Tag Archives: healing

Loving, Forgiving and Loving Life Again

Bestowing beauty while healing

Photo by Chungkuk Bae/ Unsplash

I had a very close friend call to wish me a happy Jewish New Year. She told me that she had seen a man going through the trash outside of her house and had asked if he was hungry. He said he hadn’t eaten all day. She went in and packed him up some food in a grocery bag. She looked him in the eye and asked his name. He had started looking in his wallet to give her ID, as if he was in trouble. She told him she hoped things would get better for him.

It is a custom to collect food for the poor at this time of year but here was something that went beyond bringing cans of food to a temple. This was direct human upliftment. My friend laughed and said when her partner heard about what she did, she would say that now the man would come back all the time. I said she could tell him that it was just a one time hand out to honor him. My friend laughed and asked herself, ‘what if it wasn’t?’ “What if I spend an extra thirty dollars at the grocery store each week and can help him out?”

This story goes beyond mere charity. My friend has struggled her whole life to climb out of the shadow of a horrendous and abusive childhood. She told me this is the first time in her life that she doesn’t feel like a victim but a survivor. She credits her survival, beyond therapy, to love and friendship.

We are heading into Yom Kippur, which is a holiday of forgiveness. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are an opportunity for reflection and atonement. The idea is to reach out to those we have wronged during the year and ask for their forgiveness. Although, there is a divine prompting to this ritual, it remains a chance to become vulnerable, to open ourselves up to our humanity.

Throughout her journey towards being what she calls, ‘ a survivor’, my friend has consistently been a bright light of love to those around her. She has raised beautiful children, she has been a teacher. She has been not only a lighthouse but a shelter for those that she perceived to have been abused. She stands up for the rights of others. She has been a pillar of friendship and faith in humanity for me. She has even forgiven the one who tormented her. This was not because she condoned their actions but for her own sanity.

 

It seems she has forgiven life itself for the hardships it has handed her. She has managed to find the vast good and beauty life paradoxically holds out to her. This is the kind of forgiveness that allowed her to laugh and bring hope and joy into her world, even while she wrestled with the lie that told her she was no good. She has navigated through the pain to the fullness of what can be given and received.

Yom Kippur uses the imagery of a Book of Life. We are encouraged to say to one another, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a healthy and happy year.” Beyond religious conviction, this ritual prompts us to expand our circle beyond ourselves, but to be included in the rippling gratitude that recognizes faults, slights and hardship can all be overcome with love and forgiveness.

May you be inscribed for a meaningful and transformative year of great beauty that brings you and those around you a freedom vaster than survival.

Beauty has claimed you

Caravan of dawn

There’s a caravan of dawn. Always on the curve.
  Always moving on…
Breaking up the darkness with an aviary song:

“Beauty has claimed you.
  Seasons are changing.
Love makes its debut.  Bowing your heart strings”

Side by side- wide as the horizon,
  
giddy as a bride; the universe inside them. 
Lighting up the streets.  Lighting up the fields.
Splash the sky in streaks of azure, lilac, gold and teal.

“Beauty has claimed you.
  Seasons are changing.
Love makes its debut.   Bowing your heart strings.
Splendor reveals you.
   Nothing conceals you.
Beauty has claimed you.”

Breaking up the darkness with an aviary song, singing:
River of broken hearts
“Gather up all of the broken hearts.
Pour them in a river of tiny parts.
Set them in motion, lighten their burden. 
Head for the ocean. Flow out and over, away from the falls. 
Rising  like mist ‘til  they can’t recall,
Not being  kissed  by sunbeams. 
 Separation is only a morphine dream.

Authentic joy and honesty cut a path right through to me.
Splendor reveals you.  Nothing conceals you.
Beauty has claimed you.”

I close my eyes and breathe you in as if I’ll never have to leave again.
– The Levins
hearts rising up
 

Dirje Childs: This is the seminary; this is the Zen monastery…The cello, my heart and me.

