Breathe in. Pause. Breathe out. According to Etty Hillesum, “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.” Esther “Etty” Hillesum was a Jewish woman whose letters and diaries, kept between 1941 and 1943, describe life in Amsterdam during the German occupation. They were published posthumously in 1981 (An Interrupted Life, republished 1999 by Persephone Books). Etty died in Auschwitz November 30, 1943. In her diaries, Etty evokes her spiritual evolution through a deep look inward. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies.
I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that too is a deed.
One must also accept that one has ‘uncreative’ moments. The more honestly one can accept that, the quicker these moments will pass.
During the ugliest times in our world’s history, Etty turned inward to console her spirit and documented her transformation with the intention of publication. Her life, though cut short, was given purpose through her words, her introspection, and spiritual awakening before the brutality she observed around her exceeded her capacity for understanding. We can learn from her as we examine our own spirit and take a deep look inward. Let us turn inward and comfort our own hearts. Pray. Meditate. Breathe in. PAUSE. Then, breathe out.
All rights reserved. ©2016 by A. K. Orobko