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Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice

When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur: Forgiving and Loving Our Broken Parts


I am not well enough to make it through a day of sitting at our shule...so I will rest and meditate at home...sit with God here and pray. I have some selichot (forgiveness) to work on...I realized last night at Kol Nidre that my body is in desperate need of forgiveness from my mind...I trust that my compassionate heart will lend her guidance and support throughout the day as this act of forgiveness begins it's long process. I want to share some recent exchanges I've had with two friends that I hope will inspiring to others. I will not use names of course, to protect the privacy of my loved ones. It's interesting to me how many people keep telling me how positive and strong I am.

My friend said "You are Amazing"

My reply: "Why does everyone keep saying that to me? truly, I'm just living, doing what anybody would/could do in this situation...I have a wonderful husband and two fabulous kids...many loving friends. It's wake up and deal with each day or what? Really ...I don't have any other reasonable option. This is the life God has given me...so I just show up and breathe and make the best of every day. Somedays its a lot harder than others...when despair sets in...but I work very hard not to let that happen too often. It's just practice, right? And God certainly gives me plenty of opportunities to practice. As a yoga teacher, a meditator. you know it's all about practice, steadfast practice and well, Faith, of course. So. I'm not at all amazing. Just a regular human making the best of some difficult times. I love you...and I appreciate the compliment because I know you and I know it comes from a place of love. But...I am not amazing. God is Amazing. Life is Amazing. Love is Amazing....and friendship across miles and years...that's Amazing."

Here's a message to another friend, recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis:

"You are rising to the challenge of living with chronic pain beautifully. It's hard work to be a human in pain...but to be a Mom in pain, I think is especially difficult. Everyone depends on you and expects you to have the same energy and pleasant mood they have always seen in you...to be exactly the way you have always been, because they cannot see what you are feeling. I've been sick for 9 years on and off...and it has not been easy for my kids at all...but they do eventually start to "get it" and become more patient/tolerant of our limitations. The hardest person of all to teach...the one who will struggle the most with all of the changes is YOU. With each new "diagnosis" I have new things to learn, accept, forgive of my body and mind. Last night we went to the Kol Nidre service...perhaps the most moving beautiful service of the whole year. I wanted so much to be there, praying with my community. And so glad I went, but it was really hard. As the cantor was chanting the Kol Nidre prayer, with his sweet tenor voice I started to cry. To protect myself from the eyes of others I took my tallit (prayer shawl) and draped it over my head so that I could cry in privacy...just me and God, in a sense. I'm not sure yet what all the tears were. Some were sadness, some were gratitude to be standing (leaning against the pew in front of me for support) with my community. Some, to be honest were a bit of self-pity (a place I don't readily like to go to or even admit to myself). Some were tears of joy for the privilege to be a free person in this country living at this time when Jews can pray openly without fear of attack from hateful people (relatively new in terms of world history)...and of course the great joy of being flanked by my husband and daughters! I'm sure there were other tears in there I will need to decipher...but those were definitely some of them. I'm telling you this because it is a great adjustment and sometimes a steep learning curve to live with a disabling illness. And I truly believe that each of us is endowed with the courage, the grace to find peace with our challenges. It takes time, patience and faith to find that courage and grace...but it is in there...it is in YOU. As I wrote above about me not being amazing...it's true...I am not amazing...I am a very average person. And if I can learn to live in accord with MS...you can learn to live in accord with rheumatoid arthritis. Give yourself time to grieve (there are no limits on that time period you know). Open your heart to God and allow the awe of all that works well in your body...the mystery of that to carry you forward on the really difficult days. I think people like you and me who do have great faith are very fortunate...it is difficult for me to imagine how one without deep faith traverses this twisting, winding, hilly road...but I'm certain they find their own way too and my heart opens joyfully with this deep knowing. "

There is a wonderful daily prayer that Jews recite each morning,
Asher Yatzar...here is a translation
and explanation from: http://www.milechai.com/judaism/asher-yatzar.html

The blessing of Asher Yatzar is recited every morning as part of the Birchaot HaShachar, Morning Blessings. It is also recited after one has gone to the bathroom. It expresses our recognition that our bodies are complex and sophisticated systems and if one part of the system goes bad then this effects the whole body. In this blessing we express our gratitude to HaShem for the fact that our bodies continue to function properly. The Asher Yatzar prayer is over two thousand years old.

Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, Who fashioned [people] with wisdom and created within [us] many openings and many cavities. It is obvious and known before Your throne of glory that if but one of them were to be ruptured or but one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You for even one hour. Blessed are You, HaShem, who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.

Another prayer I recite every morning before I even open my eyes is this:

modah ani l’fanecha, melech chai v’kayam shehechezarta bi nishmati v’chemla raba emunatecha…I thank you God, eternal One for lovingly restoring my soul to me, filled with your eternal trust.

May this be a day of deep healing for all beings.

shalom, shanti, peace,
Laura

6 comments:

  1. I can appreciate your feeling that it is God, not you, who is amazing, but I do feel (this may be the creative coach in me coming out) that you should give yourself at least a little credit for being somewhat amazing. I truly don't know that I would handle having MS with the grace that you have shown. I truly hope that I would, but I'm not so sure. I think it take an amazing person to take blurred vision and reframe it as seeing something in "Monet" style. (your note to me) - So perhaps you can take 5% more credit for being the amazing person that you are - I think God would approve. Love and light - Jill

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  2. I always enjoy reading your words Laura. Such insights! Forgiveness, grieving, and an open heart are all welcome lessons no matter what our struggle is on this day.

    {soul hugs}
    k

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  3. ok 5%...fair enough! love you too jill!

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  4. I'm thinking forgiveness. I'm feeling compassion. I'm in both of these spaces today...it's so hard - I already just broke both of these spaces with impatience in just a second...but I'm trying to bring myself back. It helps when I read posts like these, Laura, and refocus on what's amazing...and then go back into forgiveness and compassion!

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  5. breath Naomi...neshama/neshima...that's the point of t'shuvah...and you just keep coming back home there again and again...and compassionately forgive yourself on the days when that feels too impossible. Because, of course, it's ok to not be able to get there sometimes...part of the journey.

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  6. Thank as always Kathryn...truth is truth. Have a blessed day.

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