I’ve been posting a lot lately about Israel. And anti-Semitism. And being Jewish. The importance of being Jewish. I’ve been posting a lot about all this.
But this writing, this is not about that.
This is about our dog. Moose. This is about Moose.
Isn’t he great. I mean, look at him. He has this amazingly beautiful face. (as does my husband, a whole other writing for a whole different day)
And look at his incredible reddish-brown coat and his big brown eyes. And he is so friggin’ smart. You can hear his brain thinking.
And so fun and sweet and cuddly and overwhelming and demanding and he wants to play all the time and I am not another puppy but he thinks I am at times and so often this is a bit much for me but I do it anyway because, well… because.
Curious how you think we are doing with our training of our dog? With training Moose?
I would guess and gander that you would think not so good, right? I mean, he is standing on the dining table.
You should see him get up here. He literally bounces up…like all four feet flat on the floor and then up in the air. To land on the table. No running start for him, no sir. He’s like Tigger.
It makes us laugh.
I’m thinking we just tell people that we trained him to jump up here. From all four feet, flat on the floor and then up in the air. We’ll just say we trained him to do this. This really cool trick. We’ll call it a table trick. The dog on the table kind of table trick, not the multiplication tables kind of table trick.
We’ll say we taught him this table trick that is more like a parlor trick.
And God is he smart, he learned it in one go. He actually learned it before we even taught it to him. That’s how smart he is.
Good boy, Moose. You are such a good dog.
Once upon a time, there was a land called Israel. It was also called among other names, Canaan and Judah. Jews were here this whole time. They got kicked around. A lot. The Crusades whipped their ass. So did the Romans.
But let’s move up to 1947. So there were boats of Jews coming from Europe and the British were like, “hell no, we don’t want another boatload of these people.” But then they said, “this is bullshit…we don’t want to deal with this anymore” and the British went home.
Meanwhile, the newly created pre-curser to the United Nations offered up the two-state system. They gave like 50% of the land to the Arabs and 40% to the Jews. The newly created State of Israel had arrived.
Tel Aviv was in this Israel part, and a bunch of really shitty farmland and mostly desert. A lot was land that the Jews had already been working and developing.
So the Jews said yes. And the Arabs said hell no. And all the Arab countries surrounding this land said to the Palestinians…get off this land, and we will push all the Jews into the sea. And then you can come back and all the land, all 100% of it, will be yours.
So a lot of the Palestinians left…and went to the borders. And the Arab countries attacked Israel. And they lost. And Israel, because this was a war and all, captured more land than what was originally offered.
The Arabs that stayed in Israel, they became citizens. They work in the Government and sit on the Supreme Court. And they fight in the army—to defend Israel. Because they are Israeli. “Get out,” you say. But it’s true.
Those others, that left when all the Arab countries promised they would kick some Jew ass and told them to leave, because that so didn’t happen, they could not come back. Hence the Palestinian Refugees.
These Refugees...they said to, for example, Jordan…they said “hey Jordan, we can’t go back to our homes now, because you, you know… lost. Can we come live with you?” And Jordan said “hell no.” And so… presenting the West Bank.
And every other Arab country said hell no, too. They didn’t take them in. They didn’t take in their people, who they promised they would push the Jews into the sea for. They said hell no. All these Arab nations. They said, “no, you can’t come in our countries. We don’t want you.”
These Palestinian refugees, they got screwed. By their own people. Still. They are still getting screwed.
Because here we are… Right this minute. Here is Gaza. Are the Arab countries taking in those Palestinians from Gaza now? What is Egypt doing? Are they opening the gate and saying, please come in, we’ll keep you safe, you are one of ours? Nope.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, just a few weeks ago, said “nope. We don’t want you here, you may have militants hiding amidst your group. You’ll muck up the 40-year-old peace treaty we have with Israel. Can’t come here. Hell no.”
And Jordan's King Abdullah II. "No refugees in Jordan.” Pretty clear, huh.
And what about Hamas, the government of the people of Gaza, who have tons of oil and fuel. Are they sharing this with the citizens of Gaza? Nope. They are keeping it to set off their rockets and to make sure they can live in their tunnels under hospitals and schools.
Because it’s not about people. It’s not about helping those people in Gaza.
This is not what it’s about at all. It’s about “From the River to the Sea.”
