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.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.