By Violet Lehrer
Every year as we prepare for Passover we traditionally clear out the Chametz from our house. This year brings us the opportunity to update the ritual and to take the time to clear the Chametz from our mind.
Our mind contains old patterns and limiting beliefs, all of which can be seen and removed if we look for them and choose to replace them for growth and freedom. Chametz, just like cobwebs in our minds, stays in the corners dirtying your home and bringing you down.
Clearing Chametz is the first part of prepping for the Seder meal. The Seder plate is rich with symbols of freedom and peace. Below is a guide on using the Seder plate and mindfulness for creating peace and freedom in our mind.
Shank bone (zeroa): The shank bone represents sacrifice. This piece of the Seder Plate is the opportunity to explore our patterns and our beliefs of where we had to sacrifice our authentic self. It’s common that in our childhood we had moments where we had to give up being ourselves so that we could fit in. Today that tendency, that pull that we can’t really be ourselves is the places that we still sacrifice. It could be the places that we say yes that we really need to be saying no. The more we stay true and aligned to our authentic self, the more energy and the more freedom that we have.
Bitter herbs (maror): Bitter herbs bring tears to the eyes and recall the bitterness of slavery. For me, this represents our emotional wounds and our scars that we still carry. These are the difficult moments in our life that we have not yet tended to; these are the life events that still have yet to be healed. To experience freedom from this pain, we should bring a sense of compassion to the journey that we’ve been on so far. Try not to judge yourself so harshly. Life is certainly not always easy- our wounds that we experienced can be honored and that reverence allows our heart to open.
Charoset: This sweet, apple and nut paste represents the brick and mortar used by the Hebrew slaves. Just like slaves were forced to laydown bricks we are placing limiting beliefs in our path. These limiting beliefs were used in order to protect ourselves, and like the apples, had some sweetness, but now keep us confined. Limiting beliefs take the shape of all the places that we feel that we are not enough. We all have limiting beliefs and the more aware of them we become, the more we are able to consciously move past them. Moving past these walls gives us the courage to move towards our hopes and dreams.
Egg (beitzah): Eggs can be a symbol of our imperfection and beauty. No egg is perfect on the outside, but has deep wholeness on the inside. The egg on Passover is often not eaten, but is on the plate in its shell; and like humans -the shell is not perfect. In fact most hard boiled eggs have cracks, reminding us “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” We are all perfectly imperfect. Instead of focusing on our external flaws, we have the opportunity do deeply appreciate what is inside ourselves.
Second Bitter Herb (Chazeret): There are two bitter herbs-not just one. It is interesting that one bitter herb wouldn’t be enough. Similarly, this seems to be the case in our life, we may have done something once but it needs to be reviewed or repeated. Realize that while we have done our work and have grown, we are never really done. To create a better life requires constant improvement. Life is about the incremental progress we make -and enjoying the journey. Therefore, revisiting things is important and necessary. Having inner freedom means having the willingness to embody the growth mindset and to take more than one look at yourself.
Vegetable (karpas): This element of the Passover dinner symbolizes hope and renewal. It is a reminder that we have limitless capacity for change. No matter our past, we truly are empowered because we have the ability to grow and change. Nothing is fixed or stagnant. We used to think our brain’s wiring was permanent – but now science has discovered how malleable our brain truly is. With focus and conscious effort we have the ability to break any of our old paradigms and create new ones. What new paradigms would you like to create for yourself? Have the confidence that with determination and the right mindset, all is possible.
Matzah: And of course no Seder is complete without Matzah — unleavened bread — to remind us to slow down- The story goes that we were in such haste to leave the bread did not have time to rise. But isn’t their haste in our day all too often now. How often do we take the time to notice what is around us to take a breath to have a moment of stillness to take three purposeful breathes – breathe in spaciousness CHAMETZ
As we prepare for Passover, look for the Chametz that is in your mind, holding you back and is keeping you from having the freedom that you crave. Bring compassion to your old wounds, allow yourself to be imperfect and tend to those limiting beliefs that feel like bricks in your life. Our challenge today is managing to feel peace in an increasingly chaotic world. This Passover is a chance to center ourselves and stay focused.
Violet Lehrer is passionate about bringing peace and connection to her clients. She is a Certified Life Coach and Mindfulness Instructor, creating workshops that engage, expand and encourage. Learn more at www.claritypathcoaching.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.