Monthly Archives: October 2012

Love Your Limits

And I’m in Jerusalem.

Life is different here. As someone said beautifully in the opening circle of my program, Pardes, I think “I breathe differently here.”  The pure age of the structures around me, the intensely spiritual aura that seems to ebb and flow throughout the city during the times of high holidays, and the love that so many people from numerous backgrounds, religions, and belief systems have for this place – it honestly feels magical at times.

And then at times it doesn’t. Something I’ve realized (or rather something that has slapped me in the face since I’ve been here) is how difficult it is, even is such an incredible setting, to feel present and connected. In moving here I fell into a common trap many of us face (especially those of us in the crazy start-up world) of trying to do too many things at once. For me, this included moving to a new country and to a new apartment with 5 roommates, starting a new learning program involving 20-30 hours of class & a commute, launching the hiring process for my small business, Campus Swaps, starting a new job as the Associate Director at Unreasonable at Sea, working on a personal curriculum involving excel, adobe, & coding, oh and somewhere in here I wanted to write a new blog post……

Even as it seems a bit ridiculous now, what’s really more striking is that this is absolutely common behavior for me and for most of the people I surround myself with. So many of us do this to ourselves; we continuously overburden, overstress, overcomplicate.

So what have I learned during my first month here?

That limitations are important.

That in knowing your own limits and using them to align your time with your most authentic values lies the key to a more meaningful and connected experience of life.

In an incredible book I read once upon a time in a bookstore in NYC, Clayton Christensen writes:

“You can talk all you want about having a strategy for your life, understanding motivation, & balancing aspirations with unanticipated opportunities…But ultimately, this means nothing if you do not align those with where you actually expend your time, money, and energy.”

It is only once we accept that we sometimes cannot do it all, that we have to make hard choices and focus on things that are truly important, that we realize it is this focus itself that allows us to live a life we really love.

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Birthdays & Beyond

Today I am another year older, perhaps another year wiser, and even another year closer to the authentic connections that I am seeking.

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I heard the most beautiful explanation of birthdays while here learning in Jerusalem at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies:

Birthdays, by definition, are days where you get to give your greatest gifts to the world. They are the days in which your existence is cherished, your birth is celebrated, and your presence in the lives of those you love is most appreciated. And of course, what better way to receive and reciprocate this love and appreciation than by connecting directly with your most authentic self and bringing to life the gifts that you possess and can give to others.

In fact in the Jewish tradition, there is an idea that “brachot” (blessings) that you give to others on your birthday are particularly powerful.

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Whether or not you feel a mystical connection to the date of your birth, it seems to present a perfect opportunity to reflect on the impact you are making on the world, the dreams that you desire to bring to action, and the steps that you can take to make them a reality.

As it is my birthday today, one gift that I have been asked to give is to better express the lessons and wisdom that I have been collecting while on this journey of connection.  So this blog will continue to serve as a point of collection of my experiences, thoughts, and adventures into the beautifully overwhelming topic of connection, as well as a platform for exhibiting other methods of expression and learning as you’ll see in the posts to come.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to glance at this page, to wish me warmth and love from near and far, and to make my twenty second birthday the most meaningful one yet.

Until next time,

xxx

Shira Bee

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