Category Archives: Caring

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

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Welcome!

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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.

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.

Tomorrow’s Hope

I don’t understand blind faith. I wasn’t brought up that way. I lived in a house that was haunted by my parent’s pasts, as we all were. My father, a concentration camp survivor, and my mother, a child of the Great Depression. Both brought their own set of outlooks on life, neither the peppiest nor the most joyful. At times, yes, there was pep, joy, laughter in the house. Religion only entered our lives at holiday times and when I was being prepped for my Bar Mitzvah.

Meaning, though, escaped what I experienced. Faith in anything? Never even broached.

Being surrounded by so many near and dear to me who have faith, who hold to a religious belief or calling, has stirred me to delve into what I’ve only skirted around for a very long time. Nothing is an easy fix in this regards: it’s a long road to understanding in the first place, acceptance and embracing in the distance. Some of it comes close at times. I don’t know if I’m fighting it or not: I just know I’m not there.

“Be with me, God. I feel so lost. I can’t seem to escape the dark cloud that hangs over me. Help me, God. Give me strength to combat despair and fear. Show me how to put my pain into perspective. Teach me to have faith in the new day that is coming.

Thank you, God, for today’s blessings, for tomorrow’s hope, and for Your abiding love. Amen.”

~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)

This has been a rough half a year+ for me, and I know I am doing what I can to put myself back on track. I have loved ones to thank for a good part of where I’ve gotten to now. I know that the rest is up to me.

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Day 37 – Gevurah of Yesod: Discipline of Bonding

Bonding must be done with discretion and careful consideration with whom and with what you bond. Even the healthiest and closest bonding needs “time out”, a respect for each individual’s space. Do I overbond? Am I too dependent on the one I bond with? Is he too dependent on me? Do I bond out of desperation? Do I bond with healthy, wholesome people?

Exercise for the day: Review the discipline in your bonding experiences to see if it needs adjustment.

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

Keep Plugging Away

Metropolis-metropolis-1927-15539876-1641-1152I’ve said to my students, often, that the only real failure is in not trying, not doing anything. I have felt like giving up, as the frustrations (and fear and anxiety) build: not finding a job has taken on its own life, a burden that drags me down way too much.

A dear friend of mine has said that she wishes I could see myself as she, and those who care about me, do. That is really not the problem right now: I really need someone who is interviewing me to see whatI am capable of accomplishing for them. I would love to lift this weight off of my shoulders and move on to whatever tasks are ahead of me in life, not struggle in this rut that I find myself in.

I couldn’t even write anything the last couple of days. I’m starting to find my focus waning again, and I can’t allow that to happen. So…I have to keep plugging along, I have to keep on trying. I can’t afford to give up, nor do I want to.

What I would love to have happen is to have the freedom to unsubscribe from all the job posting alerts I get, as I would not need them anymore. I would love to be able to have the basic gripes and complaints most people have when the montly bills come in, the basic day to day of working, coming home to a safe and comfortable haven, and be able to enjoy time with loved ones.

In the meantime, I have to keep plugging away.

Day 36 – Chesed of Yesod: Lovingkindness of Bonding
Love is the heart of bonding. You cannot bond without love. Love establishes a reliable base on which bonding can build. If you have a problem bonding, examine how much you love the one (or the experience) with which you wish to bond. Do I try to bond without first fostering a loving attitude? Is my bonding expressed in a loving manner?
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate the bond you have with your child or friend through an act of love.

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

What Good Cause Will You Join In Today?

Day 32 – Netzach of Hod: Endurance in Humility

Examine the strength and endurance of your humility. Does my humility withstand challenges? Am I firm in my positions or do I waffle in the name of humility? Humility and modesty should not cause one to feel weak and insecure. Netzach of Hod underscores the fact that true humility does not make you into a “doormat” for others to step on; on the contrary, humility gives you enduring strength. Is my humility perceived as  weakness? Does that cause others to take advantage of me?

Exercise for the day: Demonstrate the strength of your humility by initiating or actively participating in a good cause.

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

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