Tammuz | B’lev Shalem (בלב שלם) Wholehearted

Tammuz is the Moon of Change (June/July)
Tammuz is the month of claiming personal sovereignty and risking success, failure, and change.

Middah & Netivah

  • B’lev HaShem (בלב שלם) Wholehearted/Willingness
  • Immah (אמא) Mother

Keys

  • Histaglut (הסתגלות) Adaptability
  • Azut d’Kedusha (עזות דקדשה) Holy Boldness

Counterweights 

  • Tevet (December/January) Moon of Clarity
  • Sakranut (סקרנות) Curiosity
  • Doreshet (דורשת) Seeker

More correspondences available on the Tammuz overview page

New to Mussar or the Kesharim K’doshim approach? Read the intro first.


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B’lev Shalem (בלב שלם) Wholehearted

Tammuz is the moon of change, in my naming of the moons. In our mythic spiral of time we have emerged from the wilderness and and the counting of the omer to the moment of revelation at Sinai on Shavuot.  Then it’s already time to begin grappling with and mourning the loss of what was. On Tzom Tammuz (17 Tammuz) the cracks in the walls begin again, with the commemoration of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem.  This begins a time period known simply as “the three weeks” that leads up to Tisha B’Av, a day where we mourn many changes and losses.

There are no holidays in Tammuz, other than the one fast day and of course Shabbat.  It’s also in the heat of summer where the harvest is in full swing.  It is a month of preparation and building resiliency.

In the teachings of Kohenet, it is the month of the Immah (אמא) Mother netivah – archetype or pathway of the Divine. Motherhood is also a rather huge change, whether you give birth or adopt, whether its a human you are nurturing,  a project, a community, or any other being that you are responsible for which you are nurturing or tending.

This brings us to the soul-trait of the month: b’lev shalem (בלב שלם) wholeheartedness or with a whole heart. As we begin grappling with ideas around cosmic changes in our history, changes that we may never  have chosen but did propel us forward as a people and as individuals – how do we not retreat, re-wall, cut ourselves off, or become numb?  The answer is engaging with a whole heart, which is scary because it’s vulnerable.

If it’s not a clear yes, then it’s a no.

Rav Kohenet Taya Mâ

In some inherited teachings of mussar, this is often framed as “willingness.”   However like all soul-traits, we need a balance.  There are times we are not and should not be willing to do things, so how do we know?  And once we are doing something — how do we engage with it?

Rav Kohenet Taya Mâ often teaches, if it’s not a clear yes — it’s a no. That to me is a great teaching of wholeheartedness.  There are times we need to say no, because we aren’t really willing to engage — we’re doing so because we “should.”  We’re letting insecurity, shame, guilt or a thousand other “shoulds” or “coulds” drive the decision — even when we know that whatever it is isn’t right for us in that that moment.

Acting with a whole heart, being wholehearted, means that we are clear about this.  We set boundaries. We respect our yeses and our nos.

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

But what does it mean to be or act wholeheartedly?  Thankfully Brené Brown has given this a lot of thought, and created guideposts for us around what wholehearted living looks like in her book The Gifts of Imperfection.  For each guidepost she offers something to cultivate and something to work on releasing/letting go.  

  1. Cultivating Authenticity and Letting Go of What Other People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion and Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating Your Resilient Spirit, Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy, Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith, Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity and Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest, Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness and Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work, Letting Go of Self-Doubt and Supposed-To
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance. And Letting Go of Cool and Always in Control

In a way this is a whole mussar within itself, which makes sense.  All the soul-traits feed into and out of each other — and our soul’s curriculum is to work with each to keep choosing spiritual growth towards (w)holiness.  

PRACTICE

Reflections

At this moment in time:

  • What does engaging with a whole heart mean to you?
  • How does it feel in your body when you are engaging whole heartedly and when you are not?
  • How often in your life are you able to be whole hearted?
  • What is standing in the way of engaging wholeheartedly more often?
  • What are the things you feel you “have” to do, but really aren’t willing or whole hearted about doing?

Text Study

  • The people rejoiced over the freewill offerings they made, for with a whole heart they made freewill offerings to the Divine (I Chronicles 29:9)
  • “Please, Havayah,” he said, “remember how I have walked before You sincerely and wholeheartedly and have done what is pleasing to You.” (Isaiah 38:3)
  • So my heart rejoices, my whole being exults, and my body rests secure. (Psalms 16:9)
  • All of our prayers and songs of praise should be recited with a whole heart, especially when we recall the Creator’s supervision over us in our exile, for we are all but oblivious to the many miracles and wonders that the Divine performs for us. (Kav HaYashar 8:19)
  • Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. (Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection)

Affirmations

  • I Embody the Courage to Love Others.
  • I Nurture and am Worthy of Being Nurtured.
  • I Bring Light to my Family of Blood and/or Spirit.

from the Eht/Aht: a netivot wisdom oracle

Embodied Practice

  • Rav Kohenet Taya Mâ teaches that “If it’s not a clear yes, then it’s a no.”
    Check in with your body when you are about to say, “yes” to something. Is your body telling you to say no?  Before saying yes, take a moment to “listen in” and see if you are saying yes with a whole heart and if you aren’t then explore if/how you can say yes with a whole heart or say no.

Action                            

  • Set time on your calendar each week just for you. Make a date, even just 30 minutes, where you get to do what fills your heart.  Take the time to nurture yourself so you can be nurtured.

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