One more Passover at home, maybe closer to freedom and redemption, but feels lonely and grumpy at our house. As we tell the story of Passover, we are tasked with imagining ourselves going through the steps to free ourselves from Egypt. But this year, as the Israelites travel as a group to throw off their bonds and forge through the dry river bed, I feel myself reaching out my heart for the tribe that has been socially distanced for over a year. This year, again, it feels like we’re facing the plagues and the fears alone.
Every tribe, every family, and every group is made up of individuals. May this brief pre-passover grounding haggadah (directions through a ritual practice) help you find the space to explore the multitudes inside your individual self, and embrace the multiple aspects of your interests.
Shaking loose our bodies to dance like Miriam with a tambourine can help us tap into our most authentic selves. As we tip into the week before Passover- challenge yourself to get up and dance! Whether you’re jamming to that TikTok dance, adding a shimmy to your run with Peloton x Spotify, trying ecstatic dance, moving with joy can help our bodies prepare for something new, and ground ourselves in this present moment.
Told as a story of a man with no words, a leader through action. When the waters of the Red Sea parted, the Israelites hesitated. Was this safe? Would they perish? What lay on the other side? When Nachshon saw the people hesitate, he stepped forward onto the river bed, taking the first steps to freedom and leading through action.
What first steps lie between you and a goal, a dream, or simply a feeling you are chasing? What is the smallest possible action that could put you closer to that goal?
For some of us, we need to tap into our creativity to think about what those goals could and should be before we break them down. I like to create vision boards and beautiful lists which I save near my desk so I can think about them all the time, filled with pictures of people and places that spark my imagination and my heart.
For others, this is a list making or stock-taking moment. Where are you now? Would downloading something like You Need a Budget or the Libby app help you reach your goals of buying a house or reading 50 books this year?
Whatever your goals are, Nachshon led by taking only the tiniest step. What will be your first step?
Moses is the hardest for me to relate to in the story – he runs away from comfort and the family he knows, speaks truth to terrible power, and has visions in the desert that he believes with conviction. It is certainly not blind trust as he sometimes falters, and asks for help and guidance, but his experience with trust is what helps cement him into our modern lexicon as a leader.
How can we build trust and certainty into our lives that have been so tumultuous during this past year? When the only thing that seems unchanging is that everything is changing constantly?
Can we find stillness and grounding in this space?
Pick a word or phrase that feels appropriate, and decide how you want to honor this intention. Can you paint it? Write a love letter or dedication? Make a picture collage from pictures on your phone over the last year? Can you meditate using the word or phrase? (If meditation is not in your current practice, try Headspace or another guided meditation) Can you find a list of things this reminds you of and do a scavenger hunt on an afternoon walk in your neighborhood? However you choose to embody this process, make sure to bring your mind and your body along.
The last member of this community of honor is who or what you are leaving behind this Passover. Is there something that is not serving you? Whether it’s clutter that Marie Kondo taught you to say goodbye to, or a stressful relationship, or stress about your new Zoom room filters – check in with your body about what is and is not allowing you to move forward to freedom. Thank them for getting you to this point, and leave it behind on the shore.
It can be helpful to perform ritual around this- like lighting a candle and burning scraps of paper with what you are leaving behind. Or throwing small rocks or breadcrumbs into running water like we do during Tashlich.
Despite how crazy and hard this year has been, I hope we can also find a time for gratitude for reaching this point in your life, and allowing the growth of our multitudes this year. I know I’ve spent a lot more time finding stillness and silence than I’ve ever been able to before. Maybe this year has also allowed you to discover a clearer lens on the relationships you wish to nurture or let fall away, or how you like your personal space to be cultivated.
Here are a few ways to offer thanks:
Whether this year was marked with sadness, grief, anger, joy, boredom, or all of the above, I’m glad you’ve made it here to this time. However it is that you’ve reached a point that you’re heading into another Passover in quarantine, I can’t wait to say ‘Next Year in Jerusalem!’
About the Author: Andrea Deck is a DC native who currently works with HoneymoonIsrael, helping to make the Jewish community more accessible to couples around the DMV. She also loves to connect to the incredible and diverse community of Jewish women in the DMV through organizations like Svivah and JWI. In her “down” time, she lives with her husband in Adams Morgan and loves coffee, knitting, and everything DC.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.