“The ultimate aesthetic value is closely connected with the notion of a higher experience to create beautiful things, but ultimately to reach this higher state of mind. The skills and techniques of the arts are…  nothing more than the means to reach this deeper aesthetic value… Religious enlightenment and aesthetic enlightenment are the same thing…”  Hideo Kishmoto, “Mahayana Buddhism and Japanese Thought,” Philosophy East and West, Vol. 4, no 3 (Oct. 1954), p. 221

“Nothing is more hallowing that the union of kindred spirits in art. At the moment of meeting, the art lover transcends himself.  At once he is and is not. He catches a glimpse of Infinity, but words cannot voice his delight, for the eye has no tongue. Freed from the fetters of matter, his spirit moves in the rhythm of things. It is thus that art becomes akin to religion and ennobles mankind. It is this which makes a masterpiece something sacred.”-     K. Okakura, The Book of Tea, Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1991 (!906), p. 10

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Dirje Childs

In honor of Women’s Equality Day, I would love to spotlight Dirje Childs.  (Dirje is pronounced Dear-G)

In our search for a cello player to record with, Julia and I asked our friend Mark Dann. He enthusiastically recommended Dirje.  He said she was right in line with what we were doing.

“Great,” we said, “where does she live?”

“Austin Texas.”

Well, that was that for a while.    

Then he suggested her again. We looked her up and found this video:

Dirje Childs-The Grateful Cellist:

https://youtu.be/TdHXzrBRo6U

Here is a portion of the transcript:

Dirje: “I finally said to the universe, alright do I need to be a nun, should I go to seminary? … I knew this is the voice I am meant to sing through. Right from the heart. This is the seminary; this is the Zen monastery. The cello, my heart and me.

Kate Potter: On retreat in the morning after meditation, we agreed that we would be silent until after breakfast.  Dirje played for us during that silent portion and everybody who was on retreat was suddenly alive in the silence, quite engaged in the silence.

Dirje: They get a space of time where they are totally held in a peaceful quiet place where they are allowed to wake up to their life.  It goes beyond regular meditation practices because the cello is there singing to those broken places.  A tonic that is practical as it is deeply nourishing to the spirt. Something different yet simple, accessible to everyone.  Breath, presence, rest, clarity. How many of us could use that oasis of rest in the breath and this present moment? …  Any human being, to have the gift of coming out of all the things, the busyness of our mind, even the pain of our body, to rest in the moment… When I am in the future, I am in anxiety. When I am in the past, I am in regret and depression. When I am in the present, I am in the gift. … to be present to each other is a gift.  One of my great heroes is Mother Teresa, binding up these people on the street. Well, you wouldn’t think that any of us are the wounded or the broken, but we are. And so this is that spirit of Mother Teresa offering to bind up and bring us all out of that craziness that we have in our heads; back to ourselves and our breath. Simply and to each other.  My dream is that not only do people feel access to some healing but that it begins to wake up in their hearts.  The call to be who they are in this earth.  That’s what my cello wants to whisper in the ears of every soul that listens, “wake up to the gift that you are on this earth.”

When you listen to the video, you can hear the tone of Dirje’s cello delivering what she is describing.

There are moments, when religious or meditative practices do not reach us.  Moments where we long to be immersed in the fullness of being.  At these times, we may be moved aesthetically. Dirje’s music provides that aesthetic.

I am grateful to say, that we reached out to Dirje and she will be on The Levins’ next recording.

May we come into a greater equality within, so that we can finally reach the summit of our humanity.

www.Dirje.com

www.Thegratefulcellist.com   

Power to heal from injurious interactions

Wounds that we retain can get projected into conversation.  What we hold onto stagnates. For this moment empty into what is.  Layers of resistance prevent us from experiencing the depth of what is offered continuously.  We do not have to absorb or retain what is happening.   Who is recognizing what is behind projected commentary?  Ego? Observer? Releasing becomes revealing.

