Friday, February 29, 2008

Circle of Life: Redeeming the Sparks

Here is a cheer for putting ideas out there and if the spark is meant to be redeemed and live then the idea will return. I have been pushing what I thought was my own agenda about the word and along with the word but. I am holding the intention that we live one life, hence the Society of the Vav; this phrase is a vital part of me so that anything that works at separating jars me as nails on a blackboard. I see the word but as stopping the flow of the energy of life.

Recently I received two emails that told me that the idea may hold some truth with some people I am getting to know better.

From Z: I'm finally ready to give up the job if I can't get paid more adequately and my partner is behind me 100% in this AND (vav) have had some ideas about other venues for my teaching, leadership and singing, so it will be good either way. It's a very Vav-ish place to be, really!

From G: Am working with you to 'de-but' the world, it seems an honorable cause.

Like many, my ideas take form within me and when I ‘out’ these sparks and when they are heard and echoed back to me there is a joy of validation for the journey of mattering in the world. So come on out and play! As my teacher Rabbi Shawn says ' your shyness does not serve you.'

Blessing of the Vav: beginning to notice the fractals, repeating patterns, in your life and your patience and impatience at waiting for the connections to show up; when do you look at your life as a continuous thread you keep weaving with new threads?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Moving onto Holy Ground

Uncharacteristic of previous times I decided that after being away for two weeks that I would not jump into my typical 'catch up head down myopic do not stop until i am totally back into a neat unpacked orderly space' mode and that I would live like a millionaire; breathe, making space to noticing that I had choices. So two times on my first day home I went swimming. And each time as I sunk into the water I felt held by the Divine and breathed deeply into that awareness and smiled. Today it rained so I chose to just take the time to sit with the sounds of water .

Blessing of the Vav: when do you you experience a feeling, name it loneliness and then notice that it is only a thought attached to a feeling and may not be entirely true?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blessings on your Going and Coming

There is a song I love to sing especially on the Sabbath. Shalom Aleikhem first appeared in print some 450 years ago and welcomes the angels and asks for their blessings when our home is peacefully ready for as Rav Heschel calls her a cathedral in time of rest. I often use the final line as a mantra in meditation as the mind wanders from the aliveness of being Here. I feel a peace rolling over me in knowing that I am not alone on the travels of the mind as I repeat to myself ‘for the angels are instructed to guard you in all ways and you will be protected on your going and your coming for now and for all time.’

I have also sung this liturgical poem as I sit by the bedside of a friend who is dying and with my 83 year old friend who was once a Hebrew scholar as we hold hands and walk back to her room of the nursing home where she lives. Beside knowing the words and enjoying the familiar melody I love the thought of invoking the messengers of G!D’s Presence wherever I go.

Each time I travel my daughter Ilana blesses me that I should sit next to an angel. When she speaks the words I always wonder what these angels will look like. I am hopeful and skeptical. I just returned from two weeks of travel and as I lay in bed musing on the experiences I am very aware that at both ends of my trip I was blessed.

My first angel whirled in and quickly sat across from me by the airline gate where I was waiting. Sensing her presence I had to look up to see what was there. What caught my eye was her rhinestone pin on her black sweater: Hillary 2008. I smiled as I caught her eye and gave her a thumb up as I pointed to her pin. She smiled back and we quickly moved from superficial to a deeper conversation while waiting for our plane. I wanted to follow up on our conversation so out of character for me I asked for her personal information as I gave her my card. There was a hope of the possibility we would connect when we were both in town. I felt excited about this new soul entering my life that was a contrast to what I already knew. What a way to start the journey, I felt energized and excited about what else would come my way. And I was not disappointed!
Then on my way back to Florida there was open seating and I quickly made my way toward the exit row seats where I could have some breathing room. As I made my self-comfortable I turned around and saw a woman behind me getting ready to squeeze into the other bus like rows. Without a thought I quickly invited her to join me where there was foot room and she came right around and sat next to me. When I hang out in an airport for five hours I feel a kinship to those around me and I began a conversation with her and she was easy to connect with. Since I knew public transportation was not possible I had reserved a car to drive home. And to my delightful surprise the invited guest had a car and lived very close to me. She offered to take me to my home. Our drive home confirmed for me that we are more alike than different and I again felt honored by Presence.

