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Posts Tagged ‘signs’

Nearly two weeks have passed since ‘the call’ came in.  A neighbor, who I barely knew, felt the need to let me know that three men have been continuously taking turns driving past my house, stopping, staring, and staying for up to six minutes. My guess is that you may wondering why. . . I know we are. It appears they didn’t like the sign we had put in our window, but we don’t even know this for sure.

The call shattered any equilibrium that I was feeling. You see during my younger years, childhood violence was a norm which as an adult has left me navigating a very real deep-seeded fear of any kind of violence or rage. As much as I have tried, that fear often sits just below the surface ready to reappear when given a cause. On most occasions, I am able to quickly regain my footing when I encounter a ‘blip’ – not this time.

Having my house ‘watched’ has traumatized me and left me feeling some very intense fear and sometimes enormous anger towards the perpetrators and at those that feel the need to blame the victim.  I am also completely despondent that my sons and I are walking in the world differently than we did a few weeks ago.

In truth, the dynamics of the relationship probably originated with this story: https://lightwavejourney.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/yard-sign-troubles/

~ ~ ~

As activists, it was only natural for us to call our congressmen, write some letters, donate money, rally, and put up a sign. So after one of the airport rallies, following our new president’s immigration ban, my son put a ‘Refugees Welcome’ in our front window. Let’s just say three of our conservative neighbors reacted poorly, really poorly.

aryeh-holding-refugees-welcom

My son, Aryeh, holding up the ‘Refugees Welcome’ sign at the first Airport Rally following the Immigration Ban on January 28, 2017

What has stunned me most about what happened was not the neighbors that felt the need to instill fear, but ‘my friends’ and acquaintances that believe that we caused the situation and that we should have simply not displayed our views.

Chutzpah!!!! How dare someone tell me that in some way, shape, or form I am asking for it. Bullshit!

Each of us have a choice in how we walk in the world. Some of us choose to live consciously and to wear our hearts on our sleeves. That’s called transparency or authenticity.  For me, there is no option.

Violence, instilling fear, and bullying is never OK! NEVER! And I have a right to choose how I walk in the world without the fear of retribution for going against someone’s belief. Maybe things have changed since Trump took office, but the United States I treasure allows for each of us to have our own views and to express them too. Sometimes we have to navigate different guidelines, boundaries, or laws – that’s fine. AND sometimes, we have to stand by our principles and buck the system. I am OK with that too.

While  we later found out the ‘Welcome Refugee’ sign is not acceptable within our HOA (Homeowners Association), we didn’t know it when the sign first went into the window. Yes we still believe that refugees should be welcomed, we didn’t put the sign up to cause problems. The sign went up because we wanted to share our passion and maybe even ignite a others into action for refugees. And the sign went down when we realized we were not following the HOA bylaws. If the men were really representing our HOA, they could have followed procedures to inform us that were braking the rules. But that contact wasn’t what happened; stalking did.

How dare these men bully us by stalking our home.

As I said, the sign is down. And after about ten days, it appears the stalking may have ceased.  Fear now guides our evening and nighttime walks, but we are pushing through and starting to return to feel calmer.  And we still have a few people in our lives that probably fear for our safety and wish we’d simply live a little more silently.

Being silent when bigotry and hatred are guiding the political climate will lead to more of the same. So. . .even if I feel fear, I will join others who are trying to make our world a better place.

#NoBanNoWall #RESIST

Update: Since originally working on this blog, I have started to heal. I am still tired to the core, but I am starting to sleep better and believe that everything is moving in the right direction. Healing takes time, but my spirit is better than it was due to my fabulous landlord and some very thoughtful neighbors. 

Whatever fear I felt or may still feel is negligible compared to refugees and those that love them. #RefugeesWelcomeHere

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Jemez Springs, New Mexico

About 18 months ago, I found my own little oasis or maybe just a piece of heaven in Jemez Springs, New Mexico (about 40 minutes outside of Albuquerque).   Each and every minute of my time there, left me mesmerized by the beauty, the terrain, the silence, and the overall energy.  I didn’t want to leave.  Even as I type these words, tears are running down my cheeks because I was so profoundly touched there.

