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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.


Feeling Less Than

Day 31 -Tiferet of Hod: Compassion in Humility
Examine if your humility is compassionate. Does my humility cause me to be self-contained and anti-social or does it express itself in empathy for others. Is my humility balanced and beautiful? Or is it awkward? Just as humility brings compassion, compassion can lead one to humility. If you lack humility, try acting compassionately, which can help bring you to humility.
Exercise for the day: Express a humble feeling in an act of compassion.

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

cslewisIt has not been the best of weeks in how I’m feeling. Even with interviews happening, I still have nothing concrete, and that is unsettling. An interview I had high hopes for I have the gut feeling I will not be called back for the next part of the process. That is upsetting: I know I did the best I could, and while some will say that is all you can do, they may not be in the situation I find myself in.

Yes, this is a recurring theme for me on this blog and what I talk about with my friends. I wish I could do the attitude adjustment I so desperetly need to get through all this. People see strength in me that I just don’t really feel all the time.

So…in this space…

Dear God, please let me find my head above these dark clouds.

There are others who I have that prayer for as well.

I’m also trying to wrap my head around the concept of compassion & humility as expressed above. Today may not be that day that it happens.

Words I Can’t Play

wordI play Words With Friends (on FB) pretty much every day. It is one of those things that relaxes me, calms me down if I’m agitated, and it helps me focus and think. I don’t care if I win or lose: it’s just that something that I enjoy, and I need to do things that I like. There have been days/times where I just can’t face doing much of anything, and when you are in those types of moods you really do need to do something. Thankfully, those types of moods are passing.

In playing a few games this morning, I made an observation: I will not play the word death or any variation of the word.  I know I’ve done that before, but this time it happened in two different game boards, one right after the other. I made other words, skirting the letter D like the plague. It’s solely an observation, yet it makes me realize that I still have a ways to go in healing, in bereavement.

There is no time limit, nor is there any level I should be at. I just find that I can be stopped by writing a word out in a game, and it causes me to wonder why. As I’m typing this, I can think of one thing: as I wrote above, playing Words W/Friends is something I enjoy. Obviously, I have no joy in the word death, as it relates to my mother & father, my friend Charles, and all too recently the bombings in Boston and Israel. Am I restraining myself to mix in those words to something that gives me pleasure? Probably, that is one answer. It’s all a work in progress.

Anyways…because I needed to divert myself, I looked at a FB group I belong to, and a title I read felt apropos for today: I read the blog To Gyre and Gambol by Thom Brown entitled Say Yes To Life. I encourage you to read it, as Thom re-posted a very poignant speech that was made after 9/11. It is a good fit for the senselessness of what is going on in the world.

I hope you say yes to life, not just for those you know and love, but for the rest of the world.

Finding Passover

“Passover has a message for the conscience and the heart of all mankind. For what does it commemorate? It commemorates the deliverance of a people from degrading slavery, from most foul and cruel tyranny. And so, it is Israel’s – nay, God’s protest against unrighteousness, whether individual or national.”
~ Morris Joseph

“Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being”. – Morris Joseph

passover tat

At this Passover season, I wanted to find more meaning for myself in the holiday, as I did during Chanukah. Again, the Seder used to be conducted solely in Hebrew (first by my Grandfather when I was very little; then, in our home, by my father) and held little to no meaning for me. It was done, and we had to wait for dinner to be served. The meal itself was always anticipated with delight, as it was one of the few times a lot of interesting dishes were made.

But, the ceremony itself? The meaning behind all the words? It was a chore to sit through as a kid and even as an adult.

Then, with my father’s passing, the task of running the Seder fell to me. Since I barely speak any Hebrew, I do it primarily in English, with Hebrew phonetics for the prayers and certain passages. I still remember the songs, and the lilt, the cadence, of the readings, and do my best, at times, to emulate what I do remember.

We used the same Haggadah for years, and the literal translation of the Hebrew text was ponderous. Last year my mother was unable to be with us (she had had an operation and was in a rehab center) and this year she is gone. I have tried two different texts both years, searching for a translation/interpretation, that would bring the spirit of the Seder to life. Both texts offer sections that illuminate, but neither is “just right” yet, in my opinion.

