At an intersection: But what do you love to do?

“But what do you love to do?”

JC has stopped me in my tracks with his question. We have been sharing our respective histories and current engagements with activism and social justice, and I am suddenly and unaccountably inarticulate.

Here I am a couple of hours later trying to understand why.

I met JC Faulk as a facilitator of conversation circle events several times over the summer months, and we had spoken before. Long enough to discover our shared admiration and debt to Edie and Charlie Seashore, who had trained both of us in group skills and diversity work, albeit a half generation apart from one another. An unexpected intersection, rich with a shared understanding of group process.

Red Emma’s, where we met over breakfast, sits at its own notable intersection. Charles Street runs north-south. It is typically described as “Baltimore’s Main Street,” “a historic cultural corridor,” ripe for development and redevelopment, and “a place where people want to live.” North Avenue, which crosses Charles Street just outside the door, runs east-west. It is “targeted for revitalization, improved safety, economic opportunity and access for residents.” This corridor gained notoriety for the Uprising that took place about two miles west of here in April 2015. These corridors can easily stand in for the city’s racial and economic fault lines. Red Emma’s sits at this intersection, drawing a mix of customers from both corridors, a stew rich with possibilities. A rarity in Baltimore.

I have just written myself to a new understanding. Now I see that I am pinned by his question at my own intersection:

Who I am and who I wish I was. Who I am and how I’d like to see myself: more skilled, more willing, more courageous, tougher and more empathic, grittier and more loving, ready to put not just my voice but my body on the line. The for-real Sara and the idealized Sara. The Sara who wants to make a difference in the world, be a difference in the world and thinks she has to be some other person to do this. The Sara who has just effectively devalued her life’s work.

And oh, my. The fact that I have crossed and recrossed this bridge with pretty much every single client I have worked with over the years does not save me from the same dilemma.

Now that I have named this problematic intersection, here’s my answer, JC:

I love to write. It helps me to see myself more clearly, to see myself whole. When I share my writing and hear back that it has helped some readers see themselves whole, I am nourished even more.

I love to explore life’s challenges with another person, to see the light come on in someone’s eyes. See a face soften, a body relax or straighten up as it needs to.  A flash of understanding. The “oh,” or the silence that says: I really get that, I get that in a way that restores me to something essential in myself, I get that in a way that I can make a different choice, I get that in a way that I see you in a fresh way. I love to travel with someone as she takes root in herself, breaks through hard soil, and unfolds towards the sky.

I love to play a role in a community that shares a clear focus and intention for a common good. Every such group is an intersection of differences rich with possibilities.

I love to work with people who are ready to talk, and want practice. Help design welcoming and safe but not bland or superficial group meeting spaces. Where strangers can build lasting and resilient relationships over time, become allies and friends. Where we human beings can show up with our strengths and limitations. Grant one another dignity. Listen to and tell stories. Learn and teach. Be together in “we don’t know.” Shed tears and shake with laughter. Drop through anger and fear and open to heartbreak. Stand together. Grow, grow up, grow in self-responsibility. Build the generosity, willingness, fortitude, trust to have one another’s backs.

And by nourishing connection in these ways, draw down grace. Because when we humans come into relationship, especially when that relationship is big enough to hold our differences, the world does respond and signal.

I love to work with practice groups, where we can practice being imperfect, genuine human beings together, and carry that out into our lives.

Thanks for asking, JC.

Now, friends – read more about JC’s work here.


 How about you? What do you love to do?

Make yourself useful

It is my mother’s pen knife (pictured above) that I hold most dear among the items I selected when my family members and I were disposing of her belongings. Because she used it every day: to open mail and adult-proof bottles, to cut out a coupon from the paper, to move a reluctant button through its hole. Her hands touched it. This pen knife made her life manageable in the small ways that nourished and her independence. It lived on her kitchen counter, within easy reach – perhaps dating to her eighties or her nineties, when her twisted, arthritic fingers were not up to the job. I found it where she left it when she for the hospital with a broken ankle.