When I allow myself to dream big, I dream of one day finding a haven that will allow me the time and resources to create as a writer, an artist of sorts.  I’d love to take a couple of years and just write, dream, and sustain myself on the words of my heart, my mind, and my soul.  Writing brings me more joy than nearly anything.  And yet, I also want to do some of my soul work in Jewish Education and working with survivors of childhood trauma.  My world is crazy busy with the desire to do tikkun olam, repair the world through my writing and work.

My mind is like the photo above.  On this little road in Jemez Spring, New Mexico there is a sign that says “Congested Area”.  At first glance there is literally nothing happening on this road.  At two different points, I stood there for nearly 10 minutes and saw one car each time.  And yet, I wonder what is going on just beneath the surface with the land, the animals, the people, or the atmosphere.  Just because I can’t see what is going on doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

When I opened up the above photo a couple of days ago, the wisdom of that photo became instantly clear.  That photo is a metaphor for my life.  If you look at me at any given moment, you might see my warmth or my smile, but you probably won’t have any clue what is really filling my mind.  My world is so full; my mind is always focused on so many thoughts, feelings, experiences.  My mind rarely stops unless I am chanting and meditating; and at those times my mind is gently rolling the waves of thought. I think about my children, my work, passions, my writing, conscious consumerism, music, the environment, my dogs, my past, my daily to do list, my dreams. . . .so much fills my mind and my heart.

Visiting Jemez Springs allowed me to see a truth about the beauty that surrounded me and the beauty inside my own soul; it provided understanding.  Allow others to see what they see without needing to always share; silence is a gift as is sharing when the opportunity arises.  In return, honor that which is without expecting to know everything going on at every given moment.

Congested areas are really quite a treasure.

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Those that know me well know that I hear rhythms in my head most every moment of the day.  The rhythms guide me as I move forward and as I attempt to navigate the spaces that surround me.  In all honesty, it is sometimes a struggle to focus on that which I need to do because I’d rather follow my prana, my derech, my way.

When I am lucky the rhythms include some beautiful music with words attached to it.  At some point in time, I heard that the silence between the beats is as important as the music itself.  I love how music can help my spirit to soar or allow me the space to cry if need be.

Today I was in the midst of listening to myself with each and every step.  For some reason, I made some very good choices and was able to both celebrate life and comfort some mourners.  Looking outside at the moon tonight, I realize that life is full of different cycles.

Tonight the luminous moon is full, bright, beautiful, and comforting; today is the 15th of Tammuz. We have 2.5 months until will celebrate Rosh HaShana.  The moon always reminds me that life continues even as our lives feel stagnant or overwhelming busy.  Cycles continue with each birth and end with each death.

I am grateful for my life and for the cycles that embrace my steps. Sometimes, I am able to articulate my gratitude on a regular basis and sometimes my mind is too cluttered.

This afternoon, I was driving into the city for an opportunity to learn about a new curriculum that we will be using this coming year for our high school students.  With each mile, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the frenetic pace of my life.  At the same time, I know that life has evolved to a quieter space over the past year, so I am really not complaining too much.

When I got into the car I found myself humming a new chant that I learned from my teacher Rabbi Shefa Gold.  The words go to the chant are:

L’takayn Olam B’malchut Shaddai
To heal the world within God’s kingdom

After chanting for about 15 minutes, I decided to listen to an oldies station for a bit.  Just as I started getting into my new rhythm, I saw a car start to pull into my lane.  For a moment, I was really concerned which caused me to react in such a way that I didn’t get into an accident.  The sight wasn’t pretty and my guess is that I was being kept safe by the shechina (God’s presence).  As my car’s breaks caused me to swerve the radio station switched from radio to CD player.  With that, the chant returned to my radio.

The message was loud and clear; it really is my job to do the best I can to heal our world/God’s kingdom.

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