Does it not seem coincidence that there is three.
A triple power vibration.
A murmur, a rumble, a drone.
Earth and sun and moon.
Maiden. Mother. Crone.
Last night we went hunting for the total eclipse of the moon. We could not see it from our home, so loaded into the car to drive above the town and into the open fields of upper Ojai. We were not alone. Other cars dotted along the side of the road against a field. One man had set up a telescope, another couple sat in beach chairs and I wondered if they had wine with them as they gazed up into the clouds. For there were many clouds.
The side of the sky away from the moon was bright and the stars were clear in our eyes. But the moon, it was hidden by the clouds. At first. And by the earth. Both.
But in just a short time, minutes that felt like seconds but longer, too, the earth’s rotation moved enough to let just a sliver of the sun hit against the moon. And at that same time, the clouds were gone. Just like that.
And with just this bit of light against the moon we were able to see that subtle wash of color that is the blood moon. Not as red and rich as I have seen in other years, but still a suggestion that this was no ordinary moon.
And we watched, for just a bit, this slow transformation from blood to light. And then returned home while the brilliance grew larger still until the super blood moon eclipse became just a moon again. Bright in the night sky, making the darkness seem almost like day.
I woke up many times last night. And each time took a moment to check on the moon. It was clearly visible now. Our earth had moved enough that the moon was no longer hidden behind the mountain that our home rests against. But instead hung bright white over us.
And I thought about the pull of the tides and the cloak of land and dirt and shadow when earth aligns with moon and sun, a triplicate that sends a wash of blood to the surface of the moon.
I do not first think of myself as Jewish when I defined myself. When I think about myself I am a mother. I am a dancer. I am a partner and a lover and a sister and a daughter and I am a friend. I am a writer. I am a mediocre piano player. But I do not think of Judaism. Of my Jewish self when I think about myself.
And yet each year I go to temple on these most holy of days. The New Year. A time of rejoicing and repentance. Of reflection and rebirth.
Often I go because I am with my family but just as often I go on my own. I find that I take myself there. A pull to be in this place during this most sacred time.
And I find that I am bored. I find that I am distracted. The words that are said aloud and whispered in silent prayer they do not resonate with me. The service starts and my mind, it instantly wanders. Because I just do not love this so much.
And so instead I will notice beautiful baby sitting across the aisle from me and this will entertain me for a few minutes. I will whisper and laugh with my niece and nephew, or my own children if they are with me, too. And definitely with my sister, when we are together to take in this day. And often I will wonder how many others in the synagogue have a wandering mind, as I do now.
But then we sing, nearly as beautifully and with as much spirit as the brilliant Barbara Streisand, this: Avinu Malkeinu.
Avinu Malkeinu. Our Father, Our King. The meaning of these words, they hold no power for me. But that we sing together in tender spirit, a resonance in minor keys, this is what I lean into.
I, once and often, sang this to my babies and they know this song before they knew it truly. Passed through my womb and more. I would sing to them as I rocked them to sleep, dancing slowly round the living room. Their sweet, soft breath just a whisper on my neck. My voice, melodic and whispered back in a response that settles in their heart. My babies know this song as I do.
And as I sing again each year I feel and see, in this room that we all come to be in, the constant sway of music that burst forth from everyone around me. A sea of movement and song. A collective consciousness from ancient times. A remembering.
Not of just the year before or many years before that, too. But of a deep past and a history connected together by verse after verse.
My soul knows this music. And it recognizes these others that are here with me on these days. In flesh and ghost. And this is why I go each year. To this place that I do not really like to be in. Because here I find that familiar spirit that lives in bones and fibers and ash. And here I find the longing to connect, even for this once a year time, to each other through these notes. Through the music in these chords. Through the stories in these chants and songs.
And it is with this spirit that springs alive in my heart that I wish a most happy of new years to all who celebrate these most holy of days. And love and kindness to all my friends and my family. L'shanah tovah. A good year.
My beautiful, smart, capable, incredibly challenging but always wonderful Doberman puppy gets up around 6:15 every morning. It is our routine. She gets up and she nudges my hand with her nose. And so out of bed I go, grabbing my shorts and sneaks and perhaps a sweater in case it is cold and we go out for a walk in the beautiful orange grove below our house.
Since we brought her home, this past March, when she was just this tiny ball of Doberman sweetness, our early morning walks have been quite wonderful. And quite doable as the morning sun was already high up in the sky, with the days getting longer and the weather warming and the grove was filled with light even early in the morning.
But now the smooth, sweet heat of summer is transitioning into the coolness of fall. The days are getting shorter and the air is crisp in the morning grove and when I wake up at 6:15 the last lingerings of night are still in the sky. A hush of grays that will soon be touched by morning light.
And I wonder, as we make our way down the driveway and into the grove, whether it is safe. Will a coyote or mountain lion sneak down from the hillside above my house and corner us against an orange tree. Irrational thoughts but they skip across my brain as we walk along the dirt roads.
Still we walk as the sun starts to peak above the Topa Topa Mountains. My Doberman and I. Surrounded by a loveliness that I probably would not have seen otherwise. The just born peek of the morning sun as it brighten up the sky. The tiny moments of light that sneak above the mountainside in reds and orange and yellow, too. We walk together. Waking up our legs and our hearts to the wonder of this early morning moment. Waking up our bodies. Waking up our spirits as the morning awakens the day.
When we took our middle daughter to college, way back five years ago right around this time, we noticed, as we wandered around the University of Michigan's massive campus, that most of the freshman walked in clusters. Large groups of alike students, connected together by the hip. Security in numbers during this, most definitely stressful time as they acclimated to this new environment.