Mom raised me to make myself useful, although my ideas about that, and my actions have changed over the years: change the diaper, change the oil, change my viewpoint, change my pig-headed idea. Change how I look. Change how things look. Change how things are. Change the world in small and large ways.

These days, here’s how I make myself useful:  I choose my words, my tone, my intention deliberately. Sharpened to the needs of the moment. To open a heart, soothe a vulnerability, set a boundary, fix responsibility, validate a feeling, challenge a lie.  To seal a bond or break a connection.

God spoke the universes into existence. I choose my words to keep them spinning for the common good.

How do you make yourself useful for the common good?

 

Anger, fear, a broken heart: healing self, healing society

Beneath the anger, fear. Beneath the threats, broken hearts. Start there and we might get somewhere.

Parker Palmer,  On Being, Nov 12*


IN PRACTICE: Beneath my anger, fear

Sometimes life comes at me as an arrow, pierces me. It cuts right through anger and fear. It cuts right through who I think I am, who I think the Other is. The wound is clean and oddly bloodless. The pain is sudden, sharp, grace-filled. Sorrow and tears arise soon after.  Then an actual or a virtual embrace, an ocean of tenderness, words offered and received. Intimacy with, or without, agreement on anything except one single essential: relationship.

 

IN PRACTICE: Beneath my threats, a broken heart

Someone fails to meet me, hear me, see me, even be willing to take the time to understand me. I feel erased in some fundamental way.

My first response is strongly physiological: heat rises. Then – depending on my relationship with my partner-of-the-moment – my fear will 1) push my anger up into my throat and out my mouth in words aimed at an enemy 2) go right to my kidneys, where I turn cold and uncommunicative or 3) turn me colder yet, so cold that I freeze altogether. Fight, flight, freeze.

It takes effort not to go the way of habit.

It takes effort to follow my broken heart, to let it break open further.

When I am awake and courageous enough to meet myself, hear myself, see myself, feel myself vividly and fully in my body, to study myself – sorrow, grief, anger, pride, remorse, self-righteousness, shame, wild joy, triumph, emptiness, confusion. Even numbness. And yes, numbness paradoxically is full of sensation.

When I know I am both armed to kill and the Great Reconciler, I trust I have opened to my own heartbreak.  I can begin to sort things out within myself. I am willing and able to withstand the alchemical heat of these questions, and when I take action it has a power beyond my puny ego:

– Am I in danger here? Physically? Emotionally or psychologically? Spiritually? What help do I need to call on?

– Are other people in danger? Who needs to be warned, and how?

– Did my partner-of-the-moment cross a boundary? Is my response in proportion? Or am I trying to correct for all the times anyone has ever crossed this boundary with me?

– Was I clear?  Was I hoping my partner-of-the-moment would accurately read my mind or between the lines? Was I acting out some other frustration that has nothing to do with this partner-of-the-moment? Have I withheld information, emotion, criticism only to have it leak out, as it does, into the interaction?

Wrestling with these moments, I let in a great deal more information, information I have been fending off or suppressing. I free myself to take action that is in relationship to, intimate with a bigger reality.  I can take action without certainty that it is the “correct” action to take, without certainty that it will bring about the result I desire. Yet my action is sane, even wise, because I am relationship with life.

 

A SOCIETY IN PRACTICE: Start with broken hearts and we might get somewhere.

Our nation is in great pain. It was built on even greater injury. Appropriation of land. Enslavement of fellow-humans. Two hundred and forty years of  legal precedents and not fully scrutinized beliefs, policies, institutions. Our history continues to unfold from these origins, played out in city streets, rural ghost towns, and edgy communities. In and out of view of mainstream news. In and out of view of social media. Much of the story has yet to be told, much has been forgotten, and much remains suppressed and bound in our national consciousness.

None of us are free agents until we walk this territory together.

Many of us have tasted the personal freedom that comes from diving courageously and deeply into our personal histories and imperfect humanity.

It is time now to figure out how to hack our considerable practical, psychological, and spiritual  skills and apply them for the healing of our country. To acknowledge and dive deep together into our shared difficult and violent history. 