In a world that is becoming more driven by fear it is imperative that I remember that the world owes me nothing and that I owe the world love and gratefulness for the gift of life. In this knowing my inner home feels peaceful as I rest in the moment of timelessness and know I am blessed on my going and coming and this time I could not only feel the Presence I could see Her variation of colors in the amazing women who are being fully alive in their life. May everyone be so blessed.

Blessing of the Vav: noticing and holding the contrasting colors, emotions and thoughts as One.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Flowing into the Wind

This morning my walking partner stopped my forward motion so I could see what she saw and what I would have missed if I had stayed goal focused. I turned to where she was pointing and saw a version of my namesake; a magnificent beauty on the edge of the water, white, still, elegant with the wind moving her tail feathers in a delicate dance around her feet. I was awe struck. As I noticed the wind’s affect I too felt the wind blowing in my face, my face caressed by my G!D.

When I was learning to fly our Tri-Pacer I was training myself to be aware of the windsock’s movement and direction; for planes as birds must fly into the wind, must meet the on coming draft to be able to get off the ground. In Hebrew wind is Ruach the same name for a level of soul as well as of Spirit.

This morning I was given a gift. I slowed down, saw my reflection in another Divine creation and remembered I can only fly with support.

Blessing of Vav: going against the wind still means you are in a relationship.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Beginner’s Mind

Today I took my first portraiture class. A friend had recommended it and when I thought about the experience I got very excited. I love to doodle and my journals are filled with fun drawings only lately have I tried to be less of an impressionist and more of a realistic with eye pleasing results.

During the class I concentrated so deeply that I was not aware of anyone just the face of the woman and the paper and my hand moving the pencil. At some point the teacher came over to me and her voice brought me back into the room. She made some comment about distance and shape and I realized all my concentration was not getting it ‘right.’

This is hard I thought and I felt like a beginner, humbled by the steep learning curve that lay ahead. And when I said out loud ‘this is humbling’ my teacher responded ‘and exciting and challenging’, too. She was right. I had put myself into a new situation where I was learning and I felt awkward, like a beginner. And I had a choice as to how to proceed.

I remembered the Llama in Nepal telling me that we are all beginners when I told him I was just learning Buddhism. I breathed deeply and felt more equal with him and more able to listen. So I decided to get out of my way of being perfect and just have fun and love the drawing I did even if the eyes were not geographically correct.

I like consciously giving myself permission to have fun being a beginner. I wondered about my clients and how they deal in new territory. Nothing is ever the same as each moment is unique so laughing is essential, especially at myself. I can live a more erotic life that way.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Transformation and Healing

In the fall of 2007 I met a woman who would change my life and outlook. She is tall, beautiful and her skin tone is dark. I am white, short and a little round. When she wrote of her vision of her life in 6 months she reflected on our first meeting.

In our first coaching session I was using the Visual Explorer images to access emotions and begin to build trust. Without looking at the images she had randomly chosen a monochromatic image of a dandelion clock. She quickly responded in a factual manner ‘ I see everything in black and white.’ Her tone of voice felt like a challenge and that a door had been opened. I walked cautiously toward the threshold.

I brought up what she had written in her bio in response to the question ‘Have you ever experienced any violent or traumatic experiences like war or accident?”’ ‘Growing up in the 60s and 70s as the child of a biracial family.’ I took a deep breath, walked into the room and asked if she could tell me some stories that she remembered. Her stories flowed from her with vivid language. The events felt like they had happened yesterday. I listened and wept inside.

We agreed to continue our work past the two sessions that her company had purchased. She had started to read The Art of Possibility by Zander and Zander and I suggested she consider writing an essay based on their idea of ‘getting an A’. She agreed to write on what life would look like by her birthday 6 months away after being involved in this intense coaching work. This is what she wrote at the end of the piece she sent me.

I am no longer living in a black and white world.
I am part of a larger whole.
I am shaping my future.
I am free.

