Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Before there can be a beginning there must be an end.
This morning I pulled the Death card from my Motherpeace deck.  This is the last day of 5771, i remind myself as I read what Vicki Noble writes 'this is not about a physical death, only a metaphor for some experience of dying and rebirth'. 

I had just decided to write an entry in my blog. And when I began the 'title' section, i could only think that this is an ending of four years of writing in this blog.  I have, with the encouragement of Tim, my beloved Buddhist therapist, begun creating a book of the last four years' musings.  I have been even imagining reading from the completed book to my students of mindfulness-meditation.  So it will happen, after I figure out how to work blurb!

I sit with tears coming down my face. How do I say good bye to this ritual of writing The Society of the Vav? How do I end this love affair i have had with the Hebrew letter Vav? I do not want to say good bye, adieu, ciao! For that would leave emptiness. And G!D forbid I should feel that bottomless pit of emptiness!!
And how do i know it is over? Where will I go? Who will i be if i am not a Vavnik? or will i be that forever whether i write or not? So many questions, so few answers. Letting go is a powerful exercise for me in this moment.

I ask myself, 'What would the Vav say?'...and I hear, "once a connection is made it is never severed. " I am a vav-nik forever and I am learning what it means to be connected with family, friends, nature, to trust this connection and to trust me even more to know I can take care of myself.  i am amazing and there is work left to do that is all mine, along with others.  I am on a mission to heal the world, one heart at a time. And I am learning my skills and refining them as i move through the River of Light.

The first entry of the Society of the Vav was on listening.  And I am continuing in learning how to listen.  I am learning what it means to listen to the inner voice, the G!D within me.  She is so wise. Like the character in Ntozake Shange's 'For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is not Enuff" I am owning that G!D is within me.  The Indwelling Divine Spirit, Shekhinah, She dwells within and I need to listen to the still voice not just the loud ones that say "you are going for a trip around the world" or "I want to be a rabbi". The more subtle ones, that demand i be quiet and be still, to slow down so the wind does not distort the sounds and words coming through me to me.  That is being kind to myself, treating myself as if I were my own lover.  I am a life long learner, thank G!D! Other wise I would be up a creek without a paddle!!  LOL!!

So this is how I will leave you, with an end, a celebration of what has come and an and...

And, of course, a blessing:

As I watched the sun set on this last day of 5771, I mused on how grateful I am for your Presence in my life
and I wondered
am i ready for this Rosh Hashanah and what she will bring?
Not that it matters, she is going to come anyway,
and I , i am going to welcome Her with open arms and an open heart!

Who would turn away sweetness and joy?

Shanah Tova u'Mituka, Tikateivu v'tikateimu!
May this year be good and sweet
and may you and all you hold dear be written and sealed in the Book of Life for yet another year!

And if that does not happen, may we come together to support each other through the narrow spaces,
knowing Love is always there to comfort. And we are love!

blessings of joy and sweetness, health and love in 5772!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Had Dream

I had a dream this morning before I awoke and i was full of joy and love when I opened my eyes. I am not sure what the dream was all about, choosing not to analyze, and I am not going to review it here with you.  I am going to write it down and savor it the feelings, people, colors, conversations.

Then I am going to notice how my life enfolds.

I had a moment of awareness and enlightenment yesterday as I readied for bed. When I am on retreat, I am mindful of the present moment, slow in movement, noticing how I lift my foot, place a plate down on the table, choose my food and more! I am taking time to be with me, focusing on now, coming back to this moment when the mind begins to do its dance of;  'look at what he is doing', 'how about that thought', 'can you believe what she did', ' or 'ooo, that smells good and I am hungry',  etc etc etc.

I have been telling people about some of my experiences on various retreats and how much i enjoyed them. I began to wonder "why only then?"

Then, as I put back into order the plants on my stoop,  I shoved the hand painted ceramic pot that held a miniature snake plant into the railing and the arm on one side cracked and fell into the bushes. I was shocked, i thought I was being so careful. Everything had been going so well, the storm door was off and i had a screen door up to let in the fresh air with the help of my neighbor, Dale. I thought I was careful, apparently not enough!

Then I remembered impermanence and loss is just an emotion we tag to an experience.

The mind wandered and I remember supporting others on their silent retreat at Elat Chayyim,  offering them water as they worked in the hot kitchen. I loved serving and caring for those choosing silence. Or on all the retreats, the many experiences and learning.  In Thailand with Rosemary and Steve where I learned that silence is not a punishment and i was never alone.  Or in Pudecherry, India, at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram where i learned I am deeply connected to the spiritual world through my body and I stayed there long enough to hear the Mother speak on the anniversary of her birthday, 'yea, thou you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i am with you'.   Or in Israel and France with Thich Nhat Hanh where i learned about the power of discipline and focus and faith and to go back to my roots.  And at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA where i discovered how unsafe I felt int he world and that I wanted Hebrew Wisdom, and asked for it from Sylvia Boorstein, along with the Buddhist practice taught there.

And how can I forget Stephen Levine and the very first silent retreat I ever experienced. When I learned that I am my own teacher and I must learn to trust myself, trust the process and treasure myself.  Treasure myself, what a concept I continue to learn what it means along with love myself and make a friend of time.

