When my parents left Egypt, they left behind everything they’d grown up with, all the objects that carried their deepest associations and memories. They taught me to scorn such “things”—what others value as mementos or souvenirs—rightly reasoning they can be lost in a moment. But while we have them, it is lovely, I’m learning, to let the spirits embedded within them, the memories and feelings they evoke, surround and comfort us. As I move through this house, I feel bound to my own and others’ histories, embedded in a rich and complex life that nurtures and sustains me. And as I sit still and knit, I sense that I am knitting (knotting) up the by now long, loose threads of my own life, shaping them into a coherent and satisfying whole.
Last Friday my oncologist gave me the best birthday present I could have imagined. (My birthday was 7:30 pm last night December 20, California time.) Without going into details, my latest CT scan was so much more positive than the… Read More ›
In Part One of this article, I described dancing Jewish, Romani, and Armenian dances for forgiveness and reconciliation with groups in Germany and all over the world. I also offered danced rituals of remembrance at former concentration camps and other places… Read More ›
When I first began researching traditional circle dances in the mid-1980s, I was amazed to find that the peoples who have suffered the worst of human experience – oppression, exile, genocide, war – also produce the most vibrant and joyful… Read More ›
We may all remember 2020 as the year when we could no longer look away from death. Our western culture has hidden death away in hospitals and funeral homes for generations. However, in these past months we have all… Read More ›
On the eve of the Jewish Sabbath and the start of Rosh Hashanah, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg breathed her last breath. She was 87. She fought so hard for so long. She is an American patriot, hero, champion… Read More ›
Toward the end of her complex odyssey, Anna finds herself alone in an ancient Istanbul synagogue, where at long last she unreservedly “name[s] herself” a Jew and experiences connection with a God that “fuse[s] both male and female” and “from that wholeness birth[s] mercy and love.” Vowing to work to “help repair [the] world”–tikkun olam–she moves forward to face her life with a “sense of wholeness” that had eluded her for so long.
I wish I could have gotten this phrase tattooed on my arm when I started the serpentine journey into womanhood. Like most of us, growing up, all I ever saw in media were thin female bodies with impossible proportions. As… Read More ›
It’s true. I don’t mean to make you jealous, but lately, I have at least one long session of really great crying most days. What I call the “lovely cry,” where my face gets all red and swollen and puffy,… Read More ›
When I moved to Maine from New Orleans 15 years ago, I was delighted to discover how many birch trees were on the property where I lived with my new partner. Previously I had had little contact with these beautiful… Read More ›
I was released from a national hospital in Crete on Friday afternoon after a seven day stay. During that time, I had over fifteen tests, including several ultrasounds, two CTs, a colonoscopy, a gastroscopy, and an excruciating forty-five minute MRI…. Read More ›
“I think you should take medication for anxiety.” This was my doctor’s response when I calmly listed my Covid symptoms, which had been going on for a month and had landed me in Urgent Care twice and the ER twice,… Read More ›
Brother Francesco, known to the world as Saint Francis of Assisi, left us many sweet and lovely poems and songs. In “The Canticle of the Sun,” he wrote about the gifts of nature. Brother Sun, his light and radiance. Sister… Read More ›
“When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.”
My hobbling has made me aware, in a new way, of my vulnerability. When I walk down the street, I notice that very few people actually seem to notice my constraint. And this makes me feel even more vulnerable. I’ve been afraid to take the subway, afraid to be in crowds, uncomfortable even when I am alone at home. I worry about another break, a fall, a misstep—banging into something, or having something drop on my foot.
And I think, with deeper compassion, about my friends and acquaintances—and all the people I don’t know—who bravely endure even greater, often invisible, challenges.
[Continued from yesterday…] All sentient creatures are negatively affected by the deaths of one species. And still people refuse to see. As I wrote about the loss of trees and woodpeckers old tree memories surfaced without warning. Resolutely, I faced… Read More ›
With every wonderful, heart-wrenching, deeply researched, and inspiring post I read on F.A.R., I feel less inclined to share my own somewhat out-of-step contributions to this world. Nevertheless, I keep reminding myself that they are the things that I do,… Read More ›
It should have been a wonderful journey, organized by three dear friends who run a yoga center in Costa Rica. I would be traveling with my husband, these friends, and thirteen other like-minded folk to the Sacred Valley of the Incas in the Andes highlands of southern Peru. We’d be staying at a lovely retreat center just outside Pisac, an ancient market town encircled by imposing mountains. And our itinerary would take us to some of the most important Inca sites, including the iconic, hauntingly beautiful and remote Machu Picchu.
I’m giving you a twofer this month: a poem and a ritual. I’m writing this a few days after the latest mass shooting in Texas by a crazy white man and a few days before the next debate by Democratic… Read More ›
Our visit to Poland coincides with the Feast of the Assumption, a time when tens of thousands of pilgrims arrive on foot to pay homage to Our Lady of Częstochowa, Poland’s Black Madonna. I too am a pilgrim, visiting the sites, not of miracles but of martyrdom. As I make my way through what Pope John Paul II called “this Golgotha of modern times,” I am overcome; like him, I “am here kneeling down” to implore Our Lady to help us heal the vast, still open wound that is our life on this earth.
It looks like it is time again for me to pack up and drive a few hundred or more miles to a new destination, a place I will finally try to plant roots, this time offering commitment + endurance, hoping… Read More ›