It’s been a very folded in kind of time. I’ve been away from writing, from social media, from connecting with so many people and from engaging outwards. On November 30th, 2022 it will be two years since my beloved Lev/heart sister Jolie, May her memory be for a Blessing/zichrona l’vracha, left this earth. And, it’s gutted me in more ways than I could have known. It was not just her leaving this earth, it’s the violence of it, the sudden nature of her being gone so quickly. There have been many other really hard wind lashings in my world over the last few years that have depleted me down to the dregs. I’ve felt more like tissue paper than sinew and flesh. Tissue paper doesn’t have much to bring to the table when life gets hard.
So, as this crescent moon marking the beginning of this winter month of Kislev comes in, I’ve decided to plant a tiny seed of hope. How do I move forward when the waves of wounding and wrongness are so big. The answer has been, I don’t. I have just been lashed to the ground. You can’t fight a class five storm, you just have to survive it, surrender to it, hope that wherever you are now will be protected enough that you can emerge. The landscape will be radically different, landmarks and people and roads and ways that were familiar are all changed and unrecognizable or simply gone.
My hubris and arrogance have been scoured away or whittled down as well. To find myself failing and fallen in many areas of my life has been brutal, but also just what is. I’ve had to surrender to the truth of being unable to rise up and meet challenges or situations that I was formerly completely able to navigate. Not so much anymore.
Despite trying to create boundaries around my grief and all the tasks connected to managing Jolie’s death and her estate, the gates continually are breached. All the skills I used to have only working in small measures and moments. The terrain of difficulty has remained firmly the same. Added to Jolie’s leaving there’s been the ongoing serious illness of another beloved, the suicide of a 17 year old whose family I am close with, a global pandemic and pandemic-related craziness and many other deaths and painful challenges. I’m also responsible for managing my husband’s software design business, our own aging bodies and their changes, our parents needs and their homes and I could go on and on. I want to be present for those I love and the responsibilities I’ve taken on and doing so is no longer easy. I have felt whipped about. I’ve had to move within this landscape as best I could, and finding out that my best just doesn’t always make things work, or better, adds to the feelings of failure and grief.
So, hiding in my bedroom, under the covers, listening to a book on my phone or watching some program on my ipad, distracting me from the piles of paperwork or condolences I haven’t written is where I’ve been. The protection I’ve had, which so many people don’t have, is a safe and warm place to be, despite the storms raging outside and around me. The protection of a loving husband and his ability to provide for our financial needs, the protection of family support and friends who reach out to me and who put up with and are there, even if it takes me weeks or months to get back to them, all make a difference. The gift of being able to order food delivered to my door, so I don’t have to cook or shop so much. Having groceries delivered sometimes and having a Goddaughter on hand to clean and help me. These protections have been crucial and I feel blessed even from down under.
The piles are so big and the backlog of stuff that I have to do seems absolutely insurmountable. So, I avoid them a lot of the time, and many things fall through the cracks as a result. As I find ways to poke out my head a little, I rely on the seasonal reality of life. There will be ebbs and flows, rain, snow, storm and then sunlight, gentle breezes and grasses poking through the earth. The moon will wax and wain and so will I.
While studying up to lead a women’s Rosh Chodesh ritual for this month of Kislev, I read about how the word for this winter month can be broken down into two parts: Kis/Pocket and Lev/Heart. This pairing penetrated through the blankets and layers and I realized I wanted to tuck something into that pocket in my heart. I wanted to tuck Tikvah/Hope into the warm, blood red musculature of my heart. Not a tissue paper heart, my hardworking through it all, pumping every second since it was formed in my mother’s womb over 58 years ago, my strong and true heart. While I’ve been heart-broken in so many ways, my actual heart has continued to pump out a steady beat, a ba bum, baa, baa bum. So, in this time of cold and dark and grieving I have planted a seed in the folded pocket of my heart. I invite you to do the same, put your hand on your heart, let it rest there, feel your heart and find a pocket there to fold a seed into.
May there be space for your seeds to rest and reach out tendrils and roots and to sprout when and where you need them to.
From my heart pocket to yours with great Love,