One fine morning, I was called to the manager's office and informed of my dismissal. After over 20 years of working, creating and doing significant things, all of a sudden, it's over. It was a shock. But after a few days of having to deal with the administrative aspects, I thought to myself: Now what? I realized I was given a gift. An opportunity for shemita*.
I wrote a respectful farewell message, and deleted myself from all of the WhatsApp groups I have been involved with in recent years, as part of my job as a head of the community department.
Anyone who knows me as an artist will not be surprised to hear thatI realized the thing that makes me the most happy is painting. That dedication to the process of growth from independent, deep, personal creation. But it was not obvious. Not to those who knew me from the previous period of my life. The easiest would have been to continue working in the field of environment and community.
That's exactly why I needed that shemita so badly. To let go of all the familiar and known, and examine with myself what I really want to do in my life.
No wonder when I came across Rachel Marani's (wonderful!) Book: "Letting go, Love Story" I hurried to purchase it and immerse myself in it with pure pleasure.
The book begins with the story of the Talmudists Rish Lakish and Rabbi Yochanan, who lived in the Galilee about 1700 years ago. This is in fact the story of Rish Lakish's dramatic change from being a road robber and gladiator, through his founding encounter with the gentle and beautiful Rabbi Yochanan, to his growing up in the Torah.
The author received this story in her inbox and it was her attitude towards it that gave it's profound meaning to her life.
And how does it connect? I understood that Rish Lakish had dropped his past, which allowed him to open up to his future. It is true that it happened to him in one formative moment, but maybe it's just the drama in the story? Maybe if I tell my story in a while it will also be able to be written that way?
Rachel Marani mainly focuses on the relationship between the two, but I actually connected more to the story of Rish Lakish's transformation. To our tireless ability as human beings to change. If only we want to, and we have the right support along the way. It is true that in Rish Lakish's story the support failed after a while, and the story became tragic. It is important to learn from this, but I choose to focus on the first part of the story. The optimistic one.
Rachel Marani describes her separation from the Foundation for Excellence in Culture, which she initiated and led, her separation from the artists, and it reminds me of the process I went through.
I, too, felt the need to disengage. To my good fortune, most of my companions along the way showed understanding. And this is not an obvious thing at all. Not at the organizational level nor at the personal one...
She describes this "being" without the title, without the identity. The necessity of the complete liberation of the past, in order to truly understand what the right and accurate self is - for the future. Although it also describes fear and darkness, which I have not experienced, I can understand that they may be there. "May" I say, not "might", because surrender, to them too, is the key to the door to the next thing.
And that brings me back to a post I wrote about how to deal with creative blocks. Steps 3 and 4 in the creative process address just that - how to dedicate yourself to even the most difficult, frustrating moments. And from them, grow further.
* Shemita - the “year of release", or "let go” also known as the sabbatical year. Just as the Torah calls for Jews to work six days and rest on the seventh, it calls for them to work the land six years and let it rest in the seventh.