Passover – Freedom Happens in the Wilderness

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a Wilderness.” – Havelock Ellis

Here we are on the fifth day of Passover and I’m just getting this post about Passover finished. Well, I’m going to blame it on the fact that I couldn’t find Matzo Meal or Matzos. Yeah, that’s right, NO Matzo anything to be found in my rural area of Northern Kentucky, which delayed my Passover Seder and delayed my post. Yep, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it…

Passover is one of my two favorite holidays (Thanksgiving is the other). I’m not officially Jewish, though I’ve been a student of Judaism for about 15 years and my Jewish friends have bestowed upon me the title of “honorary” Jew. And, they’ve called my Matzo Ball Soup some of the best they’ve ever eaten, which is what my husband and I dined on Thursday night during our Seder, thanks to the Newport, Kentucky Kroger’s Passover foods display of which I snagged the LAST canister of Matzo Meal! Whew!

For those who aren’t familiar, Passover is the Jewish holiday that commemorates the Book of Exodus from The Torah – the first five books of the Jewish Bible or Tanakh (or for Christian readers, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible). For those of you still scratching your head, think, The Ten Commandments – the Cecile B. DeMille film from 1956, starring Charlton Heston – you know, the one where Moses parted the Red Sea and all, which for some odd reason, the network has traditionally broadcast on Easter Sunday (?).

So, besides the Caramel Matzo Crunch, why do I love Passover so much…?

I love Passover, because when the story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt is repeated each year at millions of Seders around the world, we are urged to examine what enslaves us today in our modern society. And we are reminded that we, too, can experience freedom from bondage.

We may not be slaves to a human master, but perhaps we’re slaves to another type of master – food, smoking, alcohol, perfectionism, consumerism, drugs, sex, the internet – you name it, we can be slaves to it.

Then, like the pain of the plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians before the Pharaoh allowed the Hebrews freed, our pain finally gets bad enough that we decide to release ourselves from the bondage that holds us. We have a vision of ourselves without the chains; we can see the Promised Land of freedom from these things and we make a break for it!

Yea for you!!!!

Hang on – not so fast, young lady – you’re not gonna taste that milk and honey just quite yet…

On the path between bondage and freedom, there’s this little place called the WILDERNESS in which most of us get stuck for a little while. I’ll remind you of the film again…it took Charlton Heston about four hours to lead us from Egypt to Canaan. However, In ‘real life,’ it took Moses a lot longer than 220 minutes to persuade his people along the journey from bonds of slavery to the Promised Land.

A LOT longer…like 40 years…

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to take you 40 years to make the changes in your life you’d like to make. For Moses’s tribe, this time in the wilderness often felt like a time of isolation, helplessness and complete dependence on divine sustenance. I’d like to offer a different perspective. As a coach, I see the wilderness as a place rich with ‘a-ha’ moments and epiphanies – a place where you learn to let go of the old ways and embrace the new ways of being – if you will allow yourself – so you will arrive safely in the Promised Land.

It is where change happens…

I know, you just want to get the hell out of this yucky, mucky place. Sorry, you can’t rush through the Wilderness – it takes as long as it takes – and here are some tips to make the journey a little easier.

  • Create a vision of what you really want your life to look like after you’re free. Moses had a clear vision, but his disgruntled group didn’t always buy into that vision. Paint a detailed picture with words of exactly what your life will look like after you’ve completed your changes – it’ll help keep you on track.
  • Have a strong covenant with yourself and be open to new ideas and challenges that will arise on the journey of change. The Hebrews often complained that life was hard in the wilderness and they didn’t really know where the heck they were going. Had they known what Moses was going to put them through, they would have stayed slaves in Egypt. Yes, in this process of change, we often are tempted to go back to the familiar, even though we know it’s not what we want.
  • Understand that progress often happens in fits and starts. The Israelites got impatient with the pillar of cloud and fire they were made to follow – stop and set up camp, break down camp and move, stop and set up camp, break down camp and move…over and over again – they wanted the progress toward the Promised Land to be steady and, of course, quick! Be gentle with yourself when you get off track – because you will – accept it, and get back to the task at hand.
  • Have confidence that you have what it takes to make this journey and trust that what you need will be provided. The Hebrews embarked on this adventure with a fairly large support group in tow and were sustained with manna (oh, yeah, and meat when they complained loudly!). Enlist support from your family or a good friend or a coach and trust that when you need a little extra kick in the pants, a listening ear or a hug, it’ll be there for you.

If you’d like to find out how I can help you through the wilderness, contact me for a 30-minute coaching consultation at no charge. Please leave your comments, questions and ideas below. And, remember, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot

Lisa :-)

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2 responses to “Passover – Freedom Happens in the Wilderness”

  1. Hey Lisa,

    This is a super post. Lots of gems in here. We are so in bondage to all sorts of things. In fact, most of us are modern day indentured servants paying off all this stuff we think we need. Can you imagine anyone saying “yes” to 30 years to pay off a home if they thought of it more like indentured servitude? In other countries they build as they have the money — mortgages don’t really exist. By the time you pay it off, it’s time to sell it.

    I like your wilderness concept – I feel so much better in the wilds. An important place to reflect and reconnect. It requires a lot of letting go out there and that may be what keeps folks from enjoying the wild days and nights.

    Thx, G.

    • Thanks, Giulietta! Yeah, I love the idea you raised about bondage to our STUFF! Modern day indentured servants…That’ll preach (as a couple of my minister friends say)!

      This idea of “keeping up with the Joneses” is so prevalent in our society that folks just seem to go along for the ride instead of really examining what they want in their lives – and what they have to give up in order to have those things that others say they should have…