December 9, 2011
So, it's Vayishlach. For those who care or know what that means, I have a tiny somethingorother to say.
Jacob is on his way back to his father's land. When he hears that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men, he hurries to put a plan in action to protect his family and his possessions. He prays and then acts to protect himself. It sounds from the frantic pace that he was in a bit of a panic.
I've been panicked at various times this year; I had a comfortable life and I chose to leave it behind. Now I'm starting over at 29 and sometimes the uncertainty is terrifying. When I act out of panic and cultivate anxiety, I seem to attract even more frustrating circumstances - or maybe it just seems like it because I'm not enjoying whatever is happening.
If Jacob had met Esau in a panic, with suspicion, he might have invited a similarly negative response from his brother. Instead, the angel (or demon, or man, or space alien, or whatever) who wrestled with Jacob wrenched his right thigh out of its socket. (aha! right side of the body = left brain = masculine, aggressive, linear thinking. Necessary? Yes. superhappyfunstuff? Not for me.) Jacob's anxiety wouldn't allow him to yield control and trust the Infinite for the outcome of the situation. So the space angel broke through his shell of panic and Jacob had to yield control.
After that mysterious night, Jacob met Esau with a smiling face and open hand, and all the tension drained from their reunion. Esau traveled on from there in a straight line, an orderly fashion, Jacob went on at the pace of his children and a bunch of baby lambs: ambling, organic movement in non-linear steps that spoke of his newfound trust in the whole process of living in an unpredictable universe.
Later, the text says "V'yavo Ya'akov Shalem," (Gen. 33:18) which can mean either "and Jacob came to [the town of] Shalem" or "and Jacob came [and was] whole." Whole? After being panicked to the breaking point and humbled before his brother? Whole because his need to control his circumstances was gone, the self-protective shell was shattered and he could now accept himself as a small drop in a vast ocean of consciousness and movement.
To me this suggests that my acceptance of my present situation (accept it, change it, or leave it, sez Eckhart Tolle - but don't stay and not accept it), and positive attitude, will invite more positive circumstances to come my way, but my anxious attempts to control a situation only makes it more difficult for me and those around me to enjoy our challenging lives.
November 10, 2011
I decided not to take any painkillers this month. This was a big step for me, because I have often been known to whine like a fat kid at fiesta texas (it happens) whilst menstruating, and to truly, actually, believe I was going to die if I didn't swallow some pamprin IMMEDIATELY. Once I even took a vicodin, given to me by a compassionate friend who shall remain nameless for her protection, under the assumption that my demise would be imminent, should the pain continue to build. I don't know if it's all the life-changes making me approach myself with the kind of wild grin a lab scientist gives to a hamster, but I decided to experiment away and face my fears...
I also drew this totally tubular illustration in my journal. It's ok if you don't get it.
August 15, 2011
This poem I wrote last October sums up my current course of cosmic learning... the title is a Rumi reference.
Wash in Wisdom-Water
Oh! The un-marinated heart
a crusty thing
a barnacled hull
Hauled out of sea to dry and grow dull
better to yield to the
the longer the wait
the harder the purge
August 11, 2011
Chakra / Bent aspect / True aspect / Cure
Root / Fear / Courage / Naming your fears
Recognize that the frightening things in your life are the door to Wisdom and walk on through.
Sacral / Control / Playfulness / Relax – no Judgement or expectations
Accept others and yourself as you are – don’t manipulate life, instead release any attempt to control and let life bring you it’s true pleasures.
Solar / Guilt / Freedom / Honesty – say what you mean
Not letting your true self shine burns you up inside – accept your unique identity and let G-d’s design shine from within you. Always speak the truth.
Heart / Depression / Love / Surrender to Love
Let love in, open your heart – it will hurt, but you will be transformed for the better.
Throat / Bottling up / Expression / Spontaneous words and sounds
Open the vent, don’t fail to process your reactions to life – spontaneity gets the flow started.
