Process, Product, Pain and Pleasure

I am training for a 75-mile bike ride. Six years ago a recruiter from Chai Lifeline came to Seattle to get participants for their fundraising ride. The cause was close to my heart and I wanted to join but the timing wasn’t right. The desire lingered, and I came close to signing up in 2016 but realized it was two days before my son’s bar mitzvah. I verbally committed to the organization that I would ride in summer 2017. Well, summer 2017 is here, and I’m sore and somewhat miserable.

I am an undisciplined, unstructured, non-rule-following, free spirit. Carving out time each day to train is consuming my life, stressing me out, and exhausting. And my body is aching. As I push up the hills I’m practically in tears thinking ‘why did I do this to myself?’ I was so anxious that my eye started twitching. I shout hysterically at my husband (who is super supportive): ‘My eye is twitching can you see it?’

“Your eye is fine, Giti,” he said. “I don’t see any twitching, you’ve been wanting to do this ride for years. If it’s not bringing you joy, don’t do it.”

“That’s the wrong thing to say!” I shriek. “You’re supposed to say ‘You’re going to be great.’”

“You’re going to be great,” repeats my rock star husband.

I just have to tell him his lines.

End scene.

The bottom line is, I want to ride up to the special needs camp and say I did a 75-mile ride, dance, eat, drink at the after party with all the cool people that do this ride. I’m seeking pleasure, not pain. But pain is the price we pay for pleasure. I admittedly want the result without fully buying into the process. I see this phenomenon in my life all the time.

I want a great marriage and I also always want to get my way. One of the components of a good marriage is putting aside my approach or desires and practicing “love is what’s important to you is important to me.” In my marriage, this looks like listening to a detailed description of a John Gottman love lab or some esoteric d’var Torah at the wee hours of the night when all I want to do is fall asleep.

I know my kids would love it if I joined them in “Apples to Apples” or “Settlers of Catan” on a Shabbat afternoon. Yet, the serialized “Frum Girl” soap opera novela in the “Mishpacha Magazine” beckons: I want to keep up with Libby falling in love with the plumber (Jewish of course. No worries, the landlord will be the match maker). I want to be a size 6, and I’d like to eat babka. I want to have my cake and eat it too! Our mystics teach us: it’s inherent in being a combination of a body and a soul. The the body loves physical pleasure. The soul, a tiny spark of G-dliness, loves spiritual pleasure. The soul wants to stretch transcend soar and reach great heights.

Anything worthwhile requires effort, commitment and even some pain in the acquisition process.

With G-d’s help, will learn some important things about myself through this physical training and process and apply them to the spiritual and relational realms. I will try and lean into the pain and embrace and trust in the process as the process is an integral part of the product.

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About Giti Fredman

Giti Fredman's fun, “get-up-and-go” attitude have made her a magnet for her fellow Jews throughout the Twin Cities, attracting them to Jewish places they never had dreamed of before. She loves facilitating Israel trips for moms, activities for young families and huge Shabbat dinners and demystifying Orthodox Judaism. Ask her questions about being Orthodox; she welcomes them with open arms.

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