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Dr. Joe Dispenza

On Mother’s Day, my friend Angie shared a story with me about a chiropractor, Dr. Joe Dispenza.  While running a triathlon, Dr. Joe was run over by a truck. He was told he needed an operation that would probably leave him paralyzed. Instead, for eleven weeks he lay on his back using his mind to visualize his back in healthy formation.  The result was that he was able to get up and go back to seeing his patients. He did this without surgery or needing a body brace.  Here is a link to his discussion of the event: http://drjoedispenza.com/index.php?page_id=Becoming-Divine

On Monday, Julia and I listened to David Miscavige’s father Ron talk about escaping from Scientology.  It took him six months to get away from a compound where they did not allow him contact with the outside world.  We thought of similar cases of people escaping from certain oppressive Hassidic, Mormon, Islamic, Christian and other extreme communities.  There are always splinter groups who try to imprison individuals into group scenarios that serve a few who are distorting, even liberating ideas into a form of human trafficking.

Last night, my mom and aunt were in town and we saw the Broadway play The Humans.  It showed how members of a single family could become like these splinter groups. By holding onto secrets and regrets, insults, our judgements and disappointments can get lobbed back and forth. This can keep everyone down. Instead of supporting one another, the family tie can also keep us tethered to the point where even love becomes stagnant.

The Humans

I am incredibly grateful to have such a loving and supportive family, which prompts me to be loving and supportive to those around me.  Still, I recognize that sometimes interactions with those close to us, either family or in our community can feel like getting run over by a truck.  Like Dr. Joe Dispenza, we can use the power of our visualization and intention to heal and become whole again.

As I finished writing this, Julia and I were talking and noticed that use of power is an additional theme. We remembered Ron Miscavige stating that his son assumed the power to take over the Scientology empire. Literally stating “power is not given, it is assumed”.

Dr. Joe utilized a similar principle, but for healing. Literally stating, “The power that made the body, heals the body.”

Thank you for your loving being.  May we survive being victims and use our power to become the healers of our concentric heart.

The Threshold Choir- Singing healing into dying.

A little natural healing

Behind our inability to see how valuable we are, is fearless healing.  Strike lightning at doubt.  Where would you be if you were free from all doubt in this moment?

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As the winter goes and things are vigorously stirred up, Julia and I are both sniffling.

I instinctively go for my mom’s remedy of Apple Cider vinegar and honey.  Julia has us gargle with warm salt water.  When I lived in El Cerrito, I lived near a Chinese mall and was turned onto Yin Chiao, an herbal supplement, which is great.

I have included three links to articles about natural healing that I found interesting.  Without going into them all, some highlights I found intriguing were Earthing, which encourages direct contact with the earth.  (The earth itself has healing properties? Get out!)  Both Judaism and Hinduism have an understanding of healing that calls for a natural alignment of our energy with nature itself. There is an example in the Torah of Moses being told to throw a small amount of a bitter branch into bitter water to clear it up so the people could drink it. Like curing like.  The idea of homeopathic remedies stem from this.  A small amount of the disease diluted and shaken in water until the essence (or the spirit, if you will) of the medicine is left to treat the illness without the side effects.

Love of course is the best healer, doing what you love, being with those you love and being loving to yourself with perhaps a nice bowl of soup, good book or a warm bath.  If none of these works, well then… go see the doc ; )

Julia has given me my fourth pint of water and chanted, “Drink! Drink!” while I chugged it. Next I’ll take out the compost, in my bare feet… Earthing baby!

May you be healthy, healthy, healthy!

The Four Energy Healing Secrets Your Doctor Hopes You’ll Never Learn

Human Healing – A Torah Model – Science

Ayurveda’s Healing Secret Revealed | Wise Earth School of Ayurveda

“One act of kindness can overcome fate.”

Love’s Labor is never Lost!

