Sunday, July 29, 2012

Celebrating the Subtle: Divine is in the Details

On my last day in Israel, I was at a 2-story commercial shopping mall with a few Israeli friends. My friend Adi suggested that I check out a store called Zara because, "every Israeli girl has at least one thing from there." I took her word for it, and in the end, bought an outfit. As I took my bag and we made our way out of the store, she said something to me in Hebrew which I hadn't heard yet. At this point, I'd been in Israel for about 3 weeks and was able to decipher basic conversational phrases, but this one was new.

She asked me what Americans say when someone buys something. I must have stared blankly at her, because she repeated the question again. "Um...we don't say anything to each other," I replied. I suppose this statement says it all...

In her tradition (she is Jewish Israeli), when someone buys something - clothes, a special gift, stuff for the house, etc.- they will say to that person, "tithadshi" in Hebrew which doesn't exactly translate to our English language, but this is like saying, "congratulations on your new thing."

This was so rich to me! What a rich culture! Israel isn't exactly a capitalist country, and given it's dense history of being thwarted geo-politically, economically and culturally, the citizens aren't all together wealthy. But they honor what they have, and they have traditions to keep this idea alive in the current generation.

I remember learning a traditional African welcome song from my drumming teacher who was native to Papau-New Guinea, Africa. He told me that in his country, they have a blessing for everything - even when someone spills water on the ground, it is seen as an offering to those who've died.

What if instead of cringing at the thought of waking up at 7am to take a new yoga class, or clenching your teeth in that hamstring stretch, we saw these things as opportunities in being alive?

What if the next time you come to class and find a sub in place of your favorite teacher, you celebrate the chance to explore your practice under a different lens, with a different tour guide? What if even our loses are offerings?

What would your day feel like, if everything you experienced was something to be congratulated about?

Mazol tov!

 and Namaste.

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