Eight times a two-state system has been offered and eight times, the Israelis have said yes and the Palestinians have said no. Eight times. The Arabs don’t want peace. They want the Jewish people gone. They want to push the Jewish people into the sea. From the River to the Sea. See
And then, guess what? The West is next. In fact, it’s already started.
I reached out to a friend last week. I needed some perspective. I am in a tough place. The world is a tough place to be in. And it feels impossible. And I need perspective. Because I don’t know what to do.
I go from rage to grief to anger (which is a bit less of an energy place than rage and feels more doable and lasts much longer) and I don’t quite know where to land.
My orbit is small. And the information is dark. And I am in despair.
And surprised. By my Jewishness.
I am surprised by my Jewishness. By the importance of my Jewishness. And by the fact that this important part of me only lit up when blatant Anti-Semitism lit up our College and University campuses, and in our cities and towns all over the United States.
I am not surprised by this level of Anti-Semitism. This does not surprise me. I am surprised by how quickly and easily people have embraced this hate. And how quiet so many people are in the face of the ease in which so many have embraced this hate. But this fact of it, this fact of the immensity of Anti-Semitism, this does not surprise me. It’s always been here. It’s just come out from under wraps.
Like me. I have always been Jewish. And my Jewishness is now unwrapped.
I am exploring this now. This newfound understanding of the importance of being Jewish. This is part of the bucket I am in. The bucket of what this means for me. Of how I want to hold it. Of how I want to live it.
The likelihood of changing how I live it is slim to none honestly. This is not what I mean. It’s more the awareness of it. The defining quality of me. Where I used to be a 61-year-old woman, now I am a 61-year-old Jewish woman. And this is new. And means something. Something important to me. I still don’t know what exactly that this is.
So this is a part of the despair. The not knowing quite where I am at in this Jewishness of me. But figuring it out. And it will come.
And then there is the other part. The second part of the sentence. The “..this important part of me only lit up when blatant Anti-Semitism lit up...” The Anti-Semitism part.
And I want to find a way to not sit in the darkness of this. Each day, every day. I do not mean that I want to ignore it. Certainly not ignore it. Not turn away or say it’s not so big because I know it is so big.
Just to offer in some light into this darkness that I feel heavily cloaked in during this very sad time.
So I went looking for goodness. I googled goodness. Goodness right now. What is happening that is good right now.
At first, I couldn’t find anything. No matter what I googled, what I searched for, the search turned my words around and shared only the darkness.
But then, over these last few days, goodness is cropping up. A post on Instagram. A story from a friend. A video shared on a group chat. The collective consciousness is feeling this need for kindness and showing up. Seeing our sameness. Recognizing each other’s pain. Connecting as humans.
I believe we need more of this.
If you feel so called—share something beautiful with me. Share with me some news in the world that is kind. Share a place in this world where good work is being done. Where people are standing up and supporting each other. Where the polarity of good and evil is not playing out over and over again. Show me the goodness. We need to see love.
In this photo I am standing in our swim spa, looking over the Ojai mountains, glowing pink in the setting sun. My cat and I, together, as above me the day-blind stars begin to twinkle. And for this moment, there is peace.
In very rare moments, writing eludes me. The thoughts are inside me—the feelings ring true and clear nestled in my heart and dancing across my brow.
And then I go to write them out of me and onto the page.
And they elude me.
My words. My words that move in me, they do not want to move onto the page.
And so, I think, do I just not share here today? Even though I feel this call to share here today.
And then I remember this poem—The Peace of Wild Things.
This beautiful poem by Wendell Berry. And I think—oh, here are words that could be my words but different so.
And so, The Peace of Wild Things. A poem by Wendell Berry.
Shalom Aleichem. Peace be to you.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things
I am lying on my back, outside in the sun, and my dog comes over and makes himself comfortable on my stomach. Just sits himself down. “This is a photo op,” I think. And grab my phone just in time to capture this. My dog. From a different perspective.
There are many things like this. Things that we can look at in many different ways. Things that we can consider from many different perspectives.
What Hamas has done to the Israeli people is not one of these types of things that have more than one perspective. There is only one perspective here.
This is very important, what I am saying here. That there is only one perspective. This is very important as a Jewish person in this world. As a woman in this world. As a human in this world.
What Hamas has done to the Israeli people is not a matter of perspective. There is only one perspective.
Hamas terrorists raped children and elderly woman until their pelvises broke. A baby was cut out of a pregnant woman and beheaded, and then the mother was beheaded. Women and children were burned to charcoal. Bodies have been found without recognizable facial features because they were shot at such close range. Bodies have missing hands, feet, legs, genitals.