What if we could help one another out, help one another to heal from the socially-inflicted wounds of a soup bowl of “isms” just as we help one another out, help one another to heal in our personal, family, workplace lives?

What if we could bring such whole-making skills to the civic body of our neighborhoods, cities, suburbs. rural areas?

What if we can become the arrow that pierces through anger and fear, cuts right through who we think we are, who we think the Other is, and lays bare our broken hearts?

What if we could collectively bear that sharp, sudden pain of recognition and sorrow, and cry together?

What if we could tenderly embrace without agreement on anything except one single essential: relationship, not more perfect, more human?

What do you need to become the arrow?

What breaks your heart open to an “Other”?

The grace and opportunity are with each of us,

and call us to this collective

and collaborative work.

Here. Now.


Parker Palmer,  On Being, Nov 12

Today I Show Up to Begin the Hard Work

Dear Tribe –

I am taking my own advice today: show up for the hard work.

I can see I wrote today’s 6 AM post as a letter to myself before Election Day, knowing what I would need to tell myself this morning, knowing I would reach for words and be unable to find them. To remind myself of what is possible. To feel the Universe still has humanity’s back.

There is something larger – call it Destiny, Reality, Human Evolution. Mystery, God, the Quantum Field – that does, in fact hold us together and urges us towards every last shred of personal and collective kindness. Urges us towards unfolding that kindness and bringing it all the way down into this world of structure and organization and government and business.

So here is one way I will show up: in the coming months A Life of Practice will devote itself to exploring identity in new and challenging ways, ways that include not only our personal and family histories, but our cultural and tribal lineages.

It is time to heal and awaken in our social, racial, ethnic, religious, economic contexts – the ones that play out in divisiveness, out-group exclusion, with life and death consequences for so many fellow-humans.

This is hard, painful  and rewarding work, and work I believe we must undertake to transform our perspective and understanding, reveal the obvious we cannot yet see, and guide new creative and collaborative ways for us to live, create, work, play, worship together.

The only motivation I can think of that is strong enough to pull us through this into our future is our yearning to be safe and happy. I mean, really safe and happy, down to the toes of our souls.

Thank you for your responses to this morning’s post, even those who expressed finding it unbearable.

I greatly value our traveling together.

The morning after: a 21st century creation story

As I write and post this week, election results are unknown. Regardless of outcome, many challenges and opportunities await us. We will feel them with differing senses of urgency.

We wonder: are we, individually and collectively, up to what is being asked of us? 

Here’s why my answer is, unequivocally, YES.

YES, even though we are tired and may wisely “unplug” to recuperate.

YES, even though the work to come is demanding, daunting, and unending, and I tremble in my bones.

BECAUSE from our deepest roots we are fashioned to create, and to create together.

We create as effortlessly as we breathe, as continuously as our hearts beat. We are forever engaged in materializing our feelings, thoughts, and ideas, our hopes, expectations, visions, and fears.

We shape the material world with our hands and with their extensions, tools and technologies of all kinds. We put foods and spices together and call it cooking. We put words together and call it story-telling, or news, or nonsense, or poetry. We put wood and stone and metal together and call it building. There is no end to this.

Sometimes just walking around my local super-market, I am overwhelmed at the number of products to choose from. In a kitchen store, I find a new gadget and wonder if someone woke up in the middle of the night seized with excitement about designing a cutting tool that turns a zucchini or a beet into lovely spirals with which to top a salad or frittata.

We filter what we see: we perceive selectively. We fill in blanks. Early in life we use the material that has been given to us – the gifts and limitations of our parents as caregivers, the security or the chaos of our circumstances – to create a story, a life, in which we have as much safety as we can construct. We include, we distort, we omit. We write in heroes and villains, friends, allies, and enemies.

As we grow up, we continue to elaborate on these stories. We live them. We project them more or less onto whatever landscapes, encounters, and personalities make up our days.

These are our personal creation stories: our family origins.

