Facing the Waterfall-Tools for Coping



For the past 10 minutes, I have been rearranging my desk drawers. Do my pens need to be where my paperclips were? Nope. I did this because I find that my ability to concentrate on ‘brainy’ tasks, such as work that I do from home these days, has taken a hit. How about you?

Welcome to the ‘New Normal’. Brought to you by Covid-19 et al. 

Even if we do not physically have this virus, we are all carrying a viral load that we cannot unload.

We have been thrown off-center…together. We are coping with similar concerns…together.

Everyone I help has voiced concern about the changes they notice in themselves. Why are they less able to keep on task when self-discipline has been a strength? Why do their bodies feel like it is set on low vibrate all the time? Why are they fatigued? Why does it feel like they are walking through molasses? This is abnormal!  What is wrong with me? This is my reply.

 Nothing. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with you, except that the changes in the world are cascading on us with the force of a waterfall weeping in distress so that we feel drenched. 

Your new state of mind may be disconcerting and even scary, but you are still you and your capacities are still within you. They have just been derailed for a bit because of today: 

 Abnormal is the New Normal 

Here are tips for coping: 

 Be compassionate with yourself: What would you say to a friend in need of consolation? You would probably tell them that anybody would have trouble being at the top of their game when there are so many difficulties in our lives. How can you expect not to be influenced by this? We all lose our footing at times like these, so anything you can do is perfect. Say this to yourself! 

Relax your expectations: Concentration is often the first thing to get rattled when we are under threat, and this is just that. We easily get distracted. This is anxiety talking. Break down tasks into steps. If you have a work project or paperwork to process, break it up into smaller pieces, then stretch, or look at something amusing. Laughter is medicine. 

 Speaking of laughter: Make space for humor and let yourself laugh, or at least smile. There are many short funny recordings to watch online when you need quick relief from overwhelm. Curl up with a humorous book or movie or share jokes with a friend on the phone or media. Laughter brings us relief and pleasure. It also brings oxygen into our blood which keeps us healthy.

 Limit how much time you engage with difficult news and Facebook dissension: Yes, we want to be informed, but we don’t need to get battered by it. When we get caught in a loop of fear, frustration, and anger, we become reactive without realizing it. We are traumatized and reactivity is a hallmark of it. It is hard to step away when venting feels relieving. But we don’t want to embed these feelings in our bodies.

Keep yourself on a schedule: Get up and go to sleep around the same time each day. This will help your brain balance and your body will get used to being consistent. We will all have nights when we just can’t or just don’t want to go to sleep. Perhaps staying up late and reading past your ‘bedtime’ may be a comfort for some, for others, it works out some excess energy, so do it judiciously.  

For now: While I do not think it is possible to be unaffected by the physical, emotional, financial, political, and spiritual ravaging that is unfolding before us: I firmly believe that we have everything it takes to thrive. At our core, we are glorious and resilient beings. We will learn. We will grow. We will shine.




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Of Trees and Menorahs


Oh, holidays,

To the latkes I am cooking,

At whose applesauce topping I am looking,

Your potato goodness astounds me,

Your oily needs confound me.

Oh, holidays,

To the cookies I am baking,

With no grain, dairy or sugar I am making,

Will anyone be glad that they are for the taking?

For a Jew in Vermont, a state that despite being blue,

Is still a state of Christmas to which the cows moo.

So I sat with a cat wearing antlers on my knee,

And elatedly helped decorate my first New England tree.

I styled that thing from its limbs to its trunk,

My earnest enthusiasm could not be sunk.

I spiraled garland to add depth to its skinny bark center

‘Oh look,’ I called to my holy day mentor

With ornaments a plenty still dripping with glee

They wanted to see where they would go on said tree.

With glitter from icicles still on my face,

I was in a happy frenzy to keep up the pace.

But one who has designed NYC wreaths and tables aplenty,

Is apparently not appreciated as a north country celebration sentry.

