Friday, May 30, 2008


Addictions seems to be the theme for this week. Addicted to feelings, thoughts, patterns of behaviors. Addictions that cause pain and suffering and unhealthy ways of coping with both.

I am moving to a new home that I just bought; an old pattern was broken...that of avoiding a permanent home. And while getting ready for the move I have not asked one person to help me; stuck in an old pattern that I can do it myself, thank you very much. Although some have offered I am no where ready to direct them is my thought.

So I became addicted to my thoughts that were running at least two hundred miles an hour as I ran from one part of my condo to the other never completing a task. I started to pack a shelf of books and came across a book that needed to be in another box in the office so I took it there and got involved in checking my e-mail and responding to the latest memo then realizing I was thirsty and walked toward the kitchen and stopped to relieve myself and found something on the bathroom counter that needed to be thrown out in the kitchen and picked it up walked into the kitchen to grab a snack and seeing an empty box into kitchen that could be filled.

Now that I look back it was like I used to do when I was out of control and needed to be on lithium. I did not think there was another way of doing this preparation until this morning while I waited for the plumber to repair the flapper in the toilet tank. I could not leave as I did yesterday. Perhaps I was a bit exhausted by the running and moving all week so I stayed in the house looking at my to-do list to complete tasks I had started. I looked on list and started to complete items left over from other days.

Thank G!D it is Shabbat and that I choose to rest.

Blessings of the Vav: sometimes there are too many 'ands' to manage. Slowing down helps me move outside of the old patterns I am addicted to and think, discern and be kind to myself.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Find Yourself a Teacher, Friends

When I first met Stephen Levine I wanted to speak with him during a break in his workshop. The line I waited in was slow as he gave personal attention to each participant. As I came within about five feet from him I started crying uncontrollably and had to leave the room and never got to talk with him personally. After I went home from the workshop I wrote him a letter about my experience and asked the questions I had not been able to ask earlier. He wrote back, answered the questions and wrote ‘you are your own teacher, trust yourself, treasure yourself and trust the process.’ Every once in while when I am starving for a mentor or one person who I can go to I soothe myself with these words. And then I remember that in Hebrew Wisdom my teacher, myself is always there in the Indwelling Presence of G!D, Shekhinah.

Then I start thinking about all the people who teach me what I need to know and the mentors who lead me through the labyrinth of my life because they have been there first. And I smile at another moment when I chose to be kind to myself.

Blessing of the Vav: the fullness of one's life is in the acknowledging of the souls within it and the variation of choices we make. Life is not flat.

A Core Value: Kindness

Today I spoke with my landlord who will soon be my neighbor. She lives in New York and was so appreciative of my help in caring for her condo. I began to respond with lots of words and then I stopped and said, ‘it is just basic kindness, Anne Marie’ and tears started to come to my eyes.

My thesaurus states that kindness is also caring, sympathetic, nice, gentle, thoughtful, compassionate, benevolent, humane, considerate, benign, humanitarian.

I remembered the day we buried my Father of blessed memory how sharp cornered everything felt and when the funeral director softened those corners for me I felt embraced and tenderly held and was able to take a deep breath. When I thanked him he said ‘it is just basic kindness’ and I thought yes it is and why is it not like breath to me?

I went to Club Med recently and was blown away by their hospitality. My heart waited for the ball to drop, the welcome to end, the warmth to cool, the generosity to shrink up until it didn’t and I was able to soak up their caring, generous, authentic spirit and by the time I left my heart had so enjoyed mirroring their welcome that I felt as if I owned the place. I was at home in their home.

At my 45th High School reunion I was on an emotional high having set myself up for the pleasure of being with the people who I so enjoyed being with in 1959-1961. Nothing could nor did douse my spirit. During the evening one of my classmates came over to me and said you were kind then and you are still so kind. To my memory no one had ever said that about me to me. Today I am beginning to see a pattern of one of my core values, kindness.

Blessings of the Vav: going up and down the ladder of the Vav allows me to be like Jacob's angels who went up and then down. Each time I go up to an experience I bring back with me an awareness of the Divine moment and weave a distinct unique me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Coming Out is Getting Easier To Do

I asked a client once to monitor when he noticed that he was editing or withholding any information. He used the word ‘appalling’ to describe the amount of information he chose not to disclose. He and I are very much alike. If I got paid for how much I edit in my conversations I would be a millionaire. I do not think he and I were always like this; we learned this skill.

At 65 I seem to be noticing that I am blessed with an ease of speaking out information that once was too difficult to let go of and maybe I am returning to a state where I feel safe enough to handle the effects of my words. A long time ago a wise friend once told me that there are three reasons one comes out or speaks freely from the heart: to push people away, to bring people closer and to just be oneself. My intention and deepest desire is to heal the world one heart at a time by going deeper with my conversations and relationships with myself as well as with others. Recently I heard from a friend older than I that as you age you edit less as ‘what have you got to lose?’ Hebrew Wisdom might say this 'de-editing' is a process of circumcising the heart, of removing the layers that hide the purity of the soul and redeeming the spark that is you.

Usually the phrase ‘coming out’ is linked with the gay community. As an advocate and trainer for making the environment at work ‘gay friendly’ it is a term I am comfortable with as being one’s self is energizing. It takes a lot of work to withhold information. As the country western song goes ‘you got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know what to keep.’ A core teaching of Hebrew Wisdom is to know oneself so you can love your neighbor. My self-awareness comes through trial and lots of tripping, deep contemplation and writing and living in community with family, friends, colleagues and angels who gift me with a mirror of my behavior when I dared to look.

I learned a very long time ago that if I edit my thoughts and emotions then I could be a chameleon and invisible and safe and not rock the boat. Of course this is a conundrum since I want to be known, appreciated, included and love to have fun.

Coming out comes in various flavors and patterns. Yesterday I self disclosed to a client what we both knew was true and yet could have been left unspoken. My client is a Southern Baptist and she was listening and beginning to trust me someone who would never believe that Jesus Christ is her savior and therefore by traditional teachings was going to hell. I wanted us to live in that awkward place and to see if we could raise each of us up to our highest good to explore this paradox. We continue to be committed to our growth.

I've noticed that in the last six months I have started freeing my ideas. First came exposing a dream that seemed to have no roots other than in my head: starting the Society of the Vav blog. Then I wrote about completing the Miami Marathon while walking for all the lonely people who give up on their dreams like I have done in the past. Inserting Hebrew Wisdom, honoring my Jewish roots, was also a step in coming out. Then I decided to write to each old and present client that I am building my practice. I can still hear the voices saying 'why do you have to tell them that?' And I feel the earth under my feet shaking while knowing that the Earth is my G!D and She has got me covered.

And the internal judger still sits guarding the gate of my tongue testing my intention to free my soul.

Blessings of the Vav: there is always space to add what was left out intentionally or unintentionally when I remember it is my life I am saving.