This is a week of new beginnings for me. I spent Sunday and Monday keeping an eye on my best friend’s four year old, my godson Sidney, as his wife April was preparing to deliver their second son by home birth. Monday at 11AM I took Sidney to the park; when I brought him home at 2 PM his new brother Ezra Jai was there waiting to say hello. Ezra is Hebrew for “helper’: Jai is Sanskrit for “victorious” – such a beautiful name. Then we ordered Thai food with Uncle Paul and sat around talking and eating while April and Sidney napped on the couch, the doula Emory and midwife Cara packed up and filled out some forms, and Ezra Jai rested in Barry and April’s bedroom. It felt natural and wonderful; nothing like the hospital births that I’d previously experienced. As their inspirational midwife Cara said, “Pregnancy is not a medical condition; birth existed before doctors.”
Cara quickly amended that to acknowledge that for some woman it makes
sense to deliver in a hospital, and of course if needed April would
have been rushed in. But everything went perfect, she was a goddess,
and I’m now a big proponent of home birthing when it makes sense. Plus
you get a big hot tub in your house for a few days.
Another new beginning – I’m on the board of the Interdependence Project
and regular contributor to the blog. We launched on Beliefnet.com this
week which is a very interesting development for us and for me. I was
raised in a Jewish home, and not just “culturally Jewish” (if there is
such a thing) – we did Friday night Sabbath, I went to temple every
Saturday, and did weekday religious studies well into high school.
But my folks were also open to other traditions and had me and my
sister keep an open, questioning mind about how the universe works.
I’ve found that there’s a lot to love in every religious tradition,
whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any of the other myriad ways we
humans have found it worthwhile to express our belief in higher
powers. Although I deeply respect all religious traditions, I do not
identify religiously at this point in my life – not Jewish, not
Buddhist – and I have enjoyed the Interdependence Project for it’s
non-dogmatic, non-secular approach to making Buddhist philosophy
relevant to my very (over)connected 21st century life.
Collectively we are not a religious organization, though the teachings
of a religion inform our purpose, stripped of most of the ritual and
(mostly patriarchal) hierarchy. We focus on Buddhist-based meditation
techniques and philosophy as a springboard for becoming more
compassionate and engaged members of our own lives and communities.
Here at Beliefnet.com, so informed by faith and in the company of so
much true religion, it will be interesting and exciting to see how we
occupy this space and how we become part of this community.
Thank you for having us here. I am energetically bowing to you all.