Nissan: Setting Intentions
"A little window into why I share a personal intention: I hope that you’re using this material within your Well Circle. I hope that you find spaces to be seen and heard, and that you take time to see others. I cannot, however, expect you all to be truly vulnerable unless I first show my vulnerability. This is why every month I open myself up and pour a little piece of my heart out to you. Thank you for seeing me."
- Sarah Waxman, Founder of At The Well
"Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move Freedom, cut me loose! Freedom! Freedom! Where are you? Cause I need freedom too! I break chains all by myself Won’t let me freedom rot in hell." These are the inspirational words of a Queen. She’s calling her people together around a shared vision of liberation. Beyoncé is singing to all black women in America, the ones who have always been at the forefront of civil rights, yet whose voices have been, and are continuously, pushed aside. Although I’m not a black women, just a Sarah with the curly hair, Beyoncé’s words inspire me too. “Freedom” is my personal theme song this Nissan.
The DNA passed to me from my ancestors is the freest it has ever been. No Sarah I’m named for has experienced as much religious freedom as I have in my life. No Sarah I’m named for was born into as much privilege, with as much access to education. No Sarah in my line has ever had as much opportunity as I’ve been given. So what does this mean to me? (The “wicked” child asks on Passover) As the full moon of Nissan rolls around and I commit myself to move into my own expansiveness, I’m tasked with answering this question. The holiday of Passover, a tool, a technology, and a brilliant way to push me each year to grow, helps me remember where I came from, and ensures I never take my freedom for granted.
This Nissan, it’s my responsibility to step up and continue on with tradition, answering the wicked child’s question. Trust that I’m over here doing my work. I’m looking at my personal life, my relationship to the land, my body, my speech and mode of expression, and the ways I spend my days to make sure I use my one life as Divinely as possible. For sure this is a place I need to grow, as my own limiting beliefs about myself hold me back all the time from living my life to the fullest. Those thoughts inside my head can be a real drag.
From a global viewpoint, trust that I’m asking these same questions within the context of my identity as an American. I’m calling on my Jewish sisters to step up and ask themselves a version of this same question too. What does liberation mean to us? We don’t need to dig far to see we’re being called now to step up. To lead like Miriam, to speak up, to find some joy and water-like flow in the process, to offer ourselves as allies to others who are not yet as free (our black sisters, to start), and to make sure our own people are not silenced or threatened.
Once again, Beyoncé says it best, this time at the end of the chorus to “Freedom”:
In the context of my life, and during this month of Nissan, I’m committing to keep running too. To push my inheritance forward. Although my DNA is the freest it has ever been, I still have so much more to fight for. I won’t let my freedom be in vain. My freedom is inherently linked to others’, and it’s clear to me I have more work to do since injustice is so clearly in our faces these days.
G-d willing, the person who will one day be named for me, Sarah, will have more freedoms than I do now because her ancestors worked like crazy to make it so