So let me just say with a sigh and lament

At least they didn’t show me to the cold, cold cement.

Was it culture or couture that led to my demise?

Oh, well, I still have my menorah light in my eyes.

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The Holiday of a Miracle



Miracles are from the edge of the stars

where the light begins to flow into the dark of sky,

They are the gift of now becoming,

the need answered before even aware,

the tears subdued before hope washes away.


It is the Holy of All,

who creates beyond what we can fathom,

who loves us deeper than what we can imagine,

who offers us what we do not even know we can contain.


A miracle is beyond what our hands can make

but we can call it forward for each other

we can give the faith we hold to the one who creates

as truth shines within our pleas.


So I will pray you a miracle.

Reach to the most hidden part of you,

the quiet voice of your soul

that will let me hear what you reach for.


I will make you an eruv

of grasses that hold the earth’s mysteries,

flowers that bloom wisdom of the universe

and streams that sing in exaltation the song

of the Great Mysterious that will keep you held in love.


We can face our spirits to the stars

and join light to light to swirl the deep heart of all.

But while we cannot create a miracle,

we can help each other hold them.

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Witch Hat to Wear


Winter swoons into spring, spring sings into summer, summer chants toward the beginning of autumn. It is a primal tone that has deep intention and thrust. The shift from summer to fall is powerfully dynamic. Our eyes go from seeing the lush colors of flowers and gardens to the stunning last vision the leaves show against the muted fall sky. it is both stark and enchanting. The contrast is extraordinary and daunting. This beauty is nature’s incantation that brings us toward the winter. But first…to the pumpkin patch!

Okay, so here it is. My favorite time of year. The summer has ended. The month-long Jewish High Holidays, which begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Succot, have ended, I like them both, but they each leave me exhausted. The heat wilts me and my garden. Keeping it perky and producing is an endless watering task. The High Holidays are spiritually vast, but also physically draining from the cooking, the clergy work and inner work that the month calls for,

By the time all of this is over I just want to curl up with a piece of challah and tea and watch, oh, I don’t know, maybe a Halloween movie? A nice one, not horror, although ‘Shadow of the Vampire’ is a favorite, but so is ‘Practical Magic’, and of course ‘Hocus Pocus’. Oh, and then there is ‘I Married a Witch’ and ‘Bell, Book and Candle’. Can you see where I am going with this?

So now, I sit amongst my favorite decorations of the year. They transport me. Bring out the invite that makes the invisible visible. My glittery shoes, bats and cauldrons add a layer to the air that makes way for guests of a more non-corporeal nature.This is my Wiccan succah.(a temporary structure that is built during Succot that is our home of faith and spirit. This is a connection and remembrance of the ‘homes’ that Jews built when we made a yearly pilgrimage to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem during the holiday of Succot.)

During the days when we are in the succah, we call in a different set of ancestors each night. On Halloween, or Samhain, we also call in our ancestors, friends and whomever else is flying about, to spend some time with us. The veil between the worlds is open for both of these holidays at a time when the earth is transitioning to a seemingly more dormant state. But really, it is all there, if we open ourselves to this ‘unseen realm’ and feel its movement and power.

The spirit of Samhain has become a cultural reality in spite of its commercialism and its plethora of horrendous sex-up-anything costumes. People come together to host Halloween fun for the kiddies and themselves. Okay, so perhaps this is because it is no longer considered wise to let children roam around town after dark looking for candy; but this reality has opened like a skeletal hand rising from the dirt of a grave pointing us toward community turf to celebration together.

And oh, yes, back to the costumes. I do not don too much of a holiday costume, as I am in costume all year, so to speak; but I am not a costume curmudgeon. I will help anyone fancy up, and once my vampire costuming skills won first place in a competition.

I love the way that Halloween garb can be an expression of ideas, concerns, hopes and dreams. Some are witty, some are beautiful, and some are touchingly poignant. I usually wait with light-hearted breath to see what will be parading around, but with what is going on in the world right now, this year my breath will be holding more stalwart apprehension than gleeful anticipation.

