Four Days of the Omer 5781: Endurance within Flow, Netzach within Chesed

Today is four days of the Omer in the year 5781, נצח שבחסד, Netzach ShebeChesed, Endurance within Flow.

Interrogate your story

There is a beautiful explanation of this day in Benji Elson’s book, Dance of the Omer. Elson suggests picking up the rocks, the stumbling points, within your life. Examine each rock with a child’s curiosity. Try to see it from a new angle. Try to create a new version of your story, wherein the stumbles are not roadblocks. Rather, they are stepping stones.

Brené Brown provides clear detail on the power of story and the way in which transforming our stories helps us to become our truer selves in her newest book, Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Perhaps the hardest thing I have ever faced in life is the stranglehold that my internal narrative had on me. Paying respect to the way those stories helped you become the person you are today, holding the rock and giving it permission to sink into the flow of the river — that is deep work.

Prayer for Enduring Flow

Holy Mother of the Universe, Fount of Blessings, I embrace You. I welcome Your Shefa, שפע, Your Divine Flow, into this day. Every moment, I pray to stay connected to Your Enduring Flow. I pray for the discernment to know that cynicism is a trap of the inclination towards destructiveness. May I remember that the child within is neither naive nor helpless: she is willful and determined to be a conduit of Goodness and Holiness, Joy and Inner Wellbeing.

Guideposts for the Journey

The Spiral of Four Days of the Omer

Enduring will to nurture covenantal love: Day Four, 5780 / 2020.

Enduring prophetic love: Day Four, 5779 / 2019.

Choose grace in every moment: Day Four, 5778 / 2018.

Honoring the triumph of enduring love: Day Four, 5777 / 2017.


Image by Kai Vogel via Pixabay.

Three Days of the Omer 5781: Beautiful Flow, Tiferet within Chesed

Today is three days of the Omer in the year 5781. תפארת שבחסד, Tiferet ShebeChesed, Beautiful Flow. No matter how terrible the world is, Beautiful Flow is eternally available. I sink into the flow of existence and become truly alive.

Awakening to the emerging reality

I have not let myself imagine the emerging reality. It has been hard to make decisions to keep my family safe and to keep us growing into ourselves. So my children will not return to physical school until August. Nevertheless, my youngest learned to read via Zoom transitional kindergarten. And today is my day to receive my first COVID-19 vaccine. Science is awe inspiring. At the edges of science lies the mystery pulsing through every atom of the universe.

The beautiful flow grounding us in our shared reality sings out to us. Allowing myself to stop and taking in the beauty of each moment helps me to reconnect with Tiferet within Chesed, the beautiful wholeness of grace.

Concepts delight me

During my chaplaincy internship at a community hospital, patients honored me with the truth of their belief in a physical manifestation of the Divine. For myself, nothing is truer than the ephemeral nature of the material world.

I can play with the anthropomorphic descriptions of El Shaddai, God of Breasts, throughout my prayer book. We all deserve to receive sweet sustenance in moments of despair. Being given honey from the rock refers to the miraculous nature of the Divine embrace. And yet, the physical metaphors delight me and ground me, especially when my brain is awash in the latest uptick in COVID cases, or yet another Asian American elder being beaten for no reason.

Prayer for Beautiful Flow

God of Breasts, Divine Mother, allow me the gift of beautiful flow. May I remember You are the Source of Being. Allow me space between receiving action and taking action. Make my spoken words connected to the deepest part of myself. Grant me the ability to sink into my gratitude for this vaccine, rather than diminishing myself in my continued prayers for humanity.

The Never-Ending Spiral of Today

Nourish my soul with the knowledge of God’s existence, 5780 / 2020.

Balance the energy of overflowing love and clarifying boundaries, 5779 / 2019.

Harmonize all-encompassing love and discipline, 5778 / 2018.

Praying to emulate fortifying, harmonious love, 5777 / 2017.

Books for the journey


Image by Mike Goad via Pixabay.

Two Days of the Omer 5781: Boundaries within Grace, Gevurah within Chesed

Today is two days of the Omer, 5781. גבורה שבחסד, Gevurah ShebeChesed, Boundaries within Grace. The human soul expands beyond its previous limits through spiritual discipline.

This immersive week of flowing within the light of the Divine requires clear boundaries. If you try to only catch the flow, you’re more likely to succumb to a mirage. Far too many people have been lost to the false messiah of hallucinogenic drugs. True freedom requires discipline, strength, and the ability to say no. May you find comfortable limits and gentle discipline to help you expand into yourself.

Spiritual discipline in unprecedented times

To be clear, I am no saint. If you are looking for advice on parenting during a pandemic, look elsewhere. I am treading water as I stumble towards becoming a better parent, and helping my children grow into themselves. Similarly, my spiritual discipline has waxed and waned in the last year. Recently, health issues broke me away from my daily prayer practice and I am struggling to regain my footing.

