Welcome to the thirty-sixth day of the journey. This is the first day of the sixth week. This week’s kavannah (intention) is
Becoming the Vision.
(Journey of the Soul is a project of Rabbi Jill Zimmerman & Rabbi Cindy Enger. Find out more here)
Throughout last week we explored the many obstacles that we bump up against as we walk through unknown territory. We encountered difficult emotions and our habitual reactions as well as the potential opportunities and intentional responses that come to us when we are able to stand still.
We find ourselves now at a fork in the…
A Prayer-Poem I wrote last night. It’s pretty raw. I wrote it after reading and listening to the overflowing stories being revealed now, like rivers — many for the very first time.
Let the truth rain down
And create rivers
Let us be strong enough to keep listening
As more unfolds
Little things -
May the shame be washed away
It’s not your fault
You didn’t deserve it
You didn’t dress the wrong way
You said yes when your body screamed no
You didn’t speak up
Out of fear
If you have a sensitive heart
I’m guessing your heart is
bruised these days -
maybe even broken.
It’s painful these days -
stories of degradation,
a culture slipped into
Images of suffering
daily, constant, overwhelming.
The earth itself cries out
with swirling winds, fire and water:
don’t forget me.
What we took for granted:
right speech and right action
thrown against the wall.
Tears come easily and often.
Disengage for a bit to heal.
Listen to the cello, deep and resonant.
Follow the breath, the gift that sustains each moment we are alive.
Walk among the trees
Be with someone who loves easily.
Pray, meditate, knit and play.
Drink from the well.
Engage in small kindnesses.
Then, come back,
Re-enter the world that awaits your renewed energy.
Bring your broken heart
and walk forward.
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman
We are in the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur called the 10 days of Teshuvah/Repentance. It’s the most intense time of the year where we are encouraged to search our souls for where we have gone astray, and to ask people for forgiveness. The process of doing teshuvah (repentance, return to our soul’s original purpose) and asking for and granting forgiveness is indeed challenging.
It is all the more so in cases of profound betrayal such as childhood or domestic abuse, infidelity, and belittling, bullying and neglect. …
The movement at this time of year is toward wholeness. You begin to realize all the ways you are broken and estranged, and get in touch with the longing to re-connect. The deepest energy of the days leading up to the Jewish High Holy days is returning home. The Hebrew month of Elul, which precedes Rosh Hashanah by one month, offers us the opportunity to look at the reality of our lives and in so doing, acknowledge where and what is broken, and turn our attention to repair and healing.
One spiritual practice that people do during this month of…
I’m wondering if you gasped, as I did, seeing Nazi flags marched through the streets of Charlottesville. I’m sure you looked on in horror as men with torches surrounded a church holding an interfaith service and shouted “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil”, slogans taken from Nazi Germany.
Not as well publicized was that on that particular Saturday morning, as a synagogue worshipped for Shabbat services, Neo-Nazis marched by several times chanting “Sieg Heil.” The rabbi called for police protection (which didn’t arrive) because three Nazis stood menacingly across the street with semi-automatic rifles. The congregants left…
I spent my twenties working for a nuclear-free world. I even left my full-time job to work as a volunteer for the nuclear-free movement. So all this ratcheting up about nuclear war gets me in the gut.
But today, I’m not writing to talk about weapons, or mentally ill politicians putting us on the brink of war — that’s another conversation.
The conversation I want to have with you is about fear — and how you walk through it.
Right now, in the small and large world of which I find myself a part, there is a great deal of…
I honestly can’t remember a time like this before. I know I’m not alone. Many of us are living with outrage, fear or anxiety front and center. It might be the relentless beat of painful world events. Or it could be something personal: a difficult diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, or the loss of someone important. Or more likely, a combination.
A few weeks ago I had a day when despair shook me. It was a medley of truly unbelievable assaults on the national and religious values I hold dear, combined with a flare-up of my rheumatoid arthritis. …
Tell me, have you walked among the trees recently?
I will never forget the quality of the silence in the redwood forest we used to visit when we lived in Northern California. It was similar to the silence of a sanctuary or cathedral. Bone deep, sacred. Just even thinking of walking on the pathway in that forest, I notice that I take a deep breath.
This is interesting, in and of itself, because the truth is that we DO breathe in the energy that trees release in the form of oxygen that we need to live.
And just as amazing…
We have never been in a time quite like this in our country. So many of us are living our days in panic, as each new executive order from Donald Trump is released. There is so much to be deeply concerned about as these orders threaten to tear apart some of our most closely-held values.
Righteous outrage fatigue is already setting in.
One response is to be in alert mode constantly. While this is understandable, it is extremely unhealthy. …