Category Archives: Holding Space

Holding the chord

Barring love to uphold justice prevents the completion of the circuit that fulfils our aim.  Locked within us are the answers we seek to resolve the struggle that our minds cannot reconcile. Belief is an individual process that becomes entangled with our upbringing as well as loyalties to both the need to be accepted and our innate fear of punishment.  Love transcends our need for self-preservation.  Wanting to uphold for all beings what we desire for ourselves is not rational but instinctual.  Nestled in our conflict is the desire to embrace our vehemence and outrage, to allow the song of life to rejoin itself in harmony.

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Last week I posted the Stream of Light about Elie Wiesel onto Facebook. A musical acquaintance of mine made some accusatory and ugly remarks about Mr. Wiesel.  I deleted his comments. He was outraged and asked me to unfriend him for censoring him.  We messaged back and forth.  I apologized for deleting his comments without asking him to.  My acquaintance is very passionate about standing up for the rights of displaced Palestinians and he felt that Mr. Wiesel, who stood for other groups rights, failed to do so for the Palestinians and was antagonistic to their plight.  I looked up an article written by a Palestinian writer who was a fan of Mr. Wiesel’s book Night but who was disappointed in Mr. Wiesel’s actions.  Since my acquaintance also works for peace, I pointed out that although outraged, our ability to not close the hearts of those who are needed to amend or help facilitate justice, is vital.

Elie Wiesel, who would have concurred that he was not a saint, said:

“No nation is composed of saints alone. None is sheltered from mistakes or misdeeds. All have their Cain and Abel. It takes vision and courage to undergo serious soul-searching and to favor moral conscience over political expediency.”

At the end of our conversation, my acquaintance and I reached an understanding. We both were able to be heard.  In fact, that Friday night as Julia and I sang for a service at a temple, I was wrestling with the issue of people wanting a home for themselves and their families. The depth of the situation, is parallel to the plight of the Native Americans, whose land many of us rent or seem to own.

During the service, Julia and I were asked to sing Jerusalem of Gold, by Naomi Shemer. The song reflects 2,000 years of yearning for a homeland. In the middle of it, I held one of the chords and stood there with my eyes closed. I had to wait, overcome by what felt like an endless torrent of tears.  The innate connection to the song felt deeper than my identification with my tribe. The moments of holding that chord in silence felt like the collective longing all of humanity has for shelter, to belong, to be embraced by the dignity of their own wholeness.

When I related this event to my mother, she shared this excerpt from one of the I Am discourses:

   “When you enter into the understanding of what Indestructible harmony means to Life, you will have entered into the Powerhouse of the universe, because discord is disintegration; and the only thing that is Eternal Perfection is Indestructible Harmony. There is no freedom without Harmony, no permanent health without Harmony, no Victory over that which you call evil, which is discord, except Indestructible Harmony.”

Last night, here in Iowa, Julia’s mom gave me an article she has saved for me about Elie Wiesel talking in a church. Mr. Wiesel confessed that he was only able to speak and sing in this church because he was able to put aside his anger and recognize that not all Christians had turned their backs on the Jews during the holocaust.  What he said after that was what had stayed with the author of the article ever since:

“I believe people who can stand together and sing together, can live in peace together.” – Elie Wiesel

Even in the midst of all this heart wrenching unrest and the Civil Liberties that we still need to stand for here in America and around the world, remembering our harmony will help us to sing as we stand.  I believe our internal harmony bridges the gap between us.

May you hold the chord, even as you struggle to regain your voice within the silence of yearning.

 

Beyond Belief

 

“Don’t belong to anything. Don’t belong to anyone. Just Be. Feel your Being first and foremost, and don’t compare or compete. Just Be your Being.” ~ Mooji

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I have had the good fortune of having an ongoing dialogue with friends throughout the years who cut through whatever I may be espousing in terms of beliefs and are willing to throw down or splash around in the stream to get at what is really going on.

As we get older, it becomes easier to get lodged into a belief system and become stiff. I believe this is because we find a way to deal with what is coming down the pipe and we want that cushion to keep us protected.

My good friend Leyna recently sent me an Uplift article about what it really means to hold space for someone else.  It is a great article that reminds me to give those around me space without wanting them to take up my point of view.   It talks about allowing them to have their own take and feelings on life, without overloading them, judging them or asserting my ego into whatever is going on for them.

Leyna once said that she believed there were 613 commandments in the Torah, not so that we would follow each one to the letter of the law, but to get us to reach higher than we would have.  Sometimes if the bar is raised really high, it inspires us to stretch or jump up.

The article of holding space is not something we may be able or willing to do completely; it is a reminder that we can always open more, be more allowing of what is.

Leyna and I have often discussed the concept of “being positive”.

Leyna: “My process could be seen as “being negative” to say “negative” things – because fears and disappointments can be interpreted that way – but I see it as a positive process because as long as I don’t let fear have a home inside of me, it pushes me to move on and succeed. I did not prevail despite voicing my fears, disappointments, anger and doubts. I prevailed because of voicing them with as much courage and confidence I could to not run away from it, sugarcoat it or try to paint it into something it was not. This has been my way and it has worked for me.”

Surely as the old proverb says, “A sorrow shared is half a sorrow.” Leyna’s method of courageously looking at what is and refusing to run away from it, sugar coat it and most importantly, not be defeated by it, allows her to move continents.

The totality of our being, is the totality of being itself.  For me, that means that trying to adhere to any particular stance or view of ourselves is restrictive.  We choose limits to gain a measure of comfort and peace.  Everything comes and goes but what remains is the life within us.

I have certainly been guilty of overloading my point of view onto others and judging them for theirs.  That is not my defining point. As Leyna suggested, it’s what we let make a home within in us that sticks.  We can be motivated by everything coming through our ‘house’.

May your process be glorious.

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