the Promised Land they send out spies, and 11 of the 12 report back that the place is lush and wonderful looking, but the numerous inhabitants are giants and warriors. They scare themselves and most of the others into a poop in your pants kind of afraid.

Get our your mirror and ask yourself: Where in your own life do you do that? What aspects of your self and reality do you so consistently misrepresent to yourself (let alone others) that you prevent yourself from doing exactly what, going where, and living how, you’ve been screaming and crying that you want to be ready to do?

One of the most quoted of Jewish lore comes from Rabbi Hillel: If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am for myself only, who am I. If not now, when?

That’s now as in now. Not now as in forty years from now.

Yes hooray to process. But if you’re gonna take your time and most likely suffer more in the process, at least figure out what lessons you’re supposed to be learning. And what better time than now to evaluate what you’ve already learned.

If you do, you get a reward. Not ice cream or brownies. But grapes, pomegranates, and honey. Natural sugars. The kind of authentic high you get when you can really taste the sweetness and bounty you’ve worked so hard to find.

The question of the week: Am I ready now? And if not, where should I set the bar so I can be?

The answer, ironically is not lower but higher. If you lay it on the ground you can step over it any time, but what a hollow victory. If it’s far too high above your head, you may stop trying. But if you set it in a sweet spot just out reach, you may stop scaring yourself and actually live the way you say you’ve been aspiring to. You may actually get to your there, surprisingly sooner than you might think. And definitely sooner than if you stay stuck in fear, or if you flee.

Exercise: List your life goals and tell yourself the truth about both the good and the tough things. Then step up and over.

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