Hurricane Irma, Thursday September 7th 2017. I am a Florida resident living in an evacuation zone projected to be hit by a cat 4 hurricane. I am a broke single woman with my own 3 actual cats, a cat 3 human if you will. I am a Martin Health System office worker, full time, whose office has been closed Friday & Monday. So, the reasonable solution was Go Now. You can pray just as easily inland as you can from your imperiled abode.
I didn't want to travel; wrangling cats into safe carrier vessels is not easy, generally not fun & the 3 hour turnpike trip to grandma’s is never fun for them. Further, there is a blurry spot in my field of vision that doctors thus far haven't diagnosed, & it makes doing everything more difficult for me. Also quite frightening for a photographess artmaker. Still, the 3 beasts & I set out. Because Measures.
Repetitive lines, indication marks of many kinds of measurement were everywhere. Those white dashes on the road (they mean one is allowed to pass another in safe conditions) mesmerize me every time I take a drive of lengthy duration. I drove already tired from working all day, packing & wrestling the fur babies into their evacuation chariots. I drove at least an hour & a half at about 5 miles per hour. During this time I made an observation that I had never before had occasion to hear crickets whilst driving on the turnpike.
There wasn't really a choice about an alternate route at this stage, in the dark, so I dug my metaphysical heels in. A tired mind can still be a useful mind for some modalities, & I needed to continue. My mind slipped into a more meditative state from a survivalist nucleus. I did not dare spend energy thinking about the line of red dots, tail lights as far as the eye could see. We set out, you see, for a 3 hour trip at 8:30 p.m.; it was now 5 a.m. I had started dreaming while driving, some of those tail lights became party dresses, so I pulled over with a plan to power nap. I waited an inordinately long time at (5 MPH again) on the on ramp to the service center, parked, & apologized to the cats profusely. I floated in, yet on my two feet, a woman out of space & time.
I met a supernal fish there at the Okahumpka Service Plaza. It was the fish that a child leans to draw, I can't think of a better description than this. Silver, simple, large eyes. We had a moment. I looked at this magestic fish in it's tank & it looked at me too, curious, inquerious. I did not tap the glass, there was no need. We had one another's attention.
I didn't take a picture of him either, again there was no need. I could not have captured this magic but only flattened it. One thing photography is is an instrument; some ordinary things will play toward true magic with it, revealing further elements and information. Other things will subtract from that depth instead. I even wonder if I should be writing about it now, but here we are. One of the things that observing Shabbat taught me is that as much as I love to take pictures of things, not everything wondrous needs its picture taken. Sometimes things such as this are expressly for being & experiencing.
I could have had this wordless conversation with Our Fish for hours, truly, but I was mindful of the 3 that were counting on me for their safety. I didn't have the luxury of lingering in mixed feelings at the moment, so I couldn't linger in my conversation either. I used the restroom, bought some liquid that would support me in my desire not to fall asleep & continued onward. Admittedly hazy calculations told me with moderate certainty that I was about 20 minutes from my desired destination. There were my mom and my sister, also a room with a door I would share with my baby monsters (meow), a comfy couch, a soft pillow. Lucky. Many people in similar straights had a good deal less to work with, or to look forward to.
Now I have this to say for the people of Florida; they were to a one courteous, polite, careful, considerate despite being in a persistently frustrating traffic situation, and everything else we all had on our minds. It was perhaps because of this that everyone was extra careful; everyone knew that everyone else might be at least as tired as they were themselves. Clear for all of us in a way that we were in the same boat, just trying to make it through the locks.
In addition to Our Fish, I met a few dogs along the way, one of them pictured here inside his owners van. He was traveling with his large Spanish speaking family, they had 2 cars, maybe more. I imagined that they came from South Miami, or even the Keys, but they could have been from anywhere. This little dog looked just how I felt, & how I think most of us felt. If you look at the photo, need I say more? I don’t know.
The drive back home was somewhat less strenuous, physically shorter time-wise, and the beasts were greatly relieved to be back in their own digs. Electric was still spotty for much of the ‘hood though, and the lack of running water in my building was highly disconcerting. It _would_ be back on though, & although I didn’t know when I was still keenly grateful once more, & thinking of those who were still in a bigger mess than I could even imagine.
At the conclusion of this little kaleidoscope of my own experience, don't feel I can say much that others haven't said before. Tragedy, disaster pulls us together etcetera. Well it certainly can, but we are at any given time at a significant risk that it will NOT, depending. I will say this- we each need to train ourselves to plan the same kind of unity consciousness I saw exhibited amongst my fellow refugees as a daily normality. It takes practice, & everyone has a different opinion about how to go about this kind of spiritual training according to their own backgrounds & life experiences. I guess I just want to float this idea out for now, & may G*d help each one of us find & utilize the way that is best for our souls. Thank you & G*dspeed.
Written on the advent of Hurricane Irma, and completed October 2017
This energy has been coming for some time; how long it has been coming I don't know. Maybe nearly forever. This energy is the enemy of the people, certainly not the press. I have been keenly aware of it since the early 90's, but not before.
It's agents are puppets, nothing more. They are not puppets to other people, though it may seem so. Those other people, whom we think are pulling evil strings, may indeed be doing so but they are only puppets themselves. We might name this energy- greed? That may help us in limited ways as it helps us in limited ways to find who did what, where, when & how. Oh, it's necessary for us to seek justice I don't say it's not. It needs to be done by whosoever can, supported by those of us who care for Truth. An American am I, and utterly assaulted to my core by the recent disregard for Our beloved Constitution. Shaken & ashamed am I bad the recent rape of Our beloved & believed New Colossus, Our Lady Liberty. Everything terrible about America, everything that we're rightly criticized for, is sitting on the throne. More aptly put that is where the ego of that man thinks he is. America does not have a throne, as the American people are working to make clear, not only to him but to the international community. The presidency of The United States of America is not a kingship, it is a service and a great privilege that not everyone is well suited to captain.
I consider myself a Jewess although I am not converted yet; I stand with American Jews (most of whom are infuriated) and I stand with the state of Israel as well which is particularly tricky at the moment. I have not lived in Israel or even been there yet, so I can't understand entirely. Amongst American Jews, there seems to be a grave divide both between those who were born here & those who were naturalized and also liberal versus right wing. Much noise is being made by what I believe is actually the minority of American Jews, that our current president loves Israel The Best of any president ever. I'd like to put 2 things out, first, our current president makes up his mind what he will support based on what he thinks will line the pockets of his family and his (already rich) cronies, no more no less. That should alarm everyone from any party; I don't know why it doesn't. Second- which Israel is it he "loves"? He doesn't seem to know himself whether would like to see a one state or two state or multi state solution, or what it even means. It's not just healthcare that "Nobody knew" could be so complicated. Other world leaders are licking their chops over this precise type of weakness, displayed regularly not only on video but via Twitter. A disaster of an American presidency. Awesome.
I want a strong Israel. I don't believe that a strong Israel could possibly mean aligning with the people who worked with the white supremacist faction of American society to gain the presidency. One of those white supremacists was chosen by my upresident to be his chief of staff.
Due partially to bloodline not being the only determinant of Jewishness, Jews come in every color from European muesli to Ethiopian tikur azmud. When they choose to round the Muslims up, should they attain that capability, along with anyone that is any shade of brown, poor, queer, disabled- does the pale skinned Jew think for one second that there will be some pause to throw them in the camps as well? I'm asking, because I certainly see no such positive outcome for my own white self should such an event take place Chas v'shalom. If a Muslim registry is enacted, we don't register with them, no. I respectfully request to any Muslim friends that you don't either. There are ways around such unconstitutional nonsense, and I support you. We must support each other.
I believe it can be true that our diversity is our strength, both in the United States and Israel. I believe it because I've seen it work, and there is nothing so glorious. I can't say so for Israel, simply because I don't know, but I must now say that the United States has not been living that reality. We have not been attacking racism (for example), as we should because we have not, individually, been attacking our own fears as we should. It's comfortable to stay with what you know, and everyone likes comfort. As for myself I have not been to a black lives matter meeting, I'm afraid to take my white face in there. I'm not afraid of the people there, I'm ashamed you see of history. I have felt this way since I became aware of racism, not just recently. To go be with black people in America, descendants of slaves almost all. I want to help, but who would believe me, & why should you indeed. Well. There's this writing and there will be a lot more.
These all are concerns in the physical realm, this is where we are experiencing the winds. Yes, we need to be engaged, fighting & supporting as we each think best. There is another level though, another realm vital to our battles. The good news is that it's much larger, even though it doesn't seem to be while we're in the realm of our physical existence on earth. You might even say infinite. I am vaguely familiar with the aboriginal reasoning that the Dream world is more real than the waking one, though I can't claim to have studied it. As I continue, please understand that I'm not advising some ostrich inspired idea of living in a fantasy, not at all. We exist in physicality for a reason, and that reason is precisely so that we can work these things out; learn to be the Loving G*d in motion by learning to love each other. This, you see, is how to avoid puppetry, not that it isn't slippery work. We all stumble, there's so much to trip on. However, drawing from that G*d space to which we all have access provides us with our free will. It provides us our ability to choose Love thereby activating compassion over the energy of fear/lack/hate that is a blueprint for tyranny. It brings us back to our contract of coming to earth to Improve. In times such as these it's very easy to lash out, react, and very difficult not to. We can make it a habit though to remember to pause, breathe, and choose to be relaxed in G*d energy as we face challenges rather than allow ourselves to be a puppet of fear, lack, or hate.
Meet with your friends, also do the things you're scared to do. G*d is with you. I Love you. Look Up.
I went to shul to watch the Super Bowl. The beautiful circumstances of my life have placed me between synagogues, i.e. Between movements or branches (think denominations), as I work on conversion from my agnostic Christian upbringing toward an orthodox Judaic life. I could not have had a better window seat had I asked for one expressly.
The Super Bowl is an American pastime in which I usually only partake of minimally, meaning, I enjoy the snack platter spectacle. Both the snack display and snacker antics. This is usually the highlight of my Super Bowl party experience, should I attend one. I've truly never been much into the whole winners & losers thing, I've never liked the whole paradigm. Yes, I'm the one at your football party who doesn't know who's playing. I may be in the corner petting your dachshund.
Recently I have felt the need to do everything I can that is American, in the company of other Americans and getting to know them better. Getting to know us better. This particular group is a safe group for me; I know I'm welcome here. Oh I do have further plans. Interfaith groups, BLM meetings if they allow pasty white girls. Tonight is not the hard work, tonight is the fortification. I don't care about the outcome of the game. It's kind of fun to watch, I can see why people get hooked. I came here though for the company & the energy. Not the snack platter experience, not tonight.
We watch the big screen in the Yeckes Chapel, built in 1924 and part of the first synagogue in Palm Beach county. Energy. Love. Survival continuum and a certain kind of modest pride. The chapel is now part of Temple Beth-El, a synagogue of the conservative branch of Judaism. In this place I have found a clean kind of straightforward history based learning, a marked difference from the timeless kabbalistic education in which I am also entrenched. Well, there can certainly be an apple tree & an orange tree growing on the same lot. Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree. In almost any given choice, one has their favorite. Now, have you ever put an orange & an apple together in a bag to ripen? Each makes the other taste sweeter. And here is one thing to do with Difference.
Oh holy Soul
who knows us all
Now whosoever doesn't fall, is likely blind
I as You, Kindly, who among us
Swell & swoon Hot tears above us
Needs to drag through dregs of Vacant
But larks & laughs await the Hated?
Angels call; support those stated
Mules of G*d the workforce slated
Pulling toward compassion, esteem
Neck deep in the squalor of greed
Care for us as we do these things
Hold us in your fine company
I got sick of swirling the soap. Emulsify, wait for appropriate thickness, add fragrance & hope it doesn't glom up. Pour into separate containers and add colorants with the balance you want. Pour base color into mold, pour the other color(s) in after that, swirl swirl swirl. I was swirled out. Swirled out at work, in my personal life, everywhere. I wanted luxurious simplicity. An unexpected thing can be learned from repetitive complexity- that a return to origin can reveal the divine..
O beautiful City, I know not which hill they speak of unless it's the one in our minds. The one we built ourselves: the one we build ourselves. Our City. Our Table. This table, it has its share of stains. There was genocide, not thought of & not taught as genocide because at the time of such events Native Americans were not thought of as people. Well that's a doozy. There was slavery too, and for far too long if it went for a day. Now in my country's defense, many of those fighting to structure a country whose declaration contained the notion that all men (ahem) are created equal were concurrently fighting to abolish slavery, and you can't usually stop the momentum of institutionalized abusive nonsense overnight. There was no social media then. Yes, this table has its share of stains, two big ones, and various associated stains from the same dish, but no matter. YES it matters, that's not what I meant. What I mean is, it is only matter to work with, to build a higher plane with, to make ourselves better if we all proceed in humility together. Black lives matter, and this white girl is buying the tshirt because there is no person of color in America who should have to, for G*d's sake. Without putting all the blame on police (& I don't), it should not have come up. Yet we're all still dancing around these stains, putting things on top of them so they don't show, fighting in various ways to get them out sometimes tripping over them in our desire(s) to get it right, whatever our version of Right is. Dear white people, make no mistake, people are dying due to these stains. Some are police, but most are not, and most are on the browner side, and most of those are of (stolen) African descent.
Now is the time. We must stay steady, stay centered in whatever each of us understands as G*d consciousness or Good Consciousness. Now is the time when each one of us, no matter where we are, who we are, or what color we may be to stand still & tall, take a little heat, and take responsibility. Our country was not founded in perfection, there was a lot wrong. Last week, our First Lady of African American descent stood up and exposed a very specific and troubling stain, that our revered White (ahem) House was built by slaves, for the whole nation to process responsibly. The next part of our evolution as a country and a people may include our first female president, whom our first Black First Lady was endorsing with that very speech. So what does all that tell you? It tells me that no matter what has been and is wrong, it is of no matter compared to what CAN be right. If we fight the good Fight, with all our Might, with G*d's help & the Light we can reach our true Height.
Plunk to the lungs
Our winds heavenly sung
And mine eyes overwrung
All those wrongs done & done
Yet, another One comes
And we'll all hold our tongues
And we do it with love
For each other & Dove
Holy Monster we see you
Holy hell won't contain you
She'll dismantle the sword
I'll dismantle the sandal
Just the task to unhand ye
For the word of the Moirai
And a better directive
More alignment, perspective
Look at that, there's a candle
In the Den of the scandal
That glow growing holy
Leave the gun, take cannoli
Your best future a rocket
Freed from the wrong docket
And all purposeful lessons
Are all manner of dresses.
Among other things of which my life consists, including a full time job.. I've been making soap like a crazy person. That is, continuing to make soap between my job and my studying. Soapmaking is a creative activity that is soothing, stress relieving, and, unlike studying, only moderately intellectual. It also leaves you with a wonderful cruelty free vegan object that everyone actually needs for daily use. Also on the plus side it goes AWAY with delightful use rather than cluttering up shelves for years to come. It's like Maya Angelou said, you can remember how it made you FEEL. Anyway, I'm going to splash a few photos below, but by far my most exciting development is a SOAP STAMP. Woo!!! The design is something I doodled I don't know how long ago whilst on the phone I believe, & I liked it so much I've been carrying it around for years without knowing why or what would come of it. The first soap I've ever stamped, left-hand side, below. :-) The soap stamp was made by PlantSpark, who I found on Etsy.
I am a woman speaking for myself for the moment. I actually don't know if other women experience this in the way that I do.
There comes a point during the monthly gift, the red box, "shark week", the visit from Aunt Flo, when there is some sort of a wrench & then a kind of peace sets in. The dam has broken, the tug-struggle is over. Ok, tug of war. You know that moment? There is a moment, after either a lot or a little back & forth, there is one great tug from one side, and everyone on both sides knows the game is over. This does not preclude the messy slide to the end. It's kind of like that. For me, the tensest tugging is within the first day or two. That's when the most pain is, and usually when the heaviest blood & tissue release happens, but not always. As for that final tug though, after which you know the worst is over, I never know whether that will be 3 days or 6 days into the process. It seems to depend not only on what's going on in my life, but the world. A normal amount of negativity going on, it's difficult & painful. An increased amount of negativity gong on & it's truly terrible, possibly e.r. worthy. I think probably most women have that Earthen connection to some degree.
I'm not sure why I'm sharing this tonight, maybe partly to give the male reader some insight. Yet I don't want to go through the whole thing right now. The utter insanity that accompanies hormones is a whole other piece, and one I think best written by someone else. Biological Science Girl, where are you? Perhaps there is some other cosmic reason I'm writing this, there's some person out in the world who will glean from this little piece some important insight for their own difficult processies. Perhaps that.
In any case, that final tug, I call it the Break. It bears a great spiritual resemblance to a fever break, and the physical feeling is also similar. There is a great relief, a knowledge that the worst is probably over or at the very least you'll enjoy a nice hiatus and a sound sleep. There's still bleeding, but the fight is done. A curious thing. I experienced it on Shabbat, which was odd as I had only started on Friday. Too soon, but I thought I may have lucked out. Well. That was just the grace of Shabbat cutting me some slack in the negativity, because it returned. It has happened again tonight though, and I am feeling Starshine.
Now let me detail the feeling of the Break, because it's more than relief. It feels like a glow. There is a kind of peaceful happiness, closely related somehow to gratitude, that ensues & prevails. It feels as though it's in the body; I don't know if that's true. I do know there is already a sense of renewal, though the blood still flows.
Hithertoo the young & old may be so bold & never told, through the fire or through the ire Her weeping spirit holds us Higher.
The hope inside, a meanstruck preen
The Truth is it's a greener thing
Walling Wall-less heedless sky
Cycling through all eyes Aye-Aye
And we all weep and we all pray
Our differences distorting; fray
O Holy human "enemy"
G*d helps need each other, plea:
Whatever I might do to thee
Will already be done to me
Don't help the devil in his glee
By coming in with death to me
You're writing both our eulogies
Death is no ones friend (you'll see)
Don't shake his hand for anything
Your Mystics know the Holy tree;
The highest order? Ever-green.
Sometimes she felt them before she saw them, prompting her to turn her soul, by way of her face, toward the inky sky. That black that is blue that is black like the dark stripes on the tallit. Timeless, endless, constant. Tonight though, it was only by the luck of some stray angel (one of her optimistic ones she guessed), who somehow tilted her chin up sideways. Then, the usual delighted gasp. It was one of _those_ nights, a mind crowded with past or future, things + fears + lists, a brain that didn't want to be interrupted by the inconvenience of the miracle of Beyond. Tonight's brainiac special was future/fears. She had been to return a movie, was now walking back, and some crazy angel she had earned somewhere had reached down through her thoughts to kiss her third eye. All was stars for her now. Presently she continued her walk and with a smile bloomed from her heart. She felt those stars, out there, each single one in its place. She felt them also on the top of her head, down the back of her spine. She wondered briefly if each could correspond to a freckle of hers. Smile. She felt it then as she walked, & saw it too- each freckle connected to a star by a tiny beam of light. Each freckle connected an opposite freckle also, tiny strands of light beaming through her body like the neurons in her brain, like the "Mission Impossible" laser maze, acting as strings for sets of tiny invisible violins. And what of this symphony? What to make of it, indeed. She looked at the stars again, to address them directly, for clarification. Idiot. It seemed that they said it, but with a gentle laughter, such as a best friend might use as she watched you retrieve your keys from the freezer.
Before the holiday had come in, she had watched a video, a little clip on social media. It was the life of a strawberry, all the way from flower, to fruit, to the dump because it wasn't eaten. She had felt pain as she watched. All that energy, & yes, work of growing, becoming ripe & perfect, all gone to waste. Now, it was different. Twice over the holiday (this one crammed with modest food items) she had tasted the flower in what she ate. It was quite a surprise. It happened first with a carrot. Then again a day or two later, with an olive. She was becoming a little more used to these pedestrian miracles, but it was very exciting anyway. She had said some sort of prayer after watching the video but hardly remembered her wish at all. It was some sort of 'help', awareness, appreciation combo. Presently she had come to know the truth of an olive- green, flower, fruit- mystery no history all in one bite. The flower of a carrot, now, would be more of an antenna for that fine root, yet it was also strongly present. She wondered how many flowers she would taste from now on. Can it be accomplished with just a little kavanah?
She stood musing in the grocery store, staring at the lemons like an idiot. Again. She imagined them as their flower selves, then everything and everyone as Flower. Yes. That's the Truth. Nothing would ever be the same. Again.