Saturday, December 26, 2009

Whose Got Your Back?

Blessings of Being Awake: It was Monday morning in the limo on the way to the airport, a few blocks from the hotel where my daughter and her family had stayed while we were in Boston to bury my mother's remains, when Andrea said with much frustration, 'Oh, I forgot to check-out.' I could feel my anger arise and then before i could think my mouth opened and a torrent of words burst out to not just my daughter but to Urbie, Ashby and Drew. I could not hold my composure and intention of love and kindness any longer. The pain of my mothers death and that i was now the big cheese overwhelmed me and i wanted to know who was there for Andrea, for me, for us!!
Spiritual Challenge: It had been a long month filled with mourning, working, making plans, traveling, visiting and honoring of my mother's wishes and now we were going home to the real world where my mother's physical presence no longer existed. And I wanted to know whose got my back? Whose house will I drive by to see if she is OK, who will ask me to go out to lunch with her, to give me directions, to attend a function, to ask if i need bananas or fruit or bread or any kind of food when i arrived home from traveling or flowers for the Shabbat table or even to be a pain-in-the-neck. And I had not voiced much of these feelings for I could not admit the fear of the unknown that lay within me. I was in a do-er mode, i had a list of things to do, to complete the mission. I had forgotten how important my Mother's presence was to me and I had no idea how much i was going to miss her presence and her place in my life. I would have lots of time to begin to see where I placed in her life.
Spiritual Practice: I have had the honor of working with several male clients who are African American and who have voiced their distrust of others in the work place and how they have to have their own back. One of these clients also talked of his God, that 'He's got my back'. I like when clients share their faith with me for it reminds me of what i already know; the Unknowable, Breath of All Life does remain an integral element to all of life including mine. I laugh out loud when I remember the story a teacher-sage tells of the agnostic who in the passion of love making, screams 'oh, my god!' I, too, must allow myself to move in and out of my doubt when feeling alone. And I must rememeber that Divine Nature is within each of us, so we all have each other's back strengthened by what I call G!D.
Blessings of the Vav: As Sonny and Cher sang, 'and the beat goes on and on and on'. As long as i will breathe there will be another AND moment in which to; smile, apologize, laugh, cry, celebrate AND the heart keeps beating on and on and on. And as we are reminded as we read the Torah where most columns begin with a Vav, the stories are all interconnected to each other affecting each other, transforming them as perspectives change with new information and we are never the same after that. Halleluyah!!

We Are Never Alone in Seeking Balance

Blessings of Being Awake:It was the third day of the silent retreat when i noticed a dull acheing in the center of my back. My first thought was 'what made this happen?' and then the solution 'maybe i was sitting wrong'. Then as the mind wandered i remembered that it was a week and 13 hours since my mother was killed by the impact of the car and maybe i was feeling the heart's pain. I reached for the small pillow i had brought from home and placed it right where the pain was centered and leaned into the back of the chair and with my next breath noticed the tears coming down my cheek. I opened my chest, my heart wide and rested in that moment.
Spiritual Challenge: Before I had left for the retreat Miryam had reminded me that I was in mourning. It was such a gift of a few words that gave me an anchored vessel to place all my feeling and thoughts within. These words were my connection to another reality as a floated in the dream of my life.
Spiritual Practice: Tender, tender, tenderness is my deepest desire for a default when life gets so narrow there is not much room to breathe deeply. This space i offered myself of a week of silence was such a gift. One my mother had supported me in when about a month before her death we were talking about what to do for Thanksgiving and when i told her about the retreat she had said 'Go, I have lived my life, you live yours'. So i must learn to listen deeply to my heart and those who love me and never give up for in the next moment holds all possibilities.
Blessings of the Vav: I am a member of the virtual community of Agudat HaVav, the Society of the Vav. I am never alone; i am Divinely connected to every place, person, animal and thing. As I was reminded when i saw Avatar this week; She does not take sides - Her deepest desire is for balance in the world. There will always be a moment, a word, a smile an animal showing up to pull me back into balance whenever I go off kilter, for She is within me, my seeker of inner balance.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Movies as an Antidote to Change

Blessings of Being Awake:I know this place i am in as i have been here before. Life gets full of people and things and then, wham!!! there is nothing that will distract me from the feelings that arise. I am left to face the emotions i do not want.
Spiritual Challenge: To suck it up, let it out, be curious and notice where i am without judging (usually impossible) and breathe, to avoid falling into despair and hopelessness. To think about how I can cope in this moment and as a last possible solution to share my state with someone. To cry.
Spiritual Practice: No matter how alone i feel or how much i doubt everything in this moment, these are just thoughts. And the truth is that i also love me and i am good.
SO! I made a list of seven movies i wanted to see and i have now seen five and today i will see two more. Yea for Christmas releases!!
Blessings of the Vav: we are funny people, a community of like others; everyone goes through these feelings, adores being distracted from pain and wants to give up. That is why we are taught by the sages that I do not have to complete the work and am i not at liberty to stop living the dream i am in Pirke Avot 2:2