So I laugh out loud as i awaken to my life and put the pieces together, making a collage of extraordinary beauty, as stunning as Andrea's quilts.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Holy Union, Hieros Gamos

I want to enter and be entered
I yearn to know what it feels like
To have G!D within me
While being able to enjoy
The deliciousness of
Being Present with You

I want to breathe in Ruach HaKodesh, The Holy Spirit
And then breathe back into You
Renewing myself as the moon
Renews each month

I am made in the image of HaShem, The-One-Without-End
Loving women and loving men
Just like She does
Why deny the fact that
My heart is as large as His

I am Ariadne and I am Shekhinah, The Indwelling Presence of the Divine
I am Sarah, princess of the world
I evolve and transform with each breath
I am love and I am hate
I am Hagar, the stranger within me
Yearning to be known

I am an individual, unique as the moment
I am Abraham confused in love
I am never the enemy, only Darkness
From which Light can come

Come closer, My Dear
Let us be known to each other
So we can laugh and cry together
We can mourn and celebrate our lives
Lived and soon to be born

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Taste of the World To Come

Blessings of Being Awake: Shabbat Shalom, blessings of a restful day full of moments of a taste of the world to come, i wish to you and to me. And I ponder the days that led up to this day.
This week in Beaufort two young men died. One took his own life and one died as a result of an accident. Both i pray have souls who are at peace and both left families and friends grieving, wondering if they could have done something differently and feeling sorrow and yearning for one more day with their friend, son, brother, lover, husband, father.....
I never met either and i have heard stories from my daughter as my grandson struggles to understand this death of a friend and peer.
This week a dear friend struggled with depression as the mind imagined a future without hope for a freedom that in her past she rarely experienced and deeply yearned for a reprieve in her life.
This week my adopted grandson told his father and his step mother he is not returning to college. He will be leaving for California to seek work and a break from the routine of the last five years.
This week I met several new people who hold possibilities of a good life for me here in the marshes and waters of the Lowcountry.  Some kind and good women and men who live outside the box of societal norms' expectations.
This week a new friend visit changed my perspective of myself by offering me herself through deep conversations.
And this week my daughter showed me her joy at having me physically closer to her.
This week I began seeing and experiencing the patterns of the Presence of the Divine in my life.  I began getting the message that I have really and truly never been alone! I began to see, as Jacob was said to have spoken, God was in this place and I, i did not know.
Spiritual Practice: With this seeing and knowing, I have set an intention to continue to meditate, chant with my shruti box, pull my Mother Peace Cards, consult and study with others who know differently than i so I can expand my perspective. And I remain in a place of not knowing, so I can be surprised with the joy of possibilities.  So I can laugh like Sarah was reported to have done, when she was told she would be a mother at 99. And perhaps, I, too like my role  model and Matriarch, will birth something when i think i am dried up and barren. Or maybe I will notice the amazing lives i have touched and get to walk with and that, that will be enuff!!!
Society of the Vav, Vav-nik Intention: And as I stand at the threshold of the next moment, I will use my head and my heart, as i shatter the still energy, moving forward over the threshold into next moment. I do make a difference. This is justice. This is transformation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Learning to Play on the Offensive Team

So, you must be curious and wondering what offensive team? The team that has the ball and calls the plays and goes for the goal, of course!
The agile ones, the light on their feet ones!  Not the ones who offend!!  LOL!!

Well, I might have to offend some people on my way down the field! And that is what happens when you are focused on your souls journey, making meaning of your life. Some people will be sleeping and not want to be bothered. Some people will like you just the way you are, so they do not have to change.  And, as Mary Oliver wrote, sometimes you have to walk away from those voices and save the only life you can, yours. There are others you will join on your journey.

Phyllis came to visit for a few days. And whenever a Baba Lover who is also from Boston, an Aries, lives alone and is very brilliant gets together with another Jewish, Boston born, Aries who lives alone, and likes to please, after a few days sparks fly!  Divine sparks that want to be redeemed, so the soul can be uncovered.  In the unsettling chaos, Phyllis spoke a truth: be offensive!

She had seen me become defensive and in her inimitable style, had told we what to do, instead of what not to do. Apologizing for her directness, she said the words again, be offensive. 

After brushing off my ego, and settling down to hear what she had to say, i pondered her words. Offensive? What does that mean. 

So what do I need to be on that team? In shape and focused, have clear intentions, be a team player and flexible, improvisational, transformational and love the game! And maybe I have to learn it is OK to offend, say it like it is, the truth as I see it! Oy Vay!!  Well, I tell myself, everyone, including me, needs a clear mirror. Like the 360s we use to help leaders get their affect on their world.

This intention is a great one to set for Elul. While I am learning about loving You as You love me, I will hold onto the balance of love and power; soul work and connectedness to others. I get a shiver down my spine knowing this truth will shed a few pounds and get me closer to the truth; my G!D is everywhere.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Practicing Surrender

Banyan tree, WPB, 1973; Being held by the Divine community.

I went on a work and play road trip to NC this last week, driving from Beaufort, SC to Greensboro to Asheville and Brevard NC and then back home. I drove blind. You read correctly. I turned on my GPS and prayed.

I did not look at the map that sat in my glove compartment. I did not have my Google map print-out nor did I call any one on the phone and to ask them to guide me on their Google.

I set the Nuvi and prayed and took direction. And since I was the only one in the car, I could not look too often as I had agreed to not look at it while driving.

I get chills up my spine when I think about how brave I was to let go of my deeeeep need to be fiercely independent and follow the legacy of my parents. I thought often, why am I doing this? I like seeing the whole picture. I adore knowing where I am going! Do I need another gadget? And knowing those are the words of a woman who does not like change and who wants to be practical!