If you cannot unequivocally condemn rape, beheading, and torture of innocent people… if you, even just for one moment, consider that there may be another perspective that could justify even a bit of this... you have lost your humanity.
Israel is not at war with the Palestinians. She is at war with terrorist groups that murder Jews in the name of Palestinian rights. She is at war with terrorists. Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Just like Isis. Just like al Qaeda. These are terrorists.
When terrorists attacked our country in 2001, look what we did. Why is it not ok for Israel to defend themselves from a terrorist attack? Why, when they defend themselves, are Israelis held to a standard that no one else on this planet would be held to when they are brutally attacked by a terrorist organization.
This is anti-Semitism.
When the US was attacked in 2001, people celebrated this and danced in the streets. And we condemned them. Why do you not condemn those that now celebrate the kidnapping of children? The beheading of babies? The terrorist attack on the soil of another country. People are applauding this all over the world. People applaud this in America. People in this country are chanting “from the river to the sea.” In this country. Do you know what this means? This means cleanse the land of Jews. This is what this means.
This is anti-Semitism. This is hatred of Jews.
Just throwing this out here again for those who still wonder. The bombing of the Hospital in Gaza was not perpetuated by Israel. Hamas said it was Israel because it supports their narrative. When statements are released by terrorist organizations, perhaps questioning their authenticity should be the first step in deciphering the information.
And why, when the world considered that it might be Israel, was it all over the news, and now that we know it was not Israel… it’s not news anymore…
The tell-tale sign of genocide is a specific population in decline because they are the target of extermination.
In 1939 there were 18 million Jews in the world. In 1945, at the end of WW2 there were 12 million Jews in the world.
This is a genocide.
In 1915 there were approximately 1.5 million Armenians living in the multiethnic Ottoman Empire. At the end of 1916 there were between 300,000 and 836,000 Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire.
This is a genocide.
In 1975 there were 7.8 million Cambodians living in Cambodian. In 1979, at the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, there were 5.8 million Cambodians living in Cambodia.
This is a genocide.
In 2003 there were 1 million Palestinians in Gaza. In 2023 there are 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza.
This is NOT a genocide.
Please do not redefine a word to fit your narrative.
If you read this and assume for an instant that I do not have deep compassion for, and deep support of, the Palestinian people, you have misread the entirety of this writing.
To be Jewish is very important to me.
The photo of Moose was taken and posted on their Instagram page, by the amazing staff at Ventura Dog Ranch. Moose goes there when we are away. And we were both away last week for a few days.
I was away, back east, for way more than just last week for a few days. I have been away for three weeks now. Three weeks! And heading back home today.
I planned to post this when I was at Logan Airport. At the ungodly hour of 4:00 AM in the morning because I thought this flight made sense because…what was I thinking…. And now I am in SF waiting for a flight to SB which is delayed and gives me time to share this piece while it’s still a Monday morning and not yet afternoon….
Back east, at my home away from home, I went to a screening of an amazing short comedy film that Teagan wrote/produced/starred in/edited/created. And I flew with my sister to see my dad at his home in Florida, and my mom at the care facility she is in, and where we (my dad, me and my sister) went to Yom Kippur services which I wrote about a few weeks ago, and where I spent time with my dad’s dog, Minnie, and oh my what a great dog, who I got to love up and walk a lot and I did her nails—did you know that I love to do dog’s nails and is that fulfilling that same deep, we are all just primates, let us groom each other thing? And where I got to see my beautiful east coast grandkids and my beautiful son and daughter-in-law and spend time at my sister’s (after we got back from Florida) and see my sweet cousin, who I just love so much, who lives near me near this beach that I live near that we kind of (as in we do and which, in all honestly, I truly love that we do) still own along with owning this paddock piece of land that gives us rights on this other amazing beach called Sandy Cove.
And with all this, at one moment in this busy three weeks of time, I had this really interesting conversation with my niece about the ability we have to be in relationship with others that we deeply care about. And what we do when we can’t. When we are in this—I care so much and I can’t be near you—place.
And this is what I want to talk about today.
Upon reflection, I have come up with a number of different reasons why I think this happens. Why I believe that there are times where we need to let go of those who give us joy while also creating great pain within us.
We just don’t have the bandwidth to be present with another person because there is so much going on in our own lives, and we just can’t show up. We’ve got nothing. Our tank is empty.
