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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Holy Listening

tallit

Sharon Pearl is a Spiritual Director who has chosen to act as a guide for people who are wanting to open to the Divine in their lives. She serves people of various faith traditions, although her own path is rooted in Judaism. I met her this past weekend at the MKP USAGE Gathering. (ManKind Project USA Gathering of Elders) as she led a workshop on spirituality. She began the session with nigunim which are wordless, ritual chants that ushered us into a feeling of the sacred. I brought my djembe and the two of us added drum beat rhythms to the mix. From that point, we explored, in small groups our own spiritual paths. She asked us to recall our first powerful spiritual memory. Mine came to me immediately. I was probably 6 or 7 and was sitting next to my father in synagogue for a High Holy Day service. He was wearing his tallis (prayer shawl) and I loved to play with the fringes. He wrapped one side of the garment around my shoulder and even though I didn’t have the words for it at the time, felt as if I was surrounded and protected by the Divine Masculine. Although the Judaism of my childhood focused on God as a male entity, there were mixed messages embedded in those concepts. The judgmental aspects (as taught in synagogue; not in my home) overshadowed the benevolent, nurturing qualities. I began to cry (not unusual over the past several months) as it occurred to me that perhaps that is the feeling I have been missing for most of my life as I distanced myself from allowing for intimacy with the Divine Masculine in ways that I have allowed for with the Divine Feminine.  It also, at this moment, occurred to me that although women were not permitted to wear the prayer shawl at the time, he was setting the stage to encourage me to stretch religious boundaries. For that I honor him. All these years later, this ‘nice Jewish girl’ is an interfaith minister who does wear a tallis at times in synagogue.

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I view myself as a strong and resilient woman.. My parents taught me how to do whatever it takes to creatively take care of myself, to pick myself up when I have fallen, to be of service to others, to be independent and not need to rely on other people AND on the flip side, to live in community, as well as to give and receive love in word and action. As a result, most of my romantic relationships have felt out of balance and I have taken on the emotional caregiver role, deflecting the care that the men in my life may have wanted to offer or sending out signals that I am not available for it. Sadly, I think I have missed out on a lot. Joyfully, I am willing to change that pattern and am willing to allow men to take care of me as well.  Not sure if Sharon used these words or if they came through me, but I heard the sentence “Everything that came before is preparation for this moment,” and the question “Can I love enough?” Love isn’t just about giving, but receiving the love offered by others too.
I have dear and supportive male friends who are part of my family of choice. I have asked a few of them to help me create a ritual in which they will be present as I share the things I have withheld saying to men throughout my life which includes my father, other male relatives, teachers, friends, lovers, my son, and the Divine Masculine. In that circle, I am willing to allow for vulnerability which I had not previously. I am feeling nervous and anticipatory as I contemplate the possibilities and the doors it will open.
Holy listening for me is about opening my heart as well as my ears to the infinite messages that come from all Sources.

www.sharonpearlma.com

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