Healing the World

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is an odd sort of vacuum. The press and stress of the last few weeks suddenly is over–resolved or dissolved by Christmas. The pressure is off for now. New Year’s is a week away.

If you are a life coach or a creativity coach, you get a lot of sad, angry, abandoned, frantic, emergency calls over Christmas. Hurt feelings, damaged visions, tarnished hopes, disappointing families. Lots of witnessing, no fixing. I learned a long time ago, I can’t fix. I can witness. I can walk the path with someone else, but I cannot walk the path for them.

Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for "Heal the World." It's a requirement.

In the Kabbalah (the study of Jewish Mysticism) there is an injunction to “heal the world” —tikkun olam in Hebrew. I’ve always been fascinated with this idea. How can we fix the world? We can barely manage one life. The answer is a quote from the Jewish Book of Ethics: “You do not have to complete the task, neither can you put it down.”

We work at healing in small increments, in what is described as striking divine sparks. I love the idea. Of course the larger idea of tikkun olam is social justice, but I love the idea of striking sparks in the darkness, tiny fireworks of light and warmth.

In the studio today, I had a dried leaf that looked like a feather. I wondered if I believed it was a feather enough, I could use it to fly. It’s the same kind of certainty required to heal the world.

–Quinn McDonald is a seeker, who uses her studio to explore creation and creativity.