The Spiritual Steps of the Omer
This year, I am involving myself more personally and seriously than ever before in the counting of the Omer, the period of time between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks).
The counting of 49 Days (beginning on the second night of Passover) is like a metaphoric step ladder. We ascend the ladder in daily steps, in order to experience a spiritual transformation and to have a proper mindset before we 're-enact' the receiving of the Torah on Shavuot.
In the past, I was pretty sloppy about this practice; sometimes remembering, most often forgetting, to count the passing of days. Sometimes I would remember to say the bracha, sometimes not, but the practice did not 'stick'. As much as I liked the idea, I failed on its implementation.
This year, I decided to help along the habit of counting by putting my "Omer counter" (a gift from my daughter) right on the kitchen table.
This was a game-changer and I have not missed an evening (we begin counting the next day in the evening, much the way all holidays begin the night before). The biggest surprise is that the process of nightly/daily focus has had such an impact. By marking every single day at its conclusion, I'm aware of each day's essence. I enter into the next day by mimicking the rhythm of nature, gently gliding my way from evening to the anticipation of the next day, already feeling accomplished!
Knowing that I am in this 49 day 'bridge of time' allows me to simultaneously recognize the passing of time while looking ahead into the future. Time becomes a malleable construct that does not control me. What has also happened (I am not sure how), is that for several distinctive days (day 5, 11, and 18 for example) I am prompted to recognize the times in my life that have caused me pain, and am not pushing them away but accepting them. This has been what has arisen for me and I am grateful that I have been able to gain insight into my life in this way. Next year there might be another focus, who knows?
I share this with you to encourage you to think about how you might begin this practice of counting (if you don't already do so) as a spiritual practice. You can learn more about it here and here.