In looking at Passover quotes, I found the two above from a 19th Century Rabbi, Morris Joseph. Those two quotes have helped me, a lot, already. There are many ways that liberty of the individual is still confounded; it is not an ancient concept, the thousands of years ago story that is told during the Seder. Yesterday on Facebook, so many people rallied around issues of equality. It stirred up things on the boards, from both sides of the issue. It also spills over into those around the world who have no freedom, whether it is sex trafficking, child soldiers, fear of reprisals from “gangs” or power groups, or even a people not being allowed their own land: yes, I do believe that Palestinians should be allowed to live in peace, as I do believe Israelis deserve it too.

I’m trying to find my own inner peace  (read HERE for my friend, Lisa Kramer’s, take on Inner Harmony) and I’m trying to understand what I embrace on a deeper level. Passover is one thing that I still need to dig deeper into.

Roller Coaster Days in a Roller Coaster Life

rollercoaster“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fun is?” ~Fortune Cookie message

“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” ~Mark Twain

“Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.”~ Lao Tzu

Like so many, my life has been at times like I was on a roller coaster: moving along, slow at the beginning, then speeding up, heading down at fearful intervals, looping in and around, twisting upside down, sometimes screaming with fear, sometimes with extreme joy. Then it comes back and starts all over again. It’s an emotional journey, and the flat line days are sometimes just as bad. Getting stuck in a rut, unable to find the power to start moving back uphill until something comes along, to push, to surge.

While I am contemplating the thought of forgiveness (for myself, and towards my feelings about my parents, and letting go of past hurts that I carry around way too much), working through the bereavement process, and figuring out who I am at this point in my life, my job situation has never been far from the top of worries.

Yesterday, I was initially turned down for another job I had interviewed for. I wrote, asking for feedback as to why (I had been in for one teaching artist job, winding up being interviewed for three different positions because of my experiences); not hearing back, I called. Four hours later, I get a call for one more reference. Less than a half hour later, I get an email that I am, now, hired to be on their roster. Orientation next Wednesday.

While the end product is great news, it was just an up and down day emotionally (don’t ask about the class I saw that day: the less said, the better).  If I had not written, then called, I am pretty sure the job would have died where it was. If I accepted no feedback from the rejection email, I’d still just be facing the next months as just a substitute teacher as opposed to working within my discipline. As it is, I still don’t know why I was first turned down and then later hired. Crazy making at it’s best.

So, beyond that, which is good news, my days are still going through the mental process of dealing with my life as it is now. I’ve had some very high points, some very low points (really, really low), and too much just coasting along. I am tired of the really, really low points, and the coasting along…it’s not how I want my life to be. I understand the need for complacency and safety for many; just never been part of my make up.

I did pray to God on my way to my morning job. I also prayed after getting the initial rejection, and then again after the phone call I made, and then again later. Did this make a difference? My friend Sam thinks so, as he and my SO put out prayers as well, after hearing about the initial rejection. No matter what, this was answered.

How many times do you just let the “No” stop you from proceeding?

Maybe to open certain doors, we have to knock a lot harder when there is no answer at first.


Problems in Meditation

Why You Can’t Meditate (and what to do about it)

I Can’t Meditate (Yes You Can!)

Difficulty Meditating

One of the tools I’ve been working on over the past months has been mediation. It was brought up first by Rabbi Pam, then with another person in the wellness center. Trying it at home, I’ve had mixed results. I have a few sites that I visit for guided meditation, finding that I need that “other person” to lead me. On my own, I find it is more difficult for me.

Lately, even the guided mindful meditations are not working. My mind keeps reaching out, moving from one thing to another. My place also is not very quiet, with the constant sound of traffic passing by, noises from other apartments, the hiss of the radiator when the steam comes up. Those noises are more easily dealt with. Sirens, not so much.

The three articles I’ve provided links for (above) give some help, in my opinion, to help the novice mediator. I guess part of my “problem” is that I expect to achieve the peace and tranquility right away, every time. I haven’t been focusing on the now, taking each attempt at mediation for what it is at that time. So, frustrated, I’ll let time pass by before trying it again.

That is not the way to gain anything.

So…setting aside the time each day, as I’ve done with the prayers, is what I will do. Not try, do (Master Yoda!).

How Are You Doing?


“How are you doing?”

