December 30, 2010

The Elixir of Hope

I am in the process of withdrawal
from the elixir of hope
which daily I tasted this past year
with greedy lips accepting anticipation.

You fashioned and threw the cup
on my wheel of life,
you created the vessel.
I boldly filled it
with the brew of dreams, desire
and regular disappointments...
this heady mix of emotions
which daily flamed my blood
entered my mind
caused me intoxication
created the cascade of sweetness
joy longing hope love.

Today upon the fifth anniversary of discovering
death in bed at home
already discolored already cold already
not there not alive not in my life.
The discovery of my wife my loved one my life
no longer being.
Today I longed for death.

Today I contemplated the possible ways
to end the pain
of withdrawal from hope
to end the pain
of loneliness
to end the pain of losing the taste for life
of losing the intoxication of hope.
I howled in pain, I sobbed for hours.

The bubble of the frothy tonic burst
the constellation of sorrows poured
Understanding the insanity of the world
knowing that children still die from
unclean water carried on heads gathered hours away
feeling the pain of the millions of Jews
who have suffered eternally
feeling the loss of my sister whose sweetness
allowed me to creep into her heart
knowing the frailty of all life
the heartache of coming face to face
with who I am who I am not.

All this and of course more so much more that
words can never touch
came crashing down on
my soul reeling from withdrawal.

Today I called Ben and he listened. He heard.
Today I did not succumb.
Today I lack the grace of gratitude which should
accompany the embrace of life.
Today my hold is tenuous.

Lizi, Lizi, Lizi

Dear Lizi,
I have lied to you. I have lied to myself. It doesn't truly get better.
The hole is still there.
It may shrink some,it may develop a thin film, a thin veneer of sweetness,
even joy, but the hole remains.
All I wish to do now is dive into the hole and never surface.
Five years and it is as fresh as painful as day one.
In fact more so because the shock, that protective sheath of disbelief
is gone.
Forgive me.

December 16, 2010

My Sweet Adonai

My Dearest Adonai,

I don't possess Hebrew.
I don't have the words to the prayers.
I don't have the times to bend my knees
and the pattern of Shabbos service.
I don't know all the Prophets, Psalms,
books of Torah,
I don't know Talmud, Midrash, the myraid Rabbis,
I don't know the calendar, all the festivals, holy days,

I don't know much about You and Your People,
All People,
I don't know so very very much.

I do know that I love you with all of my heart and soul.

And I am eternally Grateful that You have created me.

November 28, 2010

Loving Friends

I have just now considered the people in my life who I love deeply.
Who I may not see or talk to for months, even years for one, and when we do we automatically go deep, our conversation goes to the heart of the matter, quickly, easily, effortlessly.
I counted a goodly six to nine of such friends. Those who I could call day or night, for anything. Those who I love and trust with my life.
I visited these friends early this November and all too briefly, revived the connection with them.

I wish to be always able to help create sparks of connection, and love.

I am counting Helena as one of these friends. She has careened into the ranks of 'Those Who I love and Trust With My Life' in such a short time. She has done what it took 20 to 30 years for the others to attain, in only a year. She has become one of the people who I love deeply.
We will be deep and excellent friends. We both want this.

Thus, I have opened myself up again to Adonai, to the Universe, to my fate. I have opened myself to the possibilities of touch, with whomever Adonai brings into my life. I have examined my heart, I know my heart; it can handle deep love, deep friendship, with yet another woman.

November 18, 2010

Adonai Adonai Adonai

I am so grateful that I have another way of calling to God.

I now call out ADONAI, ADONAI, ADONAI as I take my nightly walk. ADONAI is now added to the other names I have for God, Sovereign of the Universe, Eternal One, Formless One, One found in each of Us.

I now say the Sh'ma Yisrael and blessings for the return of my soul...daily.
Blessed is God's glorious majesty foreveer and ever!

I now have new words to sing the praises of this God, this Being, this Force, this Goodness which I experience daily; which I truly cannot say exactly what/who/where She/He/It is, but I know it is there/here/in my life...daily.

I am so happy to have more ways, exquisite ways, more words, prayers, psalms, songs, poetry, more people I have come to appreciate and love, more ways to praise God.

I am so happy that I have found Judaism.

November 16, 2010

Amazing Women

Today I had the privilege of teaching seven breast cancer survivors. They had asked me to present nutrition information to their weekly group hosted by a local regional medical center. I did my best to provide a summary of how to eat optimally, how to conceptualize and create, very practically, a pattern of best nutrition.
[If interested, please read my Nutrition piece on the right hand side of my Writing page on]

From the moment I walked into the meeting room and was greeted by the first woman there, I knew that I was not dealing with an ordinary group. As they kept arriving and talking, I was struck by their honesty and forthrightness in dealing with their struggle with mortality.
They are dealing with the matter-of-fact reality of women having to drastically change their priorities, their attitudes about themselves, about how they look, how their bodies appear to the world, about care of themselves, about care of loved ones now, and after; about interfacing with an entire medical community which they'd heretofore never even considered maybe never even knew existed

They have each spent a good chunk of their lives keeping appointments which no one truly believes they will ever have to make. They have chosen to place their lives in the hands of medical doctors who they have come to love and trust. Some have always or newly loved God and are using Religious Faith to heal. Some have totally embraced the fact of loving themselves, living day to day, attempting to not think of the future. Some of these women understand the need to live life consciously, deliberately, lovingly, with gratitude and appreciation, with awe and wonder and joy, daily. Marilyn told me that this is how she lives. Marilyn shines.

Each is coping with everything the typical middle aged or older woman faces, everything that goes wrong, that can go wrong, in our ordinary lives, getting into the world, interacting with the world, dealing with spouses, family, friends, work, chores....they face what everywoman typically faces, plus they top this off with the daily recognition of loss.

I shared what I know about eating to keep us whole, eating to help mend the world, eating with love for our bodies, eating for joy and flavor and pleasure. I attempted to summarize hours of what I would want to tell them in too short a time.

Thus I realize as I write about seeing these Amazing Women that I want to return regularly to be surrounded by women who are dealing with some of the deepest feelings a human will ever have.

October 20, 2010

A Gift

Last Friday, October 15th, I visited the new home of L.A.'s Museum of the Holocaust. I arrived later than I'd wanted, and stumbled upon a talk given by a Hungarian survivor, Mary Bauer. Sitting amongst a handful of other listeners, I soon felt her words stir my mind, my heart, my deepest feelings. I was in tears within minutes of hearing her speak. I heard her words, spoken with the distinctive Hungarian/American accent so familiar to my ears; but I also took in her entire being. Her dress, attire, demeanor, hair, eyes, skin; she was very beautiful, well groomed, elegant. She spoke eloquently, almost matter of fact about her experience of Hell. Her story was a familiar one, echoing facts I knew, emotions I knew would come. I found myself totally captivated. She survived the time in Hell with her mother at her side.

After the talk, I stayed to hear her interact with another survivor from Slovakia who came up and introduced herself. They had both been in Auschwitz, the Slovakian woman having arrived several months later, in November, vs. Mary's arrival in April 1944. Mary wanted to compare their numbers, so they both read their numeric tattoos, and watching this made me weep again. A third survivor joined in, his tattoo also showed, and he spoke Hungarian.

The fact of hearing Hungarian, the poignancy of the stories, seeing these three amazingly beautiful souls still alive and bearing witness to Hell on Earth, all this continued to flood my heart with immense feeling.

As the Hungarian man turned to leave, I went up to him and told him, "Koszonom hogy it vagyol" (Thank you for being here) and took his hand and kissed it, saying, "Kezit Csokolom" (I kiss your hand) which is the highest sign of respect for a Hungarian. Then Mary turned to me and held my hand; I bent down, again saying, "Kezit Coskolom" to kiss her hand. We chatted, with her still holding my hand. Her warmth and grace continued to captivate me. She complemented me, telling me how young I look, how good my skin looks, the things that a Hungarian woman would see and comment freely upon to another woman. Her frankness, honesty, vulnerability, warmth, sincerity, strength, genuine ease in herself - all made her compelling.

