Purim: Finding Calm in the Storm

With Purim approaching, it’s quite appropo to talk about being calm in the midst of a storm. We can all go on about costumes, meltdowns, children on sugar highs, trying to coordinate deliveries, all with a smile on our face, while preparing a big meal for lots of guests.

A few moments of presence can be worth everything.

My intention is to experience what the day is all about (seeing Hashem’s hand in our lives, leaving space for Him to turn things around and enjoying redemption). Since my experience comes from my thinking (not the chaos of the day), I can only experience this is if I am not busy focusing on all of my stormy thinking about how the day is going (or not depending on my expectations).

I don’t know how to not get caught up in my thinking about all these things, but I do know my most precious moments are when I let it all go, stop taking everyone’s reactions and actions too personally and take a moment or two to allow my thinking to settle (which it was designed to do if I let it).

My son gets this because his new thing lately has been to ask me to pause, take a few deep breathes (that he takes with me) and then asks, “are you calm yet?” (Then he proceeds to ask for whatever he thought I may say no to prior to this exercise.) If I look beyond this manipulative tactic, then what I see is that all people, regardless of age, are teachable and understand presence.

When I am gifted by a shift in my relationship to the storm in my mind, it no longer feels like a storm and it no longer feels like calm is elusive. May we all be blessed to enjoy the holiday exactly as Hashem intends it to be for us.

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By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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