Last week I spent 5 days in Jerusalem, the holiest city in the holiest land with some of the holiest humans I’ve ever met.
How can they all be the holiest? Well, your version of holy might be different than mine. My definition means that the city, the land, and this crew of Jews all have exceptionally deep-rooted values, are dedicated to community and connection, and thrive on their hearts and hard work.
Thanks to ROI Community and its annual ROI Summit, 150 young global Jewish leaders gathered for a week of community, creativity and connection. Over 29 countries were represented and everyone I met was some kind of social activist, innovator, or entrepreneur, who was driven by their meaningful mission to create a better world – in whatever way that meant for them. I was surrounded by people just like me - dreamers and doers, and OH what a glorious feeling!
Trying to think of some highlights, I am flooded with the moments which were challenging, thought-provoking, energizing, and comforting. From my slam poem [#ZOEM] at the closing ceremony to exploring the walls of Jerusalem with a brand new light to giggling late night with new friends because FOMO, to feeling secure in my own flow to the universe aligning in all its perfection - but perhaps those stories are for another article :)
Collectively, it was a powerful, inspiring and life-changing week. Things got intense, energy was high, brains were fried, and souls were nourished.
I had been craving intellectual stimulation – and holy hell, was my craving fulfilled.
I am still processing this whirlwind experience and this new global family I can call my own. This experience has made me feel more enlightened, expanded and energized - and I'd love to share a small taste of what I learned with you.
So darlings, here are 21 key takeaways which might strike a chord for you today.
1. Asking questions can open conversations, open people and open endless possibilities. Inversely, making statements can close conversations, close connections, and close minds.
2. Sharing future goals and dreams can be more powerful than sharing past accomplishments.
3. One person who chooses to stand up and speak their truth can make a tremendous impact on a small and large scale in the whole wide world.
4. Challenging your own boundaries, limits and comfort zone is the only way to grow and go forward.
5. Walls are not as constant as you think. Walls can change. Everything is evolving. @MiriEisen
6. Creating safe spaces to actively listen to one another can create massive change, like whoa.
7. You are the only one who holds your unique perspective in the world. You were born to think different; despite some who dedicate their lives to getting everyone to think the same. Sharing your thoughts, ideas, beliefs can be super scary, yet can also be super valuable.
8. “Courage isn’t about being fearless. It’s about being filled with fear and jumping in anyway.” @SherryLachman
9. Intention is everything. Every thing should be done with intention, from conversing to creating to dating, to being to doing to breathing to living. It's a way to bring meaning and purpose into your every day.
10. Identity divides us. Values connect us. Sometimes we spend too much time trying to define who we are instead of evolving towards who we want to be.
11. When you don’t agree, there lies the deepest opportunity to learn. (See Lesson #1.)
12. Spirituality and cynicism can co-exist within you at the same time. It's okay to feel skeptical and at the same time have complete faith in absolute miracles.
13. "In order to change reality, you must first see reality." @SandyCardin
14. There is always enough space for everyone to belong, to dream, to do, to be.
15. There is no one way to be Jewish. There is no right way or wrong way. There is no black or white, there are no shades of grey. There are only a vibrant variety of rainbow colors. That’s why we’re all Jew-ish.
16. Crying is a basic human expression of feeling emotions. It's completely normal to cry and is so good for your soul. Holding back your tears likely means you're holding in your fears.
17. You can learn from everyone and anyone. It doesn’t matter who, it just matters how open you are to doing so.
18. The more we give (to ourselves and others), the more we gain (from ourselves and others). "You are responsible for your own results." @SamScheer
19. “It’s okay for me to believe I have the strength to create a positive explosion in the world.” @NoamSchuster
20. Gratitude is so underrated. Thank YOU @JustinKorda.
21. One woman with a big dream can make a world of difference. @LynnSchusterman
May you take what you want and leave what you don’t. If you’re interested in some more life lessons, check out my 30 Birthday Wisdoms Now that I’m Old and Wise.
Written with L O V E: By Zo Flamenbaum, Founder & Heart behind School of Shine. Loves learning, laughing and avocados. Read her story here if you want to :)