I was also hearing in my head Ilana's voice, asking me 'why won't I let anyone help me?' And the other voice of mine saying, what kind of a role model are you to your daughter? Do you want her to build walls of 'i can do it myself, thank you' too!?

This is a big one! Letting go is soooo hard!

And it is good practice this surrendering. And it is only to a machine. And i practicing learning family in my new home, learning i am not alone, learning about being connected and learning how to JUST receive the love of others.

And I must admit I am slow extending the net to practice believing in the the unconditional love of my G!D. And I am learning this too. And that I also can learn to love me, even after all these years. With the help of learning to take down the walls and experience the love given.

So, thanks, Ruthie, for encouraging me to buy my first GPS and Ginny for helping me practice receiving love from my anam cara. And to everyone else who have been patient with this heart and still wants me in their life.

Elul begins tomorrow night. The thirty days of blowing the shofar to wake my soul up and bring me back to my true self commences at sundown . Thirty days of practicing and learning so on the anniversary of the beginning of the world, the next new moon, I will be ready to forgive myself for all the moments when i doubted my lovableness and invite me back into my heart and celebrate the beginning of the Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, 5772.

And I am learning to believe in the concept of a learning community and that i am smart enough to learn while living within the boundaries of this physical reality. I must be loved! LOL!! Why else would i do this!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Circumcise Your Heart and Do Not Have Such a Stiff Neck

Will You help me practice the uncovering of my heart so I can consciously know, be viscerally aware that I am receiving unconditionally love from the Mayan Raz, eternal spring?

Will you be my mirror and my partner to support me in experiencing that i am safe in this world to receive the universal love that is available? I want to face the fears that keep my heart protected and begin to know what it feels like to feel worthy of receiving unconditional love, without strings. I have felt moments of this love, as during my ordination, an expansive, glorious, sweet, adoring love. I also feel deep love of and connectedness with my daughters. I want to also receive there love.

In meditation this morning, in following the circular movement of the mind from Here to there and back to Here, i experienced an awareness of how covered i keep my heart. And that the phrase from the Torah that I have had a strong relationship with, circumcise your heart and don't have a stiff neck, was a message to me personally. I began to cry, deep sobs of awareness.

I know now that I learned an internal stance in childhood to lean over, hunch my shoulders, keep my head down, my hands over the chest and groin and lean forward into the wind. That was the only way i could move with people and be safe, keep my heart protected, and exist until i could become aware of other ways of being; to live my life fully open, head up, shoulders back, chest exposed to the elements knowing i could take very good care of myself and that i am lovable and safe. And I could create sacred space where I would engage in crucial conversations and learn about me within a relationship.

I am no longer willing to use my energy to keep my heart covered. I have other things to do with that energy. I feel expressive and I am no longer tongue tied.

Will you play with me? Will you be my partner and be open to love, unconditional love that speaks from the heart-mind, body-spirit, that engages all of me in a compassionate and kind manner and creating sacred space to allow us both to be Present.

Are you ready for me? Am I ready for me to be out and naked and fully alive in the world? Can there be three amazing women in one family? YES!!!! and...... LOL!!!!

I must uncover this heart and be open to change for if I do not, it will be done for me! And that is what I read in the Holy Scriptures.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Disorientation and the Antidote

I am sitting having lunch looking out at the gorgeous blue sky and wide expanse of water dotted with white boats.

And my eyes wisp by my car, also outside my window, and something is not right. The color on the back of the car has changed. Then I remember my new license plate! And I wake up and laugh!

There are so many things like that happening as I adjust mentally and emotionally to my new space, town and culture. So many things to learn. So much to understand to be emotionally safe here and feel like I am a contributing member to my chosen community. Funny how important it is to me to give.

And I think about automatic thinking and mindfulness. And how I live my life depending on things being the same. Like a blind person who learns their space and gets thrown off balance when things change. Am I that blind woman, yearning for the familiar? Yes and.......

And I am a teacher and practitioner of improvization, mindfulness practice and compassion and loving-kindness. And I laugh as I am still learning. I am not ready to 'catch the wave'!

And the enlightenment I yearn for? It happens in moments only! I smile at my settling with this knowing.

And I notice how inter-dependent I am on everything that happens to keep me awake. Soon I will be blowing my shofar every day to remind me to wake up and come home to my true self. Some days the shofar will be just another experience to add to all the others, like the change in color of my license plate, to keep me awake as I walk the path, laughing at the gifts that welcome me home. And I do not have to do anything except to keep walking and staying awake.

Deep breath!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Standing on the Threshold

Standing at the doorway to the unknown, I may appear full of joy, yet this casual pose may not tell the whole story.
I sat in my bathroom the other day, looking around and appreciating the natural light that flows through the large window, the broad counter that gives room for many items and the long the bathtub that I have so enjoyed luxuriating and soaking in to the point of moving into dream land. And I think, I am going to miss what this room offers. And I am appreciating the other gifts this home has offered, hard wood floors, lots of light, great energy, lots of room to move around on this first floor and the opportunity to meet the most amazing people, and to invite these people into my home to enjoy what I love!

And I know this is good to love where i am leaving and to be able to know why I am moving on. I read somewhere once it is best to leave what you love.

So I am feeling sad about leaving and I am excited to what awaits me in my next home that I will make my own, too! There is light, there is water, there is an upstairs and a downstairs and there is my family that is thrilled i am choosing them to live close to!