Third Eye / Fretfulness / Fruitfulness / Breathing / Prayer
Breathing mindfully and practicing mindfulness in all areas releases you from the grip of anxiety, which is future-based – don’t live in the future, live now.
Crown / Greed / Ultimate Wisdom / Dancing shakes off attachments
Let go of the need for material luxury by dancing, spinning, shaking – and you will realize the interconnectedness and impermanence of all life.
The Pink Presence of Pure spirit (Shekhinah) completes the circuit and permeates all the chakras. We are circular beings. This is how “Enlightenment” (living true to the spark of eternity within you) can be reached through the ascetic path (through the Crown) or the tantric path (through the Root). Whether you ascend or descend, G-d is there, loving unceasingly.
June 27, 2011
I didn't know whether to post this in We Were Like Dreamers, which is more or less the narrative of my inner journey, or Hippie Lettuce, which is about external health - this thing that is happening to me is happening from inside to out and outside to in, so I'm going with BOTH.
There is no more time for dishonesty, facade or ignorance. My life is in freaking shambles, and I am the earthquak-er. Shiva is up and smoking; a new song is blasting the walls of Jericho to the ground.
Physically, the change is speeding along. Since I started eating raw, my body has completely begun re-forming itself. I've lost about 14 pounds (which is too much too fast, and I've been piling on the nuts, oils, healthy fats as much as possible, and it has slowed down). My skin cleared up right away. Acne is no longer a concern for Adult Deborah (thank G-D). Although any ideas for natural face scrubs and whatnot would be most welcome. My mind is so much more clear now. I feel more free, because when I eat, I am no longer incapacitated by the sluggish digestion of refined, processed foods. I ENJOY food more now. Taste and eating have become much more pleasurable and sensual as my palate adjusts to this new, natural menu. My creativity has been somewhat EXPLODING as I have been struck with inspiration time and time again to create a new dish (usually using the blender to make dips, sauces, desserts). It is something I am very grateful for; a path I know I need to stay on. It's Life for me.
Oh yes, and my hair is blue. I've always wanted to be a mermaid.
Now to the inner world...
When I started writing my morning pages as part of the Artist's Way work, I had no idea what was going to happen... I had no idea I was going to find my true voice - that which I had stuffed down for so long, fearing the unknown. I have feared the dark since childhood, but to be honest, it was sometimes a more intense fear as an adult. Things I was hiding from myself... What does it take to know your own Heart? To know G-d from within? What are you afraid of losing in order to find it? To tell the truth, I did lose myself in order to find myself... It's a cliff many are hesitant to leap from; "the people remained at a distance, and Moses approached the thick darkness where G-d was." (Exodus 20:21)
What came out in my journal (three pages first thing each morning is the goal), was my voice. My own voice. Not the voice constructed for me by society, or my parents, or religion, or friends, but the true, deep, inner cry of my heart. I learned a lot about separating those other voices from my own voice. Finding my own perspective, instead of putting on someone else's. In the book "Courage", Osho says, "[the mind] is nothing natural, it is cultivated. It has been put together on top of you. Deep down you are still free, you can get out of it. One can never get out of nature, but one can get out of the artificial any moment one decides to."
I found my way out of the artificial.
I called myself "Daydreamer," because for most of my life, I've existed in a state of idealism and fantasy. I've spoken in lofty terms about mystical, abstract meanings of things, and I've not brought these things to the red, red roots of HOW DO YOU LIVE THEN? It's a good question, and one that I am going to address for the rest of my life.
Everything has changed, because I've been brought to a place of understanding that it is through Experience that I gain real, practical Wisdom - not only through book learnin's. Lofty, abstract concepts can be attained when one denies the physical, the ego, and appeals to the Library in the Sky, lovingly created by our Father in heaven... But there is another way that has been neglected for too long: the Tantric path. Wisdom gained through experience. Embracing the physical without clinging to it, which is, I think, exactly how Jesus lived.