I left her presence upon her commanding me (in Hungarian) to speak with the blonde with the long hair at the counter to find out when she would next present at the museum. She wanted to see me again, not lose contact, telling me in Hungarian, "I have two sons and neither of them speak Hungarian. You can be my daughter." I started towards the counter, but halfway there I turned away and sought refuge in the adjoining exhibit hall. I found a far wall to crouch near, buried my head and sobbed. The feelings were immense. As I cried, a man walked by, slowed his pace, and briefly stopped to gently touch my shoulder in comfort. I was grateful for this stranger's touch.

I have been teary, emotional, feeling tremendous gratitude for my life, for the perfection in my life, for my ability to feel such depth of love, joy in my soul, for my decision to convert to Judaism, for the bliss I feel when I hear the ancient Prayers recited on Shabbat, when I read the words to these Prayers, when I hear the singing, the songs on Shabbat. I cry, I feel my heart is flooded. All of this, coupled with my deep feelings of love for Helena, the woman who months ago captivated my heart; and I feel full to bursting. Helena meets me, she matches me, she teaches me, she surprises me. Converting to Judaism too feels so wonderful, evokes such depth of love and awe that I'm constantly having to wipe away tears of sheer gratitude and joy. Am I truly so very fortunate to have these encounters with living History, in Temple, at the Museum, these encounters with Love, with God?

One of the stories that Mary Bauer told especially touched me, and now as I write, I feel an opening as to why it touched me so deeply.

In the mid-60's, after not seeing her mother for fifteen or so years, her mother was able to visit Mary in Los Angeles. Mary had married, moved to the U.S. in 1951 (she would have been about 22), restarted her life and had two sons. The boys were in their early teens when they saw their grandmother for the first time. Mary and her mom went to see some public performance and it so happened that Los Angeles Nazi's, in full uniform, interrupted the performance. Seeing the Nazi's so upset Mary's mother that she wanted to leave the United States immediately and return to Hungary. "I will not stay here. Under Communism I never once saw a swastika, and here with your freedoms I see one!" She and Mary fought, yelling, screaming (and as she told the story, she looked at me and said, "As Hungarians do..." and I laughed with knowing) and her mother returned home. They never saw each other again.
Mary concluded the story by telling the audience that to this day her oldest son will not speak to her; he blames his mother for him not having a grandmother.

And here is the gift:
I realized, no I FELT, viscerally, in every fiber of my being, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, the immense depth of my loss of never seeing, never knowing, never never never being held, never loved by ANY of my grandparents.

October 19, 2010

Did I Kill The Bee?

A small bee got trapped in my home this afternoon. It buzzed around my desk as I sat writing at the computer. I knew I couldn't leave it in my house, else it would be trapped by the closed windows from our latest spate of rain and cool weather.

I opened my front door and the sliding door to the balcony, and followed the bee to the window it had chosen as its escape route. But this window was screened and I literally couldn't take the screen off to allow her flight to freedom; so for several minutes, with a thin yet sturdy piece of paper, I attempted to corral her away from this window, towards the open balcony. To no avail. She was much too fast. Each time I was able to have her begin to crawl onto the paper, and slowly glide the paper towards the balcony, she sensed the change of direction and quickly zoomed back to the screened window, buzzing furiously. I'm quite sure she was nervous and angry, but I wasn't of being stung.

Next I tried to trap the bee into a cup, with the paper holding her inside. The first attempt failed, as I didn't have the paper fully covering the cup's opening. She was again back at the window. The second attempt was Successful!!!

I now walked confidently onto the balcony, lifted the paper and expected her to fly quickly away. But she crawled to the edge of the cup and just sat there.

I was fully vested in this little bee's life, only wanting longevity for her and her clan. I am terribly aware of the devastation of bee colony collapse plaguing our world and I certainly do not want the onus of a bee's death on my conscious. And I happen to like bees; I've had a lifelong fondness for these rugged, essential workers since my youth.

As I waited for her to fly off, I had the sinking feeling that I'd somehow injured her. I was close enough to see the intricacies of her body, her precious little legs grasping the edge of the cup, the distinct dark brown stripes on her body, even her thin pointed face. I prayed that she was not harmed by my maneuvers. Was she just resting after the effort and frustration of attempted escape? Can I even begin to fathom the mind of a bee? Certainly not. So I blew gently to encourage her to fly, and fly away she did!

These few minutes of my life given to help save the life of another were precious to me. Even if the soul saved was that of an Apoidea.

October 18, 2010

Can These Prayers Be Real?

Am I to believe that an entire liturgy exists which reflects my feelings for God/Goddess/Divine; which not only reflects my feelings, thoughts, heart's longings, soul's deepest desire; but expresses these thoughts, longings, desires in a form which sings to my ears, fills my heart with joy, creates a flood of emotion in my being drenching me with extreme joy and bliss; tears spilling down my face. Am I to believe that such a body of words exist?

I've read Rumi and Kabir and felt the same joy, transported to a place deep in my heart, longing for God. But I've not had the experience of reading Rumi with a group of people, with music, with tradition, with ritual. I've sung soul stirring Bhajans in Satsang and was also transported to a place of bliss and joy, tears too drenching my face. I've experienced strong group Devotion. I absolutely love how it feels.

And this is exactly why I am converting to Judaism. Here in one service, one place, every place where I am, where I turn my eyes, gaze at creation, ponder the truth of the workings of my mind, every place I consider, all conditions of humanity, every consideration of thoughtful substance, love, awe, praise, devotion, all this and more I find in the Prayers of Judaism.

When I first went to Erev Rosh Hashanah services I wasn't sure what I would find. Immediately I felt at home, amongst people who I knew, who I recognized as my own, my kin, family. I felt I belonged. I loved every minute of it. I cried for the two hours hearing music and prayers which felt so much a part of me that I was frankly shaken with wonder.

And I continue to be shaken with wonder each and every time I experience Services. Each time I hear the singing and prayers, each time I read the words to these prayers which have been repeated for millennia, I am transported to the deepest part of my being. I am shaken with wonder and awe. I am reading what my soul already feels about God/Goddess/Divine. Here in Prayer, God is Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech Haolam, Ruler of the Universe, Ahavat Olam, Everlasting Love, Adonai Echad, Adonai is One.

Here are the first two prayers of the Reform Siddur, the Reform Prayer Book, the Mishkan T'Filah:

We are called unto life, destiny uncertain.
Yet we offer thanks for what we know,
for health and healing, for labor and repose,
for renewal of beauty in earth and sky,
for that blend of human-holy which inspires compassion,
and for hope: eternal, promising light.

For life, for health, for hope,
for beautiful, bountiful blessing,
all praise to the Source of Being.

Baruch atah Adonai.
M'kot nefesh kol chai.


Tell them I'm struggling to sing with angels
who hint at it in black wrds printed on old paper gold-edged by time.
Tell them I wrestle the mirror every morning.
Tell them I sit here invisible in space;
nose running, coffee cold & bitter.
Tell them I tell them everything
& everything is never enough.

Tell them I'm davening & voices rise up from within to startle children.
Tell them I walk off into the woods to sing.
Tell them I sing loudest next to waterfalls.
Tell them the books get fewer, words go deeper
some take months to get thru.
Tell them there are moments when it's all perfect;
above & below, it's perfect,
even in moments in between where sparks in space
(terrible, beautiful sparks in space)
are merely metaphors for the void between
one pore & another.

It is the majesty of the words, the beauty of the string of thoughts, the captivating ideas, the expressions of love, faith, joy, sorrow, pain, compassion, understanding of the all too Human Condition we All suffer, the placement of these prayers in History, in the context of a People who have suffered dearly, deeply, yet who continue to see Beauty in each and every moment. It is ALL of this and more that I am In Love with Judaism.

September 10, 2010

Jewish New Year - L'Shana Tovah!

I went to Temple services for Eve (Erev) of Rosh Hashanah. The first time since I was a kid, when I went with my father to the big Temple on Fifth Avenue, NYC. Then, I remember sitting next to him in wonder and awe, watching, listening as the men in their blue and white prayer shawls, Tallits, black suits, beards, peyes, swayed their bodies back and forth reciting prayers in Hebrew. Even as a child, the solemnity of the prayers pervaded my soul. And too I felt special, cause for some reason, my father took me, the youngest, not my two older sisters.

I've been to other Jewish services, mostly Passovers or Sukkot, in Mendocino County where the "Temple" was some one's home, or the rough beginnings of a Jewish community center lovingly carved out of a smallish, oldish 1950's Redwood Valley home. Totally informal, jeans, no ties, northern California hippie casual where the beards on the men were not accompanied by peyes and the women floated with home prepared cakes and breads in long skirts and slacks.

