Tonight is the first night of Passover; the annual holiday in the Jewish religion that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. Most who are reading this may be familiar with the Hollywood-ized version in the movie The Ten Commandments or those who are knowledgeable about the life of Jesus, are aware that the Last Supper was a Passover seder. The word ‘seder’ in Hebrew means ‘order’; because the service is done in a linear fashion. Tonight and tomorrow night, people will gather around tables long and circular to tell the tale of the enslavement and freeing of the Jewish people who were forced to toil in service to the Pharoah and build structures to his glory.
In my childhood home, the week or so prior to the Big Day brought with it the family tradition of changing the dishes and removing chametz which according to the website www.chabad.org is “Any flour of the five species of grain, which is mixed with water and allowed to ferment before being baked, comes under the definition of chametz according to the Torah. The five species of grain are wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye.” My father would haul down the ‘good china’ that we used only at Passover because it had not been exposed to food that wasn’t considered kosher for Passover and we we would wash it and place it ever so carefully on the dining room table at which family and friends of all religious persuasions would gather for the ritual meal. The kitchen cabinets and fridge would be emptied of items that didn’t fit into the acceptable category and given to our next door neighbors. In their place would be all of the fixings for meals for the next eight days. Matzah ball soup was one of my favorite annual delicacies and my mother and uncle would argue whether they should be light and fluffy (her preference) or stick to your ribs heavy (his preference). One of my dearest memories about culinary delights for this particular holiday was my father’s speciality…fried matzah. Think french toast made with matzah instead of bread. He would whip up batches while singing along at the stove and keeping up a patter with us as we helped. I can still smell the delicious aroma and I can feel the experience in my heart.
Another dad recollection was the way in which he led the service around the table with the Maxwell House haggadah as the guide book. He did what I referred to as ‘speed seder’ which flew in the face of the lengthier version that more traditional families (and likely a reaction to what may have been the case in the Orthodox home of his upbringing) do. I’m sure everyone was relieved. In the service there is a component called The Four Questions that lead into the re-telling of the story. Although it seems like an inside joke, most Jews know that the REAL Four Questions are “When do we eat? When do we eat? When do we eat? AND When do we eat?”
www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/nyregion/09haggadah.html the story of the revision of the tried and true icon.
http://youtu.be/E_RmVJLfRoM Dayenu-Coming Home by The Fountainheads
Have you ever heard a calling, a whisper from Mother Nature/Gaia who invited you to pay attention to what was happening around you and make a positive difference? Mare Cromwell who refers to herself as “a plant intuitive, sacred gardner and worm herder” has written a colorfully covered, love splashed book called Messages From Mother….Earth Mother as her response to the beckoning. Mare worked for the National Park Service as a Ranger in the Grand Canyon and Alaska in her early twenties so she has direct connection with the various eco-systems and the necessity to sustain them for the sake of all life. Part of her spiritual path honors Native American tradition.
I met Mare at a women’s conference in Maryland a few weeks ago and immediately sensed a kindred spirit. The book winked up at me from the table and I felt as if the hand on the cover was holding my heart as well. As soon as I left the conference, I immersed in the ‘lucky’ 13 messages that the book encompasses. Mare frames the story in the guise of a young woman named Sarah who is facing major life changes including the ending of a close relationship. As a result, Sarah decides to take a hike in the mountains to heal her heart and her world-weariness.
On the path, she meets a being who she discovers is the one and only Earth Mother who knows her and every living creature by heart. Thus begins a new relationship and awareness of the world around her. Mother shares punny joke and infinite wisdom, asking Sarah to use her voice to speak up for the voiceless and her written communication skills to express vital messages to all those willing to join in the cause of planetary healing. The conversations can feel a little mushy-gushy, but then mother-love is like that sometimes. It is also flavored with serious, detail oriented ideas for caring for ourselves, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It offers insights into concepts such as dying and living, fracking, conflicts and soul woundedness, gratitude, unplugging, taking time to rest and rejuvenate. Two of my favorite chapters were invoking the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine as we honor our differences and unity.
Read this book and if you feel so moved, become a midwife for birthing a New Earth.