The smaller, the more fixed our stories, the more we live in a trance state, a default state defined by habit, the less freedom we have.

The same is true of our cultural stories, our group identities, our biases, our views of what is “normal” speech, body language, and behavior.

When we are lucky – we can join this kind of tribe: we begin to wake up and see how our stories have become unconscious and self-perpetuating mechanisms that drive our lives and our communities. We begin to question our habitual ways of responding to the world. We wake up to the ways our personal and cultural stories have become prisons. We break out (commonly with the help of others who live their lives outside of our story), and tell a new – and often bigger one, with previously unimagined possibilities. And then we can change the institutions and systems built on those old stories, and create together for the common good.

We listen attentively to one another’s stories. We take them in. Together we cry, together we laugh.

Can you catch the scent of freedom here? get hold of the thread of what it might mean to be a conscious creator of your own life, an artist of your soul? a collaborative architect of your community? an awakening builder of our world?

We are a growing tribe, on the move and gaining strength.

So take heart. Offer comfort and kind words. Receive solace. Share the Kleenex around if need be, in grief or in relief. Let us strengthen our personal resolve and our shared humanity.

Then: take one step. Start anywhere:

There is no better morning to wake up. Today: question just one perspective, break just one habit, open to just one new possibility.

No better morning to make something whole in yourself.  Today: pick just one limitation that bugs you. Take your first few steps down a path that embraces both self-acceptance and self-improvement, so that this limitation is no longer an obstacle, just something that shapes you in a particular way, like a tree shaped by wind.

No better morning to practice. Today: be willing. Persist. Move with the movement of life.

No better moment to claim your place in the human tribe.


Photo credit: Up in Arms, by Linda Carmel, at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Hillsborough, NC

One! The singular sensation that fuels A Life of Practice

The inner workings of A Life of Practice  

Those of you who have been drawn to this tribe of Good Enough human beings have told me that you appreciate the perspective of A Life of Practice with its focus on becoming not more perfect but more human. Over the past year you have responded especially to posts that offered open-hearted personal stories and models of how to engage with practice in daily moments both challenging and celebratory. I greatly appreciate your traveling with me, and your comments along the way.

What I want to share in a deeper way is the beating heart that fuels me to live A life of practice: Nondual Kabbalistic Healing© (NKH). NKH was developed as a curriculum of healing and awakening by Jinen Jason Shulman. It integrates the wisdom of Buddhism and Advaitic understandings of nonduality with the wisdom of the Kabbalah and the insights of  modern psychology. This is a path towards realizing, for each of us, our unique humanity, and living a life of vital and intimate relationships.

I began to receive healings and then study this work over twenty years ago with a “goal” of becoming more human. If you had asked me what that meant, my answer would have been vague.

 

One! Singular sensation…  (from the Broadway musical, Chorus Line)

Nondual Kabbalistic Healing © is rooted in a practice that underpins all of A Life of Practice. One! that helps me to wrestle with the unending dualities of life. One! that keeps me moving with life, whether or how these dualities get “resolved.”

And that One! is:  a radical practice of Oneness.

 

What do I mean by a radical practice of Oneness?

The central prayer of Jewish worship is known as the Shma: Shma Yisroel HaShem Elokeinu Hashem Echad. I learned this prayer as a kid in Sunday school, where it was translated as: Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Another and quite accurate translation is: Listen, you who wrestle with God, Reality is One Thing.

In NKH, we throw everything up against this statement. I mean, everything.

Whatever limitation or wart you want to leave out: include.

Whatever the shadow cast by the brilliant sunbeams of your latest inspiration: include.

Whatever you cannot bear turning away from in disgust: include. Include even your turning-away.

Because all those things we edit out or orphan: they haunt us.

They too want to come in out of the cold.

This is the radical practice of Oneness, the alchemical power of Kabbalistic Healing, and the heart of A Life of Practice.

This Oneness is not prescriptive: how human life should be in some idealized or actualized state, some Golden Age past or future.

This Oneness is descriptive:  true to how life actually is, lived on the ground, in the mind and imagination, in the heart, in the soul.

