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#LifeChanging

August 10, 2017

“A few things I know to be true: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Life is as beautiful as it is hard, and there is always a new hardship or challenge around the corner. I’ve often held onto my child-like demeanour in waiting for someone to hold my hand before it feels safe to cross the road. I’ve longed for the support of the crowd before signing my name on the dotted line. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

My alter-ego has jumped out of planes, leapt from bungee cords, and taken risks where the safer and expected choice would be to nap in my designated box. My take away from it all — no one will believe in you more than yourself. Don’t let the darkness snuff out your fire. Stop waiting for approval and hold on to that stubborn voice that tells you, “Burn, baby, burn.”” – Kathryn Budig[1]

Torah Parsha (Portion) Eikev in a Nutshell from www.chabad.org

In the Parshah of Eikev (“Because”), Moses continues his closing address to the children of Israel, promising them that if they will fulfill the commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah, they will prosper in the Land they are about to conquer and settle in keeping with G‑d’s promise to their forefathers.

Moses also rebukes them for their failings in their first generation as a people, recalling their worship of the Golden Calf, the rebellion of Korach, the sin of the spies, their angering of G‑d at Taveirah, Massah and Kivrot Hataavah (“The Graves of Lust”). “You have been rebellious against G‑d,” he says to them, “since the day I knew you.” But he also speaks of G‑d’s forgiveness of their sins, and the Second Tablets which G‑d inscribed and gave to them following their repentance.

Their forty years in the desert, says Moses to the people, during which G‑d sustained them with daily manna from heaven, was to teach them “that man does not live on bread alone, but by the utterance of G‑d’s mouth does man live.”

Moses describes the land they are about to enter as “flowing with milk and honey,” blessed with the “seven kinds” (wheat, barley, grapevines, figs, pomegranates, olive oil and dates), and as the place that is the focus of G‑d’s providence of His world. He commands them to destroy the idols of the land’s former masters, and to beware lest they become haughty and begin to believe that “my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.”

A key passage in our Parshah is the second chapter of the Shema, which repeats the fundamental mitzvot enumerated in the Shema’s first chapter, and describes the rewards of fulfilling G‑d’s commandments and the adverse results (famine and exile) of their neglect. It is also the source of the precept of prayer and includes a reference to the resurrection of the dead in the messianic age.

This week I decided to join some friends riding in the Dandenongs. I was a bit hesitant to join some of the A-Team riders as I am still in the process of getting back into riding, have not climbed a hill in over 3 months and definitely have not climbed nearly 1600m of hills in the Dandenongs. Brad said “Ian, we will take it easy on the climbs” I really took it easy on the climbs and enjoyed the morning riding #ProHours. Brad killed me on the last 11km climb from Montrose, but I am sure I will be stronger for the experience… There is this unbelievable feeling you get riding through the beautiful Nongs. I just love the massive trees and giant tree ferns. It is so therapeutic. It is a time to get out into the country, think and clear your mind. It is a #happyplace

Driving to the Nongs I was listening to a Podcast with Kathryn Budig. Kathryn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and author. In the Podcast she talks about stripping for a nude photo shoot with acclaimed yoga photographer Jasper Johal[2]. In the shoot, she had to do various yoga poses. After being very nervous at the start she realised that her nude body was just a ‘meat suit’ with little appendages and talks about the experience as being her most liberating and empowering experience ever. The experience enabled her to feel totally comfortable in her body.

In Ryan Holiday’s weekly e-mail[3] this week he tells the story of French nobleman named Michel de Montaigne was given up as dead after being flung from a galloping horse in late 1569.

As his friends carried his limp and bloodied body home, Montaigne watched his own life slip away, like some dancing spirit on the “tip of his lips,” only to have it return at the last possible second.

This sublime and unusual experience marked the moment Montaigne changed his life. Within a few years, he would be one of the most famous writers in Europe. After his accident, Montaigne went on to write volumes of popular essays, serve two terms as mayor, travel internationally as a dignitary, and serve as a confidante of the king.

Ryan goes on to say the truth is we don’t need a near-death experience or a cancer-scare to tap into this energy. We can access it right now—and there is great power in doing so.

This was Kathryn’s and Montaigne’s life changing experiences. Riding in the Nong’s was not life changing, but therapeutic, so good and a time to #smelltheroses. I was trying to think of some of my own life changing experiences?

Instead of writing about my life changing experiences, I am asking us all to think about these experiences, why they were life changing and what impact have these changes had on our lives? Kathryn Budig’s new book “Aim True” is described as “..this guide is as beautiful as it is life-changing.” Recipes have been described as being life changing like the Life Changing Bread[4] (Which we have tried).

Reading a nice Dvar Torah from Rabbi Daniel Epstein[5][6]. He says that in this week’s Parsha Moshe continues his farewell address to the Jewish people. He reminds them not to trample on the “smaller ” commandments with their heel. 

Judaism is about relationships. Our relationships with each other and with G-d. Moshe instructs the people that relationships are based on the small details, the little or “smaller” things.

Rabbi Konig gives an analogy. When you go outside barefoot to take out the garbage, what hurts the most is a tiny little pebble that goes under your foot. In life we don’t trip over mountains we stumble on pebbles.

In our relationships, hopefully, we remember the big events, birthdays, anniversaries. It is the small things like writing notes to each other or knowing a person’s favourite dinner that creates a fulfilling relationship. The day to day stuff. 

The little things are the true expression of our love. This week’s Parsha contains part of the text of the Shema which we recite every day. Relationships are not all about life changing events, they are about small gestures of gratitude repeated daily so that the other person knows we care. This is what the Shema is, a few “Small” paragraphs recited daily, the real backbone of our relationship with G-d.

“There are those who say that the root of the Hebrew word for “test” (nisayon) is nes, meaning a high pole. It is the test that elevates the person.”- RABBI SHMUEL RABINOWITZ[7]

[1] http://kathrynbudig.com

[2] https://jasperphoto.myshopify.com/pages/about

[3] https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2017/08/heres-why-you-should-think-about-death-every-day/

[4] https://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/

[5] http://www.danstorah.com/eikev

[6] http://www.danstorah.com/eikev

[7] http://www.jpost.com/Not-Just-News/Parshat-Ekev-Difficulties-in-life-impetus-for-growth-466056

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2 Comments
  1. Mom permalink

    Sorry Ian only read the blog today. A powerful, meaningful message for everyone – I enjoyed the blog and the appropriate quotes. Well done!

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