Saturday, October 9, 2010

National Coming Out Day: Smiling at Fear

Phyllis & TZiPi at the Valentine's Day Sweetheart Ball for the Sonia Plotnick Health Fund, St Petersberg, FL, 2010.
Reflections on National Coming Out Day, October 11
Blessings of Being Awake
: In 1977 I met my first Jewish lesbian and fell in love. Today we are still friends and still in love enough to keep working on our relationship. I was just coming out as a woman loving women. I was recently divorced, a single mom and a second year Occupational Therapy student. There were so many new experiences, so much to learn, so many trips and falls and so many fears that I could neither name nor face. There was so much I did not know that I did not know.

Spiritual Challenge:
  • Laughing with myself as an act of self love as I begin to notice and then let go of the fears of not wanting others to know stuff about me, when the fact is they already do.
  • Remembering that loving another is often easier than loving oneself and that when I do not love myself there is so much pain. Although I have practiced since 1995 to "treat myself as if I were my own lover", I am still a beginner.
  • Accepting myself in all of who I am. Now that I am the oldest I have every been, with all those physical changes I do not like, takes a maturity and perspective I know I do not always have! Despite these challenges, I am going to keep heading toward the unknown, as it is an act of love. As the Hebrews spoke, "We will do and then we will understand."
  • Learning that coming-out is a moment to moment, self-discovery experience. My coming-out must be done with love and a commitment to my soul's mission. Therefore, I hold the Torah's teaching that The One Without End, The Compassionate One is Holy, so, too am I Holy.

Spiritual Practice: To smile and remember that I am made in the image and likeness of the Divine. I am amazing most of the time and sometimes, as my Uncle Harry, the Doc, of blessed memory, would say, a jerk. I breathe deeply and say, "I am holy, sagging boobs, varicose veins, wrinkled face, gray haired wizened one." I can not hide from the Unending Love within me, nor do I want to hide from the mirror. I am good, kind and loving even when I wonder about that truth.
Blessings of the Vav: The Vav reminds me it is never to late to face the fears and come-out. Kathy Bates in the movie Unconditional Love is a great role model of the bravery of a warrior. So, I ordered the shruti box, a small wooden box that makes droning sounds to use while I am making voice sounds that Deborah, my voice therapy coach taught me. I am coming out as an experiential learner. I am experimenting with the Divine, being at one with all my fears. I am smiling at my fears as they evaporate. I am enjoying myself, my shruti box, my sounds and this life gifted to me.
May your coming-out be blessed, too!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reminders of the Joy in Being Me.

Blessings of Staying Awake: Alicia taught us during the vision quest preparation and debrief to pay attention to what nature was trying to teach through her many and varied gifts. I had asked the mountains to offer me insight on the pilgrimage. Here are two cherished gifts that i am still allowing the knowing to evolve. This is where I sit today.
On the afternoon of the first day of the trek I was walking with Del and responding to her questions about what happened to the sacrifices in the Old Testament. At one point I was distracted and looked down and there was this piece of wood that looked just like a bird. I quickly picked it up and carried it carefully as a treasure; explaining my excitement to Dell in finding this piece of wood that my name means little bird in Hebrew. In getting back to the sacrifices, I explained that the root of the word for sacrifice is Korban, which mean to bring close. After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the rabbis created prayer services, contemplation from the heart, to create the opportunity that the sacrifices offered. Those prayer services are now moments of being close with the Divine three times a day.
On the third day of the trek, Len and I had gone for a short walk where he was coaching me in how to slow down, take baby steps and be totally in the now, to use my breath carefully and deeply. Our conversation related to many things including my mother's death and the grief work yet I had to do. As I came to my tent feeling ready for the next day's walk up to the highest peak, I bent down to unzip the tent and there was this huge stone in the shape of the heart. I feel a connection to heart shaped hearts and quickly placed it inside the tent to be carried with my gear. I was taking this home, no matter the weight! And this morning as I told the story of finding the heart to Chuck, i spoke to my first attraction to the text in the Torah, 'circumcise your heart and don't have a stiff neck.' I need to circumcise my heart, remove the covering, learn something new about me, or as it says later in Deuteronomy, ' the Divine will circumcise it for you!'
Spiritual Challenge: To notice the gift and go deeper than the physicality of what presents itself. I will try to notice when I 'judge a book by its cover' as I may never open it and may miss what there is inside that will nurture my soul. I want to remember that everything has a spark of Ayn Sof, The-One-Without-End in it. I want to continue to believe that I am worthy of the gifts and keep turning them over until I find the essence.
Spiritual Practice: I will keep telling the story, until I unpack the secret message just for me. Today I am honoring my choice of using the Hebrew word TZiPi to introduce me by and to take pride in my connection to the tradition that continues to feed me. What I did naturally is who I am. And i am unburdened and free to be that me that i am.
Blessings of the Vav: We are told in Hebrew Wisdom, 'never stop doing' while 'knowing we will never finish'. There will always be a 'yes, and' moment, another opportunity to see a different point of view, gain perspective from some one else or even myself. The River of Light is endless and is flowing. I am learning how to swim!