Wednesday night was the first time since I was a kid to experience a Real Temple, with several hundred members, all dressed up, suits, nice dresses, makeup, lipstick, all reciting prayers, singing, swaying in tune with the men AND women on the alter, near the Ark.

And it felt like I was back home. Like coming home.

Tears began early on and continued streaming down my face for most of the two hours.

What I loved the most was the exquisite beauty of the prayers. The exquisite sentiment expressed in each prayer, loving, praising, recognizing, honoring The Unknowable, The Eternal One, Adonai, Shekinah.

It's just lovely to hear and to read:

"Love God with all the power of your heart,
with its yearnings, its passions,
with all you hold dear in life
and with the fullness of what the world gives you.

Wrap these words around your deeds as a holy garment
and let them shape our home into a dwelling place of peace.
Whereever you go scatter the words like seeds;
let them be drops of water on the thirsty earth.

Seal these words upon your heart
that their sacredness may permeate your being,
coursing through your veins,
melting body into soul."

Written by: Rabbi Rami Shapiro, adapted by Ellen Steinbaum

I decided to attend this year's services after much deliberation. I wanted to experience what a sacred gathering of Jews would be like. Experience it again in my life, because I have certainly felt the Wonder and Awe of Jews praying together before. In truth, I am addicted to the Wonder and Awe of groups praying, meditating, walking a labryinth, singing, together, for the Love of The Eternal, The Divine, The All, The Unknowable.
I have felt this in not all, but certainly many groups throughout the years, Jews, Sikhs, Satsang, Buddhists, and Christians.

I wanted to feel it again. Feel the GROUP CURRENT, JUICE. There is a profoundness, an overwhelming joy and wonder, soul shaking awe and communion of my soul with this Force of Love, and it becomes powerfully magnified when I can share this with others.

August 23, 2010

Three Months To The Day

Three months to the day since I last spoke my heart to the Universe, digitally, in this Blog form. I am slowly re-entering the reality of my southern California life after being gone, traveling for the past three months to amazing, beautiful places; being amongst a reality other than what my life had been for several years since significant death. The death of Margaret, my wife, partner, love of my life, soul mate; and the death of my dear sister Lexi, who was my heart.

I am coming back, coming home, slowly still, from repeatedly experiencing the BEST of what human beings are, can be, value and practice in their too short lives.

I am coming home from the daily beauty of newness, wonder, awe, curiosity and delight of places and people.

June in Europe; July and August traveling the most beautiful highways to Michigan and back. I have turned 62 this summer and earned my Senior Pass to all of our National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands! What joy! I am exhilarated to be alive and in good health.

I have driven my trusty Roadtrek, Sophia, "Sophie" [the Goddess of Wisdom] over 7,000 miles this summer. Each day I traveled with bliss and joy in my heart. My last night on the road, after an over 100 degrees day, in Las Vegas, without electricity, a refrigerator running at 60 degrees, a hot and weary body, and I KNEW I was totally ready to come home.

I am home, and just wish to say HELLO right now.

I have seen and experienced SO VERY MUCH; almost all beautiful people, families, helpful and honest, and mostly fun to talk to, find out about, study, imagine their life, observe. My eyes and brain are filled with sights, experiences, assurances of people who do not harm me, or others. These are who I routinely meet. This is what I routinely observe. I am always Thankful of meeting good souls. I talk to people when I stop in places; I ask questions in an interested way, I want to hear what they have to say. So I talk to people and almost always go away feeling whole and complete and better for the meeting. Take Scotty in Cedar City Utah who has rehabilitated himself from a life of pain and doom to one of hope, love, honest and hard work. My heart flooded after leaving this young man. He was all of 23 already with a lifetime of pain.

I have seen beautiful, historic, sacred places, sights, objects, in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Cracow, Auschwitz (here too I found beauty, but only by looking up, to the sky and purposely, very purposely looking for the wonder that I can always behold in the sky, even here, as anywhere I looked up and compelled myself to find beauty), Prague, Berlin, Schlangenbad, Paris, Chartes. One entire month, June, in Europe. One month of city to city adventure, discovery, seeing architectural, human beauty, eight to ten hour walking, exploring days.

Then home and on the road in Sophie with my twelve year old Border Terrier, Reilley. The best Doggie Dog in the entire world. Almost nine weeks and over 7,000 miles in all. To Crescent City, a redwood kingdom of California and then onto the Michigan Women's Music Festival via Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, highway 90 through Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan's western shore. Visiting and observing family: uncles, cousins, second cousins. Learning more about who I am, who I am related to. Then back through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and finally southern California home. Stopping in National and State Parks.

Most days I drove five/six or more hours. I saw new places, people, plants, sunsets. I cooked for myself, ate good food, stopped as I wished, sang songs, listened to great music, danced, hiked, swam, and generally felt at peace and great joy while being in this Dear World. I gave myself days off just resting, playing my saxophone, reading, walking, relaxing, enjoying.

Driving from Capitol Reef National Park in Southern Utah, highways 12 and 24, and I fall madly in love with this state. The summit peaks at 9500 elevation only to pass miles of lightening and thunder storms which turn into a snow storm; August 15th and it's snowing!
The snow coincides with a fairly level summit, which opens to the delicious sight of Aspens, their green leaves dancing, shimmering on white bark...gracing this road.

I saw a lifetime of Beauty in the space of twelve weeks, June to August. This travel has been near sheer joy, daily loving my life, pinching myself at my good fortune, feeling Gratitude and Love. Loving many, many; and, loving one woman in particular. She provides me the space to think, feel and give voice to my Being. She continually causes me to feel joy, feel good about myself, about her, about our interactions.

My heart has been enormously full. My life is truly blessed and I'm aware of this.

Back home, today as I shopped for my produce and tea, a very slight twinge of the way I used to feel the past few years came over me: a slight twinge of loss, longing, sadness. A coming home, again, to a life of my own creation. A life alone, with ALL choices my own. Again establishing patterns, habits, routines in a home without a motor, without four wheels; 950, not 60 square feet. I come home to the reality of carpet moths, work, commitments, obligations, choices. A reality I alone create.

I am so ready to daily interact, share, love, touch... another.

May 23, 2010

Protracted Moments of Rapture

In the New York Times this morning, a quote from the British traveler Patrick Leigh Fermor who in 1933 walked the length of the Danube from its German head to the Black Sea:
"I lay deep in one of those protracted moments of rapture which scatter this journey like asterisks."

For me,this journey is LIFE, and I lay in a protracted moment of rapture.....

May 03, 2010

Poppy Petals

Today my heart sang when she saw
the envelope
absinthe green
handmade paper
carefully folded
three delicate
perfectly dried
still vibrant
deep orange
perfectly shaped
one with seed still
fragilely attached
California poppy petals April 27, 2010

April 21, 2010

Plenty of Mudita

I love that she too has a sense of history, significance of the past, in all of the pasts' aspects that we, 20th/21st century folk, can conceptualize. I love that her sense of history is immediate, real, enacted daily in small, routine tasks. There is a wonder-fullness of watching someone feel so very comfortable doing similar things as you do, in so very familiar ways. The unconscious mundane movements which connect us to our past. These self-care things repeated thousands of time in our long lives. These things which a woman loves to see another woman do. And I include cooking as part of this rhythmic repletion of things women do over and over daily to maintain normalcy, a semblance of peace and routine in their lives. She not only possesses a significant sense of the past, she embodies the past.

And I have a deep love of the past, of attempting to understand how people before me lived, thought, created, died. I love imagining how women managed their lives, the things they took for granted juxtaposed with what I take for granted. She helps me see and remember these things, with her. I see my past in her knowing of her past.

We figured out how the Australian Aborigine women discovered the fact that emu fat helps decrease inflammation. The old women were sitting around the fire, sharing a delicious, very fatty piece of emu tail which dripped down their fat coated talking mouths and onto their hands. As they readied themselves for sleep, they smeared the fat from their lips onto their entire face working it in, and likewise rubbed the grease from their hands into hands, arms, body, even each other if there was extra. Noticing how good they felt with emu fat rubbed on into themselves, they rubbed it on their infants, children and all loved ones. They grew in their knowing that emu fat rubbed in feels so very much better than no emu fat in on or around one's body. They moved easier, had less pain. They knew this surely and made a point of telling their daughters, their children, their loved ones what they knew and so it was easily passed on.

