I Can't Sing
I'd like to share a beautiful teaching from Rav Kook for you to take into Shabbat with you. Rav Kook teaches that "most of a person's spiritual exhaustion and lack of inner fulfillment derives from tne fact that he is distancing himself from something he is especially qualified for by virtue of the unique characteristics of his own soul...every person must know that he is called to serve in a away that is compatible with his unique way of knowing and feeling, true to the core of his soul, and it is (there)... that he will find the riches of his life."
Last week at Mindful MOSH, our monthly Jewish mindfulness gathering, Rabbi Elyssa Joy Auster guided us through the creation of personal mandalas, after which we had the opportunity to share with each other any insights we had into what we had drawn. Later, I commented that I hate to draw, and have hated to draw since childhood. Why? Because my drawings never looked like anything I do like to dabble in the margins, but drawing, that's a no.
My comment opened a floodgate of memories from those present of how they had been wounded by someone, often school teachers, who had told them that they couldn't draw, that they couldn't sing, that they couldn't dance, etc.
One person had this to say: "It was stunning how many of us had the experience of being told that we were "no good" at drawing or art. Mine was when 7th grade art teacher held up my work and laughed at it! And I got a D for the first time! The morning provided a nice opportunity for each of to have a bit of tikkun in that area and to hold each other gently."
Another person remembered how she was asked to only move her lips while standing in the midst of her grade school choir.
What I am wondering is this. My "unique way of knowing and feeling" were never mined through the experience of drawing. Are the people who tell us that we are no good at something actually angels whose job it is to guide us away from areas incompatible with our soul's journey in this lifetime? I really do not want to believe that that is true, but it does make sense in a "what seems like a curse may turn out to be a blessing" sort of way. Your thoughts?
PS BTW, does anyone know anything about the Dylan photo that accompanies this post?
Mark Novak is a "free-range" rabbi who lives in Washington DC and works, well, just about everywhere. In 2012 he founded Minyan Oneg Shabbat, home to MOSH (Minyan Oneg Shabbat), MindfulMOSH (Jewish mindfulness gathering), and