We've neglected our Mother. In a lot of ways, religion has shut us up in white boxes in the West (can't speak for the East; don't know), and distorted our perspective of G-d to mean the Guy in the Sky, who can only be accessed through particular sacraments, creeds, rituals, the right crowd.
I reject this proposition, and I offer another. G-d is everywhere. I don't meet G-d in a building, I meet "G-d" (I write it "G-d" not necessarily from the Jewish perspective that doesn't spell out the name out of respect, but rather from a recognition of the futility of using words to describe this) in the eyes and experiences of people I talk to, and in the pure, awesome wonder of the natural world.
Embracing G-d as Mother means giving your full attention, your full presence to everything you do. Learning to live with the ego, instead of trying to destroy it. Eating, drinking, breathing, making love, conversation - whenever we take something in, we should do it gratefully, with awareness that our Source Loves us with a perfect Love. If we first turn our attention to the inner, then the outer world becomes a Joy instead of an addiction. What's coming from within? Perfect Love. Only perfect Love can change you from your roots to your tips; judgement and fear of punishment can only treat the symptoms of a crooked heart. The better way is Love, and Love is ALWAYS speaking if you will listen. How do you listen?
I have tooooooooo much to explain in one blog post, but let's sum up:
1. Please buy a journal and start using it.
2. Go for a walk in the woods.
3. Stop judging people.
I Love you, world. We're going to get through this. There's a better way coming, and we both know what it is... We're either going to destroy ourselves with violence or we're going to find a better way to relate to ourselves and each other. And I can say, with absolute confidence from experience that HONESTY IS EVERYTHING.
June 6, 2011
A friend told me the other day that hatred is not truly the opposite of love. Both love and hatred are founded on attention - focusing on something. And at the root of attention, is Love. Hatred is just love gone sour; gone crooked into obsession and resentment and anxiety. If you want to know the real opposite of love, it is indifference. Perhaps that's why the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and so many others have waved giant bright banners over the issue of compassion and care for the poor.
But we build walls. Wrapped, I was born, with a thick little shell for a body...
There must be a way to cut through the Klipot (shells, curtains between us and True life), slice the stone and hear from the Dove (שימן בר יונה). Become a friend of G-d. Tear away the layers of False Self, ego, pride that are dividing me from you and you from you and find that pearl that is worth selling everything for. Find G-d in your own heart, there is no where else to find her.
"First among the items of knowledge that a person must have is knowledge of his own self. It is the root of worship." --Siraj al-Uqul, Yemenite Midrash
We're asked to choose in this life, between the two directions of flow, ("life and death" Deuteronomy 30:19-20) and which stream we will exist in. Maybe everyone dips their feet in one or the other at times. But it seems like there is a choice inherent in the situation: choose life or choose death.
Choose healing, the drive for renewal: Binding up broken hearts by the sacred act of Listening to those who grieve. Setting the captives free from whatever Mitzrayim (Egypt) they are bound in - fear, guilt, anxiety, shame, addictive behaviors - by commiseration and the words of your own story; essentially by honesty and breaking the silence that implies that I am not suffering and struggling right along with you. And keeping faith with those who sleep in the dust: feeding the homeless & hungry, visiting the prisoners in our prison system, treating all people with respect and dignity by making eye contact and reducing your monopoly on the conversation.
This is the flow of tikkun olam (restoring the world) that we are constantly, gently being prodded to join by that singing drop of the sea that is always humming in the hiddenmost part of our hearts. It is a walk of faith; faith that there will always be something to give, so give freely. Faith that there will always and forever be a flow, a deep wellspring gushing up to eternal life; mercy to go around and back again.
June 3, 2011
May 19, 2011
...which brings forth it's fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither; and whatever he does, he will prosper."
For a razor-sharp mystical exploration of parashat Bechukotai, I recommend this article by R. Shefa Gold: http://www.rabbishefagold.com/Bechukotai.html
May 5, 2011
This song is brilliant. Yeah, it's not every day I am driven to blog by Orthodox Jewish Rappers. Well, today is a new day.