And as I stand on this threshold, I remember my ancestors, the boundary cross-ers, who teach us, remember Me-Us-We, you are never alone, you are loved always eternally. And I am grateful to follow in their path, the wandering Jews, who occasionally build nests to grow within.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Wall is Down:The Heart is Receiving In This Moment

I am leaving where I have lived for four years and now it is safe to let those that I have met into my heart. I laugh at my noticing my patterns.

I am moving on to try again to find Home. Not that i did not find pieces of it here. Wonderful people, as long as I kept them at a distance, and a warm tropical climate that provided me plenty of opportunities to grow. I learned how to sail, what it was like to display some art work publicly and vacation with the snorkel club whom i had just met. I even committed to six months of teaching and kept my promise and learned so much about connecting with six amazing women and Judaism. I owned my own home for the first time and then sold it at a loss! That was an interesting moment to rationalize away!!

My father died and then my mother was killed and now I am an orphan. What I thought I was moving here for no longer exists. And then I needed to think where in the world do I want to live now that the roots that grew me had shriveled up.

Yet, you never really know why you move some place until after you leave. So I have another few weeks to figure that out. And I am beginning to experience what it means to love and to be loved and be able to receive that love. This is real cool! Shivering cool sometimes!! LOL!!

I am taking the time in my leaving to really experience the loss of leaving this place that harbored me and the amazing women and men I have met. In leaving I am noticing the sadness and grief I am experiencing. And the caring I feel for those I am leaving and will never have the same casual and purposeful relationship with. I even let the mind to wonder why I am leaving these people I have finally opened my heart to. And I know it is only in the leaving that I have the perspective to see how welcomed i have been. And I am grateful for this place of seeing and the heart that is receiving, even at a distance.

Too late, I am reminded, the condo is sold, the boxes are being packed and a new physical space is awaiting me; as is my next opportunity to open my heart and not wait for them to open theirs. Maybe I will do it differently this time. Maybe these wonderful people who await me, know me so well and love me so much that I can walk in with an open heart. And maybe I will go there ready to receive their attention and appreciation for who I am, this amazing woman doing her personal best.

and is true, things are changing all the time and there is always another opportunity to face the fear and manage the delicate balance between connected and separate, the circle and line dance.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Personal Best

Do you ever wonder looking at these desserts if any of them think, i am better than that one next to me because of my color? Or will they pick me first because I am bigger, or no one will pick me because i don't have any fruit?

Several years ago I saw movie about two women athletes who fell in love while competing for love and attention of each other and a man. For me it was both a beautiful and a painful movie. And the phrase, personal best, the title of the film, has remained with me and has helped me deal with the mind's default of competition and envy and doubt.

So I am making a public commitment and taking a vow, like I did at Plum Village, so many years ago when I took on the precepts of an Interbeing Learner. Now, I am choosing to notice when I am in those narrow-martir-slave places and I am going to choose to think 'personal best' when ever the mind puts me in competition with or feeling less or more than anyone else.

I am amazing, i am unique, i am like no one else. And I have a part to play no one else can do, is going to or can play! My unique matter makes difference even when I think it does not!

So why bother! Even in my driving, I am going to laugh at myself when I race down the road to beat someone else, or hear 'what will they think'? As long as I choose be treat myself as if i were my own lover, with kindness and compassion, i am in the right place and right time. Doing my best to be me, including me on the list of people I care about!

I am going to have fun, choose joy and laugh at myself. And that is my choice to help mending the tears in the universe! I am going to engage in what Chuck and David call Serious Play. Serious because I am focused on my intention to learn to live with myself with deep compassion as an image of the Divine.
Play, because I love to play, have fun, be joyful for I know that is the best space for me to learn.

Blessings on your path of being your Personal Best; and may we meet on the road and smile at each others comings and goings, as we place a hand on our heart, nod and say Namaste. I do see the G!D in you as you see the G!D in me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What Keeps Me From Being an Effective Leader?

We asked the group in our training yesterday, “What keeps me from being an effective leader?”

In reflecting this morning on yesterdays events I thought that one of those elements is my self-doubt, of having to prove myself to myself that being white, Jewish, lesbian woman keeps me from being all I can be in the world.

I am in Jamaica, where I am a minority in terms of the color of my skin. Yesterday, a man I am working with told me that when he first saw me he thought I was a racist. And that over the day I proved to him that I am a kind person and that his initial reaction to me was incorrect.

I was blown away by his disclosure and honored that he felt safe enough to say what was in his head and heart to me. And I was delighted; the cat was out of the bag. The topic often not talked about, was put on the table. Racism. Of course I am a racist in my own way. We all use various reasons to build walls to keep our self emotionally and some times physically and psychically safe and to keep people out. And I am learning to mange these fears and open my heart to the truth. We are all one.

And there is a part of me that knows in a past life I was an African slave living in the low country of South Carolina. When he told me he saw my soul, not the color of my skin, I thought Halleluyah!!!! Sweet Jesus, I am home! He sees my soul, not the color of my skin, that outer covering that can hide the true self from others so I am not recognized!

I am being seen for who I truly am. He not only got me, he merged with me, the color of my skin no longer separating us.

What a great question to ask again, and again and again!! What makes me an effective leader?

For each asking allows me to be open to new perspectives. The blessings of and is a softening of boundaries around the end of thoughts. I can give myself permission to continue the conversation, over and over again. I am learning from a new perspective what it means to never give up; to trust that there is another corner to walk round and I may never see that corner until I say and.

