About Me

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I write, mostly to keep my head from exploding. It threatens to do that a lot. My blog is the pixelated version of all the voices in my head. I tend to dive into what connects me to God, my community, my family and my doubt. I do a lot of searching, not as much finding. I’m good with that. I have learned, finally, to live comfortably in the gray. In the meantime, I wrestle with God, and my doubt and my joy.

Friday, August 23, 2013

17 Elul 5773: Awaken

I don't think I'm always awake for my own life. I'm way too distracted. At times, my focus is totally inwards, so that I miss much of what goes on around me. At others, I'm all external, which means I skip over the me in those experiences-- how I fit, what I feel, what I bring, and what I take away.

It is not a very present life. It is not a very intentional life. It's a life lived later, or next week, or not at all.

A few months ago, I was at OSRUI for Shabbat Shira-- a retreat that combined song and prayer and community and holiness in a profoundly rich and wondrous handful of days. On Friday morning, for shachrit, we participated in a movable feast-- a service that literally moved us from one place to the next, had us praying and eating and singing that bent the light, so to speak. In each place in the service-- physically, spiritually, mentally, we were asked to notice differently, challenged to engage differently, so that every one of our senses was awake and aware.

It was a sacred, holy thing. I think I caught fire-- or at least my head and my heart did. We walked together to the lake, and I could think-- be aware of, awake for-- how the cold hit my body, how the path lay dappled in gentle light, the sweet scent of a distant fire. I heard the crackle of stiff leaves fighting with the song of birds and tasted the first hint of winter.

While we all stood at the lake, water lapping at the shore and the sun filling a cloudless sky, we prayed, we were awakened to the miracle of a new day. I am infinitely grateful that I am awake and alive and part of the wonders that fill every moment and make every moment holy. 

This is what I wrote that day. This is what I took away:

We walked
From one place to another
In quiet wonder at the rising of the morning.
Light filled us
And color.
Under canopies of gold
Shot through with green
And strong branches
Flecked with a suddenness of blue
Stretching halfway to forever.
Geese and crows
Sang their psalms
To the One
Of Creation and
A murmurous mix of
The shuffles of leaves
A muffled crunch
Signaling summer's slow end
Soft-voiced under canopies of gold.
Chill air coiled around my fingers
My bare-skinned fingers
And the rough bark of
Bare trees
Suddenly bared
Gently, sweetly bared
Yet rough
Edged in hardness
And sudden sweet chill.
They began
They ended
Distinct and edged
In beginning to end
What I saw
What I heard
What I felt
On that wondrous
That glorious
That holy walk we took
To greet the rising of the day.
That scent of morning
On that shared path
That leaf-edged path--
The morning scents were
Were not quite
And in-between.
They urged me on
Brought me here to this edge
Quickening me to this light-filled edge
This beginning
this ending
Of earth and sky
With such fullness
A richness of sound and light and still,
With an ever-present
(From my blog, titled Modah Ani, posted October 2012)