Yes, it’s been that kind of a week.
Do I really need to replace the iPad? I could live without it, right? [five minutes tick by...] Uh, no. Just like I would replace a busted tire on my car, I will replace this essential technology. Please don’t judge me too harshly. I know, in fact, that there are people in the world that would have seen the blessing and opportunity to lighten their gadget load. Not me.
The story that follows will illustrate why your only choice is to just keep showing up, transparently, authentically, passionately, from your heart. Because you don’t get to know when the right and perfect person will remember the right and perfect thing you wrote or said, and take the right and perfect action, the one you intended in the first place.
I raised my daughter through some incredibly difficult years. As she became an older teenager and started looking for jobs, I passed on to her the things I thought she needed to learn, things I knew would be helpful life skills, things like:
My daughter listened to me—barely—rolled her eyes, and responded the same way every time:
…followed by a slammed door, or a slammed-down phone (and I’m sparing you the curse words).
I would leave these conversations so downhearted, so discouraged. I would pray, release her and release some more, asking the Divine to take her, take her, guide her, teach her what she needs to learn, what she needs to live a good life, do for her what it seemed I so clearly couldn’t do.
I would lean on my girlfriends, and my sister, for compassion. Even if they couldn’t relate, or really understand, they could still love me through this.
This went on, and on, and on…
And then one day my sister called me, made sure I was sitting down, and then told me this:
I called your daughter to say hi, and asked how she was. She told me that her boyfriend’s nephew was living with them, and was having trouble finding work. And how it was driving her crazy, because no matter how often she told him how he should dress nicely when he went out job-hunting, how he should fill out the applications neatly, how he should talk to the manager, and go back and follow up… No matter how much she told him, he just wouldn’t listen!
Lately I’ve been feeling the presence of my departed parents. Very closely. I dreamt this morning, just before dawn, of my father. In my dream, I was packing up to leave. Emotionally wrought. And, in a way that rarely happened in our lives together, my dad came up to me and handed me some things I might need to take with me. In loving silence.
I am cloaked in this feeling of my father’s love now in the early morning as I write this.
We’re coming up on Beltaine—the first of May—the pagan festival that honors new life and growth. It’s said that the veils between the worlds are thinnest around Beltaine, just as they are at Samhain time at the end of October. (We’re more used to thinking of our beloved dead at Samhain time, with all its attendant symbols of skulls, and skeletons, and coffins, but here at the opposite spot on the Wheel of the Year, the veils thin again.)
Spend some time at your ancestors altar, or create one. Display some photographs. Eat a meal, listen to music, that they loved. Talk to people you know who also remember them. Sink into your gratitude. What is remembered, lives.
How do you honor your ancestors, precious? Join the conversation in the comments.
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my legacy, about how I’ll be remembered, about the good I will have done that will outlive me.
It’s a really useful exercise, from time to time, to meditate on this very thing, to review your values (and compare them to your actions!), so that in each now moment you can choose what you do, what you say, even what you feel and think, so that everything you choose to do, say, feel and think is in alignment with your best and highest values.
The last time I spent some time on this topic, this is what I wrote:
I want to leave a legacy of:
- spreading generosity
- having been generous and loving
- having been funny and smart and interesting
- having been a good friend and a great mother, daughter and sister
I do this every year. I’ll confess, this is the only Jewish food I have learned to make. The Jewish food I was brought up with is heavy, and doughy and made of lots of things I no longer eat. Matzo brei is all of that, and it’s also incredibly delicious. It’s traditional to make matzo brei during Passover season (which just ended), and I’ve been doing this, with and for my daughter, for many years.
My daughter drove 100 miles to join in the feast and fun. I sent her home with all the leftovers (that was all the wheat and dairy and sugar I needed to put in my body). The next day she texted and asked for the recipe. (More about this, including the recipe, in last week’s blogpost here.) Rose made her first matzo brei, sending me pictures along the way. It came out great, she said. And you know what made me kvell* with joy the most? She told me how squeezing the water out of the matzo brought back memories of standing by my side, as a little kid, and helping me make the batter.