 

This Indivisible Oneness is a fabric embellished by the moments of our One Life

Some of those moments feel like shining, precious gems, others like bird droppings. Yet all are adornments. One Life. NKH’s radical practice of Oneness invites me to make use of everything I am and experience, a  potent compost that nourishes and sustains a life of practice.

 

Practice is our faithful and trustworthy ally on the journey – because we do still need to journey within the One.

The “journey” is then our gradual, erratic, persistent wandering, awakening to the Presence of God, to Reality, to our own glories and limitations, an integration of our split-off parts, an enlivening of the everything that is right here, right now.

Me and my practice – we keep moving with the movement of life.

And on we dance, awake and awakening, healed and healing.

 

Reflection: 

How are you faring in your “journey”?

What have you accepted?  How have you changed?

What have you brought in from the cold? What remains huddling outside?


Let’s talk about your journey. For a free 30-minute consultation with Sara: https://alifeofpractice.com/contact/

One! Sara guides you though a 3-minute video exercise:  https://alifeofpractice.com/welcome/

A Society of Souls, Jason Shulman’s School of Nondual Healing and Awakening, offers a four year professional training program:  http://www.kabbalah.org

 

 

Forgiveness and Fore-giveness

Fore-giveness is a profound kindness built into all of life – you could say we are made of it, and that it is the juicy and sweet seed of our own capacity to forgive.

Fore-giveness shows its Holy Self in those fleeting moments when I know who I am, where I stand, in whose company and in Whose presence. Receptive and responsive to the unique gifts of that brief measure of time.

I call these fore-giving moments, made of honesty and kindness, wisdom and understanding. They have a way of letting errors, insults, woundings, achievements and attainment each be just themselves. They leave me empty, fault and faults forgiven – and also entirely responsible and with the capacity to repair.

I understand these alchemical moments to be expressions of  a pre-existing and eternal character of the universe we humans inhabit. A compassion that precedes us in time, rank, and position. A kindness great enough to hold even the grudge I am not ready to release.

 

Yom Kippur at the Holy of Holies

by Sara Eisenberg

 

once each year

a single-hearted woman

gathers

a single seed

of every type,

drops each soundlessly into

a clean linen pocket:

tov mo’ed.

 

she stands on holy ground,

around her ankle

a twine of bright ribbons

woven by her intimates and

on which they gently tug,

pull her back from the edge.

they whisper

“forgiven, pardoned, granted atonement.”

they sing

“enter the year!”

 

she slices wide a pomegranate,

they feast on sweet-tart arils

while the juices run.


Read more about honesty and kindness:

https://alifeofpractice.com/daily-practices/at-the-heart-of-healing-honesty-kindness/

Museum Opening: Seize this teachable moment

Reflections on the opening of 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Whenever I turn away from a feeling, an interpersonal challenge, a piece of bad news, I throw away a teachable moment. Fear, anxiety, or even strong physical sensations can overcome my curiosity, warn me against crossing some threshold, and keep me from learning something that could change my life.

The first time I landed in a therapist’s office, I was in my early twenties and alarmed. I was alarmed by an unfamiliar pattern – yelling at my young children from morning until night, and at the explosive anger that fueled my outbursts yet never diminished.  I was enormously relieved to hear this was “a situational depression.”  A response to months of supporting my husband through one more exacerbation of a chronic illness. Trying to keep the kids quiet so he could rest. Relieved I was not pushed to explore my early childhood, which I was sure was full of demons. Relieved I need not yet face my sequestered terror of extinction, of being blown out like a candle in a breeze. I got out of that therapist’s office within six months, my view of myself and life intact. Relieved and none the wiser.

I had thrown away a teachable moment. Several decades passed until the effects of an accumulation of unexamined, misperceived, and misunderstood choices physically and emotionally felled me. I was exhausted.

All I really had left was the moment. And the moment. And the moment. One teachable moment after another. Moments that changed – and continue to change my life by showing me in great detail the gaps between my idealized view of myself, humanity, God/Reality, and how things are.