Or we project outward and our triggers get triggered and get in the way and we are reactive rather than responsive.
Or we make it all about ourselves because we are attached in a way that is unhealthy and not grounded in our own power of self-responsibility.
Or we deeply know that our soul and human evolution is moving at a different speed/in a different direction/for a different purpose and our connection to this other is not in alignment to where we are at.
And yes, I know that there are people in our lives that we should not have in our lives. This is not that.
This is about those people who we value and trust and care about where, in this moment, it is just not right. It is just not right in that oh so painful—because you are, in so many ways, just right—way.
And what happens is—when this person who we love is also this person who we need to let go of—we hold on. Really tightly. Until we can’t any longer.
There is an emptiness and a sadness that comes along with this. Because even though this decision to let go is essential to our well-being, it was not a happy one. And we often don’t talk about the grief that comes with recognizing this and having to pull away. And then to have to remind ourselves not to mistake the grief for regret. To remind ourselves that this sadness and loss, it is not a greenlight to return to misalignment.
This is a messy place to be. Feeling that something is the right choice and not feeling good at all. Both. At the same time.
I saw these bicycles down below the window in the studio I was taking a Somatic Movement class in.
I was in my daughter’s class. A Monday night Release and Reset Somatic Movement and Voice Activation and dropping into our selves and our bodies in whatever way called for us to go within the container of where Teagan called for us to go. It is an extraordinary class.
And at one point, as we moved about the studio and I looked out the windows and down below, I saw these bicycles. Ordinary but not. Nestled against each other. A cluster. And waiting.
After class I grabbed my phone from the cubby on the wall where we all keep our things while we are Somatically moving together in this room, and ran back in to capture this image, in still life.
I wasn’t sure what this was about really. Why this image, these bicycles clustered together like this, below the window, waiting, was so compelling. In that moment I wasn’t so sure. And then, just the other day, A good 45 days after taking this photograph, I came upon this poem.
It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?
~~The Patience of Ordinary Things, by Pat Schneider
Ah, this is why. This is why I love these bikes. This cluster of ordinary bicycles. Patiently waiting to take their ride home.
When I got down to the street, after my class, a group from the restaurant directly below from the studio above, they were walking to their rides. They each pulled these patiently waiting ordinary bicycles, one away from the other, and quietly peddled away.
Last night was the first night of Yom Kippur. Which includes the opening prayer of Kol Nidrei. Which I love. I just love this night. I love the music and the prayer and the reflection. I love the time we take within the service to pray alone. To meditate. To be inside ourselves while we are inside this community. This is my favorite of all the Jewish Holidays and the only night that I attend each year.
This year, for the sermon, the Rabbi spoke about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they had eaten the forbidden fruit and were hiding from God. They were hiding and then this friggin’ badass Rabbi starts talking about the concept of duality.
And then she segues into Internal Family Systems and quotes Dick Schwartz, who founded this amazing methodology of self-integration and acceptance and presented to the world this idea that all the parts of us—our Internal Family—are good. That, to coin his phrase, there are “no bad parts.”
And I sat in this community center—with floor to ceiling windows looking out on lush green grass and this weird and massive sculpture that looked like boat sails, kind of—that doubled as a synagogue on this most holy of nights and I thought--
Of course I am here on this night in this space listening to this Rabbi as she quotes Dick Schwartz and talks about integration and all our parts and showing up fully as ourselves. As she talks about not hiding. Just as Adam and Eve did not hide. When God called out to them, they said Hineni—Here I am.
Here I am. La Shana Tova. A good year.
So first let’s talk about my dog. (Do you notice a pattern here?) I was taking some new headshot pics the other day, with this cool camera timer app on my phone called...drum roll...Camera Timer! And so I was taking these pics, where I get to sit and my camera clicks 30 times! 30! And while this was happening my amazing puppy who is just so cute and smart, I mean really, like so cute and smart, came bounding over and so we had to play and I got to capture these pics, too, as my camera was clicking and I was playing. And so I got these awesome photos of me with my so cute and smart dog. So here you have it, this is why these pics, that are accompanying my writing about my brain are puppy pics and have nothing to do with my brain.
So my brain.
