Happy Anniversary, I Love You, But Please Shut the F**k Up!

 

 

Dear Al,

Although I love you, there are days that you annoy the crap out of me.

There are those moments when I wish you would just shut the f**K up and stop talking. Although you are one of the smartest people I know and most of the time I really enjoy our conversations, I really don’t care about your irrational ideas of prepping for a zombie apocalypse, government conspiracy theories and random scientific facts that you believe I need to know or I couldn’t possibly be happy. If you want to talk science, let’s talk about where diamonds come from. Actually, that reminds me. You owe me a trip to the jewelers. Should I have our children remind you as to why, you big dumbass? 

Oh and I really don’t want a permit to carry that gun you bought me for a “present” (gee thanks). I’d rather carry a gorgeous Chanel bag. You, however, would call that sick and twisted in your limited understanding of accessories.

There are days when I actually dream of killing you and it makes me smile. Really big. Those are the only moments that I don’t mind you blaring the First 48 at a pitch that could break the sound barrier. I get lots of ideas from that show. (People reading this – it’s just a satire – so don’t call the police)

Sometimes I imagine that you have a hearing aid as big as a tuba and I see myself shouting into it when you’re sleeping. Maybe you’ll hear me then. You certainly don’t have a problem hearing that twig snap under a deer hoof 500 yards away.

They say in marriage you need to take the good with the bad. I would actually like to know who really said that but, whatever. The bottom line is that although some days it actually seems as though we are worlds apart this is actually a good thing. We each bring a unique perspective and vibration (vibrations are good) to our relationship. And, although I sometimes have the aforementioned feelings, I cherish your innate goodness, kindness, generosity and the love in your heart. Each time I daydream of seeing your mouth covered in duct tape, I look up to find you have done yet another something wonderful for me and I thank God that I haven’t given in to my baser instincts.

Even with all of your faults, (we already acknowledged that I don’t have any but I’m sure you won’t remember that discussion) I love you endlessly. Thank you for the gift of yourself that you give me each day. I love you more each time I see you (especially when you first get your hair cut because you look so hot – sorry kids) I digress……..

Happy 18th Anniversary. Screw the haters who said we couldn’t do it. We belong to each other for all eternity.

Dana 

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So I wrote the above letter to my husband three years ago, on our 18th anniversary, and posted it on Facebook  Today, we are celebrating 21 years of marriage. We’ve actually been together for 26 years but it took a little while to get “some shit straightened out” before we actually got married.  (Let your imagination run wild here people)

Last year, on our 20th anniversary, we renewed our wedding vows but I didn’t get the new anniversary band I wanted.  Al acted all hurt because he didn’t think I wanted my original band anymore.

So fine, play that game! Pretending to be all sentimental. You think I can’t see through that! You just wanted to spend the money on the stupid bunker.

Are you kidding me?  $20,000 for a building that goes in the ground and doesn’t even have running water or a toilet? No way.  So, I didn’t get the ring, (at least that’s what he thinks) but he didn’t get the bunker. He did get a hole in the ground though. We bought grave sites. He can use his any way he pleases.

So now we’re at 21 years.  Sigh. It seems like it was just yesterday that we exchanged our vows.  I remember that I was all bent and twisted over this corset thing I had to wear under my dress. I thought it made me look fat.  Now, I wish I was that fat.  I will never forget the ladies at the corset shop. The shop had been “on the avenue” for years and so had the ladies!  The corset shop was where all the nice Jewish girls in the neighborhood went to get fitted for bras when we began to blossom. (if you weren’t Jewish then you went to Woolworth’s for your bras but, whatever) 

44 GG Lady:     Fat? What fat? You’re gorgeous. Look at that figure! Look at those boobies!

Me:                 (in my head) OMG! – what a yenta!

52 FFF Lady:    Look how young and firm! (she pushes my boob up just a little, takes off her glasses and peers a little closer at my cleavage. Oh my,  bubbelah, sweetie, you have a love bite! She nudges 44 GG with her arm and gives her a wink.  My Moishe, may he rest in peace, always gave me love bites when he was fershnikit from the peppermint Schnapps. (Jewish moonshine)  Oy, such memories. The rest of the time his schmeckle – not so firm like a ripe cucumber – more like a shriveled sea urchin.  But, he was a good man. He was a kvetch but he was a good man.  Did you know that my Moishe………………

Me:             Um, excuse me. I don’t mean to be rude but are we finished here?

So, where was I?  Yes, 21 years. I love my husband more each day.  He’s great at mopping floors.  (Who’s the bitch now? Yeh, that’s right)  And so what if I shake him when he’s snoring and then pretend I’m sleeping.  It can’t be good to lay on your back and gasp for air like that.  I love him too much to watch his body go through that trauma. Hehe. 🙂

We’ve faced many challenges over the years.  Much has changed. We’ve given each other the space to be our own person. We’ve grown separately but we’ve grown together – we journey side by side yet, at the same time, we journey as one.