We tasted and smelled and looked closely at wild ones growing tall and beautiful, yellows, purples, pinks millions of miracles sprouted from the dirt and sand from the bone dry ground displaying the munificence of the Divine.

We tasted and appreciated food cooked and prepared and served one to the other, back and forth, easily, with kindness and generosity of deed and thought. And the food was delicious and plentiful.

The conversation too was deep and thoughtful perfectly balanced with delicious and plentiful silence.
And she could dance, oh she could dance and have fun, fun, fun sustained and plentiful.

I am appreciative and grateful and giving this accounting of my heart in total fullness and Mudita. In appreciation of the gifts of another and joy in their richness and plenty. Joy in their attributes and successful life. Joy in the appreciation of the joy in my heart.
April 18, 2010

April 07, 2010

Gratitude as Integral To My Life

I catch myself saying, Oh Thank You God/Goddess/Divine/Master Ji/Kwan Yin/Shiva/Brahma/Ganesh/Amma, often in the day.
Just now as I walked down my stairs, I caught a thought of something I could do to make my life easier, work smoothly, gently. Just as it entered my consciousness, almost immediately after, I offered up Thanks for allowing me to have the thought and felt Gratitude enter my consciousness.

I am Grateful for the utter gift, the ability to have to feel Gratitude in my heart.
It has come to pervade how I see my life.
My only part in its creation was asking for it, and it was given. I asked for Joy to enter back into my life, I asked for the ability to love my life again.
Conscious Gratitude expands this Joy.

Giving, feeling, having Gratitude for small, tiny, everyday things which happen, which go smoothly, which make my life easier, conversations, interactions with people which work, which feel good, which leave me Whole.
This awareness of Gratitude has been going on for at least the past year.

Prior, I was too depressed to see the value of my life without Margaret my wife/partner/soul mate who died too suddenly January 3, 2006.
Prior, a year or so ago, I often wished to end my life.
Thankfully it remained only a wish-thought and nothing more, never graduating to actual behavior.

For at least the past year, daily, often several times each day, I give Thanks for something which has just happened which allows me to make my life easier, work smoothly, feel my Humanity and Oneness with other people, with the Divine.
Often the thing I give gratitude for not only affords me the seconds it takes to feel, and give Thanks, the thing I am grateful for often elicits such sheer and total Joy in me, that I let out a squeal, often several squeals of pure glee!

I have fun back in my life, and with fun, I have music, and doing, creating, interacting, teaching, watching how my life is unfolding, conscious of the unfolding. Conscious and relishing this last twenty or so years of my most rich, full and wonderful life.

April 05, 2010

No Apology Needed

There are certain things which I make no apology for or about. My fierce love of The Divine, God, the pantheon of Goddesses, Gods, Gurus, Representatives of God, The God in All Souls. The food I eat, and cook, my walks, the things I do to keep me healthy, sane, whole. The time I take to write and learn and explore. My love of my family and friends, alive and deceased. My love to teach. My commitment to integrity, authenticity, words and language, fun, and music. My love of communication in all forms which humans know how to do. My love of life.

As I sit back and read what I've written, I hear, distinctly, my deceased sister Lexi's voice telling me what she makes no apologies about. And our list duplicates at many points. I hear her telling me, before she died, knowing she was dying, in her clear almost commanding voice: "Know how much I love you."

I would watch her, listen to her, hear her always with tremendous love and appreciation. She loved me so in return. She heard me, always listened, always listened which allowed me the space, the freedom I needed to say what I wanted to say, for her to hear what was in my deepest heart.

She could hear my deepest heart.

What a boon in a soul's life to experience a sister who could love on the deepest level, to allow the richness of her love to fill my being. How special to have a guide to teach me that it is perfectly fine to make no apologies. To have the power of passion and conviction.

April 02, 2010

A Part of You

When I feel great anxiety,
I can't accomplish anything I've set out to do,
I'm overwhelmed with my choices, my options, my tasks;
at this time, always,

when I Remember,

breathe deeply,

center myself in Knowing;

at this time

When I Realize I Am a Part of You,
then profound peace pervades,
and acceptance drapes my soul.

March 29, 2010

On this First Night of Passover, 2010

How could I not dream of being in my paternal grandmother's kitchen today. The roasting, cooking, and making would be intense. My grandmother Janka, as grand maestro conducting her daughter Rozsa, and assorted sisters and their daughters. Easily six, maybe more in her kitchen, working to create a masterpiece meal. The chopping, slicing, paring, sorting and washing, taking out and putting away, placement, preparation, the small, significant decisions of each step, repeated over a lifetime which happen automatically, precisely, exactly, with such total assurance, conviction, that the act of the decision and the carrying it to completion is so ingrained, repeated thousands of times in a lifetime, that knowing how much salt to add, where to make the cut, the slice, knife skill, the apples, honey, raisins, the exact blend for Charoset, the color of the onions, the smell which tells how it tastes, matzo balls able to float in soup, the stirring to the right consistency, the mixing, knowing when it's done, exactly ready, timing, timing, hot staying hot, timing, all becomes part of who we are, what we do, how we make things happen, how we create. The thousands of unconscious decisions made necessary for creating the masterpiece meal. My grandmother Janka orchestrating.

This meal which is served at the long table, which is dressed in crisp, clean linen, with the finest china, crystal and silver as beautiful buttons and sparkling ornaments to her pressed linen dress. Wine, matzo, food telling our story sprung from slavery leaving captivity knowing again freedom, tasting sweet, bitter, salt. The familiarity and easiness of family, of Csalad, Mishpacha, relatives. Dressed finely as the table. Happy to be together. Grateful for this yearly time to hear our story, share our story, tell our story. We taste together, eat and drink together, enjoy together, laugh together, speak and share together. Eating the masterpiece orchestrated by my grandmother.

This meal made year after year, passed down mother to daughter, father to son, generation one Jew to the next, each partaking of Tradition, Haggadah, Knowledge of Liberation, Divine Intervention, Compassion, Awareness of Misfortune, Gratitude for Freedom. Gratitude for Life. Sharing Awareness, Happiness, Hope.

My grandmother at this table, before Hitler, before losing husband, son, sisters, brother, nieces, nephews, before the Ghetto, before needless death, before mass insanity, mass insanity, war, before leaving all she knew, before her long, deep depression. My grandmother vital, alive, passionate, sure, knowing, supremely capable.

My grandmother who I never knew.

March 27, 2010

Alice in Wonderland - The Movie

Alice becomes the Heroine of her Life. As we are all charged with becoming. She uses her vivid and enlightened dream world to allow her to shape who she is becoming. And she trusts what her dream world shapes as her essence. She trusts the blossoming of her Self Knowledge, the Shape of her Self, defined, clear, direct, powerful, aware of her Strength.
Alice's tale is the classic tale of The Hero, but told from a purely Female perspective. The animals manifest the Divine Feminine, all of the protagonists are female, the story is told with only one man whose Soul is revealed, and he is a Mad Hatter. The other men are either powerless, or allies of Alice. Alice slays the vicious Jabberwock, the Red Queen's Negative Fury. The White Queen is able to not violate her vow of non-violence. She banishes, does not kill, her sister Red Queen's negativity. Alice is delivered back to Her Life to extend the Power, the Clarity, the Direction given and taken by Her Dream State, by The Divine.

We are all charged with the same task. To trust in our voice, our knowing, our strength, our power, our purpose. To trust our manifestation of Divinity which is our Selves.

March 18, 2010

Being Held

When was the last time you were held,
not sexually,
just held, lovingly.

Simple human touch, but more
than a hand on yours,
or on your shoulder; rather
the fullness of an other's body holding

The pureness of contact, just holding
and feeling being held. Releasing into
the pureness of being held, becoming
vulnerable. Becoming open.
Letting yourself be held.

When last did the shower of oxytocin and endorphins
cascade down your being releasing in you
the huge, pure sigh of release, letting go.
Pure relaxation.

I would love to give this to you.

March 08, 2010

I Will Leave You Signs

You told me, indirectly of course, you told me
when we first met.
You told me you wanted Signs.
Leave Me Signs. You shouted, ever so softly,
I could not hear until now.

