In every moment, we are either going up the escalator or going down, according to a Jewish teaching. No remaining in the same spot. And both up and down have momentum. So when we find ourselves heading down, in whatever area of our life it may be, we can start (the hardest part) by simply getting off our escalator and stepping onto the escalator in the opposite direction. Carried toward good, instead of its opposite.
I have a very all or nothing approach. On some level I prize perfection, and when I have messed up, I want to give up and erase everything that has happened. I want a completely new start. Yet, some things you can never get back or recover – a hurtful word spoken, a lack of presence with your child, the tooth that has been extracted, hours I deprived myself of necessary sleep – but I am comforted of late that the mistakes, and fears and unhealthy habits are all part of life, and even possibly add texture and color to who we are. We can only accept ourselves and commit in this moment to taking the first step.
How important that we are at peace with our human-ness. How important that we deeply know we are not fated to be on a downward slope. How important we know that with intention, the blemishes we acquire along the way can be transformed and become our most beautiful feature. How important we celebrate plonking ourselves on the good path, especially when we’re on a bad roll and it feels painstaking and may even require help from someone close and from G-d.
Yip, it seems so simple and yet it’s so difficult and time and time again I find ourselves repeating the same mistakes.
But my dream is that one day I will find myself on the escalator heading upward in the areas where I really struggle, and one good thing will lead to another and then to another and another.
And we will ride together, after our respective grappling and wrestling. In my dream, we will ultimately choose ascent.