Flow within Discipline, 8 Days of the Omer, Chesed ShebeGevurah

Tonight begins eight days of the Omer, which is one week and one day of the Omer in the year 5781. חסד שבגבורה, Chesed ShebeGevurah, Flow within Discipline.

Setting Healthy Boundaries, Flourishing Within Them

Every week, I marvel at how much I learn from my children. When i get overwhelmed, I let go of my boundaries. It is easy to swim in pools of malaise, doom-scrolling or mindless hours of binging streaming television. There’s one boundary that is crystal clear for my young kids: bedtime. I don’t mean that both of them recognize this need, but without fail — the older one will fall asleep, whether in front of the television or tucked in bed.

This is the key lesson I’ve learned in my seven years of parenting: boundaries allow children to truly flourish. Having clear guidance on what is and isn’t acceptable gives one the confidence to explore and become one’s truest self.

Second Week of the Omer: Gevurah / Din: Strength, Judgment, Discipline

Rather than seeing refractions of Chesed, this week we are meditating into the counterpart sephira. She has many names, most often גבורה and דין. Last week, I allowed the Divine emanations to wash over me. Today, I begin to take responsibility for bringing their power into my actions, speech, and feelings.

I marvel at the strength within a five year-old. Determined to learn to read, he followed instructions via Zoom transitional kindergarten and began the process of unlocking knowledge. Similarly, despite preferring graphic novels with scatological foci, my seven-year old kept his own reading an adult-oriented Haggadah. Their ability to move with the Flow of pandemic living and maintain a level of discipline is truly remarkable.

Flow within Discipline: the light touch of holiness

My rigidity has always been my stumbling block. When first learning the Sephirot, I laughed and said I was Gevurah to my partner’s Chesed. Now, instead of castigating myself for not being perfect, or not living up to my highest ideals, I choose to lean into Flow.

Flowing with Divine love and kindness, I accept my own limitations with grace. I lean into the moment and set aside my anxiety about the future. I marvel at the calm completeness within simple routines, like walking the dog.

Prayer for Flow within Discipline

Holy One of Blessing, help me to live into the flow of discipline. May I remember that boundaries help me be the best version of myself. Source of Life, help me remember that refracting my judgment through loving eyes brings deeper clarity and wisdom.

The Spiral of the 8th Day of the Omer

Your rod and Your staff guide me through the pandemic, 5780 / 2020.

Contemplating martyrdom, Lori Gilbert Kaye, HaShem yikom dama, 5779 / 2019.

Discipline rooted in grace, 5778 / 2018.

The essence of discipline is love, 5777 / 2017.


Image by Máté Markovics.

Indwelling of Flow, Day 7 of the Omer 5781, Shekhinah ShebeChesed

Today is the seventh day of the Omer, which is one week in the year 5781. שכינה שבחסד, Shekhinah ShebeChesed, Eternal Presence of Covenantal Love.

Finding Words Beyond What I Already Said

I am struggling this year to write something that feels necessary to read.

I highly recommend my post from last year, where I poetically described how the Indwelling of Chesed is the full-bodied feeling of Grace.

Or perhaps my words from two years ago interest you. I wrote about the Sovereignty of Love

These posts bookend how Shekhinah, Indwelling and Malkhut, Sovereignty refract Chesed, Covenantal Love.

Stumbling around Shekhinah

The reality is that the Kabbalists saw Shekhinah / Malkhut as a purely passive refraction of the Divine. It is the only explicitly feminine sephira in the Omer count. Originally, Shekhinah existed as the blind receptacle for male creative energy. 

First of all, I can’t believe that every person involved in this system had that little understanding of feminine energy. Nor do I believe their sex lives were that uninspired that their wives simply laid there. After all, Yesod is connected to the penis and Shekhinah to the womb. 

Of course, I haven’t even gotten to the heteronormativity of traditional Judaism, nor it’s demand that a gender binary reign supreme. 

So, we complete a week of counting today. We close our journey through the iterations of Flow / Covenantal Love / Lovingkindness. And I stare into the abyss of androcentricity coursing through Jewish traditions. 

Prayer for Indwelling Flow

Holy Mother, Source of Creation: help us not fear You. May we be willing to see You in all Your strength and beautiful glory. God of Breasts, El Shaddai, may you hold us and comfort us during these uncertain times. May we have the presence to connect with Your Sovereignty in every moment of our days, and may Your Lovingkindness flow through us with ease.

Spiral of Today

Grace: the Indwelling Presence of God’s Love, 5780 / 2020.

The Sovereignty of Love, 5779 / 2019.

The Presence of Grace, 5778 / 2018.

The Indwelling of Love, 5777 / 2017.


Image by @jplenio via Pixabay.

Day Five of the Omer 5781: Splendor within Flow, Hod within Chesed

Today is five days of the Omer in the year 5781, הוד שבחסד, Hod ShebeChesed, Splendor within Flow.

Netzach and Hod are twin sephirot. They are the pillars of the Temple within, the legs of a person, creating space for the Ultimate to have an impact on the material world. Hod welcomes us to revel in a well-kept home and a well-ordered mind. Perhaps you Bullet Journal to stay focused on what is most important to you. Or you declutter your home and remove items that are no longer sparking joy. These activities are infused with Hod energy. By setting everything in its place, we create the opportunity for Divine Flow to enter our world.

Today, we begin to imagine using our expanded consciousness within material reality. We make space for others and reflect on clear communication. May you have the opportunity today to pause and reflect on one way you would like to transform your physical reality and one way to bring forward your authentic self into your relationships.