I suspect that this year I will look out from under my seasonally pointy and wide rimmed hat with one eye. The other eye, you may presume is looking for the nearest bar, er I mean, tea room. Nope, I do mean bar. I can have one bourbon and not fall off my broom, right?

NOTE: I wrote this before the massacre in Pittsburgh. Is any humor appropriate today? Should I have saved this for next year and offered a tone like my Charlottesville article? If I have offended anyone by not only writing about yesterday, I apologize; but I am a Jew and I am a Wiccan, and I will be open and proud about both, although I am surely a double-whammy target for some hateful f*** out there. So I will not hide. I will not hide.

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Letting It Flow


Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

I have let my garden go this year. It is growing in wild abandon, ignoring my well-placed circles and lines of plantings from years before. It is scoffing at my incessant weeding habits of the past. It has plummeted into extravagant plumes of plants that I had no idea lingered below just waiting to erupt. They sidled up to my perennials with a come-hither sway to their leaves, and the party was on.

There is a feeling in this place now that is like an electrical charge. It is scented with the red-hot of unexpressed passion. What a panorama for my grounding practice.

Grounding, to me, means to become present to where you are and to expand toward what is beyond at the same moment. A metaphorical and energetic for some, myself included, cord comes from the very core of the earth and swoons with delight at the fragrance of the loamy touch of where we stand.

It winds through my feet, then my center and out the top of my head, whereby now, in lilting strokes of anticipation, this waving ribbon will connect me to the great cosmic dance where it will twirl with the deftness of the accomplished hoofer of the universal ballroom experience. That sentence was as long as the string itself. Ah, solid ground, how you waltz me about. What could be better?

Oh, really big ocean boat, how you unearth me and spin me with your watery sentience. I am upon the deep, wet sea of the great unconscious. I sense Jung lurking about in the briny mist. My rock tethered interior is now unmoored and afloat on the waves. My feet become part of the waters of constant movement. I feel like I can sink into its depths instead of my usual travels through the solidness of earth. It rises to meet me, but this aqueous shindig is dancing me right into the walls, that for some reason keep moving.

My center of gravity has shifted. It needs to be as fluid as the waves that are tussling us about, ever so gently. This is a different kind of waltz. Actually, it is more like a rhumba. This is the dance of surrender to the inner and the outer. This grounding flavor is new to me. I taste the vastness of the salty, roiling sea, not the savory taste of land. I close my eyes and breathe in its aroma.

And I breathe again, now back home in my familiar to my spirit earthiness. There is something so cooling and nurturing about the feel of bare feet on the ground. The arches and planes of my feet are covered with earthy mirth. I am again connected to the deepness of being; the being of the world outside of me and within.

Oh, how wondrous…wait, what? Did I just hear the news correctly? We, in Vermont, are now believed to be perched on the top of some future lava spewing volcano?! Well, that tugs at my cord, now doesn’t it? How might one maneuver her silken tress of spiritual glee through a fire that will vaporize it before even a giggle can come forth?

We are sitting on a future giant swell of red-hot magma. Scolding spurts of its turbid being may be permeating our consciousness this very minute as it churns below us.

Well, this is going to change our grounding practices, isn’t it? Walk easy and be cool. Miles Davis, where are you?

In a more cynical turn of thought, I wonder what this will do to the homegrown metaphysical devotion that abounds here? It seems there might be a new stream of meditational obsession for the spiritual larder.

New prayers, new dances, new catchwords. ‘Well, just let that idea bubble awhile’, now has a direct and physical reality, so that to ‘simmer a pot’, could now refer to a spiritual and emotional process. Making pasta may take on a whole new meaning. Well, I’ve been simmering stuff in a cauldron for years, but that’s another tale.

So perhaps letting my garden have its way with itself was a foreshadowing of the flames of the interior that are bounding their way toward us…in 50 million years, give or take a few millennia. So for now, I will tread with added awareness and perhaps a lighter foot so as not to get burned by what life has in store for us.

