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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

An Unending Love

 

In the early 1990’s I happened upon a man whose words captured me from the pages of a book that had literally fallen off the shelf into my waiting hands. It was about a Jewish approach to 12 step recovery. At the time, I was living in South Florida and my husband (a recent convert to Judaism who we laughingly referred to as a “JBC-Jew By Choice”) and I were searching for a congregation that met our hippie leanings, and open minded approach to spirituality. As I turned the book over, I called out in delight since the author, Rabbi Rami Shapiro led a congregation in Miami (Kendall actually) called Beth Or which translates to “House of Light” I knew I needed to attend a service there and was delighted from day one that the taste of Judaism that Rami offered was seasoned with influences from other traditions as well. Not surprising, since one of his mentors is Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Reb Zalman is now a hale and hardy 86 year old who still teaches and writes and advocates for deeper understanding and unity among those of various faiths. His organization is called The Reb Zalman Legacy Project, a motto of which is “The only way to get it together…is together.”

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During the few years we were members of Beth Or, I delved ever more deeply into my spiritual practice, appreciating my Jewish roots in ways I had not when growing up in a congregation that focused, for the most part on rote memorization of prayers and traditions, ‘just because that’s the way we always did it’ and one rabbi in particular who didn’t value women as equal members of the congregation to be counted in a minyan (a gathering of 10 needed to say certain prayers). How refreshing to experience a ‘both/and’, rather than an ‘either/or’ approach to spirituality.

Years later, I remain in touch with Rami whose writings can be read in many places on the internet and whose books continue to astound me with their wisdom and sharp insights.

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Today, I am visiting my Mom who is on hospice and I read her my favorite of all of Rami’s writings. It speaks vibrantly to the truth of what we are.

An Unending Love

by Rabbi Rami Shapiro

We are loved by an unending love.

We are embraced by arms that find us
even when we are hidden from ourselves.
We are touched by fingers that soothe us
even when we are too proud for soothing.
We are counseled by voices that guide us
even when we are too embittered to hear.
We are loved by an unending love.

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We are supported by hands that uplift us
even in the midst of a fall.
We are urged on by eyes that meet us
even when we are too weak for meeting.
We are loved by an unending love.

Embraced, touched, soothed, and counseled,
Ours are the arms, the fingers, the voices;
Ours are the hands, the eyes, the smiles;
We are loved by an unending love.”

Reb Zalman Legacy Project www.rzlp.org

Rabbi Rami Shapiro www.rabbirami.com

  • http://liveyourpeace.com Ruth Anne Wood, Live Your Peace interviews

    Edie,
    Farley’s books store in New Hope, PA is one of those mystical places that the right books have fallen off the shelves on two occasions. The first was when I was in an eight year relationship with a high school sweetheart. I was feeling invisible one weekend while half a dozen grown “boys”, grunting, eating beer and pizza were busy ripping out the stairs of our 103 year old HUD repo half a brick twin in Lansdale, PA.
    I was wishing I was a sexy cheerleader for a split second and longed for more attention. Later that night while they were hanging out I took myself on a date to New Hope and a hair and make up book fell off the shelf. I knew I had to get it.
    Months later when I was feeling lonely again I went to the same book store and “The Little Prince” fell into my arms. A whole adventure lead up to that profound moment that included passing out long stemmed roses in the spring time to friends in my hometown of Doylestown (a day after the hair and makeup book incident) and feeling so much love and synchronicity. (And no I hadn’t applied any of the hair and makeup tips yet.)
    Then I tried to recreate the experience six months later “all dolled up” shortly after New Years and ended up flinging over a dozen “unwanted” flowers over the bridge. It wasn’t the same mystical experience I had remembered. While I was sniffling in the corner of Farley’s bookstore reading “The Little Prince”, I realized if you aren’t freely giving gifts from your heart people will cross the street to avoid you. People can feel you neediness. I also bonded with the Prince’s connection to his Rose.
    Since then I have met my husband over six years ago and the first books he shared with me was his copies of “The Little Prince” in French and English which we read together. :-)
    A few months ago I found myself near Farley’s shop and I mused about recreating those magical experiences. I got one of those heart tugs when I went in the back of the store I saw a beautiful presentation Frida Kahlo paintings in the form of a tiny book and stationary. It had to go home with me. Books can be windows into our heart’s desires and life’s next step. Pay attention to what messages leap into your arms.
    Edie, thanks for sharing such poignant moments and providing the space to converse about our own.

  • http://www.liveinjoy.org Edie Weinstein

    Ruth:
    Thank you for sharing the magic of books and the power they have to inspire and delight. They are my ‘toy stores/candy stores’ all rolled into one. Loved hearing about your adventures. The Little Prince is one of my favorite books as well and it is no surprise that Jason shared it with you when you met, since it was already a part of your consciousness.
    YOU are a beautiful rose whose presence on the planet, scatters its petals for people to gather.

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