Deepening this lofty task of cleaning one's entire kitchen, closets, vehicles, libraries, dwelling spaces.. of any traces of chometz we are invited to intentionally allow this cleansing process to extend beyond our physical beings to our emotional & spiritual bodies as well. In this holy time of purification chometz represents any aspects of ourselves that are puffed up in pride, haughtiness... As we prepare to the leave the narrow place of “Mitzrayim” (Egypt), we realize that this historical holiday is still relevant to our daily lives as humans in the greater than human community on earth. This time is helpful to harness in the Northeastern United States to accompany spring cleansing; removing the shells or kelipah (outer covering which conceals G-dly light within creation) to allow for new growth.
Questions we can ponder during this time can be categorized into three groups:
1. Recognizing where we are:
- What do you feel grateful for in your life?
- Where are you free in your life?
- What do you currently do to nurture this gratitude and liberated awareness?
- How does the 'chametz' (arrogance, pride..) manifest in your life?
- Where do you still feel enslaved in your life?
- Why are you blocked from being your true self in all areas of your life?
- How does an 'inner pharoah' appear in your life?
- Where in your life are you able to raise yourself up from a lower to higher awareness?
- How can you clean this 'shmutz' from your physical, emotional, spiritual sanctuary?
- What can you do to maintain clear space to step into who you really are?
- What practices can you do to nurture a steady liberation awareness state?
- How can your freedom be a catalyst for the freedom of those around you?
- What does it feel like to be a servant of Creator rather than a slave of Pharoah?
While historically this holiday may have different dimensions to this seeming synchronicity of First Fruit Offering and Torah Receiving, today their simultaneous occurrence can be meaningful for us in our process. Today, when earth itself is in slavery from civilization, when working people are robbed of their taxes to support an unjust health care system, when religious people are killed for their faith, when indigenous people are robbed of their homelands by big businesses, when young men are murdered because of the color of their skin, when innocent people are kept in prisons for falsely accused crimes, when fragile ecosystems are relentlessly inundated with chemicals, when ancient wars over property lines continue to threaten & oppress the lives of innocent citizens, when earth's body is pillaged for resources and left with toxic residue, when children are forced to sit inside under electric lights learning information that may not be relevant to their current experience or gifts, when our elders are living miles from their families tended by people from other countries who also are away from their families, when herbal companies are forced to spend millions of dollars to comply with standards that go against the very process of consciously harvesting medicine from the earth, when farmers who tend their soil and protect their waterways can't afford to keep their land, when young people are put on prescription drugs to treat nervous disorders which may result from the surrounding technological and chemical overload....fill in the blank.... it is clearly time to realize that this holiday is not really just about us or about our people long ago. Passover can be a universal remembrance, representing the plight of being human on an earth, which is made of life mostly not human, and in which we are only a tiny part.
So I bless us during this time to discover our freedom to unshackle ourselves in as many ways as we can. During this time when gender definitions are expanding beyond the old binary, when stereotypes and roles of what it means to be in a partnership or family are evolving, when the 'hidden' or 'external' costs of industrial food system are now considered in the price of food, when how our actions affect the surrounding ecosystem become an informing voice before big decisions are made, when lethal practices like tweaking the genes of organisms is not accepted as a casual secret practice, when institutionalized education is recognized to not necessarily be the best choice for all youth, when pollinators' rights are considered before creating a property management plan, when communities run on systems of barter and exchange, when young people continue to learn the language and ways of their ancestors, when people from diverse networks unite to oppose unhealthy powers, when children of warring countries form peace promoting music bands, when people harness the symbols of their identities to support their allies' causes, when the rights of coral and polar bears is as important as of humans, when homegrown, handcrafted items are preferred over factory extractions, when collectives save seed and share them freely with all who come to swap..fill in the blank..it is clear that there are infinite ways and places we can each liberate ourselves and thereby the parts of the web we are intricately connected with.
On a personal note the places that I am going to be focusing on ethically rewilding include: harnessing the incredibly rich resource of nitrogen in urine to support plant growth, transforming my human waste to grow soil, taking more time to meditate and nurture relationships, watching my thoughts like a hawk and being deliberate about which ones I allow to have weight and affect my behavior, to grow my somatic awareness so that past patterns of anxiety and neurosis can be detected and mediated before guiding me into old rut patterns of impulsive action, and trusting that the social, spiritual, emotional, and natural capital ventures are worth the vision, hope, time, and energy I dedicate to them.
As we journey from slavery towards freedom may we support each other with joy and lightness. Amen!