I am a Vavnik, I believe in possibilities of healing, of opportunities dreamed of and yet not found, YET! I am laughing out loud at myself and this life and the gifts that come everyday, even when I do not expect them. I am choosing life, having lived through the moments of blessings and curses. I am Home!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Collecting Stories on Time

Today I heard Jim Croce's voice, "If I could put time in a bottle....", I am sure you know the rest. I have images of the bottle being the one you throw out into the ocean with a message hoping for some Divine connection.

Then I read: There is more to life than increasing it's speed attributed to M. Ghandi and I breathe deeply into this moment wondering, "what is my relationship to speeding?"

What I think is interesting is my perspective on women in Judaism. There has always been a place for us, relegated to time. More on this later.

Gail told me a story she heard from an inspirational speaker about time. There was taxi driver who was trying to make as much money as he could, picking up fares, dropping them off and looking for the next fare. One day he was sent to pick-up a women and take her to Hospice. It was her time to go, she said, and there was no one to say good bye to.

Well, apparently, these words, this woman, the story touched the taxi cab driver's heart. He began talking with her about her life, what had brought her to the city, where she had lived beside where he had picked her up. And she responded to his questions. As he headed off toward Hospice, he decided he was going to take his time with this 'fare' and drive her around the city for her last tour. She was delighted with his attention.

The key teaching, I was told, is the greatest gift you can give anyone is time. And if you put yourself on the list, then you can give yourself the gift of time, also. And attention is love, I have been told.

So, what have you been thinking about time? How do you spend your time? How do you give it away? What was your response to your generosity? How are you creative with time?

Barry Oshry created a workshop simulation where during the three hour process the facilitators call "time out." And for the next 20 minutes people are asked to stop, reflect and share their experiences with one another. Then the simulation begins again.

How often do I do that? Probably not enough. And now that I have thought about it, maybe i will do it more. In Action Learning at the Center for Creative Leadership "stop, reflect, write" are key components to keep people in the learning mindset.

Maybe today, I will take some time to give me attention by stopping, reflecting, breathing and listening to my heart, my body, my mind and then laugh with joy at being with me!

And, I have noticed that since I have been focusing on time, I have been slowing my driving down just a bit.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The One Day That is Different

Today is Friday, the one day I slow down and breathe deeply, take the time to connect with me, nature, family and ritual. After lunch, I will clear off my table, take off the red table cloth and replace it with the white linen and lace cloth. Then put my candles and crystal sticks on the the wine cup, and embroidered Shabbat cloth to hold my bread. Then I will get my TZedakah box and angel cards. I like the idea of starting my Sabbath on Friday afternoon, when I can.

As I close a very busy and creative week, I wanted to offer some wisdom from my friends about time. I think each is important in their own ways.

I especially need to slow down and give attention to my daughters. As today B called to say her daughter is in the hospital in critical condition. It is at this moment I am forced again to remember how precious life is. And everything else does not really matter. for this Shabbat I will set some intetnions that I hope I can keep of setting some clear priorities around how I spend my time.

S writes, "When I was younger I expected things to be done in a timely way and promises related to deadlines were very important to me. Now, I automatically tack on days, weeks, months and even years to a timeline. When a workman says he'll be here in 3 weeks, I assume if he makes it in 6 we're still "on time." When I'm starting a project that I think should take 3-6 months, I automatically think of at least a year. It's helped me avoid disappointment and frustration with delays. In the end, most of the time it really doesn't matter if it's today or not. "

How wise I can be to think I only think I know and yet what do I really know? What I want and what I get and hopefully they are not too far apart.

R wrote, "several years ago, I just one day suddenly decided to start driving slowly…all the time. I now drive about 5mph under the speed limit. I get almost everywhere almost as quickly as I did before and I, more often than not, meet cars that go flying by me at the next traffic light.

I’ve had a checkered history with speeding tickets…including two on one day some years ago (one in my car and the other on my motorcycle…alas). When I was thoughtful about it, I chalked the habit up to a slowly simmering anxiety that I’ve always known I had. But I find that my newly adopted driving habit is probably the number one (maybe number two…running is right up there) thing I do to make peace with that anxiety.

And the sequel to all this is that a couple of weeks ago I was driving down Military Trail – at 40mph – and a blue sports car went zooming around me…going at least 60, I’m sure. I found myself immediately getting knot in the pit of my stomach angry. Then I stepped back from it and said to myself, “isn’t that interesting? Maybe he has an emergency, or maybe he’s late for an appointment, or maybe he too has an anxiety issue.” Whatever the reason, I clearly didn’t have to let myself get sucked in by his behavior. And I didn’t. Good example of a new slant on an old life lesson, I guess."

I often find myself laughing at myself and how quickly the mind judges. When I am awake enough to notice this, I can choose joy. That is when I am awake. Other times, I add to my list of what is not right in the world. Then begin to figure how to be in the flow to heal the seams that have cracked.

And the beat goes on and on and on! May your and my Sabbath have a taste of the world to come!

Tiiiime is On My Side, Oh, Yes It Is!

I awoke to singing along with the Rolling Stones' famous quote and lines from their song, as I was reading a story by a friend who responded to my request to help me get a grip on making a friend of time.

By the way, I am getting loads of help on this project, including Gila and Ginny knowing it was the Stones' song I had floating in my head. Ginny even wrote that they first sang it on the Ed Sullivan Show! How many of you remember that show? LOL!

If I think of time as a friend then there are no 'dead' lines, just 'do' dates. When I am 'hooked in', as my astrologer friend Dale says, then I am in the flow with the universe. And mystical Judaism tells of the transcendent soul being in alignment with the imminent soul, so the the outside soul can drip its wisdom into the inside soul. That is called being in mazel tov! Right place, right time.