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Early Morning Musings

Blessings of Being Awake: Yesterday via a webinar I listened to Ira Chaleff talk about hierarchical relationships from a follower's perspective. I felt a kinship to the man and wrote to him that he was a Vav-nik. This morning I received a a note back telling me the origins of his thinking was the Holocaust. I began to think I know in real time where my fascination with the Vav happened and yet I was not aware of a core value of mine that fed the real time awakening. I am aware this morning that since I live in fear of disconnection and that my heart's default is 'close' and a familiar feeling that arises frequently is loneliness, that living a Vav-nik life is opposition to these old experiences.
Spiritual Challenge:In studying Musar with my Va'ad group we were talking about what does spiritual mean to each of us. Part of my definition is that I live as if I am in connection, in relationship with every person, place or thing. I want a simple life and yet simple is not easy. Staying in integrity with my values demands i stay awake. And the other morning as i walked with my friends, I was bored with their conversation and left them in my mind and left the world and the next thing I knew I was down on the ground, bruised and glasses bent.
Spiritual Practice: How can I stay awake and put myself at the top of the list as I support in MULKA? I do not have a clue! I can only keep noticing my life with humor an gratitude and keep being open to learning that comes in the most surprising places.
Blessings of the vav: Yes, she is a blessing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Gerund

Blessings of Being Awake: Here in South Florida we have been waiting for the weather where we can open our windows. And it is here, at least for now. Winter has come and I am happy to shut off the air conditioner. I can feel the cool breeze flow through my condo, front to back bringing in fresh air and I take a deep breath knowing change is happening.
Spiritual Challenge: To remember whether I see change or not there is always something brewing underneath the surface and my impatience or hopelessness is not going to make it happen any quicker. The Buddhist teaching on impermanence and non-attachment or Hebrew Wisdom honoring of t'shuvah, the right of return to the true nature' or as I learned in Thoughts Without Thinker, the use of 'ing' on the end of words is a reminder that everything is a work in progress, including me. Change, change, change, I can hear the Mamas and Papas singing the song based on ancient writings. Everything is about change.
Spiritual Practice: When I feel tension related to change in my body, i will remember that breathing deeply is bringing the Life Force deeply into my hips and groin releasing the fear that gets stuck in my throat. Hope is restored; courage and past experiences are reinforcing my forward motion and a smile opens my lips relaxing my facial muscles.
Blessings of being a Vav-nik: Being able to sing full hearted 'row, row, row the boat gently down the stream, merrily , merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.


Blessings of Being Awake: I heard myself laughing with a burst of energy I smile now in remembering the moment. Miryam and I had been talking about our meditation experiences and the thought crossed my mind 'i can be the rabbi and practice Buddhist teachings' and still be a good enuff Jew. I felt like I had been released from the straight jacket i was trying to fit into. 'Either or', i could hear the mind saying, 'you cannot have both!' Is that really true?, I quickly responded. I am a Vav-nik and i can have both and i can live 'the and life' that i am trying to promote in the world. I am blending Hebrew Wisdom and Buddhist practice in my life, why hide behind a facade of untruth.
Spiritual Challenge: I have to laugh at myself as I know 'we teach what we need to learn' and being a Vav-nik is more than passing out cards; it is actually doing the work, living the values I deem mine. Being alone, quiet, introspective is essential to my mental health and creativity. And in striving to remain in the world and honor the other part of me I also need conversations where we share ideas, thoughts held close to the heart, rarely verbalized. I need to get out of my head the words that when spoken take on a different tension and begin to have an energy and beauty that completes me.
Spiritual Practice: To remember the laughter so freely emoted and how wonderful it felt. To continue to believe in miracles and like Sarah, I too can bring forth a child a 99, i can bring together opposing forces and find a renewed path for myself.
Blessings of the Vav: it is never over until the fat lady sings. I am not sure what that means and i do know I can continue to learn, expose myself to new experiences and collaborations and not lose me, just most humbly deepen my relationship with the Mystery of Life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Surprises That Nurture the Soul