I’m Jewish, he’s Catholic. I was Catholic. He’s Catholic. I was Buddhist; he’s Catholic, I was Hindu; he’s Catholic, I was a pagan and a little white witchy; he’s Catholic.  Hmmm……..do you see a pattern here?  He’s who he is and he’s allowed me to be who I am. Because of that mindset, there is nothing we can’t talk about. We don’t have arguments. We have constructive disagreements which allows us the safe space to be who we are.

There are many things we don’t agree on but so much more that we do. (like intelligent life outside of Earth)  I have to wonder though, since God is God of the Universe, are there Catholics in outer space and is Passover celebrated on the dark side of the moon?

These are the type of things I often ponder.

Hey, pass that vetiver back here, will you? (It’s legal and it’s good shit)

 

Much love,

Dana

 

 

 

The Shadow Self: Loving Your Anger

“The shadow, said celebrated Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung,  is the unknown dark side of our personality. It is dark because it tends to predominantly consist of primitive or negative low based human emotions and impulses such as selfishness, greed, envy, anger or jealousy.” (sounds like a day at my office)

Due to the unenlightened nature of the shadow, these things are completely obscured from our consciousness.

Whatever we feel is evil, inferior or unacceptable and deny in ourselves, becomes part of the shadow; the counterpoint to what Jung called the persona or conscious ego personality.

The Freudian defense mechanism known as “projection” is how most people deny their shadow, unconsciously casting it onto others so as to avoid confronting it in oneself. Such projection of the shadow is engaged in not only by individuals but by groups, cults, religions, and other situations  in which the outsider, enemy or adversary is made a scapegoat, dehumanized, and demonized.  Sort of  what I like to call The Jewish Inquisition – the she-devil emerging from my grandmother when I would try to pass my Christian boyfriends off as nice Jewish boys. Oh how I loved to torment her.  My shadow and I were always well acquainted.

The shadow is most destructive, insidious and dangerous when habitually repressed and projected, manifesting in a myriad of psychological disturbances ranging from neurosis to psychosis, irrational interpersonal hostility, and even cataclysmic international clashes.

Wow, that sounds like Donald Trump, doesn’t it? No worries for Trump lovers though. I’m an equal opportunity hater. Trump may be psychotic but Hillary is insidious.  Hey, do you think she’s getting any? I doubt it. Maybe someone really needs to grab HER by the *****. You gotta know that Bill isn’t doing it. Crap, I promised my guides I wasn’t going to go there.   Sorry, my shadow made me do it!

(You know, originally writing this I actually used the word “pussy”. I realize it’s crude and all that but we’re all adults here.  I decided to use the ***** because I didn’t want people choking on their coffee. You’re welcome but it is what it is!)

The shadow or “shadow aspect” are those things about ourselves that we are not fully conscious of. Under this broad definition, such things may be positive or negative. However, generally the reason we are not conscious of such things is because they are the least desirable aspects of our personality.

So why open that can of worms?

To grow and learn more about ourselves.

If we don’t become intimate with our shadow it can control us and we can lose ourselves in its darkness.

From a spiritual perspective, to engage in shadow work is to encounter the shadow, confront it, understand how that bad boy operates, find its origins, accept it and assimilate into our conscious lives. This process helps to free us from destructive or self-sabotaging behaviors. It helps us come to terms with major life transitions, regain our confidence and grow.

The shadow is meant to be understood figuratively. It is not an evil inside of you or a split of your personality.  And I don’t care what my husband says – it’s not hormonal either.  There is nothing wrong with you. It is part of the human experience.

“Shadow work is a process of psychological integration by which we take greater responsibility for ourselves and our actions to achieve wholeness and balance.”

It allows us to embrace our weaknesses, find new strengths, be more compassionate and become more creative. It gives birth to an authentic spirituality.

Shadow work isn’t something you do once in a few hours or even a few days and then you’re done. It’s ongoing.  Ground yourself. Center yourself. Learn to be okay with not being finished. The nature of this work requires that it be put aside so you come back to it time and time again.

If you’ve never done this kind of work, start by asking yourself some key questions. You may not have clear answers for these questions and that’s okay. You might want to journal or meditate on them.

  • What don’t I want others to know about me? (I have vaginal dryness)
  • What do I tend to have a disproportionate reaction to? (Payless Shoes)
  • Which emotions am I uncomfortable expressing? (pretty much nothing is off limits)
  • What am I most scared to express in a relationship? (telling hubby how much my purse cost)
  • What traits in others really annoy you, wind you up or make you angry or frustrated? (people who leave the shopping cart in the parking lot at the grocery store)
  • What traits do you most admire in others? (men who put the toilet seat down)
  • Who do you look up to? Who are your idols? (not Michelle Obama)
  • What do you find yourself doing over and over “by accident”? (peeing my pants when I sneeze)
  • What is the worst insult someone can give you? (Hey look, Dana – you’re starting to get a turkey neck! – thanks mother)

All kidding aside, ask yourself these questions. Then ask yourself why. Ask yourself why a lot. Try to recall moments in your life when these feelings emerged and keep going back in time to try to find where it all began. I think you will find a lot of it is rooted in some childhood event.

