Dance, Vol. 2

ב׳׳ה

water heater closet & fan under carpet


Yesterday morning I wrote: 

…whatever life throws at you, for the love of Gd, DANCE!!!

So, G-d, the Universe, karma, the Unity, (whatever name you prefer), decided to “test” my resolve to keep dancing!! 

Last night at 9:30, I arrived home to a massive water heater leak and a few hundred square feet of carpet that was so sopping wet that water splashed when I walked across the carpet.   Maintenance arrived at 11:00 pm to deal with the water heater.  A carpet cleaner arrived at 11:30 pm to start removing the water from the carpet.  And now there’s a very large fan blowing air under the carpet and padding, and someone is to install a powerful dehumidifier this morning.  

As you might imagine, I didn’t get much sleep, and I’m pretty tired.  I need to have a productive day at work, go to the grocery, be a mom, and then figure out how many more days it’ll be until the bookshelves (and all the books, toys, and games that lived on them) can return to that wall between the closet and stairs.   

Between being tired and knowing part of my house is in disarray, I’m not feeling especially relaxed.   I’m tense.  And I could focus on that feeling and worry about the carpet and the disorder.  I could let that feeling spiral into a grumpy mood that would result in less than ideal interactions with others, and increased frustration.  

OR 

I can accept that I cannot fix the house or carpet today, because carpet dries when it dries, and I can let go of the worry about if, when, and how I’m going to get my house back in order.  And instead I can focus on NOW —  the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my life is filled with blessings!!!!

I’m tired, but the choice where to focus remains mine .  . . 

Let’s see if I can pass today’s test!!!

And the message is??? 

ב׳׳ה


 

I took that picture last weekend in Florida, and I’ve been drawn back to it nearly every day this week, almost as if I’m waiting for it to tell me… something…

But every day that I look, the picture seems to bring me a slightly different message about Life — about the cycle of life and death, about the interconnection of all existence, about finite matter “standing” at the edge of infinity and eternity, about the holiness and beauty inherent in moments of transition… 

So I decided that, this Shabbat, instead of telling you what I see, I’d post the picture and invite all of you to tell me what you see in it.   I’d love to hear what messages you see — please leave a comment and let me know!!   🙂  Thanks!

Praying Shabbat brings more shalom to all, jen 

An evening prayer

ב׳׳ה


An evening prayer

The reddest of suns sets
in a clear blue sky,
drawing my soul toward You,
stopping me from worldly chores
to breathe deeply in this holy moment.
As day turns to night,
Adonai my Gd,
I reach toward You for Grace,
knowing You’re here to comfort me,
wherever life’s journey may lead.
Blessed are You,
Eternal Hashem,
Creator of the evenings
that bring us new days.

.

shavua tov, may it be a good week for all, jen 

make me a vessel

ב׳׳ה

make me a vessel
shattered apart to be built anew, please make me a vessel who’s worthy of You, who can carry Your Spirit and hand out Your Love, who finds others to help me so we might be enough to counteract all the violence, anger, sadness, and fear swallowing a world too blind to Your Abiding Presence here  
 
 
peace and blessings, jen 

Shalom/Salaam

ב׳׳ה


 
In May, I attended one morning of a four-day festival of faiths. The session I chose to attend began with a Shaikh teaching about Sufi practice and then leading prayer for all those in attendance.   

Sufism is the inner, spiritual, mystical dimension of Islam. The goal of Sufism is to help individuals develop the ability to be present in the current moment and to love unconditionally, and the path to developing those qualities is a form of meditation that encourages the remembrance of Gd with every breath.  

As I listened to the Shaikh speak, I began to see many, many similarities between Sufism and my Jewish beliefs and practice… which includes meditation and devekut, the constant awareness of Gd’s presence… and I began to intellectually understand why my heart was drawn to the writings of Sufi poets like Jelaluddin Rumi, Shams Tabriz, and Rabi’a al-Adawiyya.  

Outside the auditorium where the Shaikh spoke was a book fair. There, I found a book entitled “Shalom/Salaam: A Story of a Mystical Fraternity” by Thomas Block (Fons Vitae 2010). Block spent more than a decade gathering research about historical accounts of Sufis and mystical Jews studying together, and his book attempts to share those accounts beginning with Medieval Egypt. 

My day at the festival, finding Block’s book, beginning to have a better intellectual understanding of Islam, being moved by prayer with a shaikh . . . all of it reminded me of the lesson I received nearly a decade ago on the Temple Mount, when the Muslim man from East Jerusalem talked with me and prayed that Muslims and Jews would return to seeing one another as family and living in peace, because we have more that unites us than divides us. 

My summer schedule, and then the fall Jewish holidays, have kept me too busy to read as much as I had wanted of Block’s book, but now I’m ready to settle in for the winter.  I’ve got Block’s book and a Qur’an, and I’m really excited to see what I learn in this next leg of my Jewish Journey!!  

shavua tov, a good week, to all, jen

…any spot…

ב׳׳ה

…any spot…

Glistening again and calling to me,
sunlight in the dew on the grass.
Reminding me Gd is creating us anew,
each breath,
each moment,
each thought.

You might think it’d be
a quaint little patch,
with bunnies and flowers,
but it’s not.

It’s an empty lot
on a busy street
in a run-down part of town.

And yet there I see
signs pointing to the Eternal,
whose holiness sanctifies any spot
where we find a portal,
a clearing of the veil,
and slip back into Gd’s Great Love.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

I wrote that reflection two weeks ago about the lot in the picture above. There was no sunshine (or dew) this morning when I stopped to take the picture, but perhaps their absence makes the lesson even clearer . . . We can find The Sacred in any spot, if the conditions (both within us and around us) allow us to open ourselves . . .  

For more about Sacred Space, check out “What is Sacred Space?” by Rabbi Ruth Adar, The Coffee Shop Rabbi, at https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/2016/10/16/what-is-sacred-space/

Chag Sukkot Sameach, jen

My New Year Plan

ב׳׳ה

The Plan 
To love with a love too great to fathom, to laugh with a joy heretofore unimagined, to dance through the fire and rise from the ashes, greater than any phoenix mythology fashioned… this is my journey, my quest, my crusade, to embody the grandeur of the plan my Gd made.  

May this New Year be — for all of us — good, sweet, and filed with peace, love, and blessings!
jen