Blessings of Being Awake: I laugh as i type the words 'being awake' thinking that it is way too early to be sitting at my computer. And what brought me out of my bed as I was watching my chest rise and fall trying to get back to sleep, was the thought that Robbie had found me through this blog. And each time that thought crossed the mind I felt an emotion that filled my chest and bubbled over as the joy of connection, of loose threads being gathered into the fabric of my life, creating a foreground to my life's tapestry. I am thinking that I am a part of a whole that is my life. The emotion rises again, the tears fall and I am happy through and through.
Spiritual Challenges: Thirteen years ago I said 'yes' to the voice that told me I was going for a trip around the world. This summer I have had experiences, like Robbie, where those connections came back to life and I am now feeling that the dream is real. You see, I took this trip, I wrote about it, I made connections that drifted away and when I came back to NC, I went back to my life as I had known it. And I drifted from home to home, not sure where I wanted to live and added to my academic credentials and below the surface of life the Mystery was working. I love surprises like these. I feel like I have been found, validated and my challenge is to stay here, be nurtured and just enjoy! I am a part of a life, my life.
Spirirtual Practice: One foot in front of the other I walk though my life, a walking meditation, of paying attention to the gifts wrapped in various packages, and of letting things go and choosing non-violence, of remembering to focus on the core of life-LOVE, of listening to my teachers who come in all sizes and shapes and of continually seeking the Divine in myself as well as others. And most of all believing in me and my dreams for they are good, they are very good.
Blessings of the Vav: who knew my fascination with the Hebrew letters and language and taking myself seriously would lead to this blog. Devorah said that if I became a rabbi, and i was strongly resisting that call, I would also become a healer. I believe her now, as my heart's wounds are mending and its capacity is expanding. Who knew? She knew!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lamed Vavniks

Blessings of Being Awake: A few weeks ago when I was doing some training in India I gave away my Vav-nik cards. In wanting them to understand where the card fits into a larger frame of being leaders, I told this story.
At any one time, in Hebrew Wisdom tradition, there are thirty-six righteous people walking the earth. The term Lamed Vav-nik comes from the number that each Hebrew letter represents. Lamed is 30 and Vav is six, thus 36 or Lamed Vav-nik. These righteous people have a soul whose primary mission is to do the mending of the tears in the fabric of the universe, to heal the separation we experience that does not exist in reality. In my first hearing of a Lamed Vav-nik he was a tailor who appears to be sewing fabric, yet is going deeper to the soul of the person's clothes he was repairing.
As our India host Anupam heard the story, he smiled and after I had finished said to me that he liked how I had explained about the righteous people. I was aware that in that moment I had reached across cultures and found common ground.
Spiritual Challenges: When I first heard Dovid Zeller, may his memory continue to be a blessing, tell the story of the man who met a Lamed Vavnik I loved the story and wanted to learn it so I could retell it. In fact each time now when I tell the whole story I can feel my throat getting tight and my heart filling up with emotions I cannot describe. Telling the story to Jewish people is easy, they either know the language or want to know more about their faith. And I wanted to make the story universal and so I began collage-ing in my mind my various Avatar-Lamed Vav-nik experiences.

Of course there has always been Jesus, yet growing up I had always thought of him more as a threat to my being, as many Christians that I encountered wanted me to 'find Jesus and be saved.' As nice Jewish girl this frightened me as I was not grounded as I am in now in my personal relationship with my G!D and my tradition. Despite these fears, in my first trip to India when I was at the Seik Gobin Sadan Ashram outside of Delhi, I had a conversation with the statue of Jesus early one morning where he called me "sister' and I called him 'brother.' He was helping me get clear on my mission to Israel and meeting the Arab people I needed to build bridges of understanding with. Then in Pondecherry I met the energy of The Mother, the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo. Her energy kept me at the Ashram until after her birthday where I hear thou you walk through the Valley of the shadow of death I will be with you. In South Carolina I enjoy the energy of the Meher Baba and his ideas of don't worry be happy and in New Delhi I met and can still fill the hug of Ama, the hugging guru. Thirteen years ago I traveled to Pondecherry to experience the energy of what Andrew Harvey described in his meeting with Mother Meera and then last year met her in person in Raleigh, NC during a darshan. And then there was my dream where I left my friends and went into the mountains led by an energy that I knew was Shekhinah. And then I lived the dream and felt Her Presence and found a peace I rarely experience as I walked the trail into the mountains in Colorado in real time.
I am challenged to confront my mind that likes to separate these people from the rest and not see the gifts of the others I encounter. Who knows who the Lamed Vav-nik really is? Believing that everyone is the Messiah and has the energy to heal their wounds and others is my challenge especially when I need to include me.
Spiritual Practice: The story of the rabbi who tells the abbott that 'one of you is the Messiah.' At the end of telling this story, I again choke up and the emotion rises. Noticing these as teaching moments when the heart opens to truth is a reminder that I am at the right place and the right time and I am at one with the universe.
The Blessings of the Vav is when I include me with others. There is really no need to judge or separate me out as truth is that we each are unique and we each are connected and living the paradox of this reality. This is my practice as I heal my wounds and pray for the rippling affects of the tidal wave of loving kindness washes over me. And I can breath deeply knowing i have again said 'YES and' to life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Entering the Promise Land

