tulips for The Journey Within and spring
Lori Gordon-Michaeli
By Lori Gordon-Michaeli

A big welcome to spring!

I find spring a time of reflection and also of looking forward.

As I reflect back, I will recap my thoughts so far:

  • “Whatever we put into the universe will come back to us.” In other words, our actions and words matter and effect our experience with life.
  • “Life does not just happen … we need to make it happen.” So, if you expect a certain outcome, you have to work toward that outcome; it won’t show up through osmosis.

Now, let’s jump into the Law of Humility:

“One must accept something in order to change it.”

This one is a biggie for me and I still learn from it. As I wrote this blog, I had a realization about this sentence. First and foremost, I guess this is what my practice and being a therapist is all about — acceptance and change.

“One must accept something in order to change it.”

Most of us would say this is an easy one, but acceptance can be an elusive thing. We sometimes don’t recognize our own resistance to “what is” or we are unaware that we need to accept something because it’s not obvious. There is a very famous quote a lot of us already know — The Serenity Prayer:

  • “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This sentence says it all, but before any of this becomes relevant, it is necessary to see that something needs to be accepted in order for something to actually begin to change.

Israel for The Journey WithinWhen I was 18, I sojourned to Israel. In my teenage head, I was just on another trip to get away from my family and have an adventure. My dad offered the opportunity and I took it. It turned out to be the one thing that changed the course of the rest of my life.

Unbeknownst to me, I was about to accept the fact that I had to leave my family home — something I did not feel ready to do yet. On this trip, I was so humbled by my experience I decided to make Aliyah, and change was put into high gear. Living in another country was a daily, ever-changing, moment-by-moment, exhilarating and perspective-altering experience.  Change on steroids, for sure, and acceptance in the moment.

Enter into play the Law of Humility:

“One has to accept something in order to change it.”

Acceptance. I can float down the river of life like a stick, bashing into rocks along the way, having them splinter me and wear me down, and maybe get caught under a rock and forever feel like I am drowning … OR I can float down the river as a leaf, zipping around the rocks until I reach the shore. In both cases, it is inevitable I am in the river. Of course, the river is life and I can choose my “stance” in the float.

One of my greatest lessons in Israel was humility. Being humbled by the thousands of years of people coming to Israel for their love of God, history and connection. Humbled by the conflict and true feeling of all sides, meeting and working for political leviathans, bohemian cultural icons — and pinching myself along the way. Humbled at the understanding that life is not the bubble I grew up in and grateful for it even more. Humbled at my own ability to survive things I would have never ever thought I could survive — and thrive. We are ALL stronger than we think.

A humbling moment: Accepting I was among them and welcomed helped changed how I viewed my own self.

One of my favorite memories from my time in Israel: There I was sitting in the now late Meir Ariel’s backyard with his wife, Tirza, during Sukkot surrounded by the most awe-dropping list of Israeli singers and musicians getting together with their families to just have a barbecue and sing.

Really? I had to pinch myself over and over. It was like going to a master concert in secret being held just for you. Feeling like you are in the inner circle of something so sacred, it was surreal. Thank you, Miriam Kneller, for an experience I will forever cherish. It was a magical evening. A very humbling experience. Why? Because I realized, in this moment, I accepted that we are all the same — just regular people. And in this acceptance, I was able to change my own view of myself and accept that everything IS possible on some level if you are open to the experience. Yes, a very humbling experience for me.

The idea of humility isn’t that you look at yourself as lower or not as good as someone else or others. It’s that you value him/her/them more than yourself. It’s putting aside the ego self and looking at things with a naive intention of awe or reverence of sorts. The judgments, labeling and criticism of everything are eradicated and replaced with understanding and acceptance.

Rabbi for the Journey WithinRabbi Abraham Twerski shared a story during one of his talks where he describes how to practice humility:

Nachmanides, a leading medieval Jewish scholar known as Ramban, talks about humility in a letter to his son: “I shall explain how you should become accustomed to the practice of humility in your daily life. Let your voice be gentle, and your head bowed. Let your eyes be turned earthwards and your heart heavenwards. When you speak to someone do not look him in the face. Let every man seem superior to you in your own eyes. If he is wise or rich, you have reason to respect him. If he is poor and you are richer or wiser than he, think to yourself that you are therefore all the more unworthy and he all the less, for if you sin, you do so intentionally whereas he only sins unintentionally.”

“One has to accept something in order to change it.”

Accept ourselves in order to grow. Accept your circumstance and move forward from there to make a change. Accept our situation in order to really see it and then be able to change it. Accept our decision-making in order to change it. Accept we are all just trying to figure it out in order to embrace each other as we are — spiritual beings having a human experience.

I practice this in my interactions with my clients — humility. I am humbled they come to me to try to facilitate growth, and I learn from everyone through their journey on this Earth.

For this blog, I leave you with the following idea:

My challenge to all for the week is to practice humility. Nelson Mandela said, “Lead from the back and let others feel they are in the front.”

Go to someone you know in a humble fashion and thank them for being a part of your life.

Watch the Ted Talk of Raymond Tang on humility:

Watch a wonderful movie called The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (a book I read in college). You can watch it on Amazon and Netflix. This movie is a good one for humility.

Do some random act of kindness for someone this week. I try to do this one every day.

Consider where you are resisting something and try to accept it — relax and just accept it — and watch things change.

[similar id=41645 type=all]

With love,

Lori Gordon-Michaeli, LCSW

Journey Within LLC