- by admin
I’m on my way to get an ultrasound.
Of my boobs.
I am trying to stay cool and collected, and remember the doc’s emphasis about this being a “precautionary measure just to confirm that everything is fine,” but my heart has gone rogue and abandoned rationale in favor of palpitation and shortness of breath.
I believe this is what the experts call anxiety.
My heart feels thin – like it’s been pressed between two slabs of steel. I’m jumpy and edgy, and I have a constant, high pitched ringing in my ears.
I’m like a she-wolf on all-night security detail; hyper-acute, tingling with anticipation and readiness. Ready for what exactly, I’m not totally sure. But, to be certain, I am ready to move from the place I have been for the last six days since the general surgeon felt me up in his office.
I strive to keep stress and anxiety to a minimum in my life. It ain’t easy, but I practice a lot. I eat pretty well, try to smile enough, sweat enough, and sleep enough. I love and am loved by a lot of wonderful people, ever-ready to talk me down from whatever mental ledge I may be straddling.
And, when I need to bring in the Big Guns, I call my Mom.
- by admin
Today is a fortunate day for people like me who chose this life and this land from outside of her soil. I have lost neither son nor spouse in the field or on a bus ride home. I am a new-comer to this land, 16 years this June, my children have not yet served, my husband, battle-woundless. But the lives of my nuclear family, is not why I feel fortune on Yom Hazikaron.
The bitter-kindness of this day of Remembrance is the willingness of Israel and her people to share their history (both distant and present) with an uninitiated immigrant like me. That’s what bangs the gong for me; the unified mission to make me and you a “part-of” through song and siren; tale and tear.
- by admin
May the wine we drink, the Torah we share, the food we eat, and the stories we tell remind us of who we have been who we are now and
Move us towards who we are intended to be.
May that knowing fill our hearts, pump through our veins, and surge into every cell of our being
Illuminating body, mind and soul with purpose and connectivity
And with gratitude.
May we lean in to all that releases us,
Rest our backs on Now’s pillow
Take a deep breath and hold her deep.
May we open our homes to all who are hungry
For love, truth, a kind word or a hot meal,
Please G-d, give us the means to feed and sustain each other.
Let our vessel be strong
And let us be brave enough to relive the story we tell.
The bitter and the sweet,
The rupture and the repair.
Let us not be afraid to feel – to break or to rebuild.
Let us pulsate with the joy that comes from whole and a broken heart.
Let us know, sweet G-d, in the deepest way that we are one people, with one heart.
Let our differences in story-telling highlight our unity.
Let us paint a communal mural on ancient stone with soul and spirit –
Let the gap between Heaven and Earth be our canvas.
Let our work until now be enough to bridge that gap.
Let each cup we drink be an elixir to both spirit and tongue.
Let us speak true – speak straight – speak wise and speak right.
Let every word shared on this blessed night bring us closer to what matters.
Closer to You.
Let freedom be a bucket You release from On High.
Let us dance and sing in it that rush.
Help us be more ready than we have ever been to hold all this and more
And let us step slowly and proud, with dignity and with grace into redemption
- by admin
Stepping outside of my front door in winter is like being front row at an IMAX showing. Rain, wind, thunder and snow, the Golan Heights gives good nature. I’m not the most outdoorsy gal on the block, but I have gotten pretty good at watching new weather move in. The sky here is huge, and watching it change helps me remember that I am both big and small all at once. (It also makes me want to drink out of mason jars and get a dog and call her Country).
Just the other day I watched a big storm arrive. A shadow fell across a bright-blue sky as big, bossy clouds rose from the east. In packman style they started to eat up every shred of blue, dusting off the shine of day.
