I’ll use this page for thoughts about Spirit, the world, and other stuff. These thoughts may often be motivated by the weekly Torah (5 books of Moses) reading referred to in Hebrew as the parshah. In Jewish tradition a portion of Torah is read each week, so that the entire Torah is read over the year, and Jewish communities throughout the world are reading the same parts of the Bible each week.  If you like what you read here, please subscribe to my new blog posts at the bottom of this page.

  “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” asks Mary Oliver in perhaps her best known poem. What makes it wild? Maybe it’s just our birthright, as Jon Young might say. Bill Plotkin attests our wildness, our indigeneity to the earth is part of us, part of the wholeness of our being. Indigeneity is not meant to appropriate the status of First Nations. We are all from, part of, and connected to the earth. The primordial human, Adam, is from the earth, so by extension we are too.
No Boundaries. That’s what the bumper sticker on the highway said. Conversely, people often say they need healthy boundaries. What does that mean?   Boundaries are often a place of exchange or transition.   We see this in nature. The richest diversity of life is most often in the transition zones between habitats or biomes.   What about boundaries or transition zones in our lives? They are often disconcerting, but after the fact we see how fertile they were.
Consider a tree (Buber). This month’s full moon marks our tradition’s celebration of trees known as Tu b'Shevat. In Torah it’s the new year for trees. They also say it’s their birthday (cue The Beatles). Why do we do this? Aren’t we all about the book? Our rite of passage isn’t going into nature or touching a bear (unless you’re named Sam G.). It’s reading an old book! Recently I thought trees are like Torah...
When have you felt seen, really seen? When have you really seen another (vs. an Other)? This deep seeing begins with the idea, the faith, that this level of attentiveness is even possible, to be able to call it in, or in the case of our (Jewish) ancestors to call out. So begins our exodus story, with deep seeing and relationship.
As Jacob prepares to go “down” to Egypt to see Joseph, his son whom he thought dead, G!d says (again in a night vision), “Don’t be afraid. I’ll go down with you.” Jacob is told, yet again, by G!d that G!d will accompany him. In a recent conversation about tough times one of my spirit sisters asked, “Who walks with you?” Such a hashpa’ah (spiritual direction) question! Do you feel accompanied, supported? Who is there for you?
What stops our light from getting out? In Judaism kabbalah talks of klippot, shells or husks that restrain holiness. This term can apply to our own crustiness, the armor we create around our hearts that impedes the flow of Divine light and love in or out. Like any flame, our Divine spark, the source of our light, needs oxygen. It needs to be aerated to shine brightly and permeate through the cracks.
Why do we keep revisiting these Torah (Bible) stories? Isn’t this just some old dusty book? Are we just living in the past (to paraphrase El Duderino)? In revisiting Torah stories, we are creating new midrash, which I always picture as a very proactive process of inquiry. We wrestle with scripture. Like Jacob, we wrestle with G!d.

Can we dream this dream? Can we live this dream?   Sometimes we have to leave what we, and others, thought we were to receive this dream. We have to leave the comfortable confines of our own self-image. Maybe we have to go into the, surprising, darkness.

My story is barely told in our legends. Generations to come will refer to me just as the one who was spared on Mt. Moriah. Is that my legacy? My father was the one who first heard G!d and who was given the blessing of the covenant. My son got a new name (or two)! And I’m just the one who didn’t die? WTF? Well I’m here to set the record straight. 

  This world, this country is in desperate need of a new paradigm of listening. What can we learn from our patriarch Abraham in this Torah portion?   This week’s Torah portion is both extremely rich and, dare I say it, a little meandering. We immediately here of the death of our matriarch Sarah... 

No, Brene Brown didn’t actually comment on Lech Lecha, but as I listened to an interview with her on Krista Tippet’s OnBeing podcast, I was captivated by her notions of belonging, and not just because of her down-to-earth, almost homespun, manner of providing incisive observations about the human psyche and soul, offered in a way that seem as real for her as for us (yes, I admit, I’m a Brene Brown fan boy)....

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