Blessings of Being Awake: When I looked at the date on the last blog entry I could not believe it was so far away. Where have I been? Well, I have been to Prague to visit Phyllis for a week, to Boston for Joni and Stefan's wedding, to Greensboro to work and to India for two weeks of a glorious return and leadership training work. So there must be so much to write about.
Spiritual Challenge: so where do I begin? From here and looking back I must say it has been an amazing spiritual journey. In fact from India I signed an e-mail 'the spiritual pilgrim.' I am waking up to say to myself, right place, right time! When are you going to get it that is all you have to do is show up! You are the vessel, you are the wisdom, you are TZiPi, authentic, kind, brilliant, focused, humbly human!
Spiritual Practice: noticing the doubt that sneaks in and then hold onto that intention of a circumcised heart, keep the neck loose as i did when i first arrived in India. It was so simple like I had been doing it all my life moving my head from right to left! And the song that comes from my heart is the refrain 'Love is all you need, love is all you need, love is all you need!'
So as 5769 ends and 5770 begins at sundown tonight I make a promise to myself to stand erect, chest open, shoulders back, bracing against my erect strong back as I move forward into the promised land, into the abundance waiting for me and anyone else who takes the same risks. It is there and I am going after it and i can feel the joy, taste the deliciousness of the fruit and feel the welcome of all those who meet me. I am home and in joy!!!
Blessings of the vav: and there is always one more thing and it does not have to be doom, it can be joy so why not prophize from hope, connection, love and truely live that truth.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Weekly New and Good

Blessings of Being Awake: Today I brought my 14 year old grandson Drew back to his mom after a fun, athletic, funny, exploring and bonding week. When I arrived back home the place felt empty and I experienced a feeling of loneliness . And as I was sliding down into the loneliness feeling the phone rang. TZiporah was calling for our weekly 'Shabbat new and good conversation'. We had promised each other to meet every Shabbat and share our good stuff that had happenned that week. She started off by telling me she was not feeling well and of a few disappointments. I listened and then said "what good happenned?" And as she spoke her voice changed and she began to sound energized and remembered lots of good stuff including a new client! Then it was my turn and she began with a questions, "Did you draw the picture of you with the magic wand?" Wam! She got me by reminding me of where I had left off before Drew came. I gotten so caught up in my grandmoher host role I had forgot the other parts of me!
Spiritual Challenge: In busy times it is so easy to forget me and promises I make to myself. So if I surround myself with people who love me and remind me of the good even then when I want to fall back into old habits and familiar pain I will be reminded of my choices. My week with Drew had been fantastic, I felt like a young woman sailing, snorkeling and playing tennis with this dynamic and very active young man. And now the vacation was over and reality set in and routines are hard to change if I keep trying to do that by myself!
Spiritual Practice: Take the ten minutes a day to meditate and remind me of my choice for gentleness and non-aggression. Keep my journal everyday and look back to see where I was and what has been happenning. Laugh a lot, ask for fogiveness when I mess up and keep placing me back into my heart where she belongs! Share good things with friends.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Living the Future Today

Blessings of Being Awake:I have been writing a lot lately of what my life looks like as if it was happening or already happened. I am imagining my future and loving the dreams and the sensations that arise.
Spiritual Challenge:Do I dare to be the wild thing that feels no self pity for itself and focuses only on staying on the bough? Am I GI Jane up for doing whatever it takes to be where I imagine myself being?
Spiritual Practice: Noticing the fear, the desire to stay in the "Goldilock zone of not too hot and not too cold "and breathe as I sail to catch the wind living my life fully.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Strategic Planning

Blessings of Being Awake: A friend asked me what I thought of Michael Jackson's death. I was surprised as I had not heard nor read anything. In that moment I became aware that I had cut myself off from the world outside my home. Occasionally, I am like these geese, head down, nose to the grind stone, a puritan work ethic taking over my life. Everything here is nurturing me why bother to look around?
Spiritual Challenge: A teacher once said if you are going to live a spiritual life you have to read the newspaper and watch TV. Wedemeyer and Jue write that to live a spiritual life means to transcend compartmentalization and have a balance in one's life. I need to pay attention to the signs that it is time to lift my head up and stretch my neck!
Spiritual Practice: To take time regularly to assess the balance of work-play, private-public, doing-being, solo-collaboration. This is all a part of being kind to myself, a Vav-nik.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