This was first published in Vermont Views Magazine: http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/An_A-musing_Life.html


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A Resolute Spirit


As a nod to one of the words for 2016 posted by Merriam-Webster-‘post-truth’; part of this piece is ‘post-time’. Its initial writing came to an abrupt halt due to, well, you’ll see.

The End of…. 2015

The last day is coming and a wintery air of anticipation abounds. This closing of time is like a book that one has finally, yet often stubbornly, finished.

It flies around you like an insistent bird that won’t stop flapping its wings and banging its beak into that tree outside your window. Walking through hazy morning eyes toward your coffee, your bare foot crunches a slight piece of bark. It has a soft, dulcet tone until it leaves a splinter in your heel. How did this get into my house!

And there is the book waiting on your kitchen table. It is a somewhat annoying book, really. Not consistent, not hilariously funny, but not dreadfully sad. Its protagonist was kind of brave, was kind of well behaved, and was way too attached to good cheese. She was not overly lovable, but not too disliked; just enough to confirm she still had some spice. Room for improvement, for sure, but would not be a total embarrassment if flirted with in a bar.

“So”, said my New Year’s Resolution Fairy, although she looked more a cross between a gargoyle gone soft and a lapsed, yet surprisingly glamorous, burlesque dancer. She adjusted her wings into the cushions on my couch, then threw one leg over the other and proceeded to pump it in steady rhythm. It reminded me of the cat clock I had as a child. The tail moved back and forth like a metronome of time. Only this was no cat and it did not purr. Rather, it brandished questions and comments like an old feathered fan that had been used in some onstage extravaganza.

“tell me what ya got.”

“I don’t know yet. I haven’t thought about it and I didn’t know you were coming today.” Did I really just say that? I felt like a guilty child. I busied myself with straightening up to avoid eye contact. In other words, I moved things from here to there for no reason whatsoever.

“I can think of a thing or two,” she quipped, eyeing my newest and fanciest cheese board. Those eyes made a slow orbit between my birthday gift to myself and my eyes, which I am sure, resembled the proverbial deer caught in the headlights; not a grown woman who knows how to stand her ground.

“Okay,” I said rising to the occasion. I called on my inner Wonder Woman and planted my feet on the floor, lifted my chin in righteous clarity, and spoke.

“I will not be bullied and shamed. I am a grown up and I can determine my own indulgences.” And with that, I blew a bit of bang out of my eyes. Not the strongest ending, I suppose.

My declaration was met with a stern look of bland amusement. “You got any wine to go with that cheese?” she asked. “I seem to recall we discussed wine last year.”

As usual, she got the last word, and off I went for a bottle of my best red. “Would you like to chase that down with some scotch? I seem to recall we discussed that as well,” I retorted, proud of my quick inspiration. “Touché,” I thought. A bold parry, this was. After all, she was getting something out of the deal.

“Why, yes, I do recall that,” she answered, “but if you think plying me with even more liquor than last year will give me a hangover, don’t bother. You think I look like this because I don’t know how to drink?”

“Okay, look,” I said, taking a seat next to her while defiantly munching on cheese and a slice of zucchini that I often use as a cracker, “I am a foodie. If I ate food the way I talk about it I would not be able to fit through doors and I would be on more medications than you can fit in a pill organizer.”

No response; just a well-appointed foot- she does have good taste in shoes- tapping, ever so slightly, the embellished edge of that new cheese platter.

“This is going to be tougher than I thought…again,” I quietly lamented.

And then….

Yellow!!!!! I woke up yellow!!!!! It was the tip of 2016. I was still rolling with 2015. The Resolution Fairy had barely left. I was still finding her snarky looks peering around the edges of the notebook I was recording her yearly visit in when….I woke up yellow!!!!!

I take care of myself with clean food-even the disputed cheese is infested with nature, not additives-and clean supplements and herbs…oops. Clearly, that herb was not clean enough as it spread havoc within my innards like a stealth bomber until….Have I told you I woke up yellow?