This means I am more awake to, more able to stop myself from demanding that you see, think, feel, behave like me, so I can be comfortable and safe. I am not immune to the impulse, and I don’t succeed every single time.

And  each time I do wake up, someone else gets closer to being who they are and realizing what they came into this world to do.

So it is with both trepidation and excitement that I hold this time as a teachable moment for me, for my people, for my kin, for the American people.
photo 2In three days, President Barak Obama will dedicate The National Museum of African American History and Culture in the heart of America’s political and cultural capital. This Museum presences and invites each one of us into the stories of the people whose enslavement and back-breaking labor lies unacknowledged yet unextinguished at the center of our national story, and whose music inspires us even as we fail to acknowledge the human spirit and suffering that gave voice to it.

Cracks are showing in the American body politic and psyche, showing up the gaps between our idealized view of ourselves and how things are. It is time to give up our false relief and any illusions that we are – or should be – “post-racial.”

It is time to examine, to perceive, to understand. It is time to study, reflect on, and engage with our full family history. Until we do, each one of us is shackled, and we continue to apply the whip to one another in ever more creative, merciless, and unnecessary ways.

The opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture offers us a teachable moment like no other. Please join me in offering prayers that we will collectively seize this moment to reckon with our full history and reconcile with our kin.


 

The Museum has invited organizations around the nation to link local events to the opening. You can search the Lift Your Voice a directory to find local events celebrating African American History and Culture in your hometown: https://nmaahc.si.edu/lift-every-voice

When Fall Calendars Collide, Be Just Who You Are

There is a particular collision of calendars in my life right now, as every fall. The September new moon has once again brought the Jewish liturgical calendar into play and called me to an annual Accounting of the Soul. I proceed. I hold firmly to my intention to be who I am, plain, ordinary and unique.

And all the while I shift my rhythms in response to the pulls of other cyclical agendas. The mix of rhythms can be as enlivening as a good jam and as bewildering as the cacophony of an orchestra tuning up.

IMG_1113

My body calendar has begun to register the shorter days. 7:15 and it’s already getting dark. Mornings can be a little sneezy and congested as ragweed pollination gets underway and leaf mold growth accelerates. The garden looks worn and dried out, and has revived only momentarily with yesterday’s downpour. Apples are hanging so heavily they pull the branches towards the ground, but they are not yet ripe enough for picking.


photoThen there’s the school calendar.
As Labor Day approaches, olfactory memories turn my thoughts to the scent of a freshly opened green and yellow box of Crayolas. I have a commanding sense that playtime is over and it’s time for me to get down to serious work. So I revisit work plans made way back last spring, adjust them for what I can see now that I couldn’t see then, for what I can live now that I couldn’t live then.

The winds and storms of the election year calendar spread troubling waters across my landscape, and I respond by keeping my eye on a near horizon I have set: the hour the last polling place closes on November 8.

But the calendar at the forefront for me at this time of year is the Jewish liturgical one. The new moon signals  the beginning of the month of Elul on September 4 and the High Holy Day season that will end at sundown on October 23.

The month of Elul invites me into an extended personal examination of conscience and behavior through the practice of Accounting of the Soul (Heshbon Hanefesh.)  Experience has taught me that whatever preparation I undertake now will shape my journey through the whole season.

Overlook the opportunities for conscious change, aka awakening, and any efforts to move in those directions will be much harder during the rest of the year.

How can that be? Is there really a season for change?

The Jewish Sages teach that during this period “God is In the Field,” more accessible than at any other time of year. You can think of the Field as a place you’d choose to meet a friend for an intimate conversation that doesn’t require a latte or even a cup of tea – a Friend who holds a High Position – it can be tough to get together during most of the year. Or you can think of this as Rumi’s field “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing” – there is that much Kindness available to meet whatever honesty, self-responsibility, clarity about my limitations and gifts I can summon for this annual talk.