In my limited experience of consciousness, that state takes loads of self trust, reflection, listening, breathing, stopping, laughing at myself, faith in something bigger than me and a letting go of what I think is right by someone else's standard; being in integrity with me and the universe.

Here is J's story that she said: " I threw my brother, his wife and sons and daughter-in-laws out of my house some 13 years ago when he said something so violent to my partner & his sons. They were disturbed. I asked my brother about this and he said he did not know what they were talking about and besides I used the wrong words....this response (manipulative verbiage from a brother who went for his doctorate in semantical philosophy, on top of his wife criticizing the food I had prepared for Passover and stating that she hated being in my home,etc.) I stated that I am valuable, my friends are valuable and I will not tolerate that kind of verbal insult and ugliness. They laughed and made fun of me. I went to the door and ushered them all out with the comment that they are not welcomed back into my home. That did not stop me from calling them , from time to time, to stay connected and know that some day we may fall back into another kind of rhythm. Literally a dozen years passed with me calling , about twice a year, knowing that my brother is important to me and he will grow in his own time OR not, I will be here when that happens. It happened and we are respectfully back in each others lives with a few actual face to face encounters ( at his home and in neutral territory). I have not invited them to my home yet and talked with them about them processing, in their way, the reactions they had to my home. I did not need to hear them; however, I do not want any more facial and verbal negative reactions to me or my home. They need to determine when that time is to reenter. I can wait because time is right now as I type this, as time was when I convulsed with agony at my decision to usher them out of my home. I revisited the pain many times and was sure that I could live with whatever outcome as I am so certain of non attachment and attachment and impermanence, etc. In this case my rewards is that we are again together, though their are moments that are a bit precarious. Noticing my behavior and response to a situation is important and I am ok with having violent, unwholesome reactions too. They do not last long, time is my friend, time is short and I am OK with not practicing my belief 100%. It is another moment in time to keep learning and doing and re-doing. PLUS I really do not want everything to be so calm....I think that is too boring too; I like the various tonalities that come from me as an imperfect human being. AND I keep track of when enough is enough and that is TIME based. "

As I re-read this story, I am preparing to facilitate a workshop on trust. And Covey says, "nothing is a fast as the speed of trust." And writes of this at the personal and professional levels. I think how quickly we cover our heart and how long it takes to uncover the heart and feel safe and build trust.

When I have tiiiiime on my side, being present to me and the universe, then perhaps i am moving toward making a friend of time. So, if i weave my meditation practice into this equation, then when i notice without judging, and stay with me in all my emotions, thoughts, visceral response to the moment, then i am in NOW and my response is current and 'spot on!'

Laughing at me, I leave you to continue the quest of learning about time by working at work responsibilities.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hit and Run

My sister and I were having ones of those 'cross the bridge' conversations. Where I was bothered about something that had happened between us and I had asked to 'cross the bridge' so we could talk to each other outside the distractions of our everyday life.

She had done something that left me going off by myself to take care of myself. My heart was walled up and defended and underneath I was sad, angry, and feeling abandoned. And I was not going to tell anyone that. I had learned a long time ago to shove all those feelings under the mat of the covering of my heart.

In our conversation, she was able to hear me and I was able to hear that she has a habit of 'hit and run.' In that moment, she is not in control of her feelings and instead of staying and talking about what she is feeling, she says what she needs to say and runs away. I could absolutely hear that. For one reason, I love her and want to stay in relationship with this long time sister-friend. Secondly, I know I have done that same behavior.

Dissociation, running away from the now, is the other side of consciousness, to quote Tim, my therapist. And as I move to being more awake in my life, i am choosing to run less and "be here now", to quote that famous psychologist turned Hindu guru follower.

So, I ask myself what is so hard about being here? Can I notice my discomfort and breathe into it like I do on the massage table when the 'spot' touched is so painful and needs the oxygen to free the toxins, untie the knotted muscle?

Am I really wanting to free my soul from whatever covers her pureness and to open the doors to possibilities when I stay present?

Do I want to admit my faith in something bigger than me, playing with me, keeping me hoping for love?

What are you thinking today about time, being conscious, love possibilities and freedom?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Am Denouncing My Speed Queen Crown

After my first speeding ticket in four years, $129.00 ouch!, I have decided this is a sign I need to really look at my relationship with time.

In 1993, a Lakota medicine man in a one-on-one I-Ching session told me something I have been grappling with ever since. The phrase is "make a friend of time". My immediate response to his words was to begin to cry, like I had been told some ultimate truth of the universe. I knew then that it was important and yet I did not know how it related to my life. I think after all these years I may be getting to the core of this conundrum, this Zen-koan.

As I drove home the 3 1/2 hours from St. Petersberg, I kept thinking what is it about time? What am I running from or toward that keeps me from being here. How have I not made a friend of time?

And then I remembered the sexual abuse I endured at age five that I hid from my conciousness until I was in my late 40s. And that dissociation is one way of running away from the pain of the moment. And that at 67 I no longer need to rush away from now, as I can take care of me, unlike that of my childhood.

And the power, skills and personal best I feel behind the wheel, I can also feel in other places. I do not need to be behind the wheel of the car to do that!

Yet, this relationship with time is something else!

I remembered once following a woman who was driving so slow I was about to bust a gasket! I needed to follow her, because she was leading me out of a development of homes to where I needed to be going. I remebered being in awe of her steady driving, no rushing, no need to rush, she was sure and steady. I admired her driving and her grounded-ness to the earth. I wished I had that skill and yet did not know if I ever could drive that slow. What a paradox!!

