God is calling and She has the right number

My week started with a twist, when I picked up this voicemail:

“Hi, hon. Just calling to check in on you.  I know you have a lot on your plate. Just wanted you to know I’m thinking about you. Talk to you later.”

The voice was sweet, concerned, and unfamiliar. It was clear the caller thought she had left the message on her daughter’s voicemail. So I hit the unknown number to return the call, and the same sweet voice answered. 

I told her I had just received a message, clearly intended for someone else, and what a beautiful lift it had given me – I wanted her to know that. I also wanted her to know so she could place the call and deliver that message to the person she intended it for. She in turn was touched. We wished one another well, and without exchanging names, hung up.

I call this an  “Are you there, Sara? It’s me, God” moment, a play on one my daughters’ favorite Judy Blume books, Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.

Here’s the moral I wish I could share from God catching my attention in this way: I let it set the tone for my week. Ok if not my week, then my day?

Here’s how it actually worked: the call became a moment in a day, a week filled with other moments. 

Moments when I showed up unmoored and uncertain. When I showed up with presence. When I found myself undone by the smallest kindness. When I was lost in fear of the unknown. When I felt held by reality. When I didn’t trusting the universe has my back. 

AND: leaning a little more into kindness and a little more into honesty as needed. In short, this was one more week of showing up as imperfectly human, and mostly in good cheer.

The story in which I will eventually locate myself and the moments of this week and the weeks to come is an unprecedented one for humanity. 

Sacred texts of many traditions have long instructed humans on our connectedness. Scientists and philosophers have described it their own language, from the Harmony of the Spheres to quantum reality. Each has had their regional and cultural followers and disbelievers, sometimes linked to nation-state or tribal boundaries. The reality of our human civilizations, the beautiful blue sphere that we are as seen from deep space is real to us in a whole different way.

Now we humans across the globe share the language of epidemiologists to describe our connections, the connections of direct touch, of shared surfaces like doorknobs and counters, the connections that take place through the air we breathe. And those of us who are able rely increasingly on the interconnectivity of technology to check in with loved ones, meet with colleagues, organize our communities to help one another, have a cup of tea, celebrate, pray, and even mourn together. 

The imperatives of social distancing invite us to create sacred and nourishing online refuges.

COME AS YOU ARE

….determined, anxious, spinning, grounded

Wednesday, April 1, 12-1 EDT – Join me on Zoom

FOR AN HOUR OF GUIDED NONDUAL PRACTICE, REFLECTION, AND SHARING

REGISTER HERE by entering COME AS YOU ARE in the message


Passover Paradox: Freedom given, yet must be earned

This is the season of the epic freedom story of the Jewish people: our Exodus from Egypt.

We are told: we were taken out of Egypt.

That this was an act of pure Kindness on God’s part, executed by His Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm.

That there was nothing we had to do to earn it.

That there was no inquiry to determine that we were deserving.

That the sea parted before us and closed over the Egyptian chariots, mired in mud.

That on the eighth day, Miriam led the women in dance.

We are told: after we were taken out of Egypt, we wandered in the wilderness for another 40 years, long enough for the enslaved generation to die out.

That is how long it took to get the Egypt out of us, to gain the freedom freely bestowed.

At any given moment I can find myself the recipient of gratuitous and enormous Kindness, and slogging wearily through a wilderness, where my personal history refuses to give up the ghost.

I belong to the tribe of freed people who nevertheless have to claim liberation by dint of persistent effort, in the face of temporary defeat, in the arms of temporary refuge.

Every year we gather to tell the story.

We are advised: live the story, don’t just tell it.

We are advised: the more we elaborate in the telling of the story, the better.

Our elaborations over our family seder table have included over the years truth-tales of the Holocaust, of the Russian Refuseniks, of the lost and the survivors of the Middle Passage, of the slaughtered of Darfur, of the countless losses of Mother Earth.

At one point in the story-telling we open the door of our house and invite in Elijah the Prophet to sip at the wine we have set aside for him.

We are told: in this season it is Elijah the Prophet who may turn the hearts of parents and children towards one another, thereby holding off total destruction of the earth.

May we in this of all years take in upon ourselves to turn our hearts towards one another, both trusting in the gratuitous Kindness and dedicated to persistent effort on behalf of one another’s freedom.


 

Banner photo from Passover Haggadah by Raphael Abecassis

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/