Her first book is called If I gave you God’s phone number…. Searching for Spirituality in America.
Some events give me hope for the future and a sense that young people have growing social conscience. When I read this story on my Facebook stream yesterday, it had me smiling with wonder and delight about the ways in which one person can make a difference with quick thinking and courage. A ripple effect always takes place as a result. A 21 year old welder from Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania gave voice in support of someone unable to speak for himself at that moment and countless lives were changed. Remember his name, since I wouldn’t be surprised if his story goes viral. His name is Wade Bowley.
“Yesterday I witnessed 4 kids standing outside Sheetz making fun of this kid who was by himself because his shirt was dirty and had holes into it, normally I would say something to the kids but instead I walked up to the kid, took my shirt off and asked him to trade,…. He did even tho he looked confused…. I put his shirt on and walked up to the 4 kids and asked them if they liked my new shirt, they put there head down and walked away…. Almost in tears the kid said “thank your no one ever stood up for me before, why did you do that?” I replied with,” you were out numbered and God told me you needed someone on you side.”
A rapid stream of thoughts ran through my head: Where did this young man get the idea to do what he did? Was he raised with the idea that you stand up in the face of darkness and shine your light? Did he have any clue that this one act could touch so many people? I have been following the responses on his Facebook page and am heartened at what I read. I hope he is too. I’m sure his family is proud of him. I would be if he were my son. I wonder how the bullies felt and did they each grow a conscience? How about the one being bullied? Did he feel less alone and better able to hold his head high instead of becoming a statistic? I don’t know the numbers, but I am sure that suicide and acts of violence toward others are significant outcomes of bullying. Did the Divine Director call all of the players on stage at that moment in time to act out their assigned roles with all of us as the audience who are inspired by Wade now speaking up, standing up, being in solidarity with those in need of support? I would like to think so.
What Wade did was an example for us all. Bless you big time and may your kindness be returned to you 100-fold. Look out, your ‘invisible wings’ are showing.
I am feeling a sense of relief with a situation I have been fretting over recently. I sometimes find myself (or lose myself) in hamster wheel spinning over certain events over which I have no control. Once I take care of biz on my end, all I really can do is let go. As my friend Reid Mihalko has guided me wisely, “The event will go as the event will go.” Preparation quickly becomes obsession when I feel I need to control all outcomes in my world. Can I get an Amen, sistah on that one?
I am learning to engage in my work on all levels more methodically and setting up systems that are streamlined. I guess this right brain creative soul is growing her left brain, linear, logical side. I would have balked about the need to do that years ago. I used to believe that if I were to allow my more black and white, cerebral mind to take over, it would blot out the rainbow hues that I was born express. That couldn’t happen in a million years. One of my dearest friends and mentor, Yvonne Kaye used to tell me that “Discipline is freedom,” to which I would shake my head in disbelief since it felt quite the opposite; imprisoning in fact. What I didn’t get at the time was that within that structure lay all the freedom and play I could possibly desire. Scrambling around to get things done, forgetting where I put my keys, cell phone and wallet, would leave me breathless, frustrated and lacking in consciousness about what needed to be done. As I am now nearing the middle of my 5th decade, mindfulness becomes the key to success and sanity.
I am also easily distracted, shifting from writing articles to checking emails, to listening to music, gazing off out the window, wondering what else I need to accomplish in the next 24 hours, remembering dreams, running through my schedule in my head… What’s ironic is that I was never like that as a kid, from what I can recall, would never been diagnosed with ADHD (not that that definition even existed back in the 1960’s) It’s as if the playful creature in my mind is off and running, not wanting to miss a moment of potential fun; colorful, sparkly, silly, soul-full. How to balance it all is the challenge at times. Learning to do the dance with whatever partners show up, whether they are human, animal or experiential. This morning, I needed to juggle schedules, quickly shuffling things around, partly as a result of mis-communication. Took a deep breath and then inspired action and all is well. My left brain took hold and came up with a solution, hand in hand with my right brain who added creative flourish. I am eager to see what opportunities arise throughout the day to have them work in harmony to create magic.
http://youtu.be/vYwOtTMUz0c Brain Parts by Aaron Wolf