Could I comprehend, could I truly understand
the sheer complexity, depth, power,
uniqueness of you.

Would I ever comprehend, would I ever truly understand
the uniqueness of you.

One foot rooted firmly in the distant past of parents'
pain, agony, horrific, inhuman events.
Never forget, become very religious, almost a Rabbi,
carry the sacred traditions, teaching, learning,
lighting candles, blessings, prayers,
always Faith, always Love of God.

One foot in the present, always the rebel,
always surprising, even yourself, with new places,
travel, movies, books, events, new friends,
open to growth, open to Joy.

Always wishing to capture the exact word, phrase,
expression of your always active, always critical mind,
on paper.
Fascination with words, plants, people, earth,
soil for your ever fertile mind, planting, growing,
knowing the patience of cycles.
Your cycles of darkness and despair, the times
your soul buried deep in words, deep in pain,
buried in the dark season of little winter light,
nourished with weekly Sabbath and Torah, tradition,
candles, bread, prayer, Faith.
Knowing the growing light brings new birth.

I will leave you signs of my fascination with you,
of my loving to be around you,
of my loving to talk with you,
of my loving how you listen and comprehend,
seem to want to understand me.

I will leave you signs of my desire to bask in the complexity,
depth, power and uniqueness of you.
One foot rooted firmly in the distant past,
the ghosts of pain, suffering of souls, unimaginable horror;
the other carrying you to a future of quiet rebellion, surprise,
Joy in each and every cell of your being.

I leave you this sign of my desire to want to understand you.

March 06, 2010

Maya Angelou and Black Women of her Age

I was explaining to my grand nephew, Alex, who I love so very dearly, that he has exceptionally long fingers because his great grandfather had very long fingers, as are mine. And I told him that his great grandfather was my father; his mother's grandfather.
As I spoke these words, I realized for the first time, the real meaning of the very short distance in time between a great grandson and his great grandfather. It hit me, this incredibly short span of years, and here I was bridging the gap. It hit me square in the heart. This 12 year old was talking to me, his grand aunt who is his grandmother's age, and our father is this beautiful boy's great grandfather.

Then I remembered hearing on NPR, a true story about an embroidered pillow case being donated to the soon to be National Museum of African American History and Culture. This story struck my heart, I cried hearing it; its poignancy has stayed with me. For days now I've been thinking about Black women of Maya Angelou's age. Their great grandmothers would have been slaves.

A young slave hastily embroidered a pillowcase, to give to her young daughter, telling her that she will always be near her, she is precious to her, she will always love her. She will always love her. She knew she was being sold the next morning, and would never see her beloved daughter again. The pillow case was the only way she could be sure her daughter would know she was loved, she had a mother who loved her, who would always love her.

This story has stayed in my heart for days now, and makes me shudder at the sheer dread, fear, pain, heart and soul pain, earthshaking pain, howling pain, unbearable pain that the great grandmothers of women of Maya Angelou's age went through. Maya and Black Women, African American Women of her age are so very close to a sort of pain, a societal brutality and callousness that we may never appreciate. A ruthless disruption of bonding, the dear human need for continuity, love, bonding. Such ruthless disruption made normal. We may never know the depth of the scaring of lives and souls, as close as a great grandmother.

March 03, 2010

Lovers of Love

The Lovers of God are just helpless Lovers of Love. Big weepy saps, open to their hearts and souls, open to their hearts and souls being open. Being open, honest, having integrity, revealing one's heart. Rumi and Kabir revel in Divine Love, romp in the bed of the Divine, make love to the Divine. (As Keith Jarrett makes love to his piano....) The Lovers of God have intimate talks with Goddess and thank Her often minute by minute for Her blessings, for Life, for Her Love.

February 28, 2010

Snippets of Illumination

I am cleaning my desk, a forever task, but always done just when it most needs cleaning up.

Today I ran across some quotes of mine; never before made public, previously kept only on the scrap of paper used to capture a moment of illumination, imagined illumination.
Here are the snippets:

You are a part of God
and without you,
the Universe would not be whole.
April 18, 2001

Communication is one of the most difficult things humans do, and it's often done exceedingly poorly.
(date unknown)

There is no perfection in human contact. It is always a series of explorations;
if this isn't your idea of fun, then you'll be stuck wanting perfection.
(date unknown)

We are all learning to be more loving, compassionate and graceful humans. In this life or some next.
(date unknown)

As in human geography and trade, so too in human nutrition/food intake:
Convenience and cost trump almost all other considerations, with the exception of taste. Taste, dictated or hopefully, not, trumps most all most of the time.
June 15, 2009

Look for our common Human connections. Look for the nod of recognition.
(early February 2010)

We've got to make taking care of ourselves, our beings, our bodies, easier. Convenient, cheap, everywhere we can have, can have the food which takes care of our beings, our bodies, our Selves. As we have it now with food which creates our pain, our disability, our diseases. It has GOT to be easier. It can happen in your lifetime. It must happen in your lifetime.
(fall of 2009)

I do believe that people can be attracted to the negative; who in fact relish, even find highly sexual, evil doers.
(date unknown)

Your pain means that you are not getting something. Either literally such as adequate sleep, or at least adequate nutrition; or emotionally/abstractly you're not getting something you need.
Thus its so very very easy to feel ourselves lacking/not enough/not good enough, always. Ahhh, but of course. We lack in our basic body needs....then why oh why wouldn't we also lack in the things which help our mind stay whole, filled, not always half. We lack in seeing our whole beauty.
(date unknown)

My prayer to Amma Ji right before being hugged by this Divine Woman: Let me come to you with Laughter.
(June, 2009)

February 25, 2010

Deep Friendship

I think often about the many many dear friends of mine who I love. I realize that the friends who I love the most, who I will ALWAYS love, are the ones who teach me, who allow me to see them, who allow me to be vulnerable with them, who are vulnerable with me. What sacredness, what wonder This Dear Life has to offer.

February 21, 2010


It is all about inflammation. We hurt, our body hurts. Times are stressful, work is hard and getting harder with increased productivity, co-workers getting fired, increased pressure, no job or looking for job/work, not resting enough, rush, rush, rush. Bills and worry about money; when will I, when can I retire, how will I make it. How will I be able to continue to just function, I hurt so. And all of this body hurt can too quickly become mind and heart and soul hurting. Daily pain is so very destructive and can make a body give up. Can cause depression, emotional giving up.

The inflammation causes immune cellular release (our immune system is called in to help quell the inflammation) and this actually makes the burning and pain worse. And makes us feel terrible. More than half of why we feel so terrible with a cold/flu/virus is because the immune system throws out funky molecules which cause us to feel bad. The same process happens with chronic inflammation. With chronic inflammation, our immune system is always actively engaged, thus always releasing, spitting out pain, and fatigue causing molecules.

The immune process is costly. It keeps us alive, but often at a very dear price: dreadful pain. And when the immune process is continually turned on, with chronic inflammation, it is dreadful, daily pain. Oh, it's so very much a vicious cycle.

Inflammation causes our immune system to be hyper-vigilant, to fight, and release those substances which make us hurt more, burn more; make us feel weak, and sick, and not want to get up out of our chairs. So we sit. We become less active. We buy the Snuggly to allow us to sit more in warmth, and stay. Often for hours. Often watching TV, and eating.

And guess what we're eating? Yes, but of course. We're eating the very thing which causes the inflammation in the first place. Oh my Goddess Divine! No! I'm eating the thing which is causing the inflammation which is causing my fatigue, my burning, my pain, my need for pills, and my not wanting to do much of anything, 'cept sit, and watch, and eat. Sex is not even considered, and the fatigue makes true effort at communication with my partner, spouse, love of my life, a chore. It means being present, and oh I so do not wish to be present. Cause present hurts. Real physical pain. Not to mention the pain of worry about money, bills, job, no job, rejection, rejection, lots of worry. And the pills don't help, at least not for long enough. There's always that place of wearing off before the next one/two/three kick in. So the watching, and eating is a wonderful way to not be present. To not be conscious; of my body, of my worries. If I am a Margaret, I use my out of body time to watch, eat, and to create. She would always create, always create art, in its deepest sense. Layered with meaning, as my new friend loves to say (thus notice when it is so layered). So you may be a Margaret type, and create your passions as you sit, and watch, and eat, and create. And tune out your pain of inflammation.