- by admin
Growing up, I kept a copy of ”Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by my bedside (not too far from the “The Tao of Pooh,” a collection of poems by ee cummings, “The Catcher in the Rye” and “This is My God” for those of you keeping score). I dabbled in psychedelics, listened hard to 60’s and 70’s folk-rock, wrote creative non-fiction for my high school newspaper and swam competitively. All of the above, I have come to understand, in the pursuit of deepening my experience of the “now.” I spent my earlier years as a B student of the present moment; never a Master, but a card-carrying and eager student.
A good part of my life’s practice today involves a commitment to being present. I teach my kids and my students about “leaning in” to their lives and “showing up, mind body and soul” even for the rough stuff. There’s not a day that passes where I don’t engage in some sort of active weaning process from a story or event in my past or a gentle coaxing away from the fragile edge of my future.
I love me a good, thick moment – and when I merit to be fully present for it – I am generally quite content to stay there until I’m needed elsewhere.
But over the years, I have discovered a dusty little secret that the live-in-the-now-ers seem to have omitted from their manifesto; a simple truth that the mindful among us can, and should, heed.
It’s as simple as this folks:
Some moments totally blow and aren’t worth the investment of our entire focus.
- by admin
This past summer wiped me out. I know it’s mid December already, but the memory of that long, hot, burnout of a summer kind of frames the (relative) peace and beauty of this winter season for me.
Just to state the obvious, summer break is way too long. Two months of vacation? In a row?
By the time the first day of school rolled around, and a little order began to poke its head back into our lives, I thought I might explode with the joy of it all.
Then three weeks later: Bam! High Holy Days in full force. Intellectually, I know this is a time of intense awe, fear, joy, and return. But to be completely honest, my Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were spiritually dehydrated (again). I didn’t tap into any of that in a deep way. I came into the holidays feeling holistically depleted. Well aware that the main point of the holidays was union with my Creator, all I was able to muster was the most basic and superficial connection.
My High Holiday prayers went something like: “G-d, Please know that I love You. I want You to be King, I want to be Your servant, but I’m totally tapped out, so please take it easy on me; Bless us with the best year ever, Amen.”
- by admin
I suppose creative droughts are not exclusive to writers and content creators. But, when I’m in one, it’s lonely. It feels like “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen” playing in the far south of my soul circa 1859. On a “medium” parched-for-creative inspiration day, I’d score my mood with Yonatan Razel’s “Ve’hishamdah.” But, let the record state, in my head he’s singing it live, in the Negev, with mandolins and a stand up base in place of the violins.
Today, I am touched by a certain shade of the blues that my usual round up of musical therapists aren’t even touching. Today is a productivity-grey day where I can almost see a vise grip clamping down on my creative artery. I feel a hot and pulsing back load of untapped potential and opportunity which I know threatens to throw a Fear of Failure clot; extended bouts of non-innovation makes me feel like I’m having a mini stroke in the “maker” part of my mind.
- by admin
I started the “Couch to 5K” running-workout a little over four weeks ago.
Until this morning, the only physical feat I could claim after these aerobic jaunts was:
I felt a little less like I was going to die each time I did it.
Four weeks of a prescribed combo of walking and trotting (some people get to call it “jogging”), and with a grand total of 25 K under my feet; that was as good as it got for me.
Public Service Announcement to anyone considering your own Couch to 5K journey – Here’s a little something the runners haven’t told you yet:
- by admin
Music was my first introduction to spirituality. Chassidic philosophy was my second.
I choose music like I choose friends: I stay close to good vibed, good hearted and truth telling artists, inevitably dipped in the blues, rock, jazz and grit. My inner soundtrack has riffs of all of the above influences and more. My soul’s DJ is an edgy, rockin’, folky, R&B, touch of Rasta-pop-Jewess-Chassid and that works for me.
The Ba’al Shem Tov taught that there is something to learn about the service of G-d from everything we encounter. He and his disciples were known to draw holy instruction from thieves, inn-keepers and beggars alike… culling lessons from the simple and the imperfect, they encourage us to use the raw material of this world to help us connect to places of spirit and divine service.