What I wrote in my last post was mostly me letting off steam. Sometimes religion starts feeling really itchy and confining, and there is a part of me that just stretches out a bit and sends big cracks shooting through the body of my religion(s). None of them seem to fit quite right all of the time. And yes, sometimes it's all very confusing and thanks for your patience, world.
Anyway, I'm operating from the belief that there is Something Else that underlies all the beautiful and varied religious practices and prayers and prejudices. And I've been trying to find that Something for a long time; trying to get to the bottom of things. I know sometimes I miss the forest for the trees. In some wonderful moments I am the forest.
"Meister Eckhardt said that our religions are like houses. Each house has a trap door somewhere down in the basement, and if we go deep enough, we will fall through the trap door into a river that flows beneath all of us." - Samir Selmanovic, It's Really All About God
There's a line in this song that (to me) pretty much sums up what I've found to be true about that River flowing underneath...
"Stakes is high, all ya do is try to take
fill up yourself, number one mistake
give back to the world, that's the only way
redemption comin' like a runaway train."
It's weird how Matisyahu can distill pure, unadulturated Wisdom into reggae-rap music. Yep, weird. But I like it.
And this is exactly what I've found. I think this is what the kingdom of G-d / Malchut is. The Shekhinah presence of G-d that chose to be exiled with us, and is every moment shining through the seams and about to break through and bear fruit. Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all of her paths are peace. Her way is to love your neighbor. To judge not lest you be judged. To reach across cultural and religious boundaries and show compassion without expectation to the people you thought G-d didn't even like (cause that's what Samaritans were to 1st century Jews).
So yeah, that's my soap box for the day. Don't operate out of the ego, turn the tide; give, don't take. And things just might change for the better...
April 26, 2011
Yesterday I was consumed by my own feelings and griefs and attitudes. I was sad; quite sad. I walked around in a fog.
This man in beat up clothes who looked like he had been dragged through a river and dried out in the sun looked at me as I walked out of the grocery store and said in a strained voice, "ma'am, can I ask you a question?" "drug addict" said the uncharitable side of my mind. "I'm sorry," I said. "I don't have any money."
Yeah, and it was true. I didn't have any money. But I felt this little sinking sensation in my solar plexus that told me I could have done something anyway. I passed up an opportunity to just talk to the guy for more than two seconds, and to give him some desperately needed respect and love by treating him like a real human being. Conversely, I've been doing great in the religious forums; stockpiling lots of respect for my ability to memorize and regurgitate facts. Ugh, this is not adding up.
I'm a little disgusted with myself, is it coming through in the typing?
So, this is it; I'm just going to say it.
I have a hard time believing in "-ism's" and "-ianity's," particularly because they so often seem to separate people instead of unifying people. I'm not just responsible for caring for the people in one religious group; I am responsible for the whole of humanity. Either all men are made in the image of G-d, or no men are. I don't accept groups. I only accept people.
What I believe in is not doctrines or articles of faith, but rather it is the Eternal Now, the Kingdom of Heaven. And it is here, in this moment, in my being and the faces of others and the natural environment I find myself in. 'Today, if you will listen." I don't care what you call it, honestly, I don't; and I'd rather not be sold someone else's views on the subject. I love my Creator with all the pathetic little paper roses and macaroni pictures my soul can muster, and I believe that I was born for one thing: to show compassion to my fellow man, and to reflect every good thing in my life back to my Loving Creator who for whatever strange reason, never gets tired of reaching out a helpful Arm when I cry for Mercy. There's this well-spring of infinite Love. Can you feel it? There's an invisible door to it in the center of my gnarly little being.
Tradition and spiritual discipline are, and always will be, a part of my life. But if I am being really honest with myself, I feel the Presence of the Divine, שכינה, in three things:
~Long walks in the beauty of Nature, where I offer words and songs and dances to the invisible G-d whose beauty seems to saturate the creation itself and I am full and overflowing in the abundance of it all.