When you have identified pieces of your shadow, you can do a meditation in which you meet it. Ask it its name. (Mine is banshee) Ask it questions. What is important to you? What do you want? What can I learn from you? How I can honor you? (buy me that pretty diamond necklace in the window)

Remember that this process is not about eliminating our shadow aspects. The purpose is to recognize it and accept it; establish a new awareness so it doesn’t control you any more.

Shadow work is a painful and lengthy process. There can also be a great sadness when we realize that what we thought was true about ourselves was just a defense against things we were afraid of. This will pass. When you emerge from the work, it will be as if a great burden has been lifted. You will find the rainbow and you will find yourself.

In my opinion, one of the mistakes that spiritual people make, is denial of the shadow self. Spiritual people are supposed to be all fluffy and zen like, breathing like we’re in labor and chanting “om” all day. Some people are of the opinion that “spiritual people” should be above reproach.  I call BULLSHIT! Don’t doubt my sincerity when I can’t live up to that expectation. Give me a break, I’m human and trying out this life the same way you are.

The shadow is the part of ourselves that we repress or deny, the part(s) which have gotten us into trouble or even embarrassed us in front of others. Anger is one of the most potent parts of the shadow.  We’ve learned over time to bury those facets of ourselves down deep so they never see the light again. We are taught to deny them, and we learn to be ashamed of them.

But those feelings don’t go anywhere and they are not dormant either. They stir and bubble under the surface, later showing up in the body as discomfort or pain; even disease. They fester within us energetically, and then they begin to manifest physically.  They ache to be released. But what does that mean?

Some part of you is angry and rages. That is your fire. That is the seat of your power and, that is the place where the transformation will take place. That is your alchemy, your invitation for change and renewal. Anger and rage can be tools for spiritual growth. Allow yourself to experience them in a safe way and most importantly, integrate them into something more productive in your life. If you’re angry and you know it, change your life!  Channel that fire into something productive and move on!

One of the very personal lessons that I am currently learning in life is that people who cross your path, even those closest to you, have anger and rage issues that manifests in different ways.  Try to understand that most rage really isn’t about you –  try not to take it personally. (Easier said than done, I know, believe me, I know)

Most of the displays of rage you will see from others in your life are projections onto you because you are mirroring something to them that they struggle to process. (Did you get that? 🙂 – If not, read it again because it’s important. As my grandfather would say, “let it penetrate.” 🙂 ) Love you, Poppy. Thank you for watching over me.

I think the greatest gift we can give ourselves in this life is complete and total loving acceptance of who we are. We are the good, the bad; the ugly. We are the happy and the sad, we are the kind and the unkind, the forgiving, unforgiving and the unforgiven. We are the lost and the found. We are the dark and light, both of which we cannot live without.

I urge you to take those skeletons out of the dark recesses of your mind and no longer allow them to jump out and scare you. Ask yourself, what part of myself is most unknown to me? Look at those things. Examine them. Talk to them. Dissect them and soothe them.  Work to express these things. Create. Journal. Meditate. Once you do this, they will lose the power to sneak up and surprise you. It is better to meet them on your terms.

May your rage and anger become your gift of enlightenment.

And so it is.

Love,

Dana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Path of Least Resistance – I’m Back!

Resistance. It’s a certainty that what you resist, persists. This is one of the reasons  I’m back.  I’m taking the path of least resistance. Writing is a part of my soul and it seems as though I am not complete unless I am doing it.

It’s awesome to feel the keys tap-tapping under my fingers.  Hearing them is even musical. I mostly listen to 70’s rock or some cool meditation stuff when I’m at work.  (Check out Abraham-Hicks).

I would do just about anything to drown out the sound of my co-worker’s incessant Barry Manilow music.  I’ve heard Barry hit the high note about 17 times today with the same song. My goodness, his balls must be killing him by now.  (not nearly as much as my ears are killing me, I’m sure)

When know-it-all, busy-body, church lady (co-worker) starts singing, humming, whistling and stomping her feet to Barry’s songs, I become instantly clairvoyant. I begin having visions of grabbing my stapler and glue and permanently shutting her up. The visions are so real and they fill me with such joy!  Oh, please!  I can meditate and burn incense and still be a bitch. I’m just exploring the “shadow side” of myself.  We will definitely get into that in a future post.

So, where have I been, right?  It’s been a long time.  I know some of you might be a little pissed with me. I understand and I’m really sorry.  Others have warmed my heart with personal pleas to start writing my blog again. To this I respond with heartfelt gratitude for your love for me. You all know who you are. Love from many sources has been one of the things that has sustained me in these last many months.

I’ve been going through a very difficult time, personally. No, Al didn’t leave me. I wish the haters (another story) would just understand that he’s not going anywhere – that ball and chain is rusted to his skinny ass.  And, thank God, no one is sick or died.  I did, however, feel sick in my heart for the longest time. In many ways l am mourning a loss.  I don’t know that I’ll ever recover from it.  I’m not able to discuss the details but suffice it to say that I felt like I died.

