by Lisa Berman, Mikveh and Education Director
I feel bombarded… by the news, the noise, the anger, the anxiety. I know we are all struggling to adjust the volume of our interface with our world. Sometimes we need it to be loud and in our face, to wrestle with it, move our bodies with it, react to it with passion and intensity. But this weekend I needed to turn that volume down – turn it off even. I needed to open up new spaces in my soul and turn my face and my thoughts to something quiet, pure, intimate – to peace.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a Hassidic master from the Ukraine around the turn of the 19th century, spoke of the power of simply being in nature: “Grant me the ability to be alone. May it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grasses, among all growing things and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer to talk with the one that I belong to.”
I went outdoors this weekend as my antidote to the cacophony. To focus my thoughts, I took my camera (just an iPhone), and I looked. I looked at the vistas, the horizon, the sky, the light. I looked at the tiny canvases of beauty: the grasses, the moss, the pine cones, the lichen – and the water, of course. There was so much to marvel at, and the closer I looked, the more I immersed myself in the experience, the more I saw. On a mostly gray, chilly day in the dead of a New England winter, I saw amazing things.
Just as our weeks need Shabbat, our consciences need a rest, and a recharge too. And that rest is right outside our door – at home, maybe even at work, on Shabbat and the weekend – it is all there waiting to help us connect to our world in a different way, and to give us back that most precious gift, the gift of peace.
Nachman reminds us: “Find a day for yourself, better yet, late at night. Go to the forest or to the field, or lock yourself in a room… You will meet solitude there. There you will be able to listen attentively to the noise of the wind first, to birds singing, to see wonderful nature and to notice yourself in it… and to come back to harmonic connection with the world and its Creator.”
You can find such refuge in the warm waters of Mayyim Hayyim. Our mikvaot were designed to combine a sense of nature-found beauty with the marvelous advantages of indoors – privacy and warm, clean water. Come find the serenity you seek here, too.
We would love to welcome you to Mayyim Hayyim. You can schedule a visit here or call 617-244-1836 x205.
Lisa Berman is the Mikveh and Education Director at Mayyim Hayyim, ensuring that all immersions are facilitated with dignity, respect, and modesty, and supervising the Paula Brody & Family Education Center.