So I offer up on the altar of humility my korban for this month of Elul—my impatience, which is underlain, I’m seeing, by a subtle, destructive sense of entitlement. Sometimes there's a burning in my body when I'm forced to wait for something or someone, and I can hardly contain the urge to break away, run from the offending dullard or slowpoke or unmoving queue. I’ll lash out or speak sarcastically or simply mutter under my breath.
Rabbi Mitch Chefitz has a piece in the wonderful anthology on Jewish spiritual guidance, Seeking and Soaring, called "Entitlement, Miracles, and Blessings," which speaks to the core of my teshuvah work this year. I’m beginning to recognize those oh-so-subtle tangles of entitlement that choke me with resentment, which flares easily into anger. Entitlements like, "I deserve a partner who doesn't leave dirty dishes in the sink," or "I deserve to be instantly understood without saying what I want or need."
It is delicate surgery, peeling back these layers of feeling that I have a right to this or that privilege or treatment or material item or benefit, especially since many years of undervaluing myself, as many women do, have made it hard to believe that I deserve anything. This, of course, makes me angry and feisty and sometimes hard-hearted or sad. Shining the light of awareness on these subtle but influential wisps of entitlement feels like the shifting of my soul's tectonic plates. And still, equanimity so often eludes me, and I burst out, almost involuntarily—directed most frequently at my beloved one(s).
The work is cut out for us, isn't it? And fortunately, so is the loving Presence that can handle it all, the Earth that drinks up our sourness and doesn't even pucker, the King in the field, and that golden filament of hope, hanging like a new friendship in the starry sky.