MULKA-Mothers United for Loving-Kindness & Allies

Blessings of Being Awake: I am aware of the disharmony in my body-mind-spirit universe that shows its head when I am confronted with unkind tones from an other. I do not like it. And I cannot figure out how to let the other know. The words are given to me feel sharp, dull and neither my heart nor mind is prepared and I am silent only responding from a place of fear of disconnection. I am in the midst of a monologue that I thought was a dialogue. And I can do it to others, too. I came home recently from a visit with my mother not liking myself. I was disappointed that I had not kept my promise to myself to be kind to her. I was attempting to break a family pattern. And sometimes I am not capable of pulling it off. Sometimes when I attempt to set boundaries I am awkward and my language patterns and my emotional intelligence are limited. I am feeling stunted.
Spiritual Challenge: Being loving-kind to myself when I do not live up to my own standards of behavior. To laugh instead of digging in the knife to cut out the bad stuff. And begin to peel off the outward layers of self doubt and getting to the core, my pure soul. And I remember to sing and LOL at and with me.
Spiritual Practice: Each day as I awake and look out at the water and trees and listen to the birds chirping and watch my chest rise and fall with each breath, I will remember I have free will and loving-kindness is a choice on the list of options and I can put myself at the top of that list.
MULKA: a virtual reality sponsored by the Society of the Vav.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Blessings of Being Awake: I could have gone drumming today and filled the time with something I enjoyed doing. Or I could have stayed at my home, played in the garden, rested at my leisure and enjoyed just being here. The little voice kept saying this is when the class is you might have to wait another three weeks to go. And I heard it and then said ya but I could stay home, read a good book, do some computer work, take a nap!
Spiritual Challenge: When do I know which voice to listen to? when I take the time and notice the feelings that go along with the thoughts. The feelings in the body said take care of you today, no need to leave there is lots to do here. Integrate what you have been doing...studying sailing literature, practice singing, oil the leather car upholstery, weed the garden. Just be....take a nap, put you feet above your head and lay on your back or just notice your breath.
Spiritual Practice: Slowing down to really live what I teach to be present for me and listen to the emotions, feelings, thoughts, body sensations and when i do i know i am loving me as only i can and i am satisfied beyond words.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Relationships Take Time

Blessings of Being Awake: I have had the title for this blog for three weeks, ever since I turned in my BB Curve for a BB Storm. I wanted to so much for our relationship to be mutual and I kept working at being patient, breathing deeply, slowing down and nothing seemed to work. So i decided i had tried enough and i wanted my life to be easier than this! I needed to take action to make it happen.
Spiritual Challenge: In working with a client this week who had been reading Eckert Tolle's latest book she wanted to focus on the theme related to getting rid of the ego. I said before you get rid of the ego you need to notice when it takes over your life. In saying this I saw no connection between me and the topic. LOL as my grandsons would text me. Laugh out loud at me! That BB Storm was a status symbol for me and here I thought I was settling into the place of being comfortable with my working class background! No way, I may be a working class girl and I also am upper midlle class in terms of liking to have nice things!
Spiritual Practice: Continue to listen to the patterns in my life that my clients bring me and notice when the teaching is for me, too. And laugh at the joy of learning new things about me! Relationships sometimes have to be transformed out of the foreground of my life and not be on going. I sold my BB Storm and got another curve and this time it is hot pink!
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Blessings of Being Awake: I was up too early this morning trying to keep control of my schedule and as I stood in the kitchen thoughts floated in and out of my consciousness. And I remembered my Uncle Harry who now of blessed memory once told me I was a writer. He was famous to me and his words and our relationship meant a lot to me. So if he were around I would thank him for blessing me. Arthur K once told me if you write you are a writer. I believe that and yet that does not honor the uniqueness of each of us to offer to the world our perceptions that fill emptiness, stimulate curiosity, deepen understanding, enhance imagination or inform or entertain or just keep track of a very busy and full life.
Spiritual Challenge: I want to honor Uncle Harry by dedicating this writing to him. I cannot tell his widow or his son as they have disappeared without a trace. I want to reach across time to when we were together near Camel Back Mountain or on Temple Street and laugh and cry with him. He was my hero. He never wrote anything that was published yet he had many friends who did. He was written about in a book and it still sits on my bookshelf. He was also my role model, he dedicated himself to the well being of his patients. He and my Aunt Norma always welcomed me into their home. I often stop and smile remembering to step outside my only child box, daughter of fiercely independent parents heritage and being the center of my universe to know, honor and remember those whose essence are woven into my being-ness.
Spiritual Practice: Write, write, write I tell my clients, express yourself on paper, do morning writings as Julia Cameron suggests in The Artist's Way or Natalie Goldberg teaches in Writing Down the Bones. Tell you your story. Writing grounds me in the moment, makes me stop and do something that connects the dots of my life. While I was away from home space the last two weeks I took my journal and each morning noted the Hebrew and secular calendar day, counted the Omer and wrote what I had been doing the previous day and what I was about to do and then just let the words, feelings and thoughts flow onto the page. When I got home I had a record of my journey and while I was gone I never felt lonely as I was present with me the whole way. What a gift from you, Uncle Harry, thanks for seing me in a bigger way than I could see me in that moment.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Building on a Legacy While finding Balance

Blessings of Being Awake: Sometimes I wish my mind would just stop for a moment and then it happens and I wonder if I too have 'the disease.'