Last Wednesday, my friend and member of my Mastermind group, Sharon Rosen, sent out her weekly Mindful Moment newsletter, and in it she wrote:
This week, with great love and respect for whatever is going on in your life right now, I invite you to spend at least one day living and connecting with those you love as if you knew it was your very last day.
- How would you act?
- What would you say that you might not normally share?
- What might you see/hear/sense/feel that you often are rushing too fast to experience fully?
- What would your self-talk sound like?
What a perfect message for me to receive, especially last week. In this season of change, and growth, and renewal, I had the amazing experience of reuniting with a cherished friend, a sister of my heart, whom I hadn’t seen in at least fifteen years. And I had nearly given up. I had tried to reach her, couldn’t find a current phone number, and had sent two actual letters in the last couple of years, neither of which got a reply.
I didn’t know if she was sick, or if I had mis-addressed the letters, or if there was something I didn’t know that had estranged us. In the second of my letters to her I found myself saying how important it was/is to me to see her again while we can, while we are both alive, before our very last days had come and gone.
And I got to see her. And her husband. And her two beautiful daughters. And it was like we had seen each other yesterday. Or an hour ago. Or five minutes ago.
I’ll be honest with you. As a woman who has a recent relationship with happiness, and a persistent habitual relationship with my dark side, I don’t do wild happiness that well. Sadly, I’m so much more comfortable focusing on what I don’t have, what’s unavailable, and being contemptuous of what I have. Sigh.
The good news is, I am not stuck in that pattern any more. [Doing a wild happy dance in my heart.] Uncomfortable as it was, I showed up, fully present, to reuniting, loving and appreciating. It was wonderful. I think that daily (or nearly daily) meditation practice, and sinking into my heart on a regular basis, is causing big fundamental important juicy changes in me. For the better!
I’ve been thinking about this upcoming Full Moon, and while a Libra lunation might be seen as something peaceful and balanced, we get to also fold in the awareness of all this Aries energy going on. Especially Venus in Aries.
They say that Venus in Aries is at her detriment, and to watch out for a tendency to be overly aggressive, out of balance (hmmm, that Libra thing again), to be driven by so much rush to accomplish, accumulate, achieve, that you can rush right by the opportunity to savor this now moment, and the next.
So the opening here, this coming week, is to continue to breathe, and to experience this moment of accomplishment, or this moment on the way to accomplishment. To appreciate this awareness of increase. To allow appreciation for every facet of your achievements.
This Full Moon comes the day after Passover (Pesach) begins, as it always does, since Jewish legend decrees that Passover begins the night of the Full Moon that occurs after the Spring Equinox. Observant Jews will be in Pesach mode, having cleansed their homes of leavened bread in all its forms, put away the usual kitchenware and brought out the “for Pesach” sets, and feasted at Seder and retold the Exodus story in this sacred reenactment of an ancient Spring festival.
What I take away from this tradition of my birth is that this time of year is an invitation for cleansing, dedication and renewal. Not to mention a great time to gather with loved ones and eat matzo brei.
Take some time, as close to the actual Full Moon as you can to do this work. (Any time in the three-day-window of Tuesday 2/26 to Thursday 3/28 will work just fine.) You can work at your altar, or be outside, or any place you feel connected to Spirit.
Use these suggestions to tap into the energy of this Full Moon.
I’d love to know how this Full Moon glows for you. Please leave a comment and let me know what actions you are taking; how you are cleansing, dedicating and renewing; and how you are expressing your beautiful loving heart.
Wednesday is the Equinox, 4am hereabouts (SF Bay Area). The beginning of the astrological year. This is a powerful pivot point in the wheel of the year. This last month, Pisces presented the invitation to go deep, to lean into whatever needed to be resolved—or at least looked at—in your heart, in your psyche, in those secret corners of your soul. It’s a kind of housecleaning we get to do before we step into the fiery new energy of Aries. A spiritual clearing of the decks.
I love looking at how this kind of thing appears in other traditions. This time of year, observant Jews search their homes for breadcrumbs—chometz, any traces of leavened products, before celebrating the festival of Passover. I like the deep thread that runs through this, connecting cultures and practices.
The Equinox is that sacred balance point, the day of equal amounts of darkness and light. That sacred moment of completion, of turning from review and recollection into action and implementation of the next right powerful steps of your goals and visions.