Who Am I? Adar II, Week 2
Adar Sheni: The Second Month of Adar
As we come toward to the holiday of Purim, we ask ourselves the questions:
Who am I?
How do I define myself?
How do I describe the contours of my life?
We might notice the inclination to respond by defining ourselves by what we do for work or by who we are related to or responsible for.
These are all true definitions, and this time asks us to reach deeper, to uncover more layers and to notice the parts of ourselves that we are comfortable revealing and the parts of ourselves that we usually keep hidden.
Besides being a mother, a daughter, a teacher, a carpenter—who am I? And how do I present myself to the world?
It is natural to want to “show our best,” to strive to reveal our strengths, our competence, our talents, the ways in which we excel—as it is natural to want to keep hidden our vulnerabilities, our frailties, our pain, our sense of being inadequate.
Adar Sheni challenges us to notice the masks we put on to appear acceptable to ourselves and others and to perhaps let these masks fall away allowing ourselves to be revealed in more of our fullness.
Adar Sheni calls: Unmask
Revealing vulnerabilities, acknowledging fears or doubts, is courageous and honorable. Each time we allow ourselves to be revealed, we lessen the burdens that we are carrying and we help create the context for others to reveal themselves as well.
Revealing ourselves makes it possible to come into deeper and fuller relationship with each other.
We are all complex beings doing our best to navigate this mysterious journey of life. Having a preconceived idea of perfection that must be reached for us to be “OK” is a disservice and a distraction to this adventure. Adar Sheni calls—value and celebrate the wild paradoxes, richness, challenges and blessings that make up who you are and who you will become.
Exercise: Who Am I
Finding a quiet space, we take 15-30 minutes for this exercise.
We begin by asking ourselves: Who am I?
As we ask this question, repeating it again and again, we pick up a pen or pencil and begin to write down whatever comes to mind.
We allow ourselves to write a stream of consciousness, doing our best not to censor or judge what arises.
We continue to ask ourselves, with love, with gentleness, with real curiosity, who am I?
Writing continuously whatever we discover.
Each time we notice a critical voice arising, we acknowledge its presence, tell the voice that it is not welcome right now and continue asking: Who am I?
After some time has elapsed, we read aloud what we have written.
As we do, we might notice what parts of ourselves arose that we tend to keep hidden and what arose that we are more likely to reveal.
We might want to highlight attributes or characteristics that surprise or intrigue us. And we might list on a separate piece of paper the attributes or characteristics that we want to honor and bring forth.
Meditation: With a Great Love
We take our seats and rest the attention on the breath. After a few moments we begin to say this verse from the morning liturgy: Ahava raba ahavtanu, with a great love we are loved. Repeating this verse again and again, we affirm that we are all loved for exactly who we are right in this moment. We don’t have to be anyone or anything else than who we are to be held and received with great, abiding love. Each time we notice the mind protesting or thoughts arising that challenge this notion, we return to the breath and the prayer:
Ahava raba ahavtanu, with a great love we are loved.
We close the sit with the closing verse of the prayer: Blessed is the Mystery that pours forth love to all.
—Rabbi Yael Levy
5 Adar II 5779
To guide you mindfully through the two months of Adar, A Way In presents a series of original teachings from Rabbi Yael Levy. These take you week by week through both months, offering intentions, exercises, practices and meditations to help your ride the waves of these times.
These teachings will appear weekly here on the website, but if you would like to read ahead or engage with them at your own rhythm, we are also very excited to offer an eBook guide for purchase containing the full two month's worth of Rabbi Yael's Adar teachings. Learn more and purchase the eBook.
We have also prepared a schedule, available on our website, to help you line up the weekly 5779 Adar teachings with 2019 dates.
Please donate to A Way In and/or purchase an eBook to keep Rabbi Yael's teachings free and available for all.