As I was reading one of the several books I have laying open around my home I read a phrase from The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz that sang to me, 'together we can do anything.' The image that forms for me is of many bodies working together for a common good creating high energy. It is the next step to 'we need each other', it is a doing. I have noticed that I like doing, being physically involved in an activity. I love to travel and yet nothing felt right until cousin Linda said we going canoeing in the south of France in August and my heart got excited. Now that sounds like fun! Like paddling down the NC river with Tracey and Joan, totally involved...body, mind and spirit.
Spiritual Challenge: I remember once taking part in a road trip with many cars following the same route. I felt the same kind of electricity and excitement. It is that high I seek in between the quiet times of being alone and musing and working independently, well just my G!D and I. The challenge for me is remembering together does not have to mean lots of people. TED offered a lecture by Elizabether Gilbert that Lyndon sent me the link to recently. She talks about the creative process being a collaboration of the Divine and you and that worrying about doing it yourself ALONE can be daunting and bring on 'writers block' among other narrow, small grasshopper-like feelings. Yet when I remember the muse, diva, G!D, however you want to call 'it', there is a truth that creates a rippling effect to the autonomic nervous sysytem causing a deep full breath.
Spiritual Practice: When I was visiting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondecherry, India I met a devotee from Japan who had her paintings on display. When asked about her creative process she spoke about her inspiration that came from a Divine source. I remember wondering what that feels like to be inspired by the Divine, G!D and wanting a piece of whatever that was. While living in Gainesville in the late 70's I went to see 'For colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow Isn't Enough' by Notzange Shang. One character said 'I found god and she is in me.' That phrase has stuck with me all these years and while I have practiced and imagined the Indwelling Presence, Shekhina, within me, not until I read 'The Shack' did it actually happen. My practice now is to notice my child spirit who sometimes is frightened of the night and the bullies and the alone-ness and the inactive-non-doing time and soothe her with knowing the Divine energy. In these moments I am feeding the hungry ghost and a smile relaxes on my face and I am resting in the arms of my Beloved.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Transparency and Telling the Truth

Blessings of being awake:
I love hearing the word transparency and my visceral response to experiencing the directness of stating the facts is to light up inside and feel clean like a shiny squeaky clean baby’s bottom! And I am aware of how what I know and do not speak out loud gets in the way of what I do say! Often I wish I were a child again with no inhibitions or like my father was at the end of his life…just say it like it is, TZiPi! Several TV interviews that I watched and some collaborative meetings lately have been like this for me and I revel in those moments of speaking from my heart and there is a desire for wanting more!
Spiritual Challenge: Transparency demands a lot of me. I have to acknowledge my emotions in the moment and then step through the barriers they may create to the other side that is truth in that moment, as Fritz and Bodaken call MMOT, The Managerial Moment of Truth and write can improve performance and increase productivity. As I step forward into the unknown I am deepening a relationship with myself and only through this disclosing am I acknowledging what is, clearing the air and in the language of ballroom dancing creating a frame of connection so we each are moving into building a relationship of mutual pleasures. And my behavior is reflecting that I believe that what I say is important in that moment. I do not have to hide the conversation in some corner or wait for the perfect moment. The other night I was at a large table of friends celebrating a birthday and looking across the table I saw some friends that I wanted to ask about a ride to the airport. I hesitated and then gave myself permission to not wait until another time. I felt awkward talking in public about a private thing and as I spoke the world did not fall apart. In fact I heard about my friend’s mom and his concerns about her health. And I felt free and unencumbered. And I wondered about waiting to tell someone you love her and how many sad stories I have heard about missing the moment.
Spiritual Practice: I will set an intention to notice what I value and try to be in integrity with myself and consistent. To stay awake to what I believe and just live it! Oy Vay! What a discipline this requires and "to do my best" as Ruiz reminds me in The Four Agreements. And as the teachings of Hebrew Wisdom inform my life, discipline brings me closer to the Divine and the truth that we are all One heart beating. And isn’t that what we all want to not feel alone and to be able to cut through the ‘crap’ or the unsaid and get to the core of the issue. Unpeeling the layers is an art and takes lots of practice. And keeping my mouth open and breathing deeply assists in breaking an old pattern of silence, keeping my mouth shut for fear of reprisal and avoiding the truth and what the consequences will bring to an already dysfunctional system.

The truth is I am learning that I can take care of myself. So I am following my voice coach’s teaching to relax the muscles of my face and allow the smile to emerge and reflect the joy in my heart. And to continue to be aware what keeps me silent and what I experience when I let out the words springing from this heart. I set an intention to speak as readily as I purchase a gift for my daughters giving it to them immediately instead of waiting for a birthday, Chanukah or the next time I see them. Hebrew Wisdom teaches each moment is a beginning so I will be a beginner as the Llama in Nepal suggested we all are.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