With raw honesty, I am going to tell you that there was a point where I’m not sure that I didn’t maybe toy with the idea of death. Just a little. What a scary place that was!  Thank God for those organic kettle chips and mocha chip frozen yogurt bars that I had been using for pain relief.   I couldn’t stop eating them.   They saved my life although I did gain 8 lbs.  Poor Al, every time I would start to cry he would run to the grocery store for more chips and yogurt bars. He didn’t know what else to do for me.  I was quite the hot mess.

This past June, I went on an amazing spiritual journey to immerse in the vortex energies of Sedona, Arizona.  My sister accompanied me along with some friends who I had only chatted with on the internet but never met in person. Some day I will write about that magical journey but now I just want to say that the time I spent in Sedona was beyond amazing. It was also the beginning of my path to healing.

Day by day I’ve gotten a little better, a little stronger. I’ve come to terms with very dark and painful things. I didn’t even realize that for years, I had been avoiding these things.  One day, they got out of control and there was no choice but to finally turn and face them.  You see, what you resist, persists.

The human spirit is amazing. Once the will to survive takes over, the healing begins to take place.  Once the decision is made to move forward no matter the circumstance, the dynamics change. When you finally understand that there are just some things you can’t change no matter how badly you want it, your perspective shifts. You are left with no choice but to move forward.

So there I was standing on this cliff. I looked back at everything in my life that I thought was real but now understand that my reality had been very distorted.  I took the path of least resistance and I jumped off of that cliff.

I grew new wings in mid-flight and I was lifted to a higher place.  I could see the light once more. It was different but it was light nonetheless. I can’t yet explain that difference. I’m still trying to get used to these new wings and this new light but I know that I will.  I guess you could say that my path took a new path.  At first, this wasn’t my choice but it then BECAME my choice. These feelings are very difficult to articulate so I hope I’m making sense to you.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and all that crap from high school wasn’t really crap at all.  Thank you, Robert Frost. Perhaps you were teaching the past of least resistance.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both  (well not exactly but I’ll go with it)
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,  (not really fair or fair but not much choice)
And having perhaps the better claim, (no)
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; (no)
Though as for that the passing there (sad I’m not the only person on this road)
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! (wishing will never take me back)
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. (this is why dreams were made)
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 I realize I’m probably the only one sitting here crying. I’m sure you’re just trying to figure out what the hell I just said, right? That’s okay. If  this lesson is for you then you will understand it.
So, did you learn anything today besides my life sucked for awhile and I had to put on my big girl pants?
And guess what? Sometimes I just pretend I’m sad so Al will go out and buy me kettle chips and yogurt bars.  Hehe! 🙂

Until soon and with lots of love,

Dana

P.S.

I forgot to mention that every time Al went to the store to buy my yogurt bars, he  bought himself “a little” ice cream too.   He also had to have the bananas, chocolate chips, hot fudge and whip cream to go with it.  Oh and let’s not forget the chocolate cake he layered on the bottom of this sugar mountain.

I may have gained 8lbs. but he now has man boobs. I’m guessing they are around an A cup.  I know this is way more information than you needed to know but in the spirit of the path of least resistance, telling you this is making me laugh.  So glad Al doesn’t read this blog. 🙂

 

 

 

Thanksgiving or Thanksgetting ?

pumpkinSo it’s that time of year again. Poor, innocent turkey who never hurt anyone, lying in the pan. Dead. Roasting in the oven. Stuffed with bread products that are full of GMO’s.  Screaming kids on sugar highs running through the house, grinding the cranberry sauce that severely myopic yet lovable Uncle Harry dropped all over the carpet. Dirty looks and frowns directed at your mother-in-law (hmmm have you noticed a common theme in my posts?) that screw up your freshly injected Botox, as she begins her subtle but, at the same time, larger than life assault on your freshly baked pies. Yep, it’s Thanksgiving! Yaay!

This year, as I consume my simple feast of a protein shake, a side of organic green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, sans the brown sugar and marshmallows (whaaatttt? – some would say that’s crazy talk), I will truly be reflecting on all of the things I am grateful for and, as well, I will reflect on something new.  (Don’t click off the screen yet)

This holiday will be a small group of eight (8). Four (4), two-legged humans and four(4), four-legged, very furry humans that roll in mud and drink from toilets. It will be a simple gathering as most of my beloved family and friends are far away. We are separated by physical as well as by emotional distances this year – sometimes life is just that way.  And though it would be very easy for me to just stay in bed, pull the covers over my sorry self and snuggle with my fur babies, I don’t intend to lie there and do the whole “poor me” thing. (Plus if I didn’t bake pumpkin pie, Al would probably file for divorce and that can’t happen until he pays off my credit cards).