So I spent the year de-yellowing, de-traumatizing and de-lighting my inner resources.

New Year’s Eve and Last Night of Chanukah 2016

Okay, well here we go again. There is still cheese, but I am chasing it down with beet juice in my finest wine glass, of course.

“I’ll show her,” I thought.

Despite the year I have had, I still believe in the aesthetic life. Beauty and necessity can partner and sustain an ideal. Beauty adds to living. It does not diminish moral values or actions. And this year was filled with moral and immoral actions on a grand and global scale.

Now it was my turn to tap my feet. My Resolution Fairy was later than usual. Was she having too good a time outraging someone else?  I decided that when she heard about my very colorful year, we would have something to celebrate. Maybe she would forgo the blasts of eyeball and snorts, and cheer me on for once. I decided to bring out my good port and long unused antique port glasses to mark the occasion.

While my head was stuck in the china cabinet, which had gotten scarily dusty during my year hiatus, I heard a tenor toned yelp and then I heard a crash. “Oh, this does not bode well,” I said to myself. Perhaps she had as tough a year as I did. I wondered if she ever takes broken resolutions personally, or is her not so veiled disdain the answer to my question. I guess if I were in her position, I might get a little cranky myself.

So I walked into the living room bearing a shiny grin and crystal glasses when I was stopped short in my reverie. My eyes were filled with the most disheveled and frayed creature I ever could have imagined would share space on the celestial pod, or wherever fairies and their like live.

I never could get a clear answer out of my R.F.; who absolutely abhorred when I called her that. The only thing she ever said was not to be too surprised, as she was when she started this gig, with the motley crew that any group of beings can include, emphasis and eye-jab on ‘any’ pointing toward me, as I recall. But I think I also recall just a wee smile from her.

“You’re not my Resolution Fairy,” I said as he unraveled himself from my curtains.

“May I help you?” I continued. “You seemed to be lost.” But my eyes were stuck on permanent open because I didn’t want to lose any part of this sight.

“I’m not lost at all,” he said. “I’m taking over some of her cases this year’s end eve.”

And then I blinked…a lot. “Cases?  Is that what I am…stop…A mess to be managed…stop… Well, harrumph to you!” I screamed inside my head.

I probably looked like I was practicing Morse Code.

“Overrun we are, with the most recent of hatchling resolutioners. Oh, and by the by, she most dislikes when you call her R.F.”

“Well, if Yoda channeled Shakespeare, it would be you; and yes, I know she does not like it,” I replied while chomping on some much needed cheese, as I was left famished by all that blinking.

“Who are you then? You certainly don’t look like a fairy.”

Not that I had a hold on what all fairies look like, but I presumed they all at least had wings, and this creature was as close to the ground as one could come.  He held onto whatever he could find as if he were in the constant possibility of landing face down on whatever surface was beneath his odd little shoes. Nope, not a fairy.

“I am merely a fraction of a most large spirit beast such that holds time.” He was off and unwinding like a too tightly wound pocket watch.

“How I lament, with every pass of moment, the waste of chance, oh sorry humanity, you had, to make time move toward something of bounteous conflagration of wills and ways. Verily, oh, woe to me, who feels you swat me like a fly.” His flailing arms could hold him no more. His center of gravity lost to his grave words, and with that, he fell over flat.

“Please forgive my outward passion. I have not been ‘on the job’, as you say, since William penned himself to history.”

“Holy crap,” I thought. “You have been retired that long? We must be in bad shape if they pulled you out of the Globe. Here is some mead for you then,” I said leaning down to floor level.

“I know what port is,” he sniped. “Gimme that,” and he grabbed the bottle.

We spent the rest of his time with me, as he did have other ‘cases’ to see, discussing the dawning awareness of the political imperative to action, drinking beet juice and port; well he had the port and almost all of the cheese, laughing and crying and basically charming the hell out of each other.