From her mouth to G!D’s ear.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Walking the Walk

Several years ago as I was sitting on the subway in DC, my eyes caught the information for the DC Marine Marathon. As I read a well of emotion began to rise and tears formed and fell from my eyes. I have been aware of wanting to run a marathon for quite a while and yet I stopped my desires with a list of can'ts. For the last six months I have faced that list and on January 27, 2008 I walked 26.2 miles in 7 hours and 26 minutes and when I finished I was on an incredible high! I have lived almost 65 years.

When asked whom I was walking for I intuitively responded ‘for all the lonely people’; people who stop short of doing what their heart wants. Who stop listening or try so hard to not listen and come up with every excuse why not; whose conversations are filled with buts and who see no love coming at them. I walked for all the lonely people who I like to think I am no longer a member of that club. I am noticing that I no longer linger for extended periods in those thoughts; I see them and am making a choice not to suffer.

I walked for all the lonely people who drown in their loneliness who will not reach out or cannot reach out for help for whatever reason. And for all the lonely people who do not reach to help others and soothe their own pain of isolation.

I walked because I wanted to prove to myself that I am the amazing woman that I believe I am and when I can physically do this I will have climbed every mountain, walked across every stream and found my dream. I found the dream. And I love walking around with my well-earned medal around my neck.

I walked for the lonely that think they do not make a difference in the world, who yearn for love, a smile, support crossing the street, carrying the bundles upstairs, caring for their sick child.

I walked so that I no longer get caught in the illusion of loneliness. I walk because others need me to be all I can be in the world and by healing my heart, standing strongly with my heart letting myself back into my heart I can make a difference and do my part in healing the world. In listening I am building a deeper relationship with the Divine and me and can answer the question; Ayecha? Where are you? with assuredness.

And I hear the Beatles words, ‘All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?’

I live alone and have for more than ten years. I am an only child. I love solitude and many times I have battled with the feelings of drowning in loneliness. I am therefore sensitive to this feeling in the world. I saw this in nursing homes, when people are always on their cell phones and when I walk in my gated retirement community and see people looking at the ground.

It helped to read that Rabbi Soleveitchik in Lonely Man of Faith wrote that when he was lonely he remembered that his God was lonely, too. Abraham Joshua Heschel said when he walked with Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama that his feet were praying and that is just what I did with each step I could hear my heart singing the four letters of G!D’s name. The rhythm soothed and relaxed me.

In 1996 -1997 I took a year to travel around the world on a solo journey. I left thinking no one would care or that I did not matter to anyone ‘so just go.’ About half way around in New Zealand I began to get a grip of the truth. This thought I had was an illusion to protect my heart and keep me from being in relationship with all those who love me and with myself. I discovered that I do matter. And my presence however I chose to use it makes a difference and that I need to take responsibility for this presence. I am integrating this memory.

‘It is going to be all right,’ Cher sings. ‘This is a song’ …and a walk….and ‘a prayer…for all the lonely people so that they know they are remembered and that they are never alone. When your dreams won’t come true, Some one is there for you’

I know now I was never alone, am never alone, Hallelu Yah. May everyone be so blessed to hold this thought under their eye lids to read when needed!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

We Are One

This morning I sent a love note to my cousin and his fiance' to welcome her into our family and to wish them each and both congratulations on their commitment to each other. I chose this picture because the tree reminds me of connectedness and that we are all one. I wanted her to feel welcomed by me into the family since I am now the oldest cousin.

I took this picture years ago when I was visiting my parents in South Florida. I was and still am fascinated by the banyan tree that keeps growing up and out putting down roots continually enlarging itself. The tree is a work of art and there is no avoidance of intimacy here. In fact I feel a bit claustrophobic when I think of my family who all except for my mother lives hundreds of miles away. I am curious about this feeling of not having room to breathe. I want to run away from this closeness. And this is the picture that I sent to welcome her. Was I also saying 'beware?'
I think I would like to try living like the banyan who seems to have no fear of not enough-ness. Perhaps knowing that there will always be enough room for me to spread my wings and build my nest, enough love to fill my heart to keep her open, enough attention to feel special so I can enjoy the limelight, enough acceptance of my uniqueness to nurture me and enough time to be alone to nurture my soul that loves silence.
My name means bird in Hebrew and perhaps this is a time to build a relationship with the banyan tree. She probably has lots to teach me about breathing in close spaces.