Category Archives: meditation

Seder

As a girl who grew up Catholic in the hills of a very Protestant East Tennessee, I always knew that my religion made me stick out like a short little sore thumb. I had friends who never understood my Faith and who weren’t welcome to share Communion with me on Sundays no matter if they had been saved or not. That was never a fun conversation, by the way, and one that always made me secretly resent my Church. Would Christ have turned them away? Really? WWJD that, please.

At any rate, as weird as it was to be Catholic here in Bible land, it was even stranger to be Jewish. So I had no real idea of the Jewish culture, but being always drawn to all Holocaust literature and everything relating to WWII, I had always been strangely curious. So it’s no wonder that on that one strange Friday night when I had blown off all plans and had chosen instead to share the night with a bottle of wine, I happened upon my one Jewish friend through online dating.

With a self-given Native American name, this friend and I talked for four hours on our very first call. I couldn’t get enough of his stories or his questions. We both busied ourselves with getting to know each other and assigning movies and music to each other until I had found the bottom of the bottle and he had found the bottom of me. The relationship built from their and the romantic part of it had ebbed and flowed more frequently than our waking patterns through those first two weeks. Finally, it was time for Passover, and after 10 or so invitations, I finally decided to make my way 3 hours east to his cabin on the side of a mountain.

If this seems like a careless and courageous thing to have done, it’s because it was, and it was something that I will always remember and never regret. I brought my dog to play with his two and we drank Kosher wine, chopped a gazillion apples, and set the Seder plate before sitting at the table to experience my very first Seder. It was one of the most spiritual and memorable nights of my existence. While I was only with my new friend with a native name less than 24 hours, I was ecstatic to have finally met him and to have experienced this very special night of prayer in Hebrew, singing, and fellowship.

We did not end up on the same page, sadly. He felt a different kind of love than I did, and after returning back to my home, I knew that this would probably break us. But the important part of this story is simply this – don’t let fear stand in the way of experience. You never know what’s on the other side if you don’t leap, and you can’t regret any experience that is created in love. There are no coincidences. God places the people we need in our lives at precisely the right time. My prayer is that my friend found that when he finally opened up his heart, beautiful memories and connections were made. My lesson? When you follow through with what your heart wants, it will lead you into exactly where you were meant to fall, and a beautiful moment is always better than no moment at all.

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The leaves are falling already,

Their colors never had the chance

To change.

Like loved ones taken

Too young.

Or the last bloom of summer.

Those who say they have

No regrets haven’t lived, or are good liars.

Because no one ever got it right

Every time.

The shadows tell their story too,

Moving ever-so-slowly across the rock walls;

Cold, giant, and underwhelmingly welcoming.

They’re sneaky – those shadows.

We want to climb & capture them,

But they are only ghosts.

And ghosts never change either.

Nor do they have regrets.

At the middle of life,

And I have my color,

And time – 

For now.

Fulfillment

On most days, this only needs her ‘alone’ time, outside of the work commute and morning workout. When I was working for myself, I could take time when I absolutely needed to, so of course, I took it for granted. Now that I’m ‘working for the man’, and do not regret selling my business, I do look for those small pockets of time when I’m not taking care of anyone else. When there’s just me, my thoughts, and the bright blue autumn air. Today was one of those days. I spent lunchtime taking a two mile walk. Ears plugged with cello music. Hair blown to a frizzy mess. Still, my mind was as clear as the sky. I prayed, but what was even more satisfying than that – I listened.

The words came into my head like they always do, without a voice. They colored in my thoughts. Today, all I could hear was ‘allow fulfillment’. The wheels started turning, effortlessly, as if I had always known the answer.

More than once during our Ireland trip, my very wise boyfriend told me that our adventure would be a life changer. I whole-heartedly agreed! But what I never seem to understand in the moment is the intensity and profoundness of such a statement. When you step out of your comfort zone, you grow. We hear that everywhere. It’s in our newfeeds, in the news, part of every personal development book, not to mention countless issues of Cosmo. We can’t escape it! But when we step out of more than just our comfort zone, and step into a whole new world entirely, something within us switches. Our mind stretches, and if we happen to travel to a land where we are forced to unplug, where the land itself cradles and nourishes life, where the air is so pure that you can actually smell the rocky burren, and where the silence is so broad and thick that it’s deafening, then we are indeed, changed forever. Why?