So what has this to do with and? Well the letter vav is a shape shifter letter. In Biblical Hebrew it is called a "reversive vav" as it turns the past into the future and future into the present. And in English, using the word and instead of but can change the possibilities and change the 'same old thinking' into a 'growth' mindset. If we can hold more than one reality as true, we can change the world. Your pain and my pain are both awful and never should have happened and they did.

So what do I get for denouncing my Speed Queen Crown? I get another chance at life. Just like the state police officer, who stopped me, gave me another chance by marking down the speed I was driving; so can I try something new. And I will see what will happen not to rush through eating, the stop sign, the conversation, the uncomfortable moment. Maybe there is something there I need to notice. Maybe I can learn to make a friend of time.

So why do you speed? What is your relationship to time? I need your help! tell me your thoughts.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Need Each Other AND Together We Can Do Anything BUT

A palm grows in Jamaica: growing can be messy and beautiful
As my mind wanders through this blog posting I noticed that I needed to come back to the beginning and give you attention and a focus for what I am trying to write about today..

I am focusing on three ideas: 1) noticing the buts i say under my breath that keep me from staying on the path of my intention, 2)the importance of engaging others in my process as sustainability partners, 3) seeing all this as treating myself as if I were my own lover

And so I begin again:
I laugh at myself as I write the title of this blog. The very word I have been avoiding is right in my face and lives with me every moment as I live my mission of "de-but-ing the world" by substituting the word and for the world but!

And I laugh out loud, knowing I teach what I have to learn!

The many years that my father, of blessed memory, was president of the synagogue he and my mother were members of, he used to end his announcement of events at the end of services with the phrase,"We need each other." I am not sure when or how it came into his consciousness to say this, whether it was being the youngest member of his family or just seeing how divisive we can be. We thought it was great! The phrase became a mantra for his whole family including my daughters Andrea and Ilana and myself. Then the gated community he and my mother lived in even picked up on the phrase. There is a sign by the exit that reads "We need you, buckle up!" And for all his saying the phrase, sadly, I am not sure he believed we needed him by the end of his life.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity of working with some young people who were Fellows of the Acumen Fund. I was given a book, The Blue Sweater, to read and to learn how a woman's belief that "together we can make anything happen" can change the world. Jacqueline Novogratz is founder and CEO of this nonprofit venture capital firm. I loved the phrase as it seemed to take, "we need each other" another step forward. So I used this phrase in my visioning and storytelling workshops as I work with women, encouraging them to think of themselves as leaders of themselves. And at the end of the workshop, before they shared their vision and story, we set up accountability partners to keep them on the path of their vision. I ponder about who are my accountability partners.

I am seeing I am blessed by many. I remember in preparation for my trip around the world, I gathered some friends to put up the map of the world. They kept me honest in following through with my dream. When I was having my Bat Mitzvah, I gathered my friends to ask them to support me by arranging the food in the celebration of that Sabbath. Asking for help, exposing myself to needing someone is very hard to do.

And where am I going? I am headed toward uncovering the "buts", the "competing commitments", as Kegan and Lehey write about the "big assumption" that keep me in old patterns that have kept me emotionally safe in the world. These are my list short list of BUTS:
but what would they say,
but they won't like me
but i do not think i can do it
what will people think
but i have not enough money
but i am not smart enough
what about my family i need to think of them too
but i won't do it right
but i do not have time
but it would take too much time
but it wouldn't make a difference

I am frequently aware and often experience the desires in my heart. And the buts are so subtle, quiet, sneaky! I have to laugh at myself and say a thousand ANDs for each BUT!

I am fascinated by the many times I hear from people "Why can't I do what I know I love or want to do?" or "Why do I know what I need to do and cannot follow through?' A teacher of mine, Marc Gafni, talked of 'standing at the edge of fulfillment'. What is it about that moment that thrills me so much that I do not want to leave and I just stay there?

I , also,ask myself when am I going to let go and just do it, be loyal to myself like my clients tell me that I am to them as I keep them honest? Tantra teaches the joy of sitting on the edge and my voice teacher tells me to stay on the edge of emotion and ride the edge! So I am getting to build a relationship with the emotion of the edge and i am going to ride! Yahoooo!

And then yesterday, a client told me of something she wanted to do that she had not done and knew would be good for herself. As we explored and unpacked her desire to the last detail of when she would do what she knew she loved and had avoided, I committed to think of her at that moment she would begin on her journey. And I got this note from her:

*At 1:00, part of me was arguing, "No, don't go. You don't have time. It's more comfortable to stay where you are." Another part was saying (more loudly) "I have already stated my intention to walk at 1:00, and TZipi will be thinking of me walking then. I am going!" That part won out. :-) As soon as I took the first few steps, I was glad. (How often do we do the same in our work and leadership?)
*I decided on the spur of the moment to go in a new direction, and discovered a path I've never been on before. It was a blessing. (How can I reassure my people that the new paths God is leading us onto hold unexpected blessings?)
*I let my mind wander and simply paid attention to what was in front of me at the moment. How refreshing!
*A clear blue sky and bright sunshine sparkling on the snow at the path's edge.
*After about two minutes, the sound of birdsong began to surround me. (How often have I missed out on that by staying cooped up and not getting out there where beauty and wonder and blessings are?)
*I was amazed at how far I walked. I ended up on another side of town and saw things I never pay attention to. (Simone Weil: love is paying attention)
*I stopped on a bridge overlooking a clear rushing trout stream on my way back, and watched and listened to the water for some time. It was a beautiful reminder that the life force is unstoppable, that God is always creating something new, and that I am part of all of that.
*A hawk soared overhead.
*My decision to do one good thing for myself today -- walk -- led to another -- to choose only healthy things to eat for lunch. (Making one wise decision can open up other new possibilities and make other wise decisions easier.)
*I feel better, inside and out!