Neither am I writing this to procure your pity. That’s not what this is about. Rather, quite the contrary. In the words of a very wise friend:

“Never feel sorry for me.
I have stories that would make people wonder how I’m still here but let me tell you something.
I can point out more positive outcomes that are a direct result of the negatives to outweigh the problem.
Every. Single. Time. There is a seed of potential growth from every misfortune. It all depends on where you look…”

Those annoying coffee or food television commercials this time of year that portray family and friends gathered around a festive table really piss me off. What’s the point? If you are fortunate enough to have your family around you wreaking havoc on your home during the holidays, you certainly don’t need a commercial to remind you that other people have beautiful teeth, silky hair; fine china and you don’t. If you do happen to have the perfect home and kids, lucky you; (heartfelt smiles) – you probably don’t even fit the demographics for those commercials in the first place so again, what’s the point?

For people who don’t have their family and friends with them during the holidays, those cheesy commercials can bring on feelings of sadness, depression and even suicide. Then, there are those who aren’t even fortunate enough to have a television – electricity can’t be conducted into the cardboard boxes in which they sleep.  And, there are those who are afflicted with horrible pain from illness.  They are too sick to get out of bed, let alone watch television. Truly the only thing they have to be grateful for is the hope that their next drop of morphine is fatal.

Yes, that statement was certainly meant to make you cringe and, hopefully, make you think. Maybe even make you cry a little. As far as I’m concerned, we should all cry a little. Thanksgiving was aptly named by the people who were thankful and grateful for bounty they received. Where once there was lack, there became plenty. Their acknowledgement of those feelings of lack produced feelings that we call gratitude. They reflected on those feelings and celebrated their gratitude each year in remembrance. Sometime in the last century, the celebrations slowly changed from feelings of gratitude for what we do have, into feelings of ingratitude. We’ve become a nation of greed; impatient for the things that we don’t have.

Thanksgiving has become more like “Thanksgetting.” (I came up with that word all by myself but put quotes around it in the event that someone thought of it too:-)) It seems as though Thanksgiving is merely the day we gorge on food and watch football. It’s the day before we all go shopping in pursuit of the material things we think we want or need. We seemed to have turned away from that reflective tradition that our forefathers began for us.  Our wise ancestors knew that we needed to spend this time in reflection and remembrance. It was necessary for spiritual growth and nourishment. It was to be our strength in those moments of feeling lack and our understanding that lack is most often, merely a perception of reality.

Let’s hurry up and eat so we can take a nap before we wake up at midnight to hit the sales.  Goodbye, Uncle  Harry. It was nice seeing you for five minutes.

I won’t be doing that this year.

This year, I’m going to appreciate the things that I didn’t appreciate in the past. I’m going to revel in the knowing that all things I have are wonderful and special even if they aren’t what I really think I want right now in this exact moment because what I think I want right now, will surely be different after I get it. Did you get that?  (grins) There will always be something else you want; something else you must have – always going after the idea of “obtaining” and “attaining” instead of just living in the moment with a heart full of gratitude for what is here and now.

I’m grateful for my husband and the beautiful home that he built for me with his bare hands. I’m grateful for my good health and the health of my family. I’m grateful for my family although they are often a HUGE pain in the ass. I’m grateful for my fur babies who love me unconditionally and don’t make fun of me for the way I look when I wake up in the morning. The list goes on but, this year, I’m adding something else. Recently, a subtle but very powerful shift took place in my thinking.

This year, I’m grateful for the things that I don’t have.

I’m grateful for the people who are not at my table or in close proximity in heart, mind and spirit.  I’m grateful for the things that I “lack” in my life right now.  Those things serve as a reminder that when I do get them, I will love and appreciate them more had I not had this time to reflect on what it is like to be “without”.  In appreciating what I don’t have, I’m filled with gratitude for the things that I do have.

(I’m either one really messed up chick or you totally get this, which I hope you do!)

I will continue to endure all the love and lessons this life has to offer. I will be grateful for every moment. even if it kills me. (Hey Al, if you’re reading this, don’t get excited over the life insurance policy. Life hasn’t done away with me yet.

In the memory of a very good friend who transitioned to spirit this week,

I say………

GOD BLESS!

Love,

Dana

If you are missing a loved one who has transitioned to spirit, please seek the counsel of a friend of mine who is an amazing spiritual medium. She has helped me to personally connect with my father. This connection brought a great deal of healing to me. You can check out her website at:

http://www.healingbychristina.com/

 

 

Marriage and Mother-in-Law Problems

Last month, I celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary to my devoted husband, Al. He puts up with all my crazy shit and, he does laundry too!  It doesn’t get much better. Plus, I can happily say that I never had mother-in-law problems in this relationship. Al’s mom was a wonderfully kind and gentle woman who only wanted her kids to be happy.  The best part was that she wasn’t Jewish which meant NO GUILT TRIPS!

When Al was a kid and he misbehaved, his mom would hit him in the head with one of her flip-flops.  The cool thing is, now, she smacks him from the spirit world.  All I have to say is, “hey mom, Al’s being a dick again” Next thing you know he’s walking into a wall or something falls on his head.  It totally freaks him out.

