This week’s Torah portion (Kedoshim) is located right in the middle, the heart of the Torah. In it, we have one of the most beautiful and foundational principles of Judaism: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
As much as I strive to be loving however, I often fall flat. Sometimes, the reason I am falling flat is because my neighbor’s words or behavior are reminding me of an area in myself which I do not love. How can I extend love to others in those same areas in which I am hurting or judge myself? I find that very challenging and even at times impossible.
That is when I need to go within and sit with that part of myself that I am judging and accept it with loving compassion. With attention and compassion, a magic dance begins in which this part of me unfurls and then evolves. I come to an understanding and acceptance of myself that infuses me with compassion towards myself and others.
I facilitate this unfurling and evolvement with Focusing, an inner exercise I use with myself and teach to others. It is one of the best tools I have found to love and accept myself on a deep level.
May we all take the time to extend love to the hurting parts of ourselves, in order to not only love ourselves more, but be able to love others and thus contribute to a healing of this world.
For info on Bring Torah to Life gatherings, which incorporate Focusing and creative expression through collage, visit http://www.rebpatrice.com/bring-torah-to-life.html
I am a Rabbinic Chaplain in the Jewish Renewal tradition who brings a light-filled and joyful Judaism to others who want to experience the beauty of Jewish spirituality.