One thing is clear: I know how to help myself move into the flow. Jewish prayer has always swept me away. Before I understood a single word, the tradition spoke to my soul in a way I have never been touched by human speech or writing, regardless of the number of books I read. Experiencing the flow — whether in daily prayer, daily meditation (which, frankly, my prayer is my meditation), daily yoga, or daily woodworking: that flow is the Holy Mother of the Universe reaching towards us, encouraging us to be our best selves.

Give yourself the gift of recognition.

Choose a spiritual practice

Commit yourself to one spiritual act for the rest of the Omer count (beyond the counting itself). Whether that is conscious breathing for five minutes a day, or mindful stretching when you wake up and when you lie down: choose something. Accept an activity that will require your full body’s attention. Set aside your phone. Ignore the people around you. Choose to Be with yourself and with the flow.

Prayer for strength within the Divine Flow

I pray for the strength to stay within the Divine Flow regardless of what is happening around me. I pray that my resistance will lessen, and I will be able to outsmart my Inclination towards Destructiveness (my Yetzer HaRa). May the Divine Flow speak through me and help my children recognize that discipline is necessary for true joy.

The spiral of this day…

Discipline in Covenantal Love, Two days of the Omer 5780 / 2020

Clear Vision Beyond Existential Anxiety, Two days of the Omer 5779 / 2019

Healthy Boundaries in Love, Two days of the Omer 5778 / 2018

Boundaries in love? (Beginner’s mind), Two days of the Omer 5777 / 2017

Guidance for the journey


The North Platte River in Wyoming, photographed by 1778011 from Pixabay.

One Day Omer 5781 Flowing into Being

Today is one day of the Omer in the year 5781, Chesed Shebe Chesed חסד שבחסד, Covenantal Love within Covenantal Love, Grace within Grace, Loving Kindness within Loving Kindness. The Omer begins with stepping into the Divine Flow and allowing the river of being to engulf you.

As with every single year, I am hesitant to begin. Counting the Omer is one of the most meaningful parts of my spiritual year. Nevertheless, my pandemic malaise / anxiety would rather keep me staring at streaming videos rather than digging into truth.

Companions on the journey

Two new books are with me to help me on this journey. My dear friend, Erev Rav Debi Lewis, gifted me Color the Omer: 49 days of beauty & reflection. Another sister on the road to spiritual leadership, Tamy Jacobs, encouraged me to seek out the book Dance of the Omer: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Transformational Journey of Sefirat Ha’Omer. This book, by Benji Elson, seems to be a spiritual sibling of my journey. It is deeply rooted in traditional sources, a choice that might be off-putting if you are looking for a source that honors the feminine and nonbinary aspects of being as completely as it does the masculine.

Nevertheless, I have not met another book that feels as important to this spiritual practice as Dance of the Omer. I think it is a particularly easy to read primer on the Sephirot generally, alongside their connection to davennen (prayer), meditation, and embodied spirituality.

Flowing into Being

As Elson suggests in Dance of the Omer, today we sink into The Flow. Recognize that who we are is exactly who we need to be. This journey towards ourselves is not actually about changing — it is about letting go of the thoughts, feelings, and actions that keep us from being the best versions of ourselves.

Today, I choose to flow into myself. I will accept my need to let go and sleep and read and be. The path seems clearer than it did a year ago. I am blessed to have an appointment for my first vaccine dose. I am blessed that none of my family members were lost to this virus. Today, I choose to be.

Prayer for Day One, Chesed: Divine Flow within Divine Flow

May I release myself from guilt and anxiety. Circumscribe my speech, softening myself into the Divine Flow. Letting myself play with the people near me physically and spiritually. Oh, ever-flowing river of Divine Love, gently move us away from this plague and towards the future unfolding.

New Books

The spiral of this day…

One day of the Omer 5780 / 2020 / Covenantal Love in pandemic year one

One day of the Omer 5779 / 2019 / A meditation on grace

One day of the Omer 5778 / 2018 / Sink into grace and love

One day of the Omer 5777 / 2017 / Hesitant first steps of public counting

How to count the Omer


Image by Monika Iris from Pixabay.

Entering the first month

Traditional Jewish time recognizes multiple years within a year. Based on the flow of agriculture, spring is the natural beginning of the year. So the first month of the Jewish year is Nisan, which we have just entered. Yet, our spiritual year begins in the seventh month, on Yom Zikhron Teruah, more widely recognized as Rosh Hashanah.

Rather than get in the weeds of how to understand Jewish time, let me offer a pandemic analogy. A day can feel like a year and a month goes by in an instant. Therefore, we need multiple reminders of the journey we are on. The journey towards our core selves, towards deep knowledge and wholeness.

Now we enter the season of physical rebirth. Surrounded by the physical and animal world coming back to life, springing forward into new possibilities.

Personally, I am cautiously optimistic that the coming year will allow more occasions to be together physically than the previous year. My immediate family remains cautious, as we are not eligible for vaccines. Deeply grateful that our parents are fully vaccinated.

May the month of Nisan bring the winds of change into our souls. May we make space for change and may we rejoice in our own rebirths. Taking nothing for granted, reveling in the marvel of being alive, my soul expands into this first month of the rest of my life.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay