Watering our Roots with Compassion

gray trunk green leaf tree beside body of water

April 2021  /  Iyar 5781

With gratitude for the uplifting beauty and fragrances of spring that accompany Earth’s rebirth, we enter into the new moon of the Hebrew month of Iyar, the time of healing mind, body, and spirit though connection to our hearts, each other, and the One. What in each of us needs healing before we root ourselves deeply into the awakening earth?

During this past year, many of us have pruned away aspects of our lives not essential to our being, which like a tree enables us to channel our energy back into new growth and evolution. We instinctively respond to the powerful life force calling to us, beckoning us out from the dark, interior places where we have resided this winter. Yet we are tender from the many losses we have individually and collectively witnessed and experienced.

Like many of you, now that I have had my two vaccinations and requisite waiting period, I’m planning visits to two beloveds I haven’t seen in over a year and a half. First, it’s a visit to my 96 year-old aunt, the last living ancestor in my lineage, who miraculously survived a serious battle with Covid but is greatly weakened. My heart aches knowing that this may be my final connection to the many loved ones who have come before me, loved me, and given me life and hope and the resilience to persevere and maintain my strong faith in the One. Then, I visit my two year-old grandson and smile to myself just feeling the vital energy bubbling up from within him and trust that the new generation will lead us through the seemingly enormous challenges we face as a human species, just as the new generation of Israelites found their way across the desert to the Promised Land.

We have the opportunity this month, symbolized by the spiritual practice of counting the Omer, to release old wounds and tap into our deepest longings, freed from many of the restraints of this past year. It’s the energy of compassion, the hallmark of this month of Iyar, that can soften our transition into a greater expansion and allow us to trust our intuition as we sow our seeds, so ripe with potential. Compassion, “Chemlah” in Hebrew, is the new Hebrew name Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi blessed me with to help me heal and thrive. I invite that energy into my life because I long to open to what is with a loving heart, without the need to change it.

When we open our hearts to ourselves and others, welcome in and embrace the full range of our emotions, and release judgement, we can water our roots gently with kindness and compassion. We can come out of this time of isolation with a commitment to be more kind to ourselves and each other and allow compassion to lead us forward. We can transform the ways we interact with each other, both in the small orchards of our lives and in the towering forests of our global community.