~When I am creating art in various mediums and the little "me" disappears.
~And in the eyes of all people: brothers, sisters, strangers, neighbors, nemeses, lovers, friends.
That's what I have learned so far. What did you do today?
April 7, 2011
I've also been reading this book, which is utterly delightful and profound, and so, I've had a lot of food for thought these last few days...
Today I went back and wrote a song from the words of the 4th Psalm. It's called רגזו / "Rigzu", which means "tremble" and is a terrifically fun word to write in script Hebrew, because the gimel and zayin mirror each other.
So, Tehillim 4:4-6:
ד וּדְעוּ--כִּי-הִפְלָה יי, חָסִיד לוֹ; יי יִשְׁמַע, בְּקָרְאִי אֵלָיו. 4 But know that the LORD hath set apart the godly man as His own; the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.
ה רִגְזוּ, וְאַל-תֶּחֱטָאוּ: אִמְרוּ בִלְבַבְכֶם, עַל-מִשְׁכַּבְכֶם; וְדֹמּוּ סֶלָה. 5 Tremble, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah
ו זִבְחוּ זִבְחֵי-צֶדֶק; וּבִטְחוּ, אֶל-יי. 6 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
There's something really wonderful between the lines of these verses; I see a hint at the nearness of G-d. "Tremble," it says - the awe of Hashem is the beginning of Wisdom. "Be still" and "commune with your own heart upon your bed" - in these verses I hear a call to listen deeply. To what?.. To the presence of G-d within.
But says my mind, G-d doesn't answer me... all I hear is silence.
"יי יִשְׁמַע, בְּקָרְאִי" / "Hashem yishma b'kar'i" says "G-d will hear when I call." However, "בְּ" can mean "in," implying: "G-d will hear; [G-d is] in my cry" - a deeper nearness than imagined... G-d is closer to me than my own body and spirit -Yehuda HaLevi
I can only know this when I am truly present in my own life. So breathe. And listen. ...and tremble...
Genesis, detail, 2007, דבורה
April 2, 2011
March 30, 2011
March 23, 2011
Come, Beloved, 2011, דבורה
March 15, 2011
Morgan Russell, Still-Life Synchromy, "lyrically arranged colors are as capable of conveying a message as are finely orchestrated musical notes"
"I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known, so I created the world." -So goeth the oft-quoted hadith.
The concept of G-d as a singular light, shone through the mirror-like prism of creation and refracted into varied beings and experiences is neatly illustrated by Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album cover. See below:
Ah, yes, the ubiquitous Pink Floyd. When I was at community college, I used to keep a running tally of all the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, Bob Marley and Ralphie Wiggum "I bent my wookie" shirts I saw in a semester. A popular image, no doubt. There's something mystical and beautiful about prisms, and the rainbows they refract. I ask for wonder....
Some people are mirrors. Some delightful; others disgusting. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. The person who annoys you the most might be there in your life as a kind of "Hey man, over here!" from the Infinite, trying to tell you that the thing you hate most about that person is, in fact, your biggest fault, and something maybe you could work on...
Sometimes the experience of meeting a mirror is pure bliss, if only because you feel... understood. I can't overstate the value of this as an artist and self-proclaimed "weird person."
But all mirrors have their jagged edges, and if you hold too tightly you can get pretty cut and bloody. And then you get tired of pussy-footing around and just want it to cut clean through. It reminds me of this silly man who once asked me if, by taking so many insulin shots in my abdomen, I would eventually cut my body clean in half. Ha.
Man, this kind of hurts, though. One of my Harbingers of Education has returned. So, yes, pain, but I always learn fantastic illuminative lessons when they're around, so it's also kind of exciting.
What I'm trying to say (in a way that might indicate the necessity of some kind of therapy) is that pain creates soul growth. So, bring it.
After all, those who wake up from Near Death Experiences often bring back the same story, specifically, that an angel reviews their life so far and then asks them two questions:
How much did you LEARN?