We agreed that the only resolution anyone needs to make this year is to keep moving forward, if that is already what you do; and for the new resolutioners, to begin to move forward. For those of us in the first group, I also suggest that we add another to our list. We will keep motivating all of us and mentoring the newly awakened ones.

To you all, I offer my new friend’s last words, borrowed from his old friend.

All days are nights to see till I see thee

And nights bright days when dreams do show me thee.’ ( William Shakespeare Sonnet 43)

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Why I Light Two Menorahs



This has been a tough year for many personally, and for the country and world, it has been a collective mess. There was little helpful communication and much pain. People and their ideals were at each other’s throats. The earth has been under siege for many years, but this year we have seen the last straw begin to tear. I don’t think I know anyone who is not eager for this year to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Chanukah ushers in my favorite season of Jewish holidays: Chanukah, Tu B’Shevat and Purim. These are about light, growth, process and reaching beyond ourselves and facing the shadows and what holds us back. These are also about nature in a more direct way, and the deep mythos of the human spirit. We can swim in the primordial sea, so to speak. We can travel between realms. These are less about concrete history and more about attributes of the soul and of the community and earth as a whole. The historical significance of Chanukah is not lost on me, but it is not front and center.

And yes, all of the holidays reach deep within but for me the resonance of this part of the year is a little deeper for that; not that I don’t love each spoke of our holy wheel, though. I have certainly gone on about them all.

So why do I light two menorahs with one menorah adding candles each night and the other way reducing them? While I have discussed this in a past article, that also has other morsels about the holiday, (https://insighthealingdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/the-hebrew-month-of-kislev/), here is an additional insight, and I think for what we are faced with globally, a helpful practice.

Chanukah is in the Hebrew months of Kislev-the first 6 nights-and Tevet-the last 2 nights. Each month was created by a Hebrew letter. The letter Samech created Kislev and the letter Ayin created Tevet.

Kislev – Samech   01-15samech                    Tevet – Ayin    ayin

Samech reflects the concept of ‘Ain Soph’: the endless infinity that surrounds and sustains us. Like the circle that the Samech resembles, we are supported by the ever present and ever moving infinite reach of spirit and time. It can charm you with its welcoming moonbeam smile, but it also lets you know that you are part of it as well. Just like the Samech is a letter that is without end, we are also without end, as is our continuing human story. The letter means to support. This circle of support is there for us.

Ayin reflects the concept of ‘nothingness’. In Hebrew,’ Yesh M’ayin’ (in Latin-ex nihlio), translates to ‘something from nothing’. It is this absence that is necessary for the infinite to fill. It is non-being that waits for its creation. How can a no thing be a container that holds the thing of creation? How can light come from a cold candle wick. It becomes its potential by a flick of a spark that is within the head of a match. This is the act of creation from seemingly nothing. The letter Ayin means eye. We can see from nothingness if we have the spiritual eyes to see potential.

When we can see with the eyes that the Ayin offers us, our eyes, we can see into the void and to the other side. We can see the Samech and garner its support.

From nothingness to somethingness, from expansion to contraction; lighting candles that grow and diminish each night creates an energy flow in both directions. For those who experience this energy as a palpable force, I invite you to use this to radiate forward.  This is the richest metaphor that I can think of for where we are at this moment. These movements are the breathing of the universe, the breaths that we each take, the words that we each say, that can bestow love and understanding or hurt and anger.

This is what we need to do now. As we move toward a time when taking communal action to repair what has been broken must be a priority we need to be committed, to be brave and to be aware of what fires we light and how to reach without and within.

Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for repair the world. May we all be blessed to do just that.

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Oh, Holidays

Oh holidays,

To the latkes I am cooking,

At whose applesauce topping I am looking,

Your potatoy goodness astounds me,

Your oily needs confound me.

Oh, holidays,

To the cookies I am baking,

With no grain, dairy or sugar I am making,

Will anyone be glad that they are for the taking?

