One of the most important people in my life was a Leo. My mentor, fierce champion, trusted confidante, brilliant Torah and Zohar scholar, and sage, Rav Berg, was also my father-in-law. The Rav, as we called him, was born in this month that is ruled by the energy of leadership, compassion, and loyalty. He lived these values. One of his central teachings was to treat everyone with human dignity and respect. These lessons became a guiding principle for me.
Respect and dignity are the minimum that we can offer to everyone in our lives. I think we can all agree that it is something the world needs, especially now.
Each new month brings with it a new energy to help guide us toward transformation. When we welcome a new month, we welcome a new experience and intention; we also welcome unique gifts and challenges.
The symbol of this month is a lion—proud, straightforward, and determined—and those born under this sign possess these traits as well. They don’t skirt around issues or hide their feelings. Their loyalty is unwavering. They defend the beliefs, values, and people they believe in. A Leo is someone you want to take with you into the trenches.
These attributes are available to all of us this month, no matter what sign we were born under; they bring us a lion’s share of opportunity for growth. Yet, we know that growth is not possible without challenge and discomfort. The opposition during the month of Leo comes in the form of our Achilles Heel: ego.
This is a good month to ask ourselves:
- What holds us back from treating those around us with respect, dignity, and compassion?
- What reinforces the idea that we are separate from each other?
- What baits us into thinking the worst of others?
- What is it that inspires blame, judgment, and withholding within us?
Ego is not connected to our true essence, but rather is an aspect of our human nature, validating that it’s okay to treat another without respect and human dignity. Our egos are built on what we think, know, and need. If we look back at any tragic event in history, we will find somewhere within it a root of ego. Someone hungry for power. Someone afraid of loss and/or motivated by greed, fear, and hatred. While we think of these things as giant monsters that are far removed from our daily lives, they begin with us. It is, indeed, part of who we are, but once we know the beast we’re dealing with, we can find ways to tame it.
The ego desires to receive for the self alone. When our expectations are not met, we tend to get angry or defensive. We blame, judge, and punish. When we are full of this anger and resentment, it becomes considerably more difficult for us to behave with kindness toward anyone—even ourselves. Our angry thoughts become reactive words that we speak and often manifest into negative actions. Before we know it, we’ve created darkness.
However, it takes just one action of positivity to turn the tides.
According to Kabbalah, our choices are either guided by our light (God-like nature) or our Ego. Every moment we are either choosing ego (desire to receive for the self alone), or we are choosing to give (desire to receive in order to share.)
Rethink Moment: This month, imagine you have the heart of a lion. It is strong, proud, and full of fierce love. As you move through the day, ask how this heart would respond to each moment.
How would you treat the homeless person asking for change?
How would you spend your time and energy?
How would you respond to someone who disagrees with you?
Would you choose ego?
Or will you choose to be the best version of yourself?
Now, this is not an invitation to perfection. We’re all human, and there will be days that we find ourselves in judgment, blame, or reactivity. The point of this exercise is to catch ourselves in the moment and to replace those negative actions of ego with positive actions of sharing. This month, notice the desires of your ego — and then choose the opposite.
Open your lionheart.