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CLIMBING A SLIPPERY LADDER

April 27, 2017

Be smart and listen to your body.” – Chris Hauth, Triathlon Coach and former Olympic Swimmer

Torah Parsha (portion) Tazria-Metzora in a Nutshell from www.chabad.org 

The Parshahs of Tazria and Metzora continue the discussion of the laws of tumah v’taharah, ritual impurity and purity. 

A woman giving birth should undergo a process of purification, which includes immersing in a mikvah (a naturally gathered pool of water) and bringing offerings to the Holy Temple. All male infants are to be circumcised on the eighth day of life.

Tzaraat (often mistranslated as “leprosy”) is a supra-natural plague, which can afflict people as well as garments or homes. If white or pink patches appear on a person’s skin (dark pink or dark green in garments or homes), a kohen is summoned. Judging by various signs, such as an increase in size of the afflicted area after a seven-day quarantine, the kohen pronounces it tamei (impure) or tahor (pure). 

A person afflicted with tzaraat must dwell alone outside of the camp (or city) until he is healed. The afflicted area in a garment or home must be removed; if the tzaraat recurs, the entire garment or home must be destroyed. 

When the metzora (“leper”) heals, he or she is purified by the kohen with a special procedure involving two birds, spring water in an earthen vessel, a piece of cedar wood, a scarlet thread and a bundle of hyssop. 

Ritual impurity is also engendered through a seminal or other discharge in a man, and menstruation or other discharge of blood in a woman, necessitating purification through immersion in a mikvah.

We’re all in our journey to our best lives and it’s not easy, it does get exhausting…. ” – Kelly Rowland in a recent article in the Sunday Life Magazine[i]

On Pesach Rabbi Noam Sendor gave a sermon at Shule. In the sermon, he spoke of being stale and ways to try refreshing yourself spiritually. He then changed the ‘tempo’ of the service and we all did a meditation sessions with Rabbi Noam humming a “nigun” (Jewish Religious Song). I think this created an exciting atmosphere and enhanced everyone’s experience for the rest of the service.

Nothing is more dangerous for a person than to remain spiritually stale, and we are therefore required to count the 49 days of the Omer (from Passover to Shavuot). In order to prepare ourselves for the upcoming celebration of Shavuot and the giving of the Torah, we are asked to climb a ladder of 49 spiritual steps, each day adding another dimension to our souls.” – Rabbi Cordoza

Over the last few months I have been battling with my training and how I have felt post-training. At this stage I am not sure what the cause of this is, but I have decided to reduce my training and increase my protein (BCAA) intake which is meant to enhance recovery.

Take a step back and recognise the warning signs of overdoing it.” – Stef Hanson (Editor of WITSUP (Women in Triathlon) – See her Article “I Was not OK

Without seeking proper medical advice, I can only guess what this may be related to overtraining , but I will monitor and seek the appropriate advice if the symptoms don’t improve, and make the necessary changes to my training, diet and lifestyle. In Steph’s article she mentions her steps to recovery – STOP (stop what she was was doing), COLLABORATE (with friends, doctors etc) and LISTEN (to your body, doctors etc). There is nothing better than feeling great after a training session.

In a recent Rich Roll Podcast featuring Danielle LaPorte[ii], she discusses how this quest for growth can as she says “…become an obsessive malignancy — a sort of spiritual eating disorder gnawing away on our very soul.” In the Podcast, she does discuss what we can try to do to overcome this obsessive behaviour.  (I will try para-phrase what she said on the Podcast[iii]) “She suggests that we try and examine what we are doing. She then goes onto say that we may want to leave all these practices and later comeback to them on our own terms.”

I would like to share a few thoughts on the counting of the Omer from various articles that I have read.

  • Commentators are consequently surprised to notice that the actual counting of the Omer begins on the second day of Pesach and not on the first. If the purpose of counting is indeed to re-enact the entire historical period between Pesach and Shavuot, why not start on the same day that the Exodus took place, which was also the first day that Jews began their journey to moral freedom? Rabbi Cordoza[iv] provides a beautiful answer “The real struggle for moral liberty started the day after the exodus from Egypt. The first day was a given; it was the day of G-d, not of the people. It was the day of passivity and complete surrender. Only the next[v] day did the spiritual labor of humanity begin. Consequently, that is the first day of our spiritual elevation.” He goes on to say “We are brought into this world to take moral action, grow spiritually, and dignify ourselves through hardship and struggle.” This is OUR struggle for GROWTH;
  • In the Kehillat Ohr David booklet Romy Spicer asks if people are too focussed on the counting and the restrictions during the Omer period and forgetting about the actual theme of growth. She then goes onto say “… the lessons we learn from the Omer is that it takes serious time, commitment and discipline in order to grow”; and
  • Instead of counting “down” toward the big day, we count “up” from one to 50. ladderWhy[vi]? “… Spiritual growth, like climbing a ladder, must be one step at a time.” So, don’t just count the Omer ― #MakeTheOmerCount.

“There is ALWAYS a value in training, even if you feel like crap. Get in the habit of finding it. Don’t just go home or break off the set.” – Chris Hauth‏ @AIMPCoach

In a great Facebook post[vii] from David Goggins (The SEAL in the Book[viii] – Living with a SEAL), he mentions a story of a person who approaches him while he is exercising. “…He asked for what am I training. I said, “life.”  Sometimes life will throw a 2am call at you, saying “you lost a loved one.” Life may throw a “you’re fired from your job.” Life may throw at you, “you have cancer” or some other major health problem.  Life is relentless as hell. Life throws nasty curve balls. Question is: are you prepared to hit the ball? I write so raw and real because that’s how life came at me….raw and real! I keep my body and mind strong so when I get that when I get the 2am call or my health goes bad again, I am ready. To stand for something, sometimes you must stand alone. To stand alone you have to be hard enough to endure whatever life throws at you. If your mind can’t handle it you will begin following sheep. It’s never been about the races. It’s about being prepared for life….”

I understand that I need to find the balance between training and rest, but I know that based on my personality, I need to do something, I need to train for “life” and more. I see that growth can only come if I am doing or learning. Unfortunately, with overtraining, the progression can be so gradual that you may not recognize the impending consequences that are lingering around your training. By the time you realize what has happened, overtraining symptoms such as fatigue, poor exercise performance, and a general loss of interest in training may have become completely onset and your only recourse is the loss of fitness by reducing training and increasing rest.

I need to listen to my body, find the fun again in my training, remember why I started and maybe I just need to climb the ladder slower! .

As my wise friend, Aubrey Levy said “You are on a winning wicket mate. Rest takes practice just like training.”

[i] http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/kelly-rowland-the-strong-women-who-helped-me-discover-my-selfconfidence-20170420-gvogqp.html

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danielle_LaPorte

[iii] http://www.richroll.com/podcast/danielle-laporte/

[iv] https://www.cardozoacademy.org/thoughts-to-ponder/sefirat-haomer-spiritual-ladder/

[v] Indeed, on the second day, G-d no longer pulls the strings. It is as if He decides to fade into the background, and the people have to become more active.

[vi] http://www.aish.com/h/o/t/48970201.html

[vii] https://www.facebook.com/iamdavidgoggins/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

[viii] http://www.the100mileman.com/living-with-a-seal/

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