Know that this inflammation, this pain caused by inflammation leads to the sitting, not moving, not moving much at all, the pills, and watching, and eating and lo! outgrowing our clothes, our chairs, our lives. We outgrow our lives; our lives get shortened. The more we do not like to rise from sitting, the more we have arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, gastro-intestinal disorders, all pain, pain; and the most dreaded, cancer. Oh, and more Alzheimer's too. If we don't die from a "lifestyle disease" exacerbated by, caused by inflammation, we may not have our mind. We have learned in the last twenty or so years that inflammation is the true, the primary culprit in all of the diseases which make us hurt, make our families hurt, give us pain, give us pills, more pills, then even more pills, and not want to move, thus sit, and watch, and eat. And need more pills.

Now wouldn't one think that we'd try to eliminate this inflammation, and its etiology (its cause) in the same way we eliminated polio and smallpox. We saw illness, pain, suffering, and we found out how to release it from our world. (Goddess please, allow us to have the collective will to eliminate the other scourges which plague the developing world.)

One would think. Wouldn't one. A rational, reasonable one would think so. Would think that we'd figure out how to eliminate it/release it from our world. For the common good, for compassion for those who suffer tremendously from its ill effects. For better quality of life, for less costly medical care, for saving money, for saving lives, for saving lives.

Sigh. Big sigh. We do know what causes this plague of inflammation (thus what causes the plague of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, gastro-intestinal ills, Alzheimer's, and the most dreaded, cancer). But we have not as yet the collective will to truly create change. And it will take the same collective will, public effort, tremendous effort to effect a decrease in inflammation as it took to create a decrease in tobacco smoke in the public environment. It took, what, easily fifty years to create a world where smoking a cigarette in a public, enclosed environment is seen for what it is: deadly.

Inflammation's cause is in the food we have created in the past sixty years, the non-food substances (Thank You Michael Pollan) which are our food. Have become more and more our food in the past sixty years; because this non-food, or highly refined food, or too salty food, or too sweet/sugary food, and certainly much much too fatty food has become our staple. This food because of it's too much refinement, salt, sugary, fatty manner is what is the cause of our inflammation. Yes. No kidding. The research is in. Has been for at least the past twenty years.

What causes inflammation is common knowledge (common for the people in the medical industry, and the pharmaceutical industry). In fact the pharmaceutical industry has worked lo these many years to bring us pills which can quell our fire; help turn down the heat, the pain of our inflammation. Advil, Aleve, Motrin, ibuprofen, cox-2 inhibitors (Celebrex), Aspirin, Tylenol, oh so many pill ways to get rid of our pain, caused by our inflammation, caused by what we eat. The food which we've made cheaply; made filling; easy to get; easy to find; this everywhere food. It lures; it calls. It tells us we can feed and have FUN, and a SNACK, and more FUN, and HAPPY, and TAKE A BREAK from our oh so very stressful lives. We can feed and have a secret pleasure. Feed our secret pleasure. And cheaply. What FUN.

These folks know that the large amount of omega 6 fats used to make this cheap, fun, filling, highly refined, oh so very easy to find food, combined with the excess salt, sugar, the saturated fats, the trans fats, all this, in the food we eat, regularly, routinely, most every day or more; this cheap, ubiquitous food, so convenient, so engineered for company profit, company profit, is exactly what causes our inflammation.

Yep, it's this very food, this everywhere food, this ever-lasting/long lived, highly engineered food which causes our inflammation, our pain, our disease, our pill taking, wall street's portfolios to grow, entire industries to flourish, employ people, pay professionals lots of money to prescribe more pills, cause no one pays them to tell the truth. No one pays the doctor to tell people to not eat the regularly consumed cheap, highly refined, too fatty, salty, sugary food which causes our ills. They get paid to tell us to take our pills. Take our pills. And the doctor is not even trained to talk about food. Where would she begin? Eat more fruit and vegetables. Yes, we all know eat more fruit and vegetables. Ha! Exactly how's that done? When the fruit and vegetables are not cheap, and Oh My Goddess, this way to eat is so expensive, and not convenient. Not at all convenient. And people don't want the truth about their food.

I want to eat what I want. No one's gonna tell me what I can eat. It's my choice. It's my right. And I sure as heck like that it's cheap, and easy to find, convenient. I like that. And it tastes good. They've got the right combination of refinement/fat/salt/sugar, artificial flavors to keep me coming back. Engineered to keep me wanting more. Wanting more.

But I don't want this pain of inflammation. I'm tired and hurting and growing old before my time, and fat. I can't move like I used to.

But I certainly don't want the pain of that healthy food that must be cooked, isn't easy, is hard to find, and I've got to learn to cook it, then clean up, and Oh My Goddess, shop for it. And watch it rot in the fridge cause as well meaning as I was, I never ate it.

What's a girl to do?

February 18, 2010

A Call for Reason Regarding Our Food

Thoughts after teaching tonight.
Everyone, all seven souls, embodied in flesh blood bone which they all wish to change. They seek guidance, support, help to comprehend and have success with this change. They all know, inherently, in their gut, in their heart, of course their minds, what is reasonable. They understand at a very deep level that what they eat is as important to their flesh blood bone as is the air they breathe, the water they drink, the needed rest they must take. They understand their need to eat 'better'. Better than, than what they presently eat. They know, they've 'got it', 'got' the need to change, all the right reasons, they understand; and truly want to change. But it's so hard, so very very hard to eat 'better.' God, it is so very easy to continue as is. The food is fast, convenient, all over/ubiquitous. And it's so cheap. Hell, you can almost gorge on just $5.00. And the other stuff is so expensive. And who knows how to cook it anyway. And the bother of not just the cooking, but the cleanup. It's really the cleanup that is hated the most; so the whole thing is skipped and so much easier to eat out. Fast food for lunch, Applebees or somesuch for supper. It's quick, done with, no mess, and affordable. And there's no food shopping. The awful food shopping. The hated food shopping. And so hard for just one.

They want the change for their flesh bone blood, which often hurts, or doesn't feel good, and even the over the counter nostrums don't really help anymore. They want to feel better. They KNOW that part of the secret to not just getting, but holding on to a body which feels good is about food, their food, what they eat, routinely, on a regular basis (even when they say "oh, I never eat the same way two days in a row; and I skip meals; it's never regular or routine....."). It's so much all the same, a basic intake of the fast, convenient, ubiquitous, and so very cheap food that surrounds us all. It is so much a part of our lives, it is EVERYWHERE, these food like substances (thank you Michaell Pollan) that have lives of years. Almost everyone eats from this well of disease. It is so very very available to all. It is our mainstay.

And we all, even the fifth grade class I asked, know what food to eat for health. Food to eat to feel better. Food to eat to not get disease. Those killer things which have taken so many of our families, that live in our lives and haunt us with the dozens of pills we or a loved one must take. Those dozens of pills that routinely pollute our water ways, not to speak of our bodies. One is used to counteract the effect of another. And they multiply over the years. The sorting, boxing, taking, remembering gets longer. And longer.

We know that what we eat can change the pill taking, the condition, the fat, the shape, the way our flesh blood bone feels. We know this just as we know that the air we breathe, the water we drink, the rest we take will keep us healthy, or not. We know this at a very very deep level.

And we ignore this knowing. We somehow collectively let go of our knowing the truth of our flesh blood bone. This body which serves our mind, our family, our work in the world, our Divine. This body which we can not live without, which allows our creativity and best humanity to flourish, to overcome the worst. This body is wasted from the fast, convenient, ubiquitous, and oh so very cheap food we have made too available.

Thus this Call for Reason Regarding Our Food. We have made so much of our life better. We have cars which make our transport of ourselves and our goods so incredibly easy. We have drive-up windows which mean we don't have to leave these machines which make life easy. We have so much ease that we can sit for hours at computer, or tv, even book; hours, with enough light. Enough light. Amazing to have enough light. Such a premium for those before us. Such a nothing, not thought of, not considered part of our lives now. Such change in so little time. Our lives have become so much easier than even the lives of our parents. But it is not easy, it is so very very hard; so very very difficult and expensive and inconvenient; not at all easy, to eat 'better.' The way that even the fifth grade class understands to eat. The way we all understand to eat. We know that there is too much sugar, sodas, candy, cookies, chips, salt, salt, fat, fat. Oh so very much. We know. We've been told. So many times. So many times we have tried, and always always always fail to change. We always go back to eating to hurt our flesh bone blood. And then take more pills.

