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Jewish Journal

Giving up Bread or Internet for Passover? Finding Balance and Freedom on Tax Day

by Lisa Ellen Niver

April 15, 2014 | 9:05 am

Giving up Bread or Internet for Passover? Finding Balance and Freedom on Tax Day

For the last year and a half I have been living in Asia and eating rice. As I thought about Passover approaching, I figured giving up bread for eight days would not be meaningful as I really only eat rice in Thailand. I contemplated what could I give up that would be a daily reminder that the Jews were slaves in Egypt and when we were forced to leave in a rush, we ended up with only matzah to eat.

May all who are enslaved throughout the world, come to know freedom. May all who are free, appreciate the blessings of abundance. And may all of us dwell in the house of God and give thanks for our good fortune as we celebrate these rituals of Passover. (Opening Prayer from 30Minute Seder)

The struggle to find freedom resonates with me. I have considered giving up the Internet for eight days and wondered about how to run We Said Go Travel and not be online at all. But we do not give up wheat for Passover we give up, leavened bread. So perhaps giving something up 100% is not right but rather choosing wisely and with intention is more meaningful. Overwhelmed The Book

In Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigid Schulte honestly discusses being a working mother and how her life is out of control with no leisure time--hers is a “frenetic family.”  She is shocked when John Robinson states that she has thirty hours of leisure time a week and quests to understand where does her time go. As she researches the origins of leisure and who feels in control of their time, she goes to time conferences, meets wonderful Danish people with plenty of time and even learns to fly on the trapeze.

Her explorations remind me of SCUBA Diving, where we say, “Plan your Dive and Dive your Plan.” First, she works to discover what are her priorities and then creates a way to live them. Everything on her to-do list does not get done but the meaningful connections she needs to feel joyous do.  I want to live “a life of leisure [which] was the highest aim of a human being. True leisure, the Greeks believed, free from the drudgery of work, not only refreshed the soul but also opened it up.”For Schulte, “role overload” and “contaminated time” have to end in order to move forward and she is willing to make the literal and figurative leaps!

The cult of being busy does not allow us to make a commitment to doing the things that feed us in work, love and play. Are you ready to get off the track of the “everydayathon?” The way off of the hamster wheel involves being able to answer “three questions that drive so much of the unending overwhelm: • How much is enough? • When is it good enough? • How will I know?” Schulte admits for herself it is a work in progress but she and her husband are looking at their parenting roles and household responsibilities and how they can support each other and their family in a way that works for everyone.

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy argues that with the support of “cooperative breeding” and “alloparents…in human evolution, mother’s lives were more integrated between work and home.”  Many women feel alone in their daily struggles; bringing back the village may allow time for each individual to become as self-actualized, self-efficacious and joyous as possible. Managing and having appropriate expectations can create change that feels like freedom. 

The Money Nerve by Robert WheelerFinding independence from being bound to technology or bread or our ideas requires thoughtful contemplation. This year as Passover begins, taxes are due. April 15 is a day of dread for so many Americans. My friends are worried about being audited, paying the bills and what do they owe for taxes. All of this concern about money is similar to the drama in Overwhelmed about not having any time to do what you want, Robert Wm. Wheeler in The Money Nerve explains that you have the money you need to do what you want. He can help you and be your guide to a life of meaning and money.

As Wheeler states, “There is a lot of fear and shame surrounding money. We need to start admitting without shame or embarrassment that we may not have been taught how to handle money (or that we may not know all the answers). We need to bring our money issues out in the open and start changing our belief system about money.

Being honest about your choices allows you to be end your enslavement. Wheeler’s clients tell him: “I need a TV...or…I need to go to Hawaii.” But Wheeler reminds them: “They are wants, not needs. They want those things. They need oxygen; they don’t need the newest cell phone. Once you start to hear your own voice, you can begin to give yourself alternative choices, which will change your mental map.” With the Money Nerve, Wheeler helps you figure our your finances and how to make your dreams come true as well as get your taxes done on time without drama.

When Wheeler says: “Your goal is to move forward as who you truly are. Live the life that you choose to live. To me, living a life without restraints and self-judgment— and living it with gratitude—is what makes everything worthwhile,” I want to run to his next workshop. The priorities we choose create our life and as Wheeler says, “make sure they match your desires.” There are 1,440 minutes in each day and 168 hours in a week, you can spend each moment only once. What will you pick?

As far as changing your life, Schulte says: ““I’m not saying it’s not hard. But I am saying it’s like you’re wearing the ruby slippers. You have the power. You’ve had it all along.”  When you click your heels three times, what will you wish for?

I hope that this Passover week you find freedom from what enslaves you. Remember your life is the compilation of the choices and non-choices that you make. Choose wisely and with intention.

Hag Sameach!

Video: Maccabeats' Passover Music

 

About this ArticleLisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Education, is a passionate writer, educator, social media ninja, speaker and global citizen, who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. She is the creative spark behind We Said Go Travel and just returned from filming in Puerto Rico with Richard Bangs and White Nile Media.

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