Because it’s at that point, when we are emptied of all of the world’s thoughts, opinions, advertisements, and noisiness that we become bowls – in a sense. We are left with just ourselves and our thoughts. If we happen to be fortunate enough to go with someone that we are entirely at ease with, we find the greatest sense of security in such ‘solitude’. It’s not that we become emptied of our own identity, but that after so long, we are emptied of the world itself. The beauty of that is that we are adaptive. We have a need to fill things up, even ourselves. When we have nothing but ourselves to fill up our thoughts, we become very clear, and that spoils us….in a good way.

So on days like today, I close my eyes and go back to Ireland. I clear my mind and empty out the noise. I allow fulfillment. And when I do that, when I empty everything out, God can pour himself into all of those dark corners that leave me conflicted and confused. When we fill ourselves up with distractions, transgressions, and all of the other mucky dust that life constantly splashes on our fresh white thoughts, we have little room left for fulfillment, or love, or God, or peace.

These days I don’t clean houses for a living, but I do clean and cleanse and organize mentally. I need more God and less noise, and the older I get, the more I understand that a quiet mind is a happy mind. Allow fulfillment. Allow peace. Allow God to lead.

Tracks of My Fears

I have always, and I mean always, had an unexplainable desire to go off by myself and hike the AT, or get lost in the woods for a few weeks, or get lost in a city without ever speaking to a soul. That’s not depression. That’s just me. That’s not me vying for attention, or trying to get people to worry, or trying to prove something. No! Instead, it’s quite the opposite. That’s just me wanting to become better acquainted with…well, me.

A couple of weeks ago, I almost gave up publicly posting anything to my blog, or anywhere for that matter. My boyfriend and my best friend were worried about me because of things that I had posted. They didn’t understand, and I can appreciate that. Writing has always, and I mean always, been my outlet. When I feel powerless over the direction of my day, powerless over the intensity of my emotion, or powerless over my powerlessness, I write to protect myself from becoming too sad. Since I started publicly blogging 18 months ago, I have felt an added layer of satisfaction and fullfillment with my writing therapy. Somehow, sharing what’s going on in my head with a large of community of people makes me feel less selfish, and more like a part of something much bigger than myself.

Last night, I watched the movie ‘Tracks”. If you haven’t seen it or are unfamiliar, the movie is a re-telling of a real life event where a woman takes off on a long journey with four camels and her black dog to trapse across the deserts of Australia on foot. Some movie reviewers take issue with what they consider the movie’s lack of character development or a lack of plot in general. I have to disagree, even though I am always a fan of a good character developing plot. I love getting into other peoples’ heads. It truly is my favorite thing to do. But there is something about the acting of the Mia Wasikowska and her depiction of the real life heroine Robyn Davidson that cut me to the core, and left me with a deeper understanding even though the dialogue was almost non-existant. You can learn so much from just flashbacks, expressions, and body language, and that IS the magic of fantastic acting.

I doubt that I will ever trapse across a desert, hike the AT, get lost in the woods, or get lost in a city without ever speaking to another soul. At least I doubt I will do any of these things alone. But there is something to be said for taking a pause in life to just be, and learn, and delve deeper into the whys and fears of your own mind. Getting in touch with the soul is a powerful way to denounce that pestering ego that tends to kill our happiness with all of its untrusting and demeaning ways. But, having said that, just a word of caution. TOO MUCH time alone, delving deeper into the soul, can lead to an isolated spirit, separating you from those you  love & making you feel like you’ve fallen out of the universe, and are no longer part of something bigger. As humans, we all need to feel that we are part of something bigger, whether we belong to any labeled religion or not. It’s all in how we are wired.

So take a few breaths today. Maybe even meditate your way across a mental desert, but go deeper into you, to love you, and understand you, and watch as your tracks become a guide for those who have been lost themselves.