Books to guide the journey

Spiral of Day Five of the Ome

Moments of Splendor During a Pandemic, 5780 / 2020.

Clarifying the Nature of a Sephira, 5779 / 2019.

The Majesty of Every Day, 5778 / 2018.

A Prayer for Humility, 5777 / 2017.


Image by Enrique Lopez Garre via Pixabay.

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.

49 Days 5780: Indwelling of Divine Presence, Shekhinah

Tonight begins the forty-ninth day, which is seven weeks of the Omer in the year 5780. שכינה שבשכינה, Shekhinah ShebeShekhinah, Indwelling of Divine Presence.

Returning to the world that is

These meditations have been flights upward into the worlds of ideas and ideals. Though, I have endeavored to stay grounded in the current reality while making space for the expansive. 

Facing reality clear eyed

I had my annual physical this week via teleconference. My doctor suggested getting used to this physical distance for at least a year. It was helpful to hear a medical expert confirm my expectations. 

Growing up, one of my favorite songs was “Dead Man’s Party.” We SoCal kids reveled in the macabre, dancing away our worries with Oingo Boingo as our life soundtrack. As I face death on the personal, national, and global scale, I marvel at the simplicity of those years. Yet, there is something soul penetrating about the entire album. 

Don’t be afraid to dance

Sometimes, I think we feel guilty for finding joy in these troubled times. These seven weeks have brought me back to myself. My imposter syndrome abated. I am allowing myself to flow into myself. 

I pray you are able to hear the truth seeking you in the coming days. 

Shavuah Tov!

Other Ends of the Omer Count

5779 / 2019: Completion, Reflection, Expansions

5778 / 2018: Moving towards a coherent philosophy.

5777 / 2017: Acknowleding the Shadow and Pharoah Within.

48 days of Omer 5780: Foundation of Divine Presence, Yesod of Shekhinah

Today is forty-eight days, which is six weeks and six days of the Omer in the year 5780. יסוד שבשכינה. Yesod ShebeShekhinah. Foundation of Divine Presence.

Wisdom yearns to accompany us

A pandemic may seem like a terrible time to expect Divine revelation. And yet, the breadth of spiritual texts across traditions speaks to the revelations found through hardship. 

I am not saying God chose this path for humanity. Rather that since this is the path we are on, we should choose to sink into meaning. 

Counting Barley, Creating a Foundation 

In years past, I chose to eat more mindfully because of my Omer count. I clarified aspects of my understanding of the sephirot through these meditations. This year, I remind myself of my ability to communicate.

I no longer strive to constantly be better. Rather, I hope to be present and find joy and meaning in life, regardless of the outer world.

What is the foundation for your existential nourishment?

Previously on 48 days of the Omer

5779 / 2019: Rejoice the masculine, feminine, and shadow within

5778 / 2018: Sharing ideas make them real.

5777 / 2017: Relationship between persona and shadow.

47 days of Omer 5780: Splendor of Divine Presence, Hod of Shekhinah

Today is forty-seven days, which is six weeks and five days of the Omer in the year 5780. הוד שבשכינה, Hod ShebeShekhinah. Splendor of Divine Presence.

Arms holding space for the Divine

Netzach and Hod are the arms holding space for the Divine. The eternal prophecy of Netzach is contained in the splendor of space created through Hod. 

Marking time

A traditional Jewish day was once marked by sacrifices to the Presence. Now, we reflect on eternity by praying. Not just in the morning, afternoon, and evening, but with every act of our day. Our eating becomes meaningful when we stop to speak words of gratitude for the morsels we are about to consume. Imagine being so rooted in gratitude that you have the presence to stop before every random chip and grape that enters your mouth. 

Gratitude pursues us

Judaism gives us the opportunity to reflect on the the ultimate Cause of Being, while being grateful to the immediate humans and seasons that allow us to be fulfilled by the fruits of the earth. 

Amorphous time finds shape through meaning

Time can feel infinite during a pandemic. And yet, when a loved one is dying, every moment can feel like eternity. It is strange the way that the same amount of time feels different depending on where we focus our attention. 

Pandemic reality past and present

Until recently, I had no idea more people died of the flu than lost their lives in World War One. Neither AP European History, nor History of the Great Powers, nor any international relations course I took in college mentioned the 1918 flu. It only made an appearance during my Medieval and early modern history course with Dr. Bob Levy, z”l. 

I think about how much more difficult this pandemic is. The mental and physical demands. The lack of US federal government oversight. The inability to rise above partisan differences to face this medical problem head on. Above all, how hard it is to face death in the year 2020. 

Creating physical space that welcomes holiness

Usually, Hod is seen in our communal physical spaces dedicated to holy community. It is still far too dangerous to gather together for prayer. And so, we are each impelled to create space for Shekhinah, Her Presence, within ourselves and our private spaces. 

Every time we clean our bathrooms, we make space for the holy. 

Putting away toys and books creates holy space.

HaMakom is where we make space for Her

HaMakom, The Place, is not just the bimah with an ark and Torah scroll. After all, that most Jewish of words — bimah — is merely a Greek loan word that means platform. Throughout time, we thrive because we adapt. 

May we have the resilience to adapt and find moments of deep connection, grounded joy, and human flourishing. 

Previously on the 47th day of the Omer

5779 / 2019: Shuffling into Jewish prayer and a relationship with El Shaddai.

5778 / 2018: Remembering God’s glory.

5777 / 2017: Encountering the Eternal Flame of Knowing.