My first marriage was another story.  Mother-in-law problems were rampant in my household. The woman would get drunk and actually send me hate mail.

IMG_0879

On my first wedding day in 1985, I remember walking through the hotel lobby on the way to the altar, when suddenly, I had an epiphany. I didn’t want to get married. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be with this man until my dying day. I refused to walk through the chapel door but my ever helpful mother pushed me in. She thought I was just having nervous jitters. (That wasn’t the bride tripping in the wedding video, that was her mother shoving her in the door. God forbid we should keep the rabbi waiting.  What would the guests think if the bride didn’t walk in?  Oy, I’d be mortified at the Mahjong group next Thursday)  Everything was a whirl after that. I felt like someone who was stuck in a dream. Before I knew it, I was married.

My mother-in-law had obviously been “in the booze” before the ceremony –  she stumbled down the aisle. She wore an absolutely lovely lavender gown (her daughter picked it out) but refused to purchase matching shoes.  Who does that? No one could convince her that she looked ridiculous with the black open toe suede shoes peeking out from under her gorgeous silky dress.  Wearing suede in May in 1985 just wasn’t done – let alone black suede with lavender silk? If the fashion police were at the wedding they would have booked her.

Walking down the aisle in a drunken stupor, she tripped and fell on her ass,  flask flying from under the folds of her dress.  I could see my grandmother having conniptions and jabbing my grandfather in his side.  The smirk on her face when she looked at me said “I told you that you should have married a nice Jewish boy”. It didn’t matter that I was getting married under a Chuppah by a rabbi.  As far as Grand-mom was concerned a reform rabbi wasn’t really a rabbi – he didn’t wear a yarmulke. Oy, Dana, dear. You couldn’t even give me nachas on your wedding day? Such a disappointment you are. A goy with a schickered mother? Thank God your aunt Esther is dead. This would break her heart.

Years later, I remember telling my grandmother that I was going to  marry Al. We were sitting at her kitchen table where she was trying to shove a bowl of borscht in my face.  Her kitchen smelled like a combination of  cooked beets and melted tea kettle. Yes, that’s what I said. Grand-mom would put the kettle on and then forget about it. Hours later the metal would literally be melted from the heat. How they never had a fire, I’ll never know but, Macy’s sure did sell my grandparents a lot of tea kettles.

Me:  Grand-mom, you know I hate borscht.

Grand-mom: Nu? Eat it anyway.

Me:  I came over to tell you that I’m getting married.

Grand-mom:  Is he Jewish?

Me:  No

Grand-mom: Another goy? You didn’t learn your lesson the first time?  You have a lokh in kopp?  (hole in the head) Here, just take this knife and cut my heart out.  You want some chicken soup instead of the borscht?

Me: His name is Al and he is wonderful to me.

Grand-mom: Is he a doctor?

Me:  No.

Grand-mom:  Is he a lawyer?

Me: No.

Grand-mom: What does he do?

Me:  He’s self-employed

Grand-mom: How much money does he make?

Me: Really, Grand-mom? That doesn’t matter. I love him.

Grand-mom: When money flies out the door, love flies out the window. You want your tuches to be cold? Here, have some strudel. I just got it from that Bar-Mitzvah I went to last week.  They’re delicious.  That affair must have cost a fortune but I wouldn’t know -after all,  it’s not my business.

Me: Anyway, Al’s in the glass business. He does well.

Grand-mom:  Oh? Glass business? Can he put new windows in for me?

Me:  I can ask him.

Grand-mom:  If he’s a good businessman he probably has some Jewish blood in him.

Me: (time for this conversation to be over and seeing a way out) You know, you’re right Grand-mom. His mother’s great-aunt was Jewish. (Liar! Liar!)

Grand-mom: Are you sure it was the mother’s side?

Me: Positively.

Grand-mom: Okay, tell him to come over and bring his wrench. I need my sink fixed.

There are so  many outside influences that can put strain on a marriage; mother-n-laws, grandmothers, Nordstrom cards, children (yes, these precious bundles of joy sometimes turn out to be over-opinionated adults with superior attitudes who try to tell you what’s wrong in your relationship). Marriage between two people is sometimes difficult enough without adding these and other influencing factors.

Romance can fail. Money can fail. What we need in our marriages is something deeper; something that can’t fail. We need our relationships to have a spiritual meaning.  What we need is a belief that our relationships are special but more importantly, a belief that they are sacred. Marriage should be a place of healing, growth, mutual respect and acceptance. No matter what is going on around you, you should always keep in mind the love that brought you together.

When you feel angry or disenchanted in your otherwise healthy relationship, don’t keep score. It will only lead to more anger and resentment. Relationships are always equitable; never equal. The balance constantly shifts and changes over the weeks, months and years. Dis-contentment can sometimes remind us that we need to go back to basics and cultivate the love that brought us together.  Make your marriage impenetrable to outside influences. Whatever struggle you have, share it together.  The problems you are encountering are an opportunity for your relationship to grow.