For a Jew in Vermont, a state that despite being blue,

Is still a state of Christmas to which the cows moo.

So I sat with a cat wearing antlers on my knee,

And elatedly helped decorate my first New England tree.

I styled that thing from its limbs to its trunk,

My earnest enthusiasm could not be sunk.

I spiraled garland to add depth to its skinny bark center

‘Oh look,’ I called to my holy day mentor

With ornaments a plenty still dripping with glee

They wanted to see where they would go on said tree.

With glitter from icicles still on my face,

I was in a happy frenzy to keep up the pace.

But one who has designed NYC wreaths and tables aplenty,

Is apparently not appreciated as a north country celebration sentry.

So let me just say with a sigh and lament

At least they didn’t show me to the cold, cold cement.

Was it culture or couture that led to my demise?

Oh, well, I still have my menorah light in my eyes.

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11/12 and Counting-Election Reflection



11/12 and Counting


I went to sleep half an hour before the election was called. My sleep was grey and dreamless.


 I awoke unable to take my usual deep and nourishing morning breath. The only thing I could manage was a thin inhale that had to maneuver between stone piled upon stone.

I was in a supreme oxygen-withholding-deep-dread-awareness-of-the-day-before mode. This soon became laced with organ menacing fear. My blood and breath were running their course, but with their backs to one another. This felt like a mirror of what is going on in our country. Those on opposite sides and preference have turned away from each other to lick their wounds or shine their win.

I thought about what will happen to Standing Rock. I thought about how deeply ingrained our country’s misogyny is; how fierce it is in our cultural geology. It is scary squared to think about Trump and Pence having a go at us. I thought about friends who voted for Trump and Pence and their vile views. What might this do to friendships? These were all issues that had been contentious conversations before the election. What would happen now?

We: those who voted for Hillary, those who voted third party and those who did not vote at all, are part of how this happened, as is the campaign and Hillary herself. Did we really believe no matter what happened that we had this election in the bag? Were we just too complacent to call out the behind the scene chicanery of ‘our’ party and the media? What if we protested then and not now?

I know that even if we did all we could, that the political machine is not a cool and witty steampunk contraption. It is a behemoth of gears of unrelenting disregard for those who do not oil it. We may still have had this outcome.


It was a blur of grasping for a normal moment; but normal is reshaping itself. It is throwing off our old expectations and behavior. That normal is chalk on the sidewalk outlining a body waiting for a forensic examination. This will be blown away by January’s snows. Don’t try to catch the glittery dust. There is no romance in those sparkles. My mantra for the day was, “We don’t need the SYFY channel. We are living it.”

Facebook was a flutter with condemnation, allegations and challenges of retribution. Some questioned if they should unfriend their friends who stood on the opposite side. Others tried to educate by posting endless articles and memes meant to show each other the way. Some tried to placate and reach out. Basically, Facebook used some funky mushrooms in its soup recipe post.

People look for comfort and explanation when bad things happen in order to cope. Posts and conversations began to talk about how Trump is our shadow figure and that this is a good thing to have happened so that now we can fix it. One article told me that Trump is really our spiritual teacher and that we can learn all about the darkness from him. Can you guess what my shadow wanted to do when I read that?

While there is some truth to this; to hear this now feels like an easy way to take the sting out of what happened through the guise of being ‘spiritual’(and I am part of that world).But I don’t want to take the sting out. I don’t want to risk losing the urgency to act. We need the sting.

The time will come when this shadow can be our guide to action, but we need to become stronger and unified first, or risk becoming passive because we are overwhelmed with the task.


In a need for some relief of growing fears I wondered “What would be in my swag bag from this new venue of the Un-United States?” The grips dissolved in my hands when I picked it up. Clearly, I didn’t have a handle on this thing yet.

But then there were the swastikas.  I remembered learning about Nazis as a child, and being afraid to go to the bathroom at night because I would see two Nazis there with guns.

