Elul Reflections: 11 Elul 5780

Psalm 27:1 Hold the Pose

In yoga, holding a pose often leads to trembling,
breathing and continuing to hold the pose builds strength.
I am reminded— Feel no shame,
shaking is an indication of growth, not a sign of weakness.
Over time, the shaking lessens and the stillness lengthens.
And then it’s time to move on to a different pose—
a different encounter—
and begin the cycle over again.

Shaking, I am like Job who feels pachad, fear, in his bones.
It’s a quaking, churning feeling
sometimes noticeable to others, sometimes only to myself.
I say, “I’m shaking, I’m afraid.”
Or maybe, “I’ve been shaken—
physically, emotionally, spiritually by an intense encounter.”
I breathe, I wait, the shaking stops, the calm returns,
I move again, but I am changed.

…This season is about holding the pose.
Each day I learn again to maintain the focus,
to not turn away when I tremble or am immobilized with fright or terror.
Like yoga, this too takes practice.
When I encounter the Strength of Life, will I tremble in fear?
When I am in the Presence of Light,
will I be able to hold the pose of awe?


-- Rabbi Debra J. Robbins, Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27: A Spiritual Practice for the Jewish New Year (CCAR Press, 2019), pp. 16–17

When in your life have you felt fear? What helped you work through it?

(from "Readings for the Month of Elul," kindly reprinted with permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis)

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