Blessings of the Vav: I remember my teacher, Rabbi Shefa Gold's latest chant: Renew within me a Spirit of "Yes!" from Psalm 51:12. I have a commitment to my soul's mission.
And as a way of being kind and loving to myself, I am creating sustainability sisters and brothers to keep me on the path! I LOL as I am admitting to myself that I need others as together we can make anything happen. I will ask them to ask me the deep questions that will inspire me and keep me honest! And we will be sustaining each other.
Who are your sustainability partners?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I am Yearning for the Familiar

And the child will lead them: Etta Grace's joy as she steers the boat has reminded me of my leadership commitment to joy as I am my leading myself back to Home, yet again! LingOL at the never ending learning life I have chosen!

I have been away from my physical home for five days now and everything is new; people, food, room, bed! Even turning on the faucet is a learning experience! And I do not go home for four more days of newness!

So much new and I feel grounded and flowing as I continue to be mindful and to do my rituals of chanting and meditation. And the work I am doing is good! I am being creative and myself. And yet, I am feeling like I am missing something. And there is no one I want to speak with, no one but me to fill the missing-ness.

So I pulled out my iPod and began to listen to the music and I noticed the tears falling down my cheek as my heart began to open again. Oh, that is what has been happening, I have covered my heart! I have disconnected with a part of myself. I have managed to avoid the other feelings that arise when I am traveling and excited about the adventure.

And the people around me are loving and I am not receiving, as I am in a "back up-armor on" stance. I am the cat who is feels unsafe and the woman who is missing the familiar. Oh, Halleluyah! for these quiet moments of self discovery! I am eternally grateful for solitude taken and self love given.

The joy has been there all along and I have not been in alignment and I have forgotten my commitment: stop, listen and reflect. And now I will go for a swim, laughing out loud at and with myself. Returning home is a moment to celebrate!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Think I am Falling in Love With G!D!

Holding the paradox of real life: hard and soft, sharp and sweet, cold and warm, at the Israeli-Lebanon border, 'The Good Fence', Metula, Israel.
The other day, I heard and felt a voice that thought about falling in love with G!D. And it felt good this thought. It felt good right in the middle of my body, expanding my heart, just a little bit with a sense of joy. I was shy about it and let it be. Then I thought, "what would my friends say if I told them I was falling in love with G!D?" "Who cares!" my adolescent voice said. Maybe I need new friends. And how many would think I was strange? And they do already, I laughed out loud at that thought!

Then, when I started to ponder the idea further, as my interest was peeked, I tried to figure how to fall in love with G!D. Of course, this mountain in front of me is my responsibility to climb, to determine what falling in love with G!D really truly means. And then, I started to feel awkward and and inept, as there must be only one way of falling in love with G!D. And I, poor me, did not know the 'right' way to do it! And all the ideas that started to flow into my consciousness sounded 'not good enuff', in my estimation. They were ideas like, "become orthodox". And as much as I love structure and order, that world is too far one way for me. I want an interfaith, multi-racial, multi-generational community. Like Brooklyn!

Then the thought came "maybe I do not have to figure out how to fall in love with G!D. I can let G!D tell me, show me what G!D needs from me. Then that G!D will know that I am in love with G!D".

And then I thought, "get simple, basic... " I am made in the likeness of G!D and maybe all I have to do is love me and that would be loving G!D. Then I wondered if I was being blasphemous. I have to do it right, you see, to be good.

Now this sounds convoluted and a little unsure of myself. And that is just where I am now in terms of my relationship with The One Who Hardens Peoples Hearts and Who is the Compassionate One, Who Is Without End, being what god will be. I was trying to invoke the Loving-Kindness of the One Who Connects Us All of a three letter word.

I do not believe there is a personal G!D and yet I do have my own personal relationship with the Source of All Blessings. I wonder what the difference is? I decided this is academic and one way thinking. How can anyone prove that their way is right or wrong of loving G!D? There can be as many ways of loving G!D as there are people on the planet. And maybe G!D may not be the word some use, preferring Source, Higher Power, The Light. There are so many languages that describe this energy that is no where and everywhere. And I do not think that any of those words involve violence, greed, killing, abuse, dishonesty or disconnecting. And I know that a seed bursting forth through the earth or animals who kill for survival or giving birth as the head reshapes itself and the vagina widens and the womb pushes the infant from its cocoon is painful.

So, I will continue to seek and be open to receiving the feeling I felt when the thought feeling arose within me. Maybe it is around the next corner, maybe I am on the edge of fulfillment soon to find the missing piece of the puzzle and the door bell will ring and some one will offer me a million dollars for winning the lottery for falling in love with G!D.

Laughing out loud, I place my head on my pillow, hoping sleep will come, and then I, like the seekers before me, will dream sweet dreams of finding home, knowing we will wake in the morning refreshed and reunited with the soul we took life for, ready to seek fulfillment again, and again and again.

As you see, I will never complete the puzzle, until my life is over. And only The One knows when that is... maybe. Who knows and Who ain't tellin'! So here I go again, walking the path of my deepest desire, swerving off and on, always returning to open my heart to Love.