So my brain does this thing. This auditory thing. Kind of like a photographic memory but with sound. I remember what I hear. As in, if you tell me something I know it. And can say it back to you. Often word for word though I have the attention span of a squirrel and so lose interest before I am done with that playback. So paraphrasing is more my speed. But still…
I did not know I had this brain thing. That this was special, unique, something out of the ordinary thing. I mean I knew I could remember things. Phone numbers, songs, my entire calendar, every word in a meeting. As long as I care. When I care. Then I can remember it all. Except names. What is up with that? I can’t remember your name. But I will remember, verbatim everything that you said to me. Oh, and I will remember what you wore. Anyway…
I started realizing this was something when I went to law school. I went to law school after my second baby was born. As in three weeks after my second baby was born. She came with me, with my sister. Who sat in the student lounge and would knock on the glass of the classroom door and beckon for me to come out and nurse this sweet baby when she was hungry. She meaning my baby, not my sister.
I never missed a class. In 5.5 years of law school—at New England School of Law which offered this incredible program to students who had kids and allowed us to match our classes with our childcare schedule and gave us 6 years to finish—I pretty much never missed a class.
I sat in the front—except the second half of my pregnancy with my third baby when my stomach was so big that I couldn’t fit under those fucked up desk/chair things where the desk part folds down and so I sat at a table in the back of the room that they brought in special for me—and I read the cases that I should have read the night before but I had babies at home. And a dog. And a husband.
And so I sat in the front (when I wasn’t pregnant) and read the cases with one part of my brain while the other part listened to what the professor was saying. And I remembered it all.
I don’t know how to take notes. Like, what is important to write down? How do people know how to do this? I think maybe I don’t know how because I don’t really have to. Because of how my brain works.
My notes are something like this. Professor N. wore a blue shirt and sat on the edge of his desk and talked about Public Policy in Secured Transactions. And then, reading the prompt while studying for an exam, the entire lecture would download into my head.
That’s how it works.
It’s a download.
I coach people for a living. I am moving fast here. I coach people. Executives specifically. General Managers and other Leadership Team members. And some others as well. In family businesses primarily.
I also do that Divorce Mediation thing I have mentioned before.
But this coaching... I was in a session the other day and the person I was meeting with asked me if I had a recording device running. I thought he was asking because maybe it was mucking up our Zoom connection. “Is there something up with our Zoom connection?” I asked.
He wanted to know how I sent my recaps and didn’t miss anything we talked about. Like anything.
I recap all my meetings for my clients. Divorce and coaching and couples work, too. I recap the meetings because (1) it helps my clients because, especially in the divorce and couples work, we are meeting at a time of deep emotional challenge and it is hard to remember (for them) and so I remember for them and send them the recap and (2) I can then reference this recap at our next meeting and the last meeting will download into my brain so I can show up in the best way this time.
So, this coaching client, he wanted to know how I send my recaps and don’t miss anything that we talk about. Like anything.
“It’s my brain,” I said.
Then, I proceeded to send my recap to him and forget the most important thing. Until I hit send. Once I hit send, that last bit downloaded. Sometimes my downloads have a delay. (It’s a signal to noise ratio problem. This is technology humor. I had to google it).
Remember when I wrote a book about my dog. My Nava A Bedtime Story book about my brilliant dog.
Well, I also wrote a book about my Cat. My 20+-year-old-oh-my-some-days-I-don’t-think-he’ll-make-it-another-moment-he’s-so-old-and-frail-and-can’t-hear-worth-a-dime-and-then-he-jumps-on-the-counter-and-eats-my-food cat.
So this book, this book was inspired to be created in the same way that my Nava book was inspired to be created. Because my Rose in Massachusetts grandson and I would Facetime and play the Where’s Phoenix game. We’d look for him everywhere. Is he on the chair? Outside? Eating his food or drinking water from his bowl?
We’d go hunting over Facetime together till we found him. We played this game for a while ALL THE TIME! We also played with a yellow school bus and a lot of little Lego people, a writing for another day.
Where’s Phoenix? is my new children’s book. Published through Phase Publishing, it is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
It is an awesome book. And I’m not just saying this because I wrote it. And took the photos. And created it in InDesign. Ok… I am saying it because of that. :-)
Please buy my book. Your kids and grandkids and friends and you…you will love it. It’s sweet. He’s sweet. My cat. Phoenix.
Here are the links...and I included the Nava book, too. Because you know...you need both!
Where's Phoenix at Amazon
Where's Phoenix at Barnes&Noble
Nava, A Bedtime Story at Amazon
Nava, A Bedtime Story at Barnes&Noble
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.