When Elul ends, God leaves the Field for the Throne of Judgment. I will be judged on Rosh Hashonah, the New Year. I am responsible for my actions, and for their consequences.  But God’s judgment relieves me of the burden of self-judgment. And God’s judgment – which includes whether I will live or die, and if I am to die this year, by what means – will be sealed as night falls at the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. You can think of the Throne of Judgment and the King who occupies it as a Reality that responds to our world by bending towards kindness – not leniency, but kindness.

I have often approached this Accounting by journaling my way through an assessment of relationships: to myself, my family members, friends, communities, God, work, creative pursuits. Where have I fallen down as a human being? What needs attention, repair, simplicity, yielding, persistence, forgiveness? Too often the assessment has not come off the paper into life.

Almost a year since the launch of A life of practice, a conscious choice to show up consistently and differently in the world, and I am approaching the Accounting with an intention to make room for the Other without surrendering myself.

I am surprised to find how this intention opens up space in my brain, slows my biochemical anxiety response and even clock time, and actually changes my rhythm and responses. My husband asks me a question, and I respond in a way he can take it in – neither too little nor too much nor the “wrong” information (all well-worn paths).

This is Accounting in action mode.

As I intend and attend to the moment, I return – again – to who I am.

Even as I shift my routine towards longer evenings, reach for the Crayolas, or check in with election news.


 

Reflection: 

Perhaps you are the the one who holds the calendar for your whole family – birthdays, rehearsal dates, soccer matches, PTA meetings, travel dates.

Perhaps you are beholden to a medical calendar, filled with diagnostic tests,  treatments, days and times meals will be delivered or transportation provided.

Perhaps you are devoted to the calendar of Mother Nature herself.

What calendar(s) govern your time in this season?

How do you hold to who you are?

P.S.  As you reflect, let this sweet melody guide you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INKtCm2k3xs

Return again, return again

Return to the land of your soul

Return to who you are

Return to what you are

Return to where you are

Born and reborn again

Lyrics and music by R. Shlomo Carlbach.  Sung by one of my early teachers, Carlbach’s student, R. David Zeller

 

For more on life’s rhythms:

https://alifeofpractice.com/living-in-harmony-with-natures-rhythms/when-your-bodys-workload-is-over-the-top/

https://alifeofpractice.com/herbalism/nourishyourimmunesystem/

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

This summer was a stretch.

This summer

– more than ever I have felt blessed to wake up with a roof over my head, an uninterrupted supply of electricity and running water, ample family time and collaborative work, and absorbing and hopeful conversations in, around, and about Baltimore.

– three family members traveling abroad returned home safely. Two of them had enjoyed a meal at an outdoor cafe where guns and death showed up just a week later.

– has also been a time of sorrows near and far, of losses and illnesses and declining health among dear ones.  Of fears both real and imagined in the psyche of our country.  Of polarizing words both heart-felt and calculated in this election season.

And because a life of practice is about meeting the movements of life, all of them, the tent of the world I live in has been unimaginably stretched this summer. Not the least by my inviting into that tent my feelings of frustration, resentment, and helplessness at the state of things, even as I bless my blessings and stand up as best I can for the good as I see it.

A Life of Practice blog will start coming to you weekly this fall… and watch for news as the website and blog approach their first anniversary in October.

Do drop me a comment below if you are facing a particular challenge to practice in daily life that you would like me to chew on and write about, or an issue in herbal care you’d like me to shed some light on.

I hope your summer has been full of simple and satisfying pleasures, and that you have had the support to make it through any adversities both strengthened and softened.

 

July viewed from September

by Sara Eisenberg

 

Seashells from July travels

four out of five week-ends on the interstates,

a measure of my devotion to not missing out on the best lines of the season:

“You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.”

“Full disclosure.”

“Good fool, help me to some light and some paper.”

“I’m a seed in a pomegranate.”

 

I deduct and reason from the evidence of these seashells

how brave and tender we are,

gathering to weave words, music,

to choose life.

 

All this while CSI tapes criss-cross the world:

193 “terrorist incidents”

1528 dead, excluding perpetrators

2269 injured, excluding perpetrators

 

No EZ pass propels me through these tolls.