The Mourning Year

Today will be the last for The Opening of Doors.

My mother passed away just over a year ago, and one week passed I held the “unveiling” of her headstone. It was a small gathering of seven around the graveside and then back to the apartment for lunch and talking…all, too soon over. This marks an official time of mourning, but when do we ever really stop? The degree might lessen, but…

It has been five months since I last wrote anything for this, or just about any, blog. I honestly have not felt the need, urge, compulsion or inspiration to put finger to key pad. I don’t feel it now, but I know it is time to put this blog to rest as well.

Thank you one and all who have read along, shared, and supported. I wish you all well.

 

 

Facing Gratitude

Instead of focussing on the negative, what is not happening to my liking, I have been tasked looking at the everyday things to be grateful about. It is not easy at times to do this, but I am trying. I know that living or talking about the negative is only draining and self defeating. It serves no purpose beyond venting.

So…facing gratitude…

  • A baby was born, a first grandchild to my SO, healthy and loved. The mother was ill but has recovered.
  • I have work every day this week, plus two additional workshops. I had work every day last week: the majority of the week filled with a process drama workshop that I led, that was most satisfying.
  • My daughter graduated with her Bachelors and was on a national honor society listing.
  • My son-in-law also graduated, with his Masters.
  • A friend celebrated his birthday, one who I was afraid we’d lose to cancer a number of years ago, and has remained “clean”.
  • My cousin reached out to me, with concern and a possible lead to someone who might help with the job search.

So…things to feel grateful for, alongside my many friends, my SO, a place to live, food to eat.

Let me concentrate on all that.

gratitude

Welcome!

Hand_love_heart_large

After much waiting, Adrianna Grace Briggs was born around 2 AM this morning, May 23, 2013.  She is 7lb 9 oz and 19 3/4 inches. Lisa is now a Grandmother and, I’m sure, exhausted, as she gave her support and love being at the birthing hospital throughout the night.

For Adrianna (already nicknamed Addi) and Dale & Summer, the happy parents:

Welcome, welcome to this breathtaking world. We have been waiting for you. Waiting to see your beautiful face, to hear the sound of your cry, to kiss you, to hold you, rock you. Your are the fruit of [our] love, of our hearts, of our souls.

We have prayed for this day, and now it is here. But no amount of anticipation could have prepared us for you. You are a miracle. You are a gift from God. You are ours.

May God watch over you in love, bless you with health. How can we express our gratitude to You, God? Your have sent us a perfect blessing.

Thank You, bless You, Source of all life. Amen.”

For Lisa:

“Gift of God, precious child, miracle, my little one. Lay your head on my shoulder. It seems that it was yesterday that I held your [father] in my arms this way. You are a sweet blessing to me, a tiny messenger of joy. Welcome to this magnificent life.

May God grace you with all things that are good and shield you from all harm. May the bonds of our family be your strength. May our love be your comfort. May our faith sustain you. May God be with you, now and always. Amen.”

Both prayers are (c) Naomi Levy, from Talking to God

Two Sides

Yesterday, Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest US were hit by forces of nature. Many died. The numbers are still coming in: 91 when I last checked, with at least 20 of them children. In Iraq, almost 60 people were killed by multiple bombings.  My heart and prayers go out to those who are still around, feeling the devastating losses they must be experiencing.

Today, my SO is expecting her first grandchild, Adriana Grace. The mother is being induced around noon today, and while I wish I was there for the birth, I can also only send out my heart and prayers for a healthy baby to enter this world.

Death and birth: two sides of what goes on around us. Many more will pass away and many more will be born today.  I don’t even know what I’m feeling, as there are so many emotions coursing through me.

When I spoke to the Rabbi yesterday, she gave me more goals to work on: seek out a psalm a day, and find what resonates with me; write a Holy template of my life, the outstanding moments, good and bad, and see what they have brought; and to find gratitude in what happens in the here and now, and give thanks for it, for finding more of what is good in front of me, and that that is (possibly) finding and embracing God in my life.

A lot to think about.

God, please be with the survivors of those who died by violence, from the hand of another or by nature. Please ease their suffering as best as possible, for they will have a tough time ahead of them as they continue on.

God, please be with those giving birth today. May there be healthy babies born; ease their mother’s pain during the process. May love and happiness find them, envelop them, and bring joy.

 

baby feet

Passing Another Day

Today would have been my mother’s 87th birthday.

This has been a hard week for me, starting off with Mother’s Day and now this. For others who’ve already mourned the passing of parents, I can understand the feelings that these types of days can amplify. It hasn’t been easy, going through the “firsts”.

