Me too. Me too. Me too. With the recent outpouring and revelation of personal trauma that has taken social media by storm, it is extraordinary to see how these instances of abuse are uniting so many of people across so many divides including gender, sexuality, and politics. Why is it that it takes common suffering to unite us all? It reminds me of the way the human race must’ve felt when the flood finally came in the times of Noach. For years, about a 100 to be exact, Noach warned those around him “There’s a flood a comin. You guys wanna build this boat with me?” And people ignored him, chastised his belief in G-d and for taking action. “Let me do it my way,” they probably told him. “Get out of my way,” another probably shouted at him, not taking any time to hear him out.
It reminds me of the way people are today. “I ain’t got time for G-d nor meditation” people may say. But somehow they won’t miss an episode of Game of Thrones or the latest daily status/twitter updates from their 100 common friends.
“Wow, this tragedy has really united the American people,” I heard a woman say on the street corner the other day in regards to the Vagas Mandalay Bay shooting. Why does it have to take mass shootings and ubiquitous status updates on Facebook about philanderers to unite us all on moral ideals?
Noach was trying to get the chaotic world around him to take time to think about morality, to think about their choices and what they are building each day. What are we building each day? What are the priorities on your list each day? Let’s not let the momentum of the goals we made for this new year over Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur slip out like the spores on a dandelion.
Let’s seize the moments of the first few weeks of this 5778!
It’s obvious today that most people are driven by very physically needs. We take working out, eating, and finances very seriously. Basic physical needs seem to trump everything else. But according to, another Noach, Rabbi Noach Weinberg, zt’l, and his The 5 Levels of Pleasure, physical needs cover only the first step to living a well-rounded and fulfilling life. My friend and co-writer on this very blog, Benjamin Elterman, gives his take on these 5 levels in a great way here.
More on this topic: http://www.aish.com/sp/f/Five_Levels_of_Pleasure.html
It’s so interesting to me how people are so quick to take so much of their day and their money and invest it into their physical needs. We all know deep down that our mind and soul won’t be truly satisfied unless we spend more of our precious resources building upon good into the world and creating a loving community around us and connecting with our Creator.
Noach was born into a world in which people were very focused on physical needs, violent, and self-focused. I was recently told that The Walking Dead TV series is based on the era of Noach. It doesn’t surprise me. Perhaps that show is so popular today because it speaks to so many of us on a soul level. Our world is in trouble. It didn’t take long for our predominantly Judeo-Christian society to get to this new level of Self-Motivated Self-Centered loosely lawed world.
I am moved to blog today in reflection of all of the Me Toos I’m seeing on Facebook. Instead of just “liking” or “heart”-ing these I want to offer a potential solution to all of the suffering caused by the sexual misconduct out there. Please, take some time to prioritize what you’re building each day.
- Take the time to think about how you are intimate with others and then make time to spend face to face time with those who are close to you. When was the last time you sat down eye to eye, heart to heart with someone outside of the work place, someone in your community just to find out how you are? When was the last time you spoke to someone you cared about and took the time to truly answer how you are without editing your answer several times or really copping out and using emojis? How often do you check in with someone in person and not just via your phone or computer? Take the time to be emotionally intimate with others. I notice that for some of my friends the majority of the face to face time they spend with people are those they see at work, and those they see Romantically. This can be a dangerous thing. If I’m only spending time in person with people I do business with and people I spend time with in a romantic way, how could this not lead to a more sexually driven society where power struggles and “I’ll do this for you if you do this for me” runs rampant. Of course there will be a dearth of meaningful from the heart vulnerable conversation.
- Think about what you’re filling your mind with and then fill it with good stuff. How do you spend your time when you are alone or commuting? Are you filling your mind with sexual or more physically driven images? Or are you focused more on reading books or listening to podcasts that drive your spiritual needs? What are you filling your mind with? You are what you think. Do you take a few moments each day to pray and or meditate?
- Take the time to think about how you dress and then dress in a way that you are proud. Are you inviting trouble in, not just for the person looking at you, but for yourself? Are you putting on an outfit in the morning to be worn the entire day that accentuates your own sexually charging features and feelings? Is this how you want to be perceived everywhere you go throughout the day and night-amongst your community members, co-workers, kids and elderly neighbors in the street? Is there a way to express your inner artistic self, your sexuality, or what you wanna share with the world besides through the way you dress? I know this can be a controversial idea and even compared to the ‘blame the victim’ mentality. I want to be clear that I am in no way condoning that notion. I’m asking the question to us all, myself included, in terms of how does the way I dress affect the way I feel? What feelings does the way I dress bring out in myself and in those immediately around me?
- Think about how much time you spend within your community and then go help build something for your community. When was the last time you took time to build something for your community? Which communities are you serving? If the answer to this question is “I only have an online community” please take the time to find a spiritual community in person to join.
By no means am I suggesting that if we all just follow these four simple habits that people will no longer be taken advantage of physically at work nor will violent crimes be committed, but I believe they are steps for building a better world, where in the long term such things are less likely to happen. These are questions I was asked by people and Spiritual teachers I have had in the past which helped me and continue to help me make better choices. I’m just a simple Noach-wannabe girl who wants to build something special with the good people I see all around me. And now my fb status from yesterday in reflection of everything that’s been happening in our world lately.
Excerpt from my prayer session this morning:
“Please G-d let there be no more war, terror, human trafficking, molestation, lewd sexual activity, nor abuse of any kind. Please help those who are addicted to things that hold us back from being our best selves find better ways to spend our time. Let there be real love and intimacy and vulnerability in the most kind ways and let that love and true peace reverberate in the best of ways. Please allow all of the people in this world who want to keep choosing good, unite and let goodness conquer any evil once and for all, for always, selah.”
I don’t think that just because we are more aware of the challenges in this world doesn’t mean that the evil and darkness is growing. I think we are just being made aware of more issues to deal with. How can we deal with a problem unless we know what the problems are? Now that we have certain technologies and communication to allow us to get a closer look at what’s happening perhaps this will allow us the space to find tools and cures for stopping it.
Here’s Barbara singing a cover of a great song by Ben Rector, “Make Something Beautiful”.
This post is dedicated to the refuah shlema of
Devoirah bat Batsheva.
Barbara Heller is a writer, actress, singer, educator, and voice over artist living in the Pico Robertson ‘chood. She is honored to be a contributing Guest Blogger at 6 Degrees Of Kosher Bacon. Check out more of her creativity at: www.BarbHeller.com