It haunts, dragging me to the ground

It stings, re-tightening the chest,

It churns, causing my stomach to roil

And my head hangs low

And my eyes are downcast

And whatever else shuts down

For whatever liveliness that still resides drains out

Puddling, dripping, pouring down an abyss

For you feel helpless

For you feel hopeless

For you feel numb

And the platitudes keep coming

For few really want to hear

How you really, really, really feel

For they can’t cope with rawness

And hope they never feel the same

Never have to confront that pain

That emptiness

That fear



How are you doing?


Another piece from Tale Spinning.

While not feeling in the same mode as I was when this was written, it is still a question, or variations of it, that I’m not wild about hearing. I get tired of shrugging my shoulders, mentally &/or physically, about answering how I’m feeling. Still a lot to process.

Nothing Ventured

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ”  ~Steve Jobs

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”   ~Mahatma Gandhi

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

comfortzoneMy online friend, and fellow blogger, Lisa at Re-Envisioning Lisa (and no, she is not my SO), wrote a post today entitled “Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone.”  Click on the link provided, to see her wondering for today.

We have both found our lives running along a somewhat paralleled course (both of us have lost a parent; both of us are finding frustrations in the workplace; both of us are trying to discover who we are now and where we fit; etc).  We’re not alone in most of our musings about ourselves, our futures, our present. I know that there are many MANY out there who are feeling the same, all at different levels, and all handling it in different ways.

What’s important is that we are attempting to handle it, when way too many days all we’d like to do  is stay in bed, turn off the phones, and pull the covers over our heads (I shouldn’t speak for Lisa, but in some of these cases I know she has stated the same feelings). That, though, accomplishes nothing, and only sinks our problems deeper into us, creating its own self generating whirlpool.

Questioning what I am supposed to be doing with my life has been an ongoing one. I don’t envy those who find a path and stick to it, but remain only because it’s secure, giving them little to no satisfaction or fulfillment (that was my father).  I don’t envy anyone whose path has been for the big bucks and only what it can buy them.

So, I, too, am more than happy to step out of my comfort zone…I usually thrive in that, as I get bored easily doing the same old/same old.

What to do, is the question.


I really want this job, God; I need this job. Help me, God. [Teach me to believe in myself, to see that I am qualified for this position.} Calm my fears, God; soothe my nerves. Let me enter this interview with assurance and confidence. Let me speak my mind; let my thoughts flow freely.

Remind me not only to talk but to listen. Show me how to impress without seeming pompous, how to be agreeable without seeming ingratiating, how to be enthusiastic without seeming desperate.

Be with me, God; fill me with strength and faith and light. Let me shine today, God. Amen.”

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

394942_111581282352013_1984888890_nDue to numerous reasons, I have been without a full time job for awhile now. Readers of this blog know that this has been one of the things that has preyed upon me, causing frustration, anxiety, worries and bouts of ill ease. While I’ve worked a lot at freelance/part-time work, it is not really enough.

When will this job recession end? Statistical numbers lie. Percentages only give you a clue to what is happening; you don’t get the stories, know anyone’s name, know of their struggles to put food on the table, or even their attempts to keep a  place to have a table, warm clothing, a place to sleep. Unemployment statistics also don’t give you the whole picture: people who find part time work can not, legally, put in for unemployment. So…while some money may be coming in, it really is not enough for many. Two jobs, everyone eligible to work in the family has to, in some way or the other…it’s not the American Dream.

It is a nightmare, and one not everyone believes exists.

I send out as many resumes as I can weekly. I apply to things in and out of my discipline. I do get some interviews, but have yet to land a full time gig. So…

Today I have another part-time job interview, but it will pay more for work that is at least in my field. I bracketed the section in the prayer above because I do believe in myself, I do know that I am qualified to do this job. As I know I have been for work that has passed me by.

Dear God, please let the interviewers see what I know.

I hope the prayer helps others who are looking for work as well. Again, thanks to Rabbi Pam for giving me the gift of the book.

Low Grade

Underneath, it underlies

Underscoring the everyday

Creating its own perceptions

That, to others, are unpercieved

Unless they microscopically dig deep…

But can easily pass it by.

Always there? Who can tell?

The signs add up,

But only if you do the equation.

What good is a plattitude

That has no meaning to one in low grade?

It is chronic

Firmly grounded in its shakiness

Affecting sleep, affecting outlooks

Affecting appetite, energy, focus

It is in the underbelly of all things

As it becomes its own reality.

Low grade,

But powerful. 8921581-silhouette-of-a-man-looking-out-a-window-daydreaming-of-warmer-weather