‘And’ Expands My Heart and My Perspective

Blessings of being awake: Recently I have noticed that the anger I had been harboring toward my father since he died has slowly been receding. I even said something nice about him the other day. I was surprised and then it happened again when later that week I spontaneously quoted his favorite phrase, ‘we need each other’. I was puzzled as I thought I had left his legacy off of my agenda through my decision that I was not going to stand on his shoulders. Then I began to notice the tightness in my chest soften when I thought of him and of his G!D. This emotional shift seems to have brought a different perspective.
Spiritual Challenge: I need to set an intention to remember that everything changes and to notice that there is always something I am not seeing and if I open my eyes perhaps I can see what on first glance is hidden. I want to believe that neither the joy nor the pain is forever and that if I do not harbor the pain and make myself a victim or a hero to my emotions and thoughts that this too will pass and I will and can let go of what is no longer useful to the nurturing of my soul. And that is what Harville Hendrix teaches in Keeping the Love You Find, there is a healing that happens when you stick in relationships long enough to heal those childhood wounds even with the dead.
Spiritual Practice: I said to a client the other day she might want to try the phrase ‘ I know nothing.’ She did not like this so I added the other half of the truth…'I am a very smart woman and I know nothing.' She liked the blending of these two truths. Since this conversation I have found myself laughing and saying that phrase and being an opening my heart and being curious. Moving beyond the narrow place, that we call in my tradition Mitzrayim, the Egypt of our slavery, and gaining perspective is for me like sitting in meditation, not moving, just allowing the sounds, sensations, feelings, thoughts to be noticed and give myself the option of keeping them around or letting them go and noticing what arises next. I need lots of practice off the cushion to do this. Sometimes I can do it for my clients better than I can do it for me.

So I will continue to attempt to do for me what I do for them. ..not to be a slave to thoughts or emotions that distract me from being kind and loving to me the core teaching of Hebrew Wisdom, it is all about love. These seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot are opportunities to refine my soul to prepare for receiving our holy teachings. Using the priestly letter Vav that connects heaven and earth in my life as a tool to gain perspective is my pilgrimage home.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letting Myself Back Into My Heart

Blessings of being Awake: I did not know I had let myself out of my heart and then I read the thought for today 'I forgive myself for not doing all I had I promised myself because I did not feel good enuf.' As soon as I read it I knew I had been journeying away from me, my G!D and my heart. I could feel the visceral movement through the layers of protection I surround my heart with.
Spiritual Challenge: Today something woke me up and I am noticing something is missing and I am out of alignment. The web site is launched and I am scared; can i follow through? I am more visible, out there in my eyes and the old fears around being safe and doing it 'right' arises. Can I notice these thoughts and keep believing in me even when I am sitting in not knowing? Moses says to Pharoah when trying to have the whole community leave slavery at one time, 'We will not know how we are to serve G!D until we arrive there.' I am a life longer learner of how to love me in each moment and it is fun doing this exploring.
Spiritual Practice: I can still hear Stephen Levine's voice 'let your self back into your heart' and I remember the visceral response to doing as I was directed. I can do this each moment; a simple breath, a thought and yes I am here. No longer the wandering Jew. I am back in my heart with my G!D and me. And in this moment I am smiling and laughing, opening my mouth, relaxing all the muscles of my face being young at heart, body and mind! Home I say to myself as tears well and my heart sings; Row, row, row my boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream!
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I am reb TZiPi and I am here to recruit you

Blessings of being awake: As I cut out the phrase ‘I got milk’ from the magazine ad I felt I had shifted to thinking instead of intuiting. And I was compelled not to give up on my intuition and to place the phrase on my project that I was I making at the collage workshop. The theme was ‘who I am in this moment’. The word ‘milk’ reminded me of Harvey Milk and the powerful phrase he began his speeches with, 'Hi, I’m Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you.' This dead gay political activist had become one of my heroes.
Spiritual Challenge: I was dropping my aunt’s at the airport and as we drove by a sign I read it out loud and Aunt Estelle sitting in the passenger seat said ‘what did you say?’ I repeated the words and then laughing said I have the Abrams trait of reading signs out loud. She laughed for she knows she does that and Aunt Frannie in the back leaned forward and said ‘you don’t have Abrams traits you have your dad’s trait of warm and friendly and we need each other attitude’. She was right even if I do not like admitting how much like my dad I am. And my responsibility and challenge is to honor that trait and make it mine. I do stand on his shoulders. As a Jew I know how life affirming it is to have allies and holding the intention that we need each other helps in walking the path of Oneness and not separation that is so psychically painful. And moving beyond my doubting mind and trusting in people’s goodness is a challenge for me as I get close to people.
Spiritual Practice: I am a Vav-nik and am living an inclusive life’ I speak into the mirror and continue with ‘Hi, I am rabbi TZiPi Radonsky and I am here to recruit you to be a Vav-nik to stand up tall and be the leader you were born to be.’ I thought about my ancestor Sarah and wondered if she ever said, 'Hi, Hebrews, I am Sarah and I am here to recruit you to believe in The One Unknowable God.' Someone recently said they never heard of a Vav-nik and yet had heard of a Lamed Vavnik. I quickly responded, 'being a Vav-nik is the first step in becoming a Lamed Vavnik.' A Lamed Vavnik in Mystical Hebrew Wisdom is one of the 36 righteous people alive in the world at any given time. They are ordinary people who humbly hold the mystical key to mending the world.

