Updated: Jan 5, 2022
"Awaken and choose the thin thread of the good, because from that you will strengthen your heart to be good" (Yemima Avital)
We have many threads within us: thoughts, beliefs, memories, and feelings. We notice some threads more readily while other threads don’t catch our awareness. In most cases, it's the negative threads that get our attention. What doesn't work and what’s wrong seem to get precedence in our minds. Those threads appear to us so thick and strong, and their color seems to take over the tapestry of our life.
Yemima calls the negative threads of our lives a thicket. A thicket is something dense, impenetrable, tangled, and twined. In Hebrew, the verb related to the word 'thicket' means not only to become entangled or intertwined but also to be confused or to lose one's way. These negative emotions, beliefs, and thoughts encourage us to go round and round and also in unrelated directions. They weaken us and lead us astray. These are our personal thicket. Furthermore, the more we fight our thicket the more entangled we become.
Yemima, who wants to give us tools to make us stronger, is pointing us to a secret thread that can lead us out of the thicket and into our heart- "the thin thread of the good." It is a thin thread that goes many times unnoticed because it's thin and gentle. However, this thread is very powerful because it is always available to us, and will always lead us home to our hearts and our good essence.
So what does 'awaken to choose the thin thread of the good' mean? To understand that I first want to talk a little about "the good". On a very basic level, Yemima assumes, like many Jewish traditions, that we all have a good essence, a spark of the divine within. This good is constant and always there. Our behavior is not always aligned with our good essence because sometimes we aren't connected to it and forget it, and then we don't make good choices. On a more practical level, the good within means all our skills, insights, and abilities that work together with our positive emotions, thoughts, and believes. Our good is all within that strengthen us.
Yemima says "awaken and choose" because we first need to be aware that we have good within before we can choose it. We awaken by becoming aware of the good within that is present, stable, and meaningful. We start choosing by actively turning toward our good. First, we give precedence to the good within us right now: what is right and what went right. We don't ignore what went wrong we just don't give it all of our attention and focus. Second, we identify inner resources like insights and skills that can support our current growth and well-being. We ask ourselves in different situations how can we help ourselves at this moment, and what can we give ourselves to build us up. So we not only look for the good that is present right now, but we also try to expand the good for the future.
Why is the good thread thin? Because choosing the good is never about grand gestures but about small steps that build us up such as encouraging thoughts. For example, after I make a mistake I can remind myself of all the times I do get things right and that I can learn from what happened. When having a bad day, I can give myself five minutes to reset and recover. These steps are small but powerful. When they are weaved regularly into the tapestry of our life, one thin thread at a time, we grow stronger.
What does "strengthen your heart to be good" mean? Is my heart not good already? Our heart in its natural state, when is out of the thicket, is calm, loving, happy, and giving. In the thicket it is under attack, confused and sad. When we choose the thread of good, it leads us out of the thicket without a struggle and without a need for a machete to cut the tangled branches. Our heart can return to its natural strength and energy and we feel happy. Yemima saw that we can attain it, we just need to awaken and choose the thin thread of the good.
If connecting to your inner good sounds interesting, I invite you to a unique workshop called "The Art of Discovering the Good Within." On Jan 9th, 2022. In this workshop, we will strengthen our connection to our innate good, through art.
Liat is an experienced art therapist and a long-time Yemima student and teacher. She developed unique workshops in Israel combining the Yemima method and art. Collaborating with Racheli, who teaches Yemima in English, we are able to offer this unique experience in English. In this online workshop, we will study some Yemima text together, connect to our goodness through our minds, hearts, and art, and share our insight and art.
For more info: https://www.yemimawithracheli.com/services-1