Happy Labor Day!  Here’s to taking time to recognize that this holiday, started in 1894,
marks the courageous efforts of labor unions and leaders to decrease the average work week from 7 days to 5 days, the average workday from 12 hours to 8 hours,  to improving conditions in the workplace, and liberating children from having to work in factories.
Being grateful for what we have, allows us to focus on the peace and productivity we wish for ourselves and those around us. Being thankful for the efforts others have made on our behalf increases our internal fortitude and allows for the perspective that increases true wealth all around.
We got to hang out with a friend this weekend who told us of a tragic event in her past in which she narrowly escaped death and was severely shaken to the core.  A therapist told her she could shift her perspective from being a victim to being a survivor.
She said that one word changed her life.  Instead of being powerless and continuing to suffer on many levels, she realized she was a warrior and that seemingly daunting tasks and scenarios now seemed like nothing in comparison with what she had already endured.  She recognized, that even in the moments of the event, that she had instinctually done what she needed to and had come out of it alive.
She is now a font of creative expression and has known great success. She continues to remain open to life and infuses a thoughtful aesthetic into everything she does.
Last night, we finished Marianne Williamsons’ book “The Law of Divine Compensation” and she stated that when we are grateful for what we have, clean out what needs to be cleaned out and allow ourselves to want what we want (which when we are in touch with our true being will not hurt anyone, including ourselves.) we become a magnet for our greatest good and abundance will flow to us.
She also used a great metaphor using Cinderella as our soul, the evil stepmother as our ego thoughts (keeping us in subjugation with menial tasks while projecting an inferior status onto us.) and our fairy godmother as our Source, that transforms base materials into what we can utilize to bring about our greatest good.
How does this all tie into Labor Day?  If we can take this day to realize what we have been though, and how our egos have kept us in check, afraid to allow us to identify with our true Source, we can realize we are capable of turning our lives around and being the grand refreshment to our concentric circles.
Here’s to prosperity on every level!

Robin WIlliams- Goodnight Sweet Prince

In the midst of our push forward, whether it is for a campaign or work, or just keeping on top of our reality, the news of Robin Williams is a tragic opportunity to pause and reflect where we are.
 
In the midst of our push forward, whether it is for a campaign or work, or just keeping on top of our reality, the news of Robin Williams is a tragic opportunity to pause and reflect where we are.
 
For me, Robin was a mentor, a hero, a victory of the absurd over the downcast dour face of normalcy. The pressure to conform to a media-projected image of ‘correct behavior’ is enough to crush the free will and spirit of humanity.  It is the bravado of the comedians, the poets as well as the calmness of the wise that allow any of us to be sane. 
 
Robin attacked not only his depression but the collective despair of humanity with a lightsaber of wit that few of us could keep up with or comprehend.  He fought against the windmills and won for a long time; longer, I imagine he thought he was capable of.  Public criticism and worse, indifference acted as the Knight of the Mirrors to his valor and need to be in the saddle.  It is our image of ourselves that can unhinge us from our true being.
 

This is perhaps the most insightful thing I have read by a friend of Robin’s, Peter Coyote:

Robin William’s Last Gift

“Robin and I were friends. Not intimate, because he was very shy when he was not performing. Still, I spent many birthdays and holidays at his home with Marsha and the children, and he showed up at my 70th birthday to say “Hello” and wound up mesmerizing my relatives with a fifteen minute set that pulverized the audience.

When I heard that he had died, I put my own sorrow aside for a later time. I’m a Zen Buddhist priest and my vows instruct me to try to help others. So this little letter is meant in that spirit.

Normally when you are gifted with a huge talent of some kind, it’s like having a magnificent bicep. People will say, “Wow, that’s fantastic” and they tell you, truthfully, that it can change your life, take you to unimaginable realms. It can and often does. The Zen perspective is a little different. We might say, “Well, that’s a great bicep, you don’t have to do anything to it. Let’s work at bringing the rest of your body up to that level.”

Robin’s gift could be likened to fastest thoroughbred race-horse on earth. It had unbeatable endurance, nimbleness, and a huge heart. However, it had never been fully trained. Sometimes Robin would ride it like a kayaker tearing down white-water, skimming on the edge of control. We would marvel at his courage, his daring, and his brilliance. But at other times, the horse went where he wanted, and Robin could only hang on for dear life.

In the final analysis, what failed Robin was his greatest gift—his imagination. Clutching the horse he could no longer think of a single thing to do to change his life or make himself feel better, and he stepped off the edge of the saddle. Had the horse been trained, it might have reminded him that there is always something we can do. We can take a walk until the feeling passes. We can find someone else suffering and help them, taking the attention off our own. Or, finally, we can learn to muster our courage and simply sit still with what we are thinking are insoluble problems, becoming as intimate with them as we can, facing them until we get over our fear. They may even be insoluble, but that does not mean that there is nothing we can do.