The hatred and bigotry is not only pointed toward Jews, I know this; but because the Nazi Swastika is still the symbol used, as it has become a container for all hatred; I cannot help but feel the time when I was in third grade and had rocks thrown at me for being Jewish.

The darkness of generational pain and loss again stops my breath, but it also sharpens my eyes and makes my feet want to walk hard on the path to join in the fixing.

We cannot become quiet and still after the first spate of protests fade, and our everyday lives call us back. What is ahead is daunting. It is bigger than each of us. It has also happened before. We have to look at history and finally learn from it. I fear that if we do not do this, and do not work together in a committed, compassionate and smartly strategic way, we will become the country of our nightmares.

Friday Night-Shabbat

It is Friday night. The sun has set on the fourth day since the elections. Autumn night Shabbats are my solace. The early darkness of these weeks, that only last till the next solstice, is a precious time to me. It is richly lush with the scent of the shifting earth. There are still some leaves left to swirl in the winds and our gardens are putting themselves to ground to begin their new year of regeneration.

This is a poignant image of what we need to do right now. We need to look deep into our own interior landscapes and then we need to look toward each other.

I remember lighting candles and singing with the friends with whom I am now at odds. Politics and religion are hard issues to clash over, and this election has brought them both out full force. I am not sure that the- we should just agree to disagree-solution will work this time.

The principled stance, despite the different ideas about what that is, has become a central pillar of discourse. The politic and the moral are deeply interwoven in the Trump/Pence platform. They see their politics growing out of their religious beliefs. Separation of their church and state does not exist in this world view that is rife with twisted and hateful declarations and plans to act on them.

“I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history,” said Pence. How can we respond to this? Action, not only words, must become the new response. Registering Muslims is the beginning of another holocaust, and not disavowing David Duke is agreeing with him.


I have friends who voted for this ticket because of its economic policies. They say they disagree with the misogyny, racism, xenophobic plans, denial of climate change, LGBTQ rights, voter suppression, etc. They do not see the disparity of this.  Those who are vehemently opposed to Trump/Pence do not see how they can miss it. This is where communications break down, and friendships find themselves in peril.

“When we judge others – we contribute to violence” – Marshall Rosenberg

Friday Night- Shabbat Mantra: “Before you taste anything, recite a blessing.” Rabbi Akiva

Saturday-Shabbat Morning:

It is Saturday, still Shabbat, and five days in and counting. The air is crisp and I feel fried. I have spent some time on Facebook posting and responding to other’s posts. I told myself that I would limit this because I didn’t want to get pulled into the whirlpool of call and response of the frustration, anger and pain. I needed a break and I wanted some solitary time to collect my own thoughts. I can take in just so much before I begin to lose my already off kilter center. And it is Shabbat, so why did I even turn on my computer?

Saturday-Shabbat Late Afternoon:

Words are difficult to reach now. The past days have lodged themselves in my body. As the sky begins to turn toward the evening, the end of Shabbat is coming. I usually feel filled with new energy for the incoming week, but I feel tired and heavy with concern and despair. When the body, mind and emotion are on overwhelm, the spirit steps back to make room for what the soul needs to process. The extra soul that we receive on Shabbat has not been a comfort to me because I can hardly feel it. My heart is wide eyed with pain and turmoil. I fight with myself to find my hope, the belief that we can make it through what is to come, and then, somehow, I feel a fragile smile of resolve.

Saturday night:

Hasn’t come yet. Can I presume I know what to assume? Not anymore.

But I do know that we cannot just crawl back into the cocoon of stillness. We need to fight that inclination and then fight the fight. Inaction is not acceptable.

Cry, if you are inclined, with tears of salt or howl with tears of primal tones. Let those tears roil into a sea of engagement. We need to move into the waves of action and wisdom.

I am afraid that the earth’s hands will let her fingers, that have been so entwined to hold us, dissolve and we will fall into the muddy abyss if we do not.


This was originally published in Vermont Views Magazine:





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Blessed Samhain


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