Isn't it time to Call for Reason Regarding Our Food. We can do so much better. This is doable.
We can create food which creates health. Make this food which creates health easy, convenient, ubiquitous, and cheap. It's got to be cheap, else people won't buy it, no matter how available it will become. Must become. Cheap and so readily available, and fast, and ubiquitous. This food which creates health can become the norm. Our standard. Our best for us. Just as we prize so much else which is best for us. Our best humanity. Our best for all.

We can call for all food which creates health to be subsidized instead of food which creates disease which presently we subsidize. We create disease with our tax dollars. Given freely, abundantly to a farming industry which supports a medical industry which both support a phamaceutical industry. They support each other to hurt our flesh blood bone.

We can change this. We can Call for Reason Regarding Our Food.

We can mandate (as we presently mandate all food fortification, as we presently mandate how our roads and bridges and buildings and public safety function, we mandate for the greater good. Thus seatbelts, thus shoes off at airports, thus the percentage grade of our roads, thus the construction material in our bridges, thus so much of our life which we allow to be micromanaged, we allow to happen to us) change. Mandate change. We do it all the time as regards safety. Why don't we consider our health as safety? Why is everyone allowing this pollution of flesh blood bone, and we long ago passed legislation, for the greater good, mandating standards for our water, the air we breathe. More to do, so much more, of course; but we demand certain quality in our water, the air we breathe. And the food we eat, the food we eat, on a regular, even routine basis, the easy, fast, convenient, long lived food we eat. We demand no quality here. We allow disease formation and disability to come into our lives. This is not abstract. This is so very very real. This hurts us. I have seen the hurt, the scaring, the pain carried in flesh blood bone of people who hurt deeply. Daily. Their daily finger pricks, the pills, the appointments, the procedures hurt, eat into their flesh blood bone. And always more pills.

But no. No. I don't want anyone telling me what I can or can't eat. Hell, I'll eat what I want. When I want. What I want. What I want.

Ha ha! Think again. Think, not even very hard, without even thinking even a little bit, think about who tells you what you want. Who lures you in and traps your taste and tells you what you want. Who makes what you want so very very cheap. So very very easy. Oh what you want. You only think you want. You do want it, no doubt. But truly, not what you want, truly. You know better. The part of you that cares for life, that is happy, and loves others. You truly know. But you cling to What I Want. No one's gonna tell me how to eat. What to eat. Not me. I eat what I want. Ha ha! Think again! More truly what they want you to want. What they want you to want.

The taste of real food is delicious. You know. You would rather, oh yes you would rather the real food. Always. Of course. But.....but.....who, pray tell will make it fast, convenient, ubiquitous, inexpensive if not cheap for our flesh, blood, bone.

Who will do it?

February 11, 2010

Fat, Fat Stores

We like to store stuff, keep stuff, even hoard stuff. We're real good at it, and we like to do it. Makes us feel good, feel rich, feel important, feel whatever that thing is for each of us that sparks us, gives us even a twinge of excitement, and hopefully fun. That true human need for relief, respite, even euphoria, from our extremely stressful, difficult lives.

So eating in surfeit we've learned, produces, at least for a brief time, that same spark, that excitement, even euphoria, maybe fun. For many. For far too many.

Eating in surfeit is still a very affordable pleasure. Five dollars worth of fast food will surely fill the emptiest belly. This is cheap. This is obscenely cheap. Hey a ticket to see a good flick to create that excitement, that euphoria is at least ten bucks. And there's the popcorn. Ain't cheap to see a new film. So five for a pig out is a bargain. Obscenely cheap.

Enough of these belly full of cheap pig outs will get you fat. The calories get hoarded. The fat's just hoarded calories. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not bad, it doesn't mean that you're bad, that there's something to feel bad about. It just is. Like alot of things in life. It just is. Neither good nor bad. Truly. Any bad feeling comes from your beliefs/your perceptions about you and your world. About your fat. How you think others think about you. How you think others think about your fat. How you think about yourself, and your fat. Women suffer the most. They have the most bad feeling about themselves, from the bad feelings about the fat, about their looks, about their bodies. More women feel this. Fell bad. Than men.

And I hate when women suffer. It will always mean that children will suffer. The girl children will learn to hate their bodies, feel bad about themselves, think bad about themselves; and pass this on to the girl children they birth.

Women, the surfeit in eating causes suffering. Yours. Not even to speak of the body stuff you've been already told will happen, or has happened. Your mind, your heart, your pain, your suffering, your self reproaches and recriminations. The defeated heart. The pained soul. The self sabotage. These are what truly hurt.

And if you're past the pain, past any hurt, you're still told by a medical one, a medical person, about the fat. About the fat.
And especially the belly fat, abdominal fat, omentum fat. It's there and gets in the way. More than you'd like.

I had to address fat. Here. In full view. I am presently facilitating a group of adults who have not been adult with themselves. They are adults in most all other ways. Cept for food. It's been OK to not take care of business, not be adult, not care about their body. And especially with food. And I know all too well the reasons why. I know the reasons intimately. Money, time, money, time, fatigue, self loathing, abuse, time, fatigue. I know the hearts and minds of the ones who hoard fat. I know your deepest fears and desires. You have been kind to me; you have allowed me to peer inside your being. You have shared your deepest fears and desires, and self loathing with me. You have given me that deep priviledge. I love you. I love you. I love you.

The group is Your Body's Grace. My play on the words of the wise Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The Body's Grace is his defense of homosexual love, physical, deep, touching,
significant, meaningful love. As is all love. He is a wizard of the highest order, able to create gold from mere words. So my play on the title of his essay is my way of declaring my view of this body. My body. The thousands of bodys which I was priviledged to work with in my 25 years as a dietitian. Your body. Her body. Her beautiful body. I do care especailly for her body, rather than his. Because she suffers more. In every society, she has it worse. She is less than. Regardless of what you protest. (And of course I understand karma and the fact of her maybe being a man in her past life. All karma. Of course. But it doesn't negate her present suffering.) The suffering is all too real, too tangible. Evidenced by lab tests, procedures, self poking needles into your flesh, withdrawing blood, testing your sugar, testing your pee, your blood. The fat is too real and the pain it inflicts is terrible to bear. And terrible to witness. I was this pains' witness for 25 years. I was allowed to see and hear her suffering heart. Her suffering body. She let me in. She told me. I heard. I honor her and what I have heard.

My view of this body, her body, my body, is that it is our only vehicle for knowing the Divine. The Divine Mystery of this dear life. It is our ticket to consciousness. Our brain is our body is our mind, is our heart, is our soul. They are one. Could truly only be one. As we are all one, as we represent the One who we co-create our life, our world with.

Antonio Damasio, the neurologist and neurobiologist writes in Decartes' Error: "...the body, as represented in the brain, may constitute the indispensable frame of reference for the neural processes that we experience as the mind; that our very organism rather than some absolute external reality, is used as the ground reference for the constructions we make of the world around us and for the construction of the ever-present sense of subjectivity that is part and parcel of our experiences; that our most refined thoughts and best actions, our greatest joys and deepest sorrows, use the body as a yardstick."

Heavy stuff. If you didn't finish that last paragraph, don't worry. My first reading of it took me maybe three, maybe more times to get. And I don't get it on the level that Antonio does. But I get it. Of course. I've spent my whole life looking and learning about the body. And hearing.
Hearing pain. Her pain. Her body's ground reference which doesn't work, doesn't function like it's supposed to. Like it did in the past, when she was younger. This very painful body, this ground reference which interprets her too hard, too painful world.

There isn't one person in the group who is devoid of fat issues. Even the several 'skinny' ones. There are six to twelve any given week. They all need aid to deal with their hoarding, deal with the too many things they've taken on. The too many things they have to do. The people they must please. The lack of time. The lack of care for themselves. Going on, doing, caring for, others, others, others. Never herself. She is always left behind.

Except for the spark times, the excitement times, even times of euphoria. Ahhhhhhhh. Then she can truly relax. She relaxes with food. The food is familiar. Oh so very familiar. Such a dear friend. Ahhhh. The relaxation, the comfort. The comfort. The comfort. So dear, so very sweet and dear.

