Tag: blessings

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Dedicated to everyone whose home has been destroyed in a forest fire. The past year and a half have been one of the strangest chapters in my life saga. In May 2019, I was in upstate New York, with my daughter at Barnes and Noble, picking out cards and other necessities for my granddaughter’s Bat […]

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Taking My Faith Practice Deeper

 

As many of you know, I returned to Judaism several years ago, after falling away and practicing Zen Buddhism for many years. It has been a period of joy, questions, exploration, more questions, and discovering the path that brings me closer to G-d. Although I began to enjoy many parts of the practice, I would not have imagined learning so much; I can now recite the Amidah in Hebrew and actually understand it! It has become an early morning ritual, and I rest in the silence that surrounds me as I pray. I feel appreciated by my Torah partners; we share questions, our understanding, and our joy. My learning and writing journeys with @iWe have been remarkable. Even then, I still found myself doubting my commitment. It wasn’t that I wasn’t fully connected to Judaism and feeling G-d in my life, but why wasn’t I willing to do more?

At Yom Kippur this year, I finally realized I was asking the wrong question.

Give Yourself a Break!

 

Okay, I admit it. I have always been the kind of person who’s wanted to dive deeply into the big issues of the day: the virus, riots, governance, statues. You name it, I’m probably obsessed with it. Part of that attitude may be slightly disturbed, but I swear that some of it comes from curiosity and a love of learning. (At least that’s my defense.)

But it’s easy to become overwhelmed by current events. You may make the decision to simply check out. To refuse to discuss it. To avoid getting any kind of updates. And that’s fine.

But I simply can’t do that.

Unselfing, Marys and Marthas: Winter of Discontent, or Mind of Winter?

 

“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold[] / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.

For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.

How do You Choose to See Your Life?

 

After being in Indianapolis for two days for a wonderful seminar by Hillsdale College, I was going to write a post on the pluses and minuses of our trip. I have about twelve complaints about Delta Airlines in Atlanta just for our return trip, including their not asking local passengers to stay in their seats so the rest of us could try to make our connections; about sending us to a gate where the next flight to Orlando would be leaving, only to find out it was full; about giving us boarding passes that had red streaks that prevented the bar code being read the next morning at TSA. I’m not going to complain anymore than that, although there are lots of other annoying, stupid and inconvenient occurrences. (Did I say we were told to get to the airport at 5:30am for an 8:00am flight??

Okay, now I’ll stop—or I will completely destroy my premise for this post.

Member Post

 

As a law enforcement chaplain who responds to wild land fatalities, one of the services I provide families who, for whatever reason, can’t see the body of their loved one right away, is that I look after the body on their behalf. I am what I sometimes think of as a transitional love object, the best […]

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My life is so much richer since I joined Ricochet in December of 2012.  Basically, it’s the people.  The dinner meet up in the above picture took place in May of 2013, in Seattle.  Where else, five months after joining an Internet group, could you get 23 of them together in the same room for […]

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Member Post

 

One of the most wonderful and edifying benefits of biblical exegesis is seeing how everything ties together, making the Torah a connecting theory of everything spiritual. And I’d like to take you through one of these journeys, because this stuff is too exciting for me not to share. So if you might have at least […]

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