Hi, sister and brother leader, I am reb TZiPi and I am here to recruit you. I am on a mission to make the world a better place through ‘de-butting’ the world and I am asking for your support.

i feel known and you can’t get better than that

Blessings of being awake: I have heard Tziporah say with her passionate, heavy Brooklyn accent ‘he got me’ and I could feel her heart softening into joy and delight. My heart joined my friend’s and I was not remembering then an experience of 'being gotten' that I would have stopped me in my tracts so that I would spontaneously say out loud 'she got me!'. Andrea once spontaneously told me 'I want to be known’ and I heard this deep intuitive response from my very private introverted daughter and wanted this for her and yet was not quite sure what that would look like for me.
Spiritual Challenge: Being' known' or being ‘gotten’ requires me to 'show up' be bold with my energy and light; to be my Self, a leader among leaders, a priest among priests. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner writes in his Book of Letters about the letter vav, that it stands erect in its uniqueness, confident in being separate among others and linking with others to create a whole unity. I am learning that only when I am willing to risk being seen do I have more chances of being 'gotten' and 'known'.
For about the last 9 years on Friday afternoon I have tried to connect with my daughters, fill them in on my life and ask what is happening in theirs and bless them with a Shabbat Shalom, a Sabbath of peace and wholeness. This Friday Andrea called me and was most energetic as she told me about Oprah’s guest today, Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award winner for the screenplay written directly for the screen for the movie Milk. She explained that her excitement was two fold; one she was deeply moved by his story and second the movie Milk had not come to Beaufort that she knew of and she voiced her frustration about the kinds of films that came and the duration of their stay. "I will get to see it, yet' she said with great determination.
In her initiating of this conversation I felt deeply connected to my daughter in this tender place of needing to be known and now as I remember the conversation I again am noticing the emotions as tears well and fall on my cheeks. And I in that moment smiled; I had been gotten by my first daughter, my friend who was committed to loving and knowing me and my ‘difference’ and all within her very homophobic world. For the first time that I can remember she was the one who brought up this important place for me and I was able to take her knowing me into my body and rejoice in being gotten by her.
Spiritual Practice: The phrase ‘known’ in biblical Hebrew translates to a sexual experience as ‘Adam knew Eve.’ And as I heard with Andrea and saw in the movie Lost in Translation an erotic, fully alive moment, can happen without sex when the main characters enjoy each other in a long-into-the-night collaborative conversation. Coming-out or self-disclosing can be as easy as getting dressed in your favorite clothes or as hard as stating an opposing opinion to a new friend. My practice is to notice when I withhold me from coming-out and love that frightened part. So I have begun taking voice lessons and playing with coming out from my whole body in all kinds of new ways in a safe place. And maybe get to know me and get me in whole new ways!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Claiming the Liminal Space of Not Knowing

Blessings of being awake: My new friend Eva told me with a big grin the other day that she is waiting for a new blog entry. I am aware that I have not written anything since December. I am not sure exactly why and i am choosing not to spend time wondering. It is a fact that I am sitting in 'nothing-viscerally-provoking-me-to-write-mode.' And spending time into why? and how come? gets me into a judging place and that does not provoke creativity for me. I am still learning how to inquire with innocent curiosity. So I start from this moment and ask myself as G!D asked Adam Ayecha? where are you? Adam went into this great storytelling of shame and blame. Now I could have looked at my calendar and seen what I have been doing for the last six weeks and explained away my absence from what I am committed to, my writing. In this moment I will not go backward and only notice that I am glad I am making time to write today. I am grateful that I have a computer that is working and I am well. There is no blame or shame needed to be fed only remembering what I love and doing it! Yet maybe I do not know know all that I love and I need to try something different: to try just being instead of doing. Eboo Patel says leaders do not make excuses; they ask how do we solve the problem? And I often suggest to my clients that contemplation, just being, is a form of strategic planning time that is necessary.
Spiritual Challenge: So not only am I learning to love me but how to love me; and staying focused with my deepest desire for peace of mind, being loving of me as my G!D is and to do what I love, is getting easier. To notice that being is an option and a challenge to the mind that always wants to be in action to see change. I am wanting to learn to be in the the liminal space of not knowing. I want to learn to live with ambiguity. I am on a threshold and i just need to limit the wondering and allow life to evolve. The moon is waning and I need not start any new projects. Social Security just called and i will be getting my benefits beginning in May so my bills will be paid. I need to be loving to me and try just being and not doing. Writing will wait.
Spiritual Practice: Being in a contemplative state and sitting with myself in kindness, breathing deeply and getting to know the liminal space of not knowing. In August of 1995 I was in that space when I heard 'you are going for a trip around the world.' I am a traveler and perhaps remembering Hebrew Wisdom's prayer for all travelers, that ease the moving over thresholds and into transitions maybe be helpful. So I started to chant the words whenever the desire for form or permanence arises. Listen, TZiPi, You and The Divine Mystery of All Life are One. You are not alone in this space; Shma listen to your heart's wisdom, you are not separate, dear one, and you are holy as She is holy. And just be and do what you love, sit and have a cup of mint tea and look at the clouds floating through your window.
Blessings of the Vav: I am complete and the story dynamically continues! TG!!!!