Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

Tammuz Heats Up

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Jun• 19•12

Aloha! I’m writing from the South shore of Maui, Hawai’i where I’m vacationing with my family of four.  We’re in paradise. Palm trees, lapping ocean waves, pink morning clouds, orange and yellow evening sunsets. And heat. We wake up to seventy-degree weather, and by mid morning we’re already baking under high eighty-degree temperatures.

But the environment in Hawai’i isn’t the only thing heating up this week. My children, too, have higher emotional intensity than usual. First, I blamed it on the time adjustment: They’re screaming because they’re tired, I said to myself. Then, I pointed my internal finger at the change of environment: My boy just shoved his sister because he’s cooped up in an unfamiliar (and smaller than usual) condominium. Next, I blamed the excitement: They’re over stimulated, I justified.

Then this morning, at 4 a.m. local time (three hours earlier then my usual West Coast time zone) it hit me: TAMMUZ! It’s the new moon of Tammuz, when everything heats up—not just the weather, but emotions, too. During the Tammuz moon cycle, the level of internal tumult dials up a notch.

So, be aware. When you (or others) start feeling thunderous during the start of summer, you’ll know why. Summer masquerades as a carefree season of pure fun and adventure; and then, BAM! Tammuz’s inner intensity often is concealed until you’re tumbling in its swirl.

Use the power of your breath and blessing to stay centered this moon cycle. Both will allow a moment of respite, a pause in your typical stride, that may stoke awareness instead of your fire. As you feel yourself pulled into the heat of reactivity, inhale and exhale a deep belly breath. Whatever you see right in front of you—be with it. Don’t act it out. Don’t yell. Don’t blame. Just observe and be with your intensity. Ten seconds, that’s all it takes. (Maybe ten seconds, ten times, but still…)

If you can muster a moment of gratitude—simply for being alive in the moment that you are in—practice saying that aloud to yourself. “Thank God for this moment.”  “I’m grateful to be alive experiencing [whatever you are feeling] right now.” It’s a powerful and simple practice that creates space within the experiences of your day. Space that allows you to pause, to land in your moment, in your life.

The sensory area of healing during Tammuz is sight, according to the Sefer Yetzirah. So look around. See what actually is in front of you. During Tammuz, do not pay attention to what you think about your experience; instead, use your vision to be within the glory of details that surround you. For example, if my kids wake up and start nudging each other, I can breath and pause. Taking a look around, I’ll use my sight to see their sweet eyes, their ruffled hair, the space between my boy’s front teeth, the freckles on my girl’s cheek. I will breathe, inhaling, and bring my attention to what I see: the palms moving in the wind, the flowers on the table, the colors against the sky, the small purple jewel from yesterday’s art project.

I am grateful to be alive. To have to two healthy young children, both of whom are vulnerable and sensitive. I am grateful to be on vacation here in the heat of Maui’s south shore, here in the heat of Tammuz.

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