The following prayer, by Naomi Levy, mostly says what I’m feeling. There are parts I would edit, add to…but, I thought better of it, and decided to leave it as it is. I’m sure many, if not all, have had the good and the not so good we see in our parents. We live the stressful times when they are with us. Time to let them go now that they, too, are gone.

“I miss you. You gave me my life. You were my protector, my teacher, my moral compass, my comfort. I feel so alone without you. No one worries about me the way you did. No one loves me the way you did.

Please forgive me for the times I caused you pain, and for the times I took you for granted. I can’t begin to fathom all the sacrifices you made for my sake.

I want to thank you for all the ways you blessed my life. Nothing can replace the gaping hole your death has left in my life. But mixed together with ll my sadness, there is a great joy for having known you.

I will remember your smile, your touch. I will remember your laughter, your kindness, your generosity, your determination, your love.

Thank you for the time we shared, for the love you gave, for the wisdom you spread. I will always treasure the lessons you taught me. i will carry them with me all the days of my life. I am so proud to be your child.

May God watch over you and bless you, with gentleness and with love. As you blessed me. Rest in peace. Amen. “

~from Talking to God, by Naomi Levy (c)

Happy Birthday, Mom.death-lifetime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote by Neil Gaiman
Art (c) DC Comics

Burnout and Disappointments

arnold-1-weary-of-myself-copySo, here we are. A week I’ve been dreading, as I mentioned on Sunday (which was Mother’s Day). It’s now mid-week, and the presence of this coming Friday looms over me. As I’ve mentioned previously, this May 17th would have been my mother’s 87th birthday. It’s a sad week, not as horrible as I thought in those regards…

but…

Today I had a mid morning break. I sat in the school library, trolling the internet for work to apply to. A teacher was already at one of the computers when another came in. Instantly, their conversation was solely on recent deaths in both families. There was nothing for me to do but log off as fast as I could and bolt from the room. I was propelled down the hallway, looking for some refuge. It just came out of nowhere, and the feelings just caved in my head a bit.

Just not what I was expecting. School is full of life; all the little ones just bouncing off the wall. Being aware that it is all about them, their safety and well being, was a saving grace.

Let’s just say I’m not looking forward to Friday.

As to disappointments…I have, since Sunday, received about six rejections from jobs (not even an interview, just that my credentials do not meet what they are looking for). Today, I got a call from a job for the summer (and possibly beyond) that I had high hopes for: they did offer me the job, but only 12 hours a week at $25/hour. Yes, it’s better than nothing, but I have another offer that at least will give me more of a weekly wage during the summer.

So, others would say (and I know who they are) that I should be happy that I did well on the interviews I’ve had and have gotten offers. So many others don’t even get to the interview stage. I get that…it’s just I see a dangling rope in front of me, and while I may grab it, it ultimately is not strong enough to pull me out of the dregs I’m in. Enough metaphor?

I did get a one week residency that will help my June out, so that is a good thing. When saying my prayers, I asked God for some break…this definitely came out of no where and is most welcome. So…thank you, God.

I am weary, God; please renew my spirit. When I despair, fill me with hope. When I feel as if I have no more to give, remind me that my strength comes from You. When I assume that my energy is finite, teach me to see that I am connected to an infinite source of inspiration and goodness.

When I lose faith in myself, remind me that I am blessed with enormous talent and ability. When I get lazy, remind me that there is much work to be done and that there are many people who need my assistance. Teach me to see that my efforts do make a difference.

When I forget why I am doing what I am doing, help me to recover the excitement, the meaning, and the satisfaction that led me to this work. When I lose direction, show me the way, God, back to passion, back to enthusiasm, back to You. Amen.”

~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)

A Delicate Week

People%20can%20make%20me%20laugh[1]Some of my closest friends lost their mothers years ago, and I’m only now realizing I did not take that into account (or I don’t remember if I did) the pain they might have felt, the loss, on Mothers Day. I know it grows more difficult around holidays, and on the birthday of those who passed. Rich, Sam, Barbara, Kim, Molly…I’m sorry if I didn’t extend myself to you during those times. No excuse. I just hope that it is easier for you all, and you retain fond memories.

I have the double whammy this week: Mothers Day today, and then this coming Friday would have been her 87th birthday.

I want to thank Doug for sending me the above photo and saying, and reaching out to me today, knowing this would be a tough one. He spoke of my “inner circle of friends”, and he needs to know that though we’ve never met, and have not had the depth of experience together, that I truly consider a kind soul like his to be part of that inner circle. Thank you, Doug.

Came The Wind, a very short piece I wrote for Tale Spinning  yesterday, was driven by how I’m feeling. We’re left to go on, and to deal with our own feelings and memories. Not all are pleasant ones: it is up to me on how I deal with them, and how I let them go. It’s all we can do, as we continue on, and hope that when the day comes when we are no longer around, we leave more good memories than bad.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom.

