These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Love Your Limits

Posted on October 15, 2012 by Shira Bee

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Originally posted on my blog:

And I’m in Jerusalem.

Life is different here. As someone said beautifully in the opening circle of my program, Pardes, I think “I breathe differently here.”  The pure age of the structures around me, the intensely spiritual aura that seems to ebb and flow throughout the city during the times of high holidays, and the love that so many people from numerous backgrounds, religions, and belief systems have for this place – it honestly feels magical at times.

And then at times it doesn’t. Something I’ve realized (or rather something that has slapped me in the face since I’ve been here) is how difficult it is, even is such an incredible setting, to feel present and connected. In moving here I fell into a common trap many of us face (especially those of us in the crazy start-up world) of trying to do too many things at once. For me, this included moving to a new country and to a new apartment with 5 roommates, starting a new learning program involving 20-30 hours of class & a commute, launching the hiring process for my small business, Campus Swaps, starting a new job as the Associate Director at Unreasonable at Sea, working on a personal curriculum involving excel, adobe, & coding, oh and somewhere in here I wanted to write a new blog post……

Even as it seems a bit ridiculous now, what’s really more striking is that this is absolutely common behavior for me and for most of the people I surround myself with. So many of us do this to ourselves; we continuously overburden, overstress, overcomplicate.

So what have I learned during my first month here?

That limitations are important.

That in knowing your own limits and using them to align your time with your most authentic valueslies the key to a more meaningful and connected experience of life.

In an incredible book I read once upon a time in a bookstore in NYC, Clayton Christensen writes:

“You can talk all you want about having a strategy for your life, understanding motivation, & balancing aspirations with unanticipated opportunities…But ultimately, this means nothing if you do not align those with where you actually expend your time, money, and energy.”

It is only once we accept that we sometimes cannot do it all, that we have to make hard choices and focus on things that are truly important, that we realize it is this focus itself that allows us to live a life we really love.