This is the time of year that we look ahead, wondering what 5776 will bring. We are busily planning meetings, writing school obligations into the calendar, trying to balance exercise, coffee, errands, volunteer activities, taking care of homes, relationships, children. And for those who have jobs outside the home, we factor that in along with everything else. It is a dizzy, hectic vortex. As women, multitasking seems to be our constant companion.
Squeezing in one more thing, I recklessly registered for an entire weekend away from home and adult responsibility. In between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur I was fortunate enough to attend a retreat at Camp Newman for women over 45 years old, called The Next Tent. Over 80 women from the Bay Area, southern California and even outside of California gathered together. We were excited but also a little apprehensive, as none of us knew what to expect. It turned out to be an incredible experience, filled with small group sessions exploring our life journeys, hiking, swimming, singing, dance partying, doing yoga, Torah Study, eating s’mores around the campfire, and making new friends. Doesn’t this sound like fun? No wonder kids love camp.
At 7:30am on Sunday morning some of us met for a hike. First, we were asked to pick a word from a bag (called angel cards) and privately reflect upon it. After hearing a gorgeous Mary Oliver poem about nature, we hiked up a steep hill in silence. Ordinarily being silent would be extremely hard but it was a very steep hill. When we got to the top, we were treated to a magnificent view of distant ridges, farms, and rolling hills. Each woman then had a chance to share her word. Mine was Love. At first when I had read my word, I wondered what I would say. While schlepping up that hill, it became so clear.
How about we stop and feel the love that is in our lives right now? What might it feel like to stop planning and scheduling for a moment, and just completely allow ourselves to take it in. Not past loves gone imperfect, not hopes for future love, not seeking to enhance current love, but just appreciating the love that is with us at this exact moment.
I returned home holding onto that thought. I hope that no matter how busy life can be, we can remember to feel the love from family and friends, pets (OK, I don’t have any but you may), spouses, significant others, your fellow congregants, and of course, your sisters at Rodef Sholom.
~Susan Goldwasser, WRS President