Forgiveness is key in any relationship, especially in marriage.  But, what meaning does forgiveness have if it’s only given when the anger is no longer there? Giving forgiveness is not a sign of weakness. It’s also not an excuse to ignore the problems in our marriages. Forgiveness is the gift we give our relationship so that we can move forward. We must refuse to let difficult issues fester and tear down everything that was built from a place of love.  Yes, it may feel “better” to stay angry and sulk.  This attitude kind of makes you feel superior – you have totally convinced yourself that you are right.  Your partner deserves your scorn and withholding of affection. We’ve all been there. But, what’s the point? Why cultivate anger and resentment when it can feel so much better to forgive and move forward? Think of all the time that’s wasted on anger; hours, days, weeks or even months that you just can’t get back.

Honor your relationship with spirituality. What if we brought God into our marriage each and every day, not as a weapon (you’re going to hell if you divorce me) but as an example? God loves us unconditionally.  Can you bring that unconditional love to your marriage?

I couldn’t bring it to my first marriage.  Sometimes it’s just not possible. The relationship lacked the basic tenets of  mutual love and respect. I can’t stress enough how crucial I believe these things are to have in order for a marriage to flourish and endure. I didn’t love my ex enough and I certainly didn’t respect him enough for that marriage to last. Unfortunately I ignored the warning signs until I stood at the chapel door.  I don’t consider the marriage a failure though – it was a life lesson. I do believe I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that time. The lessons I learned helped me to love and appreciate the marriage that I have now.  And, without the first marriage, I wouldn’t have my beloved daughter and grandchildren.

Marriage is a work in progress. In order for the “for better or worse” clause to work, there has to be a joining of the hearts and souls.  This doesn’t always happen when people say “I do.”  But, that’s okay too. Not all relationships are meant to last “forever”.  Try to remember that right now, in this exact moment, you are exactly where you are supposed to be and someday you will understand exactly why.  Then slowly, put the frying pan down and back away. This too, shall pass.

Oh and completely forget this happy crap I’m spouting off if your partner cheats on you – all bets are off. With all of my talk, I would be at the head of the parade leading Al to a pool of testicle eating piranhas surrounded by a mob of bloodthirsty wives whose husbands were cheaters. Or, just get a good Jewish lawyer. Same thing.

Love,

Dana

P.S.

It didn’t take long for Grand-mom to realize that Al didn’t have an ounce of Jewish blood flowing through his veins.  When he asked for his lox with Ritz crackers and not a bagel, it was game over!

And now, Al is forever known as the “goy with the wrench.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meshugganah in the Bible Belt

phontoWhen I moved from the city to the country, I had no idea that my spiritual journey was going to evolve the way it did. It wasn’t my idea to move to rural Pennsylvania (and I do mean rural) – it was my husband’s idea. Of course it was his idea. There’s lots of stuff for HIM to do like hunt and fish – both of which Jews don’t normally do. Especially the hunting. Jews go to the deli and hunt for the perfect sour pickle and a deal on a pound of lean corned beef (after all, why should you pay for the fat?) Then, you go to the bakery to squeeze the rye bread to find the freshest one. Now that’s how you hunted for food where I grew up.

You’ve heard of the”Borscht Belt”? Well I was now a Meshugganah in the “Bible Belt” of Pennsylvania.

Being a city girl, I knew this move was going to bring great challenges and changes for me.  For the most part, I was open to them. I wanted my daughter to be able to grow up away from the negative influences of the city. This was going to be a great adventure for me and my family. I was leaving row house living and moving to a beautiful single home on 14 acres on the top of a mountain! (later dubbed “the frozen tundra”) IMG_0059

I always thought my home would be a split level in suburbia. God really does have a sense of humor. We were leaving everything behind and starting over; new house, new friends, new business venture. I quit my well-paying job. My husband sold his business. I wasn’t afraid. I was excited. The truth is, I had no idea what I was getting into.

Living in the country was complete culture shock. First, no Bloomingdale’s. In fact the closest mall was 1 1/2 hours away from my home. I had never heard of a “Bon Ton” but I quickly learned that they don’t sell Michael Kors. Not that I would need designer clothes where I was now living. Welcome to the land of  Carhartt, flannel and muck boots.

Me:    What is that awful smell everywhere?

Al:     Oh, the farmers just flopped the fields.

Me:   Huh?

In other words – fertilizer. Eau de Cow Poop or Eau de Horse Poop. Whatever it was it stunk, but it was all the rage. All the farmers used it. It was their signature cologne. It was just freaking lovely sitting behind them in church.

Second, much to my dismay, I found that PENNDOT does not come by at 6:00 A.M to clear the snow from the dirt road where I lived. I sat at the window on the morning of our first snow (um like 2 feet, I think) with my coffee, waiting for the snow to be plowed. I grew increasingly annoyed with every passing minute that the road crew didn’t show. I began to pace furiously.  My husband asked what my problem was.  And that’s when I found out that PENNDOT doesn’t plow my road.

Who the hell plows the roads then?