And then the reality.

And then typically the pain, guilt, feeling bad, suffering, again.

It is for you I write this. It is for you because I love you. I love you. I love you.

You must know that it can change. It does not have to stay locked and tight and safe and permanent. Even rigid. Oh the rigidity. The tightness. The inability to be fluid, to be flexible, to move. You must know that it can change. You must know this. In some place deep inside, you know all of this. Of course. And now to trust. The next step is trust. Yourself. The next step is trust that you can change. It is possible.

So I write these words for you to see. To know. To understand that it is your mind which locks you in. Tight. On a schedule. The evening schedule. The evening routine, nay ritual. The time alone. The time for yourself. All to yourself. Always with food.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

And I hate that you hurt.

February 10, 2010

Human Gifts

Who are the gifts in your life? I am naming mine as I write this. I have many human gifts, people who I love heart and soul, who I have often 20 or 30 year relationships with. A flush of love, warmth and sweetness comes over me as I contemplate the many family and beloved friends who feed me, feed my heart, mind and soul.

They gift my life with their love, their ease of sharing their hearts with me, my ease in sharing mine with them. They gift my life with wonder and curiosity, new things to learn, study, know. New things to see and experience. Playing dolls with my 4 year old grand niece and my soon to be 2 year old grand nephew smiling gleefully at me. My 12 year old grand nephew letting me kiss and hug him as he feigns revulsion. My sister gifting me with Greek yogurt and saying: "Don't even ask!" when I begin to want to pay her. A friend telling me that Patti Smith would visit a local bookstore and waiting nearly 2 hours with me to see her. A son who visits and takes delight in talking about his life. Planning a long trip and traveling with another friend. Another calling me to cry about her lost wife, knowing I will understand.

I am able to call them at any hour and they will only give me kindness, understanding, acceptance. And they know I will do the same.
Humans in my life who I can count on, who give me advice, caring, love, ideas. Who complete me.

A new soul has come into my life who also feeds me well, in many respects. Oh how lucky, how very lucky and blessed am I.

February 03, 2010

In Acceptance

Each sunset is unique and beautiful. Each eye sees what they especially love in the uniqueness and beauty. Sunsets. People. Place. How wonderful to be at peace with our world, inner and outer. Total acceptance of what is. Certainty that what is, is our truth, our reality, and have peace with it. What is meant to happen, does indeed happen; often easily, almost gracefully. Feel complete and whole in feeling fine, in gratitude for what I have, in feeling perfect in what I know I create.

I also realize that truly, at its core, I am but a co-creator of my world; I work with Divine forces beyond my wildest conception. And I love that I am here, in acceptance.

January 27, 2010

A Blessed Day

Butterflies and dolphins blessed my sight today. In a town north of Santa Barbara, Goleta. Who could ask for anything more than a pod of dolphins swimming off the pier, and inland, hundreds, hundreds of large monarch butterflies floating overhead in the tops of the sun seeking eucalyptus trees silhouetted in the brilliant sky.
It was quite wonderful.

January 26, 2010

Dusting To Honor Company

I am dusting when I should be in bed, asleep. I am looking foward to tomorrow and cannot sleep. So I dust in honor of a friend's visit. She will be honored by my dusting deeply, this is my bow to her. Here, I will do this task in your honor. Please accept this gift from me.

And tonight as I dusted, I received a gift from the Universe, a gift of knowing. I've never liked dusting, generally. In fact I generally avoid housework as best I may. Margaret loved to dust, so I was thrilled that she'd regularly make the house shine. She extended the glow by lighting incense and candles. Then the house became magic. She could create magic. And she always created beauty in her world. Her eye was impeccable.

Dusting, deep dusting requires a good rag, and something that will let the wood sparkle. It takes time, especially if you're picking up each object, dusting it and settling it back where it belongs. Time to take a look at what you've just arranged, just created. Letting your eyes take in the beauty of your objects displayed.

It is exactly in the lifting, feeling, looking at each piece that I now see, I now realize, brings a flood of memories. Of where this piece was displayed in our home, before. I shudder at this Knowing, and am totally content with their new placement.

January 24, 2010


You’re usually found on trees, branches, twigs, leaves, walking, munching happily; not on the open ground, a roadway where unaware feet may trample you and certainly swift quadrillion times your weight cars will crush you to nothing. You’re lumbering along on the roadway we share this morning. Knowing your fragility, I lift you up (afraid of me, you curl into a complete circle of soft bristles), I’m amazed at your non weight in my hand, and place you on the nearest branch where my mind tells me you belong. Did I just disrupt the order of life?

January 18, 2010

Does Everything Sundrenched Smell Delicious?

My head in the uppermost branches of my tangerine tree, I'm standing precariously on my six foot ladder, merrily picking fruit. I feel safe, immune from falls, scraps, even the dread finger lopped off by my trusty #2 Felco pruners. Doesn't faze me at all. No. I'm just happy to be up here, deep in the branches of this lovely, non-demanding, always generous tree.

But I nearly slip, catching an armful of supple branches which square me back to balance on the topmost step, the one I'm warned against using. My head and face are thrust deep into the leaves of these saviour branches, and I have the good fortune to breathe deeply.

I am greeted by my sweet doggie dog's scent after soaking in the sun; by the smell of my arm, catching the sun's glory beating into my flesh as I drive down the road; by the smell of new washed laundry brittlely dry on the line.

To my great surprise and delight, the tangerine leaves smell just like my sweet doggie dog, my own sundrenched skin, my laundry ablaze with sunshine particles dusting our beings.

January 11, 2010

Being Taken

I’m beginning to comprehend
that I must do a courtship dance
and agree to being taken
rather than me taking.
This time I get taken
by the one I wish to take.

January 03, 2010

Four Years

Four Years

For years I’ve wished for the ability to breathe, freely, joyfully, loving every aspect of my life. I wanted either this level of normalcy and bliss, or death. I had had this level of bliss in my life, I knew what it daily felt like, and I wanted it again. Or death. Either/or.

I knew I was mired in the place of such extreme pain that nothing matters. Having this space of pain, daily, hurts. It is painful, physically as well as mentally, soulfully painful. Days of sitting and staring and not seeing, just crying and wishing I would die. I felt my soul being shredded. I felt daily dragged through hell, inch by inch.

When I learned of Lydia’s prognosis in mid-September, that she had only weeks to live, a small part of me, a tiny part, but one which sought and received acknowledgement, wanted to die in her place. I envied her too soon death. I wanted it to be me. I had lost my life with the one I adored, I'd had my cake and my fill, I needed nothing more.
But this envy never became more than acknowledgement, the envy of her death truly never caused me to stop listening to Tina and Beyonce at the top of their game full blast in the car. Feeling good. I was getting out, near daily. I was seeing, doing, being with others. Doing groups, participation, participation in life, in my world. Being willing to create my life, alone, with others in active voice, with desire to be heard.

But...the creation of my life, solely, does cause me depression. I recently wrote my dear friend Janice the fact of my recognition of the times I feel depressed and how it is bound to the reality that I create my life solely. Alone.
I’ve lived more years coupled or grouped than not, and I seem to prefer such living versus living alone. In fact these four years have been the longest I’ve lived alone in my life.

Sometimes it is painful, true. But mostly it has become amazingly delicious and freeing. I pinch myself daily, fully conscious and alive to all that I am grateful for. I understand that I can now create a joy and richness for my heart and soul which rivals anything I had with Margaret. The richness and joy with her, amazing, what a once in a lifetime experience to have this level of love with another. But now I have the capacity to create this level of richness and joy with a group of women, with people. I relish what life is offering.

I wish to acknowledge the passing of four years exactly since her passing. Margaret died only three days after turning fifty nine. No one expected this. No one. It caused pain and it was disruptive.

I want to acknowledge the disruption, the major disruption which death causes the ones left. Total disruption in all aspects of one's life, including a disruption of one’s previous reality. Death is now part and parcel of reality. Death never truly existed before. Death is here, and now demands to be accounted for in the rest of my life. Death is certain disruption. Death now gets factored in. Always.

Four years, and I have accepted, adapted; and I am beginning to thrive on the disruption. I go on, and choose joy and love and communication with others.

Blog Archive