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Apr 9 2014

What’s Your Exodus: Breaking Free from Phones, Old Pains & Things Out of Our Control

By at 3:38 pm

As Passover approaches, we asked our readers and writers: What do you need an exodus from? Here’s the next installment in our “What’s Your Exodus?” series. 

From Jodi Neuman:

Jodi Neuman "What's Your Exodus?"

I want an exodus from the inability to admit that there are things in this life that I just can’t control! I want to be able to be the gal that takes everything with a grain of salt, avoiding the ever-present vice of anxiety.

I suppose you could say that it’s understandable in my case, as having a daughter who received a kidney transplant at 2 years old doesn’t bode easy for mothers with anxiety disorders. But even now, five years later, every sneeze, every cough, does a whirlwind of nerve dancing in my head–enough to make me the one who suffers in the end, not to mention everyone around me who becomes exhausted with their overuse of, “Relax, she’s fine. She’s a typical girl who gets sick now and then, etc.”

So that’s where I want relief. Relief from the dangling sword, one that I have created, that should, with the blessings we’ve received, be no less menacing than a dangling nail clipper.

From Rabbi Deborah Goldmann:

Rabbi Deborah Goldmann "What's Your Exodus?"

1. My phone. I thought I could set boundaries of when to use or not use my phone, but I’m struggling. There is so much that gets done over email; I’m always afraid I’m going to forget to respond. The solution (for me) should be to only check emails when I have time to respond. But I’m failing. The phone interrupts my little bit of playtime with my kids.

2. I struggle with “the way things are” vs. “the way things should be.” It’s hard to let go…. but I think I’d be a happier, more relaxed person if I could let go of my ideas of how things should be–this is how they are! Let’s work with what I’ve got!

From Rebecca Faulkner:

rebecca faulkner "what's your exodus?"

This is my second observance of Passover. Last year, I was a first-timer just trying to figure out the most basic elements, but this year I have been looking to go deeper. Last week, the Accidental Talmudist described a way to make Passover preparations transformative by searching for personally destructive behaviors in order to label them as enslaving Pharaohs. He suggests making the search for chametz into a spiritual quest by asking oneself in each room, “What were my misdeeds here?” Then to write all these “Pharaohs” down on slips of paper and burn them along with the chametz.

When I decided to try this, I found that I had been guilty of the same misdeed in every room of my house. I have repeatedly wasted time and energy being weighed down by hurtful memories and then projecting those negative feelings onto myself and my present life. I realize that I have been chosing to stay enslaved by old pains, and yet the long trek away from my past seems impossibly hard. But as a Passover newby I have also just discovered the lovely song, Dayenu, and its message, that even the smallest steps in the Exodus journey were sufficient to be worthy of praise, has been speaking to my heart. I think I need to at least start stepping away from my Pharaoh of negative perception and towards the “it is sufficient to praise” attitude of the Dayenu.

If it took all the pain of my past to bring me to my present, I don’t have to stay shackled to those memories… Dayenu.

If my present is confusing and exhausting, I don’t have to be only weighed down by its problems… Dayenu.

If I am not yet who I want to become, I don’t have to be locked in impatience… Dayenu.

Everything that I have and I am at this moment is sufficient enough for me to feel gratitude and give praise.

What’s your exodus this year? Let us know tweeting @Kveller with #WhatsYourExodus.

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