How much did you LOVE?
This is basically the textbook NDE. No really; in my college Psychology class we had this delightfully weird professor who brought holograms to class and let us grade some of our own exams. There was an NDE book and it was required reading...
one, two, three, four, up to ten
March 14, 2011
February 26, 2011
I thought I had it all figured out
I thought I had it right, now
even if my direction was a spiral into the very heart of the earth
But time does rob and give back to me
all I never thought I'd see
I'm stumbling, reminded of your heavy worth
And you must be part of my Arm
pulling me gently with cords to harder ways
to what's right
When I don't want to hear it
when all I seek is dissipation, not participation
but I am forced to anyway
Because my broken heart pulls me
stretching, incubating Love's lost reasons
Change occurs daily
but you look the same as me
You dance away into the light
What should I play tonight?
- - - - - 6.12.2010
February 1, 2011
this delightful foto by the great Steven Bernstein
G-d doesn't just love your sparkly, shiny, inspiring Soul. He Loves every part, right down to the very shitty bits of your being.
Part I: Waxing Poetic
The breath/Spirit* of G-d carries Love into my being, but I must unfold all the dinginess and damp; crevices that have yet to see the Sun in a lifetime - and let Love permeate and work all through every part. Thankfulness can help break the wall down and let it all through.
Eventually, somehow, I suppose manure is converted to diamonds... er, heavenly alchemy.
But not by force or manipulation... only by pure, perfect, complete Acceptance. And that is the gift of our Source: G-d. Who began a good work in us, and will see it through...
*(in Hebrew & Greek they're the same word)
Part II: Ouch, my leg.
I dreamed I cut off all my hair and dyed it a hideous orange color (my first thought was "not again!?!?!" which is certainly strange in itself, but it gets worse, much worse...) I looked down at my legs with the same nonchalance and tried to cut them off too! Good Grief! There is some sort of egregious miscommunication going on between me, myself and I.
The Teshuva (repentance/turning/rethinkingeverythingongodsgreenearth) I've been engaged in lately, while in some ways a return to the True self that dwells with G-d, has been unwisely paired on my part with an intent to detach from all physicality. DAMMIT!! No!! Not again!!!
Red. Red is the color of Courage, and the Root Chakra, and blood, and the life force of all creatures, and forward momentum, and heat, and Love and vigor!
And G-d saw all that he had made, and behold! It was very good! (Genesis 1:31
But still, I do not have courage! Courage to follow the lead of my Father in Heaven and EMBRACE all of me!!! - For the Love of G-d and all that is holy!!!!! Blargh!!!
Part III: Brave Hearts
I love going to visit the Alamo. I feel the holiness of the place in a tangible way; so many could not have given their lives so bravely for what they believed was right without making a permanent cosmic dent in the area. I look at the unadulturated work of art that was erected in their memory, and I sing a song I wrote in their honour:
Brave hearts, into the sun
hold your flags higher and higher
They can kill our bodies but they can't
kill our souls
They can kill our bodies but they can't
kill our Hope
I wish I had the Courage to stand my ground like they did. Agh! Courage! I'm obsessed with the term. I've always been a bit lily-livered, to tell the truth - a bit waffly, rather yellow 'round the edges and prone to parting with my ideals when I think someone will take umbrage at them. I don't want to spend my life in retreat. I want to stand, and after I have done all I can... to stand!
January 4, 2011
"a moment can last forever."
Depth Perception, 2010, דבורה
You've always been a better friend
than I could manage to pretend
Trees bear strange and foreign fruit
but meet each other at the root
Can you hear this fleeting fear?
I put my heart up to your ear
Just sing and dance and laugh, lover
it don't take so much to recover
Oh, hear me now
I... I just don't know how
Oh, to let it through
but I... I am waking up to you
"In moments of mystical illumination, we may experience, in a few chronological seconds, years of transfigured love." -Madeleine L'Engle