We are entering the new moon of the Hebrew month of Av, the most emotionally intense month in our yearly cycle. Av contains both the day of greatest tragedy and sorrow in the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, and the day of greatest celebration of love and joy, Tu B’Av. The volatile and passionate energy of this month can swing us from low points of fear and despair to high points of celebration and renewal.
The wisdom path of Kabbalah teaches that the way forward to create harmony and balance, especially this month, is to heighten our capacity to listen so we may hear each other, hear what is being said and what is being withheld, hear our inner guidance and that from Above, hear the cries of the earth and her creatures – and then respond. We are challenged to control the fiery nature of this month and our own emotions by listening more attentively and wisely witnessing our reactivity, a difficult thing to do as we sit alone in our homes hearing the numbers of infections from Covid-19 rising from commentators on our televisions and podcasts.
As I hear the cacophony of our public life reaching a fever pitch of disharmony with different themes and tones competing with each other, I feel almost overwhelmed by the cycle of blame that focuses attention on wildly divergent perspectives of reality that pull us apart in a destructive pattern of tweet and counter tweet.
And then I drive up to Northern Michigan and am greeted by the squeals of pleasure and welcome from my grandchildren, hear the lapping of the waves inviting me to cool off in the clear waters, and hear the call of gulls circling the waves. Connecting to the earth, to our loved ones, and to our own steady breathing can reconnect us to the truth at the core of our lives. This grounding to what is true helps us to re-image a world of greater harmony that can be music to all of our ears, across seeming boundaries of cultures and tribes. Can we find a harmonious chord that can unite us and soothe our souls? Do we have the courage and will to release old behaviors and step into a world of new possibilities and promise?
These are the questions of our time that are coming to a crescendo this month. May we each step up to this holy task and sound our unique note in the great symphony of creation and re-creation looming before us.