“choose life, so that you will live…” (Deuteronomy, 30:19)
We have chosen life…
I feel like I am gripped in a vice between praying for our soldiers’ safety and the news of each life lost. I don’t have the luxury to give in to any feelings of despair or hopelessness because my parents chose life. After the Shoah, my parents chose to move to Israel, get married and have a family, a future. The Torah is rife with individuals who took the stance of choosing life. Miriam did it over and over again. Our soldiers are doing this today. They are putting their life on the line to ensure that we continue to live.
As always, with choice comes responsibility. As I choose life, I also have to make sure that it is a life worth living. In order to do this, I need to be aware and focus on all aspects of my life including; physical, emotional, social and spiritual.
Physical: My physical well being is the vehicle through which I can engage in the world. Neglecting my health does not allow me to be there for the people in my life that count on me. Being conscious of the basics of eating, drinking, sleeping and exercising is not a fad, it is a responsibility.
Emotional: Identifying ways to give your feelings an outlet and creating and maintaining a strong support system is crucial. Your body cannot function if it is out of sync with your emotional needs. For example, depression is anger turned inward. By not giving your anger a safe outlet, you are turning that energy against yourself and causing physical damage.
Social: Don’t isolate yourself. Stay connected with others who are like minded and contribute to a positive outlook. Attaching yourself to individuals or groups that see just the negative and destructive side of life will pull you down with them. Without over extending yourself, join a group that is contributing in a way that makes a difference.
Spiritual: As Bob Dylan said “You’re gonna have to serve somebody”. Find a way to develop your belief system; read, learn, join groups, develop rituals that can be incorporated into your daily life.
Last but not least: integrate.
All these aspects of our lives influence and have an impact on each other. The key to being able to integrate is motivation. The key to motivation is meaning. “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning