Friday, September 28, 2012

More To Dos on the List

   Now the holidays are over, and I've got to do all the things I put off for after the holidays! There are two people I promised to fix suppers for, poems to write and send out, and several events. Tonight is Tebot Bach, and I am going to fix and donate some cookie bars to make up for not being able to donate generously to the organization. Sunday is a birthday potluck where I have been requested to make double portions of my savory pie, one of those tomato gallettes I made before and also a mushroom pie to go along with it. I might end up making two tomato gallettes instead since I found lovely heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market.
  I am also studying up on copy-editing, since that's the next direction I'll be looking for work. I am not such a wonderful speller though. That worries me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

End of Day Reflection

   For a day during which we are supposed to reflect on our failings or what we are owed from others in the way of apologies, it was a very very busy time. I was with the choir or the congregation every second, not like usual, when I have time to do some yoga or sit quietly in some forgotten corner.
  But I enjoyed the day all the same, particularly the talk by the 103 year old psychotherapist, Hedda Bolger. She was totally amazing.
  It wasn't just that she was 103, or that she still practices her profession 4 days per week and teaches on the 5th, though that was something, since she evidently loves doing her work. It was that she is still learning, that she sees no reason to stop doing that and that she spoke about people from her past I have only read about, like Annie Besant and Krishnamurti. Fascinating.
When asked what was her favorite moment in her life, she said, "Right now." We should all be that eager to live.

Finding What's Lost

   It's Yom Kippur again today. For those who aren't sure or just don't know, that is the day when Jews mull over all the promises they haven't kept in the past year, the apologies they need to make, the things (like relationships, personal potential, resolutions of the past) they have let slip or the apologies they would like to get from others and try to scratch these off the list by taking action.
  Most of  notions about the New Year we have in the secular world of the west come from this holiday, New Year's resolutions, for instance. But like Ramadan, the holiday features fasting. We're lucky: in comparison to Ramadan, it's only one 24 hour period, not a whole month, but it's bad enough. You realize just how connected to the body you really are when you let the fuel run down. By the end of the day everyone is dull-eyed and listless, weak, leaning against the seat fighting to keep eyes open.
  For me, it's always been a spa-day, to think and sing (I'm in the synagogue choir), to listen to beautiful music, to engage in discussion with others and apologize for the inevitable failings. I'm grateful for it.
  But something happened last night at service that seems to me emblematic of my life at this time. It's a tough period for me. I don't know where I am, this late in my life, not feeling or being useful, anxious to find a place for myself where the odd, assorted skills I have gathered will be valued.
  As we were preparing for the service to start, sitting up in the choir section on the bimah (the stage of the synagogue), someone drew my attention to a small object on the seat behind me in the tenor's section. It was an iridescent silk kippah (yamika, skullcap). It happened to be the exact mingled tones of the tallis (prayer scarf, with fringes) I wore, which I bought for my bat mitzvah perhaps 7 years ago. I had lost that matching kippah almost immediately, and had gone through a series of various kippot. At the moment though, I was without one. On this holiday, everyone who has a tallis and kippah is required to wear one. In most kinds of synagogues, it's only men who are required to. But in our Reconstructionist shul, women do it as well, if they wish to.
  "That looks like yours," said Steve, pointing from the tallis to the kippah.
  I shook my head. "No. It's beautiful, but it belongs to someone else."
 In answer, Steve picked up the cap and put it on the back of the chair in front of me, where I scooped it up and put it on my head.
  I have decided it means something. Maybe all the things I believe I have lost are not gone at all. They are all around me, waiting to be re-found. I will take it as a message from the universe, and I am grateful.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It has been a while since I have written in this blog. Today is a good day, since we have entered the new year (at least the Jewish one!) and are about to experience yet another Yom Kipper.
I have been feeling down since my online class ended and nothing else has come up to take its place, but last night, I had an experience that should remind me that the unexpected can happen.
My friends the Genestas have had a run of very bad luck, losing their business, their home, their health insurance, and, unfortunately, their health as well. They are self-employed artists, so that makes things doubly difficult. But it was so amazing to see their community step into the breach, giving a benefit concert and silent auction so that they can pay for the 6 operations that were necessary when John fell off a ladder earlier this summer, breaking his neck and back in several places.
Though he is a Vietnam veteran, the VA didn't pay for his care because they couldn't accommodate him at the VA hospital. John was the person who took the cover photo for my book, so I auctioned off a couple of copies of the book (after hiking the price) and donated the proceeds to the cause.
I don't expect this sort of do, but perhaps the essential decency of many human beings will come through in my case as well. I hope it is soon.