Making It count: Netzach, or Endurance

Andrea Toole
The Jewish Examiner
7 min readApr 27, 2018

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Photo by Bradley Wentzel on Unsplash

Better late than never this week, tomorrow begins week five of the Jewish custom of counting the Omer (visit my profile to see each week’s reflections), which means that we’re finishing week 4. Week four is (was) about “Netzach”.

From Aish.com:

Netzach means endurance, fortitude and ambition and is a combination of determination and tenacity. It is a balance of patience, persistence and guts. Endurance is also being reliable and accountable, which establishes security and commitment.

From artist Micaela Ezra on Instagram:

Netzach is your drive, your power and your endurance. The energy moving you forward. Your fire.

Take some time to reflect on your ambitions and stamina. Ask yourself, what’s driving you? Are you committed to bringing your ambitions to life? What distracts you from moving forward? Are you procrastinating or are you too invested in the hustle? Are you propelled to act from a place of fear or a place of love?

It seems appropriate that I’m writing about it at the end of the week, and during a week that I haven’t been keeping up with my daily writing challenge.

On writing/publishing consistently

It turns out that rather than writing and publishing daily, I prefer to write when I have something to say. I could consider my lack of writing a failure, but I view the writing I did do as a success. As has happened when I’ve challenged myself to daily writing in the past, the “requirement” to write and publish daily feels forced. I feel like it’s more difficult to be authentic. I feel that it’s going for quantity over quality. I had hoped that daily writing would turn writing into a habit. Instead, each day I consider if I have anything to say that day. My content calendar was mostly fulfilled, and I didn’t end up using the “filler” categories each time (topics such as new roundups).

I’d prefer to be inspired by the news, local events and my life than a target number.

This realization makes me feel like I have accomplished something better than hitting a target goal for the number of posts each week.

“Netzach” literally means “eternity”.

Goals, objectives, action

I’ve asked myself what’s driving me. I’ve asked myself why I procrastinate. I’ve pushed through some procrastination this week.

I gathered all the information for my income taxes this week. Not fun, but I stopped procrastinating, and I did it in an organized fashion so that I can hand them over to the person who does my taxes. I did it over two sessions. I stopped when I’d had enough, and then I procrastinated in the sunshine before negotiating with myself to finish, but it got done.

Habits

I will continue to form practices and execute out of love rather than fear or obligation. This includes writing and other activities. This month I started answering questions on Quora on a semi-regular basis, and one of my solutions was one of the top answers.

I also started running again today. I haven’t run in years, but with the arrival of spring (2 weeks after an April ice storm), I bought new running shoes and installed a training app on my phone again. I have no interest in being a marathon runner. My goal is to run with my dog so that both of us gets a workout. If I raise my heart rate in the morning, I’ll be more focused and receptive to learning. That’s the way the brain works.

Three years ago when I ran with my dog, she pulled me. Today, at five-years-old, she ran behind me (on leash), and I had to urge her to keep up. (We’ll have some off-leash trail runs too.)

One of the trails near me was near me when I ran consistently in the past (I moved further away, then closer again). The trail is in a ravine with motivational graffiti. I used to take photos during my runs.

Holistic endurance

Running represents physical endurance. Writing represents mental endurance. I’ve got 115 consecutive days of meditation, which represents mental and spiritual endurance.

I could do more. I could remember to “pray” every morning, either a traditional Jewish prayer or my own words (spiritual endurance). I wish I did remember every day. I could execute a morning ayurvedic routine, as I used to (oil pulling has disappeared from my activities, but tongue scraping remains). I could do daily yoga again (physical endurance). The list goes on. There are only so many hours a day, which is probably an excuse.

Yesterday I was reminded of the phrase “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” One of my cousins, a full-time nurse and mother of three busy children on sports teams, does Cross-Fit.

When you get busy, and when you really want to get shit done, you schedule it and find a way.

Doing what’s right for me

We tend to prioritize what we want to do, and as much as I want to do it all, activities fall away. My Netzach reflection is consistency and endurance in what matters. Quality over quantity. Not beating myself up when I miss a session of activity (I generally don’t beat myself up). Not getting stressed out at the thought of “obligation”. See the ability to perform these tasks as a gift.

I’m a decent writer, which is a gift. I’m physically able to run, albeit my stamina is low right now. Starting as a “beginner” again means that I can appreciate the gains.

“Healthy endurance, directed to develop good qualities and modifying bad ones, will always be compassionate.”

I want my endurance to make me a better person, not make me cranky. I want it to have an impact somehow. I want to bring love to my actions, both things I do for myself and things I do for others.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

One of the exercises for Netzach that I read was this:

Be patient and listen to someone who usually makes you impatient.

It’s a good one. I think we all have people who make us impatient, at least at times. If we breathe through it and allow ourselves to be present in the moment and really listen, we’re giving them, and ourselves, a gift. I’m reminded of the following mantra, which I learned from Gabrielle Bernstein:

The light in you is all I see.

I use that one a lot.

Going forward with to do lists:

I will make a new list of my priorities, by category and see what/if I can schedule. I will rate each activity by how much I want to do it, and I’ll focus on those that I want to do, and those that are necessary even if I don’t want to do them (e.g. paying bills).

This is something I’ve done in many forms over the years but I haven’t done it in at least a month, and I think that it’s an activity that I need to revisit every so often. The start of the year, the start of new seasons and the start of new months is always a good time. It feels like the start of spring because the weather is finally spring-like, and a new month starts in a few days.

Commit with enthusiasm and imagine the end

One tool I like for tasks is listing each one and visualize how you want to feel when it’s done. It’s a spreadsheet checklist with a bunch of columns that basically answer “what, where, when, why”. It also asks whether you’re committing to the task with love and enthusiasm and whether you’re visualizing that enthusiasm.

It’s best to commit to only three plans per day. Many productivity experts and people in the spiritual space (two categories I read a lot from) say to keep your daily task list small to make it manageable.

The tool to do list that I speak of pretty much has the user answer the questions that Micaela asked in her Instagram post about Netzach. Put into the first person and slightly modified:

“What’s driving me? Am I committed to bringing my ambitions to life? What distracts me from moving forward? Am I procrastinating? If so, why? Am I propelled to act from a place of fear or a place of love?”

I can commit to being enthusiastic about even tedious but necessary tasks but imagining how I feel when it’s done.

If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist

When I don’t have a full-time job, I schedule less. When I do, I record everything on a calendar. Busy people schedule.

What’s driving you?

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Andrea Toole
The Jewish Examiner

Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | ADHD Mentor | Available for hire. http://andreawrites.ca.