But it was more than just a random grouping together for safety. There was a true connection there through collective experience. A shared focus that came from fear and excitement and wonder and worry all rolled into one. Most likely only a few longterm friendships would come out of this. For the purpose was to create a bridge to a new place. And so they latched on to each other and felt more secure and were, hopefully, able to thrive these first few days of school.
I got to thinking about this because of something my daughter-in-law said the other day. (ok not quite my daughter-in-law yet but soon and in my heart she already is... so...) We were talking about transformation. And she noted that all of us, me, my husband, children (she is included in this) and even my amazing and beautiful and smart and capable and getting so big I can't stand it Doberman puppy, are going through a major shift. Not one big shift. We are each journeying through our own metamorphosis. But together with each other.
And that got me thinking about those clusters. Because it makes sense that we would be in this together growing our separate ways.
Transformation happens when we are open to the possibility of change within ourselves. But this possibility needs nurturing. It needs a safe place. Possibility needs to be gently held, occasionally nudged and consistently honored. Hence this cluster.
Now our cluster is pretty obvious. We are all related to each other. A ready-made oasis for growth and development. But if you look around, you'll see that clusters form without familial connections. Like minded find each other in our quest for growth and light. We gravitate to that subtle energy vibration that comes forth from others on a similar journey. And we latch on, a healthy binding that fuels each other. And, just like our freshmen, who made it through those first few weeks and then slowly watched their cluster divide into separateness again, we too, will stay connected until we don't need that anymore. Until we reach that place we are meant to get to, and our cluster detaches as the energy subsides.
It's Monday. I know this. I knew this all day. I had coffee plans this morning. Plans for Monday morning and so knew it was Monday when I first woke up. But still, it was not until just this moment - or actually a few moments ago as it took a bit of time to get my computer, sign in and on to this site - that I realized that it is Monday and that I completely forgot to write this morning.
So now here I am...with not much to say today. And so, because I want to keep the discipline of writing/posting each week, rather than just not post today...I am re-sharing an early writing. It is a very timely writing to repost as my coffee connection this morning - at the Coffee Connection no less - included a wonderful conversation about women and fighting the repression of our sexuality and our spirit. I hope you enjoy this visit back to one of my first writings. I really like this one a lot:
MY LIGHT, AIRY MUSINGS IS REALLY A DEEP-SEATED NEED TO CONNECT TO YOU - written 12/28/2014
Last week I wrote about my changing body. A trip down a handful of body parts and internal workings that have taken on a life all their own (as in long, rogue eyebrows) and somehow seem foreign to me even as they are me.
It was light and humorous and I wrote it for one really important reason: so we can all talk about it. It is happening to me and it will happen to other women. Or has happened to many already. Not necessarily exactly the things that I am experiencing but changes nonetheless. And I wanted to share the journey. Because so many women do not.
I can go on and on about how we live in a time where perfection is the unattainable norm. Where images race across the screen, are pictured in the magazines, walk past us down the street all nipped and tucked and set just right. And that certainly is part of it. But I think there is an even bigger issue going on. I think women have disconnected from each other on this fundamental level of sisterhood. That karmic, cosmic connection that unites us in our journey from maiden to mother and into crone.
We don’t share these things readily with each other. In the past, think back to ancient times, to living together in communities, tribes, covens - to when we were more connected to the earth, we lived through these changes with each other. And we honored the aging process. We became wise women. Elders.
But now we live in separate houses and separate spaces and we clothe our transforming bodies and do not see each others life journeys become etched into our skin. And that is sad.
Because as we cover up our bodies, we close down our hearts to each other.
We lose the reverence for each other and for ourselves. And this disconnect settles into ourselves in a really unhealthy way because as we shut down from those around us - whether through fear or sadly, in shame for not living up to an ideal - we start to internalize those feelings until they become us.
I wanted my first writing in this blog that I have embarked on creating to be about women because I wanted to focus on being a women and talking to women from that place of being the same.
My light, airy musing is really a deep-seated need to connect to you, other women, on this authentic level of honoring myself and honoring you.
And opening up of a dialog so that we can feel that support and love and acceptance. Both in ourselves and with each other.
Women are extraordinary. And we get better and better as we get older. I know this because it is happening to me. I am wise now. I have less shit. Not no shit…but less shit. I am starting to move with a grace that I have not known before as I become more grounded into myself and into the earth.
I am really proud of this age that I now am. And I am proud of the journey that I have taken to get here. Proud of the woman that I was throughout this aging adventure and proud of who I am becoming now.
I am proud of the wisdom I feel seeping into me. Because now I, too, know many things. That settled and peaceful giving that I see in other women, older than I, as it expanded from within themselves - a knowledge that swims in this great pool, formed from their life experience - I am starting to have this now.
For I, no longer maiden nor mother – now that my children are grown – am becoming that wise crone. Yes, just at the beginning of this next and last stage of womanhood, but still embracing this new path. With bravery and grace.
And now, I begin to feel this love for my body in a whole new way. There is strength in these bones and flesh. There is power in my arms and legs that was not there before. My neck holds my head up high and my back carries me straight and fierce. I am beautiful in my skin.
I am proud of my age. I speak this truth with my clear eyes and strong heart.
I want to walk in this earth-connected place with other women by my side. I want this same connection that I am discovering that I have to myself and to this earth to ground with others outside of myself. This is what that writing was. The reaching out to you by opening myself up to you. The beginning of this connection that I seek.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.