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We open our mouths to proclaim how beautiful the world is, how sweet life is and how dear to us you are, Lady, Mother of All Living.
We stand here today to remind ourselves that we are all part of this web of creation. We are all linked, so that what any of us does affects all of us, that we are all responsible for the Earth. That we are all responsible for each other. We have chosen to be here today as a symbol of our commitment, our awareness of this connection.
Even so, we forget our promises and our duties.
We gossip, we mock, we jeer.
We quarrel, we are unkind, we lie.
We neglect, we abuse, we betray.
We are cruel, we hate, we destroy.
We are careless, we are violent, we steal.
We are jealous, we oppress, we are xenophobic.
We are racist, we are sexist…
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It is Yom Kippur. A Monday. I have taken the day off work to walk, meditate, think. I have taken the day of work so I could go to temple the night before and not worry about the time, the hour, how late it was getting, when I would need to get up.
We asked our friends to go with us. In our back yard, playing with clay, our conversation set on cognates and religion. I mentioned the Buddha of compassion, Amitabha, and the other name for him, Amida. How the Amidah is the name of a prayer of compassion during Yom Kippur. How it relates to the fruit, almonds, as the ancient Hebrews saw the almond as a symbol for watchfulness, promises and redemption. How the part of the brain which we know to be the seat of our ability to see things in a global, compassionate way…
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To Succeed in Life, You have to Actually Show Up OR How David Pastorius still owes me Eighty Dollars
I was reminded of this today. The first rule to success in anything is showing up.
This is not going to be a masterpiece. I am not saying I have, in the past, managed to create such but, If ever I had, this isn’t going to be it. No exemplar this. I’m just mad.
Yes, I know, some of you are saying I should use the word angry instead. Nope. Not this time. I’m just too mad.
Irresponsibility. Complete lack of follow-through. Zero respect for me or my time. And it is rampant.
And this last week, I had had enough. Here is what I posted as my status on Facebook the other morning.
“I will indulge in a moment of complaining and excoriating (which I shall confine to Monday mornings, though, I like Mondays) as I dislike being taken, as I abhor dishonesty and irresponsibility. Such went the way of my recent electric bass lessons for which I waited so long, for which money was…
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I don’t know why I’m reading this tonight. Maybe it is seeing my kids after a year absent – seeing in the light of their eyes the omnipresent brightness of their mother. Maybe it is Sadie asking her questions, continuous, into the deep morning. Maybe it is part of the work of grief, the carrying of the weight in the dark to the mountain-top that is never reached.
Of everything I have ever written, this is the one I think of the most. Not the longest, by far. Maybe nearly the shortest. But the one that lives on my mind.
I was asked, by Murshida VA, what three things would I have someone know about grief.
I took a day to answer, then three things came at one. It has no schedule. It doesn’t end, or heal. One simply incorporates it into one’s life – a wound, a laming, to which one adapts, with which one lives, from which one learns, and with which one may become stronger. It cannot be controlled, anticipated, prepared for – it will be different each time and come in different ways. I will now add a fourth. It is the price of love – never shut it away and you will be able to love more, and again, and see love in all things. Those who cannot grieve cannot return to love, cannot return to grace.
I had pulled the car out of the garage and set up a chair. Months earlier I had purchased a Norelco family hair cutting kit, and electric razor and attachments, for next to nothing at a garage sale. I had no idea why, but I brought it home, and now, now, it was plugged in and ready to be used.
The chemotherapy had left your hair in clumps. It fell into the shower drain, left bits on the pillow, left itself on the couch. Each bit that fell, you cried. I watched as you turned once, as I held you up in the shower to see your hair on the drain. Out of the shower, you stood, facing the mirror, clutching at your hair, pulling it out in clumps, tears falling, falling into the sink with the strands from between your fingers.
Hats you didn’t like. The scarves you used…
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From my collection, Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin.
Every Passover I bake matzah.
I wait until there is
Nothing left to do,
I wait for the lull
In the torrent of business and busyne…