Our great-hearted friend will be back as the rain, as the cry of a Raven as the wind. He, you and I have never for one moment not been a part of all it. But we would be doing his life and memory a dis-service if we did not extract some wisdom from his choice, which, if we ponder deeply enough, will turn out to be his last gift. He would beg us to pay attention if he could.”

– Peter Coyote

Photo: Robin William’s Last Gift
Robin and I were friends. Not intimate, because he was very shy when he was not performing. Still, I spent many birthdays and holidays at his home with Marsha and the children, and he showed up at my 70th birthday to say “Hello” and wound up mesmerizing my relatives with a fifteen minute set that pulverized the audience.
     When I heard that he had died, I put my own sorrow aside for a later time. I’m a Zen Buddhist priest and my vows instruct me to try to help others. So this little letter is meant in that spirit.
     Normally when you are gifted with a huge talent of some kind, it’s like having a magnificent bicep. People will say, “Wow, that’s fantastic” and they tell you, truthfully, that it can change your life, take you to unimaginable realms. It can and often does. The Zen perspective is a little different. We might say, “Well, that’s a great bicep, you don’t have to do anything to it. Let’s work at bringing the rest of your body up to that level.”
    Robin’s gift could be likened to fastest thoroughbred race-horse on earth. It had unbeatable endurance, nimbleness, and a huge heart. However, it had never been fully trained. Sometimes Robin would ride it like a kayaker tearing down white-water, skimming on the edge of control. We would marvel at his courage, his daring, and his brilliance. But at other times, the horse went where he wanted, and Robin could only hang on for dear life.
     In the final analysis, what failed Robin was his greatest gift---his imagination.  Clutching the horse he could no longer think of a single thing to do to change his life or make himself feel better, and he stepped off the edge of the saddle. Had the horse been trained, it might have reminded him that there is always something we can do. We can take a walk until the feeling passes. We can find someone else suffering and help them, taking the attention off our own. Or, finally, we can learn to muster our courage and simply sit still with what we are thinking are insoluble problems, becoming as intimate with them as we can, facing them until we get over our fear. They may even be insoluble, but that does not mean that there is nothing we can do.
     Our great-hearted friend will be back as the rain, as the cry of a Raven as the wind. He, you and I have never for one moment not been a part of all it. But we would be doing his life and memory a dis-service if we did not extract some wisdom from his choice, which, if we ponder deeply enough, will turn out to be his last gift. He would beg us to pay attention if he could.

_________________

 
The beauty and strength of our vulnerability allows us to recognize where we overlap, blend, bleed into one another.  We are all in need and have a strength that can support those around us while appreciating what is being offered to us. I appreciate what Peter has offered to us here. We can appreciate what Robin offered. All those victories of his, on film, live on stage and in person. They are real and live on. So often we judge or just look at the end but it is the living that reflects what is beyond what we can understand.
 
Let Shakespeare through Horatio speak for me: “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
 
Love you, Ira

Stream of Light 8-13-14

 Smile.  In an instant we can shift out of so many thoughts that serve to damage our momentum, like pot holes in the road.  Sickness is something that results from being disconnected from our source on some level.  It may bring those around us closer or it may bring us a calmer or deeper perspective but it is not the intended state of being.  Being at peace with where we are sometimes means recognizing that we are not our sickness, it does not define us.Knowing that we are light years away from the image we hold of ourselves while we are sick is the same as the smallest particle of energy being animated as if by remote control.  We are here and we are also safe and whole within and without.  The seeming paradox is explained by knowing that all things are connected and that seperation is an illusion. Focus on your blood rushing through your veins and your cells dancing and your heart beating and fathom the intricate balence of everything that occurs within a single breath.  Be at peace and smile.  This is not a denial of what is but a means to return.

Stream of Light 6-18-14

Laugh at shortcomings, especially where they are predictable. None of us are so isolated as to suffer or celebrate alone. Possibilities remain myriad but this moment is expanding enough to allow a healing for all. Complete what we can, the stream goes on and on without ever finding full expression; for the potential of living is the promise of love’s consistent unfurling.