Moving Forward, or Moving On?

moveThere is so much to consider when you are struggling to find a full time job. First is: what do you really want to do? Then comes qualifications, experience, training, etc. Then, what else can you do? What are you willing to do to make not just ends meet but to thrive, even a little bit? Is what you want &/or can do available in your area? Is it time to move on? How long do you persevere when you are not getting an offer?

All of these questions pepper my thoughts on a daily basis.

Where the American system is failing is in education and re-training. With so many adults out of work, or dealing with multiple part time jobs, companies are not looking for people to “think outside of the box” as much as they used to. I’ve been told this by job help specialists. Yet, in many cases, if you don’t push the boundaries, then what options are left open?

If a field is deleting your type of job, you’ve got hundreds if not thousands (depending on the area you live) that are searching for the same job. What makes YOU stand out from all the rest?

I’ve been “one of two” or “one of the top” candidates for way too many jobs I’ve applied to. Without an actual offer of the position, that is hollow. It’s easy for people who work already to see the other side of it, the positive that you made it that far. Without that steady income and benefits: not so much.

So…what do you do?

 

Day 42 – Malchut of Yesod: Nobility in Bonding

Bonding must enhance a person’s sovereignty. It should nurture and strengthen your own dignity and the dignity of the one you bond with. Does my bonding inhibit the expression of my personality and qualities? Does it overwhelm the one I bond with?

Exercise for the day: Emphasize and highlight the strengths of the one with whom you bond.
Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

Trust and Opening Yourself Up

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Day 41 – Yesod of Yesod: Bonding in Bonding
Every person needs and has the capacity to bond with other people, with significant undertakings and with meaningful experiences. Do I have difficulty bonding? Is the difficulty in all areas or only in certain ones? Do I bond easily with my job, but have trouble bonding with people? Or vice versa? Examine the reasons for not bonding. Is it because I am too critical and find fault in everything as an excuse for not bonding? Am I too locked in my own ways?
Is my not bonding a result of discomfort with vulnerability? Have I been hurt in my past bonding experiences? Has my trust been abused? Is my fear of bonding a result of the deficient bonding I experienced as a child?
To cultivate your capacity to bond, even if you have valid reasons to distrust, you must remember that G-d gave you a Divine soul that is nurturing and loving and you must learn to recognize the voice within, which will allow you to experience other people’s souls and hearts. Then you can slowly drop your defenses when you recognize someone or something you can truly trust.
One additional point: Bonding breeds bonding. When you bond in one area of your life, it helps you bond in other areas.
Exercise for the day: Begin bonding with a new person or experience you love by committing designated time each day or week to spend together constructively.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

There have been times when I’ve been way too trusting and open, especially in the work place, where I have had trust broken. Too many times, friendships that I thought I had cultivated only went to the perimeter of the job itself and did not extend beyond the confines of those walls. This has not always been the case, but those are rare exceptions.

I wish it were otherwise. There are many who I’ve crossed paths with that I wish were still in my life, but…they aren’t for any number of reasons. Many times I only had the shared experience of the job to “bond” us. Once I left, that bond was no longer a real bridge.

I have cultivated some very deep and meaningful relationships (bonding) over the years. I cherish these, and I know what I’m going through right now pains them as they see me in pain, struggling. They need to know, and I feel I tell them, how much their support and care means to me, even when I can’t express it, or my head is buried so deep underground that I can’t see beyond the blech in front of me.

In reading the passage from Counting the Omer, I did have a deficiency as a child: I was a bit of an outcast, not well liked and not having many friends. I would wind up with one friend at a time, if that. I spent most of my time alone in my room as I got into the older grades. It wasn’t until we moved to Westchester NY and I entered a new HS that things began to change. It was there that I gained the friends that are still a part of my life now, and the few from my early college years.

I hope you cultivate the bonds you already have, strengthening them as you can. I hope you find new ones as you go along, and open your heart to others, as they should do to you.

Bonding

Friends_Uplift_the_soul

I have been blessed with friends, actual true friends, not just acquaintances (which we all have, and are there at times, but not for the long haul).  I wish and pray for them all the good things that they need in their lives. I hope that I’ve lived up to my end more times than not. It is easy to get lost in your own miasmas of problems.

Here’s to good friends.

Day 38 - Tiferet of Yesod: Compassion in Bonding

Bonding needs to be not only loving but also compassionate, feeling your friend’s pain and empathizing with him. Is my bonding conditional? Do I withdraw when I am uncomfortable with my friend’s troubles?

Exercise for the day: Offer help and support in dealing with an ordeal of someone with whom you have bonded.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved. www.meaningfullife.com.

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