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How to Swim to Your Own Program

How to Swim to Your Own Program

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Summers here in Southern New Jersey can be very hot, very muggy and very humid. So when a friend called to invite me to swim in her pool, I eagerly accepted. She told me she swims every morning at 8:15 together with another friend, her swimming partner. They have been doing this for years; it’s their escape, a terrific form of exercise and a great way to invigorate their day.

The pool was large, gorgeous and refreshing. When I arrived, the two were already hard at work. My friend swims eighty laps every morning (did I mention the pool was large?) and her friend does the same.

Dipping toe by toe, I slowly stepped into the pool before jumping in. While my friend’s goal was eighty laps, I knew I’d be happy with eighteen. While my friend and her friend executed perfect front crawls, their strokes calculated and strong, I chose to do some relaxing back strokes and breast strokes. The important thing for me was just to keep on moving which I knew was great exercise, even with my sloppy strokes. I was careful to stay in my “lane” and be considerate of their space as I gazed at the brilliant blue sky and the soaring trees and I felt grateful just being there.

Swimming my own program I thought of the new month we are entering.

Elul is an opportune time for introspection. It is a time to think about the year that passed and our goals for the coming year. Sometimes we can get so caught up with comparing ourselves to others, that we miss the point. But introspection means looking inner, looking at ourselves and our potential.

Elul is the time when “G‑d is in the field”--right here in our neighborhood, at our jobs, in our homes. The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that to come before the king, in the royal palace, requires the admission of a hierarchy of officers checking our credentials, but when the king comes out to the fields, anyone can approach him.

Elul is our chance to seek G‑d out in a more open and personal way, without protocol blocking the way. Irrespective of what we have or have not achieved in the last year and irrespective of how we compare to the guy or girl next door, it’s our opportunity to focus on strengthening and developing our own, personal and intimate relationship with G‑d.

Because we’re all in the pool of life. Whether we succeed in doing eighty or eight laps is irrelevant. What is important is that we take the plunge, be considerate of others’ space, enjoy the stunning scenery and focus on moving forward!

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Daniel Baruch Dobrin Georgia August 13, 2015

Nights become days I was careful to stay in my “lane” and be considerate of their space as I gazed at the brilliant blue sky and the soaring trees, and I felt grateful just being there. Reply

Daniel Baruch Dobrin Georgia August 13, 2015

Smarts water Great great great stuff. I love the tone, hue, smart smart, like smart water Reply

Daniel Dobrin Georgia August 12, 2015

Daniel Chana, this is Daniel; you wrote a beautiful and wonderful article. Reply

Lisa Aubert Long Beach, CA August 12, 2015

The King is in the field How interesting that the King (Adonai) is in the field (earth) now instead of in the Palace (Heaven). HE is coming down to meet us where we are at this season. Would we be able to recognize Him? Would He be so comfortable being with us? I almost feel like Esther in some kind of way. Reply

Anonymous USA August 12, 2015

Going swimming I am trying to do just that, but the pool seems always desolate, no matter what I do in trying to share it with others. Most of the time I just flote and concentrate on the beauty of my King by looking on to the sky. I know he is there, I feel his presence, love him more and more every day but still do not know or understand why I am here and not with him. Reply

Ellen Cahn Rego Park August 11, 2015

thank you Chana. sometimes it is so hard to do the first lap.

I don't want to waste this year's Elul. Reply

Mrs. Chana Weisberg August 11, 2015

thank you all for your special comments! keep diving in. :) Reply

ingride kfar saba Israel August 11, 2015

I so enjoyed this article. It really spoke to me and I am so pleased that i read it because you have reminded me of how close I can get to Hashem during this month!

And I always have PLENTY OF REQUESTS!!!!!!!!!!
So thank you! Reply

Ayobola Aldridge August 11, 2015

A Fresh Look Thanks for the freshness your blog brings to the soul.
I love your apt descriptive advice on approach to life as .. "taking a plunge" .. "in the pool of life".. being "considerate of others' space", enjoying "the stunning scenery, and focusing "on moving forward".
That about sums for me what victorious living entails. Reply

Anonymous August 10, 2015

Wonderful thoughts and comparisons. Swim away. Reply

Juan Diaz Bogota, Colombia August 10, 2015

Thankyou Chana. Now Elul next Tishrei and the holidays with Simja Torah and Rosh Hashana 5776.Shalom, Juan Reply