The local township plows the roads and they “get here when they get here”

WTF?  How am I supposed to get to work and get my daughter to the bus?

Duh. That’s why I bought you 4 wheel drive honey.

Oh Shit

I guess I should have paid better attention when Al was teaching me how to use the 4 wheel drive correctly. Yep, that was the day I put my pick up truck in the ditch. I was screwed. There was no one around to help me. I started walking (it was going to take a while) when I saw a truck coming along. I actually put my thumb out. I had never, ever done that in my life. My mother would have killed me. Jews don’t get tattoos and they definitely DO NOT hitch hike. But hell, I wasn’t in Philly anymore.

I got a ride to the one pump gas station “country store” which was four freaking miles down the road. On my way inside to use the phone (no cell service) I walked past three township trucks with shiny snow plows all parked out in front of the store. When I went in, the township guys all looked nice and toasty drinking their coffee with their white powdered sugar-coated lips.  After a lively exchange, (actually it was only me doing the talking (yelling)) I made some new “friends” that day.  The coffee drinking, donut eating township guys were kind enough to get my truck out of the ditch.  When I got home that night my whole road was nicely plowed along with my entire front lawn! Satisfaction and mirth emanated from my soul. I was joyful! The next morning I baked cookies and took them to the “men at work” (haha) at the store  (oh, did I tell you I got fat living in the country?) and I was in! I was almost “one of them” Yaay! No more issues! The guys were even waving to me as I drove by now. Progress.

A few years later I found out the incident that day was the topic of many jokes for a very long time. Some of the locals would gather at the firehouse and they would literally “take bets” on how long it would take my family to move down off of that mountain.  I understood that the townspeople gave us a lot of respect for living up on Mt. Everest. 🙂  I joke but all in all the people were good even if some of the local volunteer ambulance crew was known not to show up for a call if they didn’t like you. (No joke) Thank God I was a good baker.

I learned lots of new words living in the country. For example,  the word, Grange. Grange is a community organization with its roots in agriculture. I think our local “Grange” was more like something out of the Thomas Tryon novel, Harvest Home. I wasn’t really sure what they did in that building even though it was said to be where quilters gathered on Tuesday nights. Yeh right.

I also learned that water (pronounced “wooder” in Philadelphia) was actually pronounced”watter” in these here parts.  I still can’t bring myself to say “watter” although my husband and my daughter both crossed over to the dark side of country twang.  A roof was a “ruff”, a root was a “rut” and the only directions given were “upta or downta” as in upta the fire hall or downta the township building.  e.g. The Halloween party is upta the fire hall tonight. I’m still not sure if  door to door trick or treating wasn’t allowed because we lived in such a rural area or, because of the Grange. I’m telling you something was going on in that building and people knew they shouldn’t be “in town” after dark!

I knew I was different from the locals immediately. The fact that they referred to my family and I as “flatlanders” was a clear giveaway that it was going to take some time to win them over. How would we start a new business with attitudes like that? I will never forget our curiosity seeking first customer. He came into our business and drawled,   “It’s nice to have you here.  I sure hope you don’t have to go on welfare until your business makes it because it could take a few years for people to start to like you, you know.”  Wow! Thanks! Please stop in again. By the way, he didn’t buy anything.  The second customer who came in just wanted to use our fax machine and gossip about the neighbors. I was in hell.

Was there any place to get a manicure around here?

IMGP1715anewMajestic mountains, pristine countryside still untouched, fresh air and golden silence (you hear that? nope. that’s right) except for the time my neighbors cow herd ran away and decided to camp in my back yard at 3:00 A.M. The farmer was pissed when we woke him up and asked him to come get his cows.  What, not your cows? Oooops, sorry. How can you tell anyway? They all look alike to me. And, with all the beauty of the countryside and the “farmy” stuff going on, here I am, this citified Jewish girl, (with all of my teeth) riding through town in a shiny new red pick up truck blaring Bruce Springsteen and Hava Nagila on the stereo.  Between annoying the wrong cow owner and the townspeople talking about me playing *(see note below) “that music those people who have horns listen to,” I’m pretty sure my name was in the paper that week. I was quite possibly headline news.

Ah yes. The local “paper.” It was excellent reading for the toilet. (excuse the visual) It was the town gossip rag. It contained everything such as the price of apples at the local grocery store, hospital admissions and releases, church news, and a very interesting lost and found section. Lost: 600 lb. bull. What? How can you lose a 600 lb. bull? Drink too much corn liquor, did ya?  

Just about everyone went to church and the churches were all very cliquey. I was shocked (not really) to find that there wasn’t one synagogue around for hundreds of miles. People asked you what church you belonged to as if that defined you as a person. I quickly found that Catholics were a minority and there were “no damn Lutherans around here”. Okay then.

We began going to the Catholic church. Our first two friends in the area were the priest and the local undertaker. We were covered in the event of sudden death. I went to the Catholic church because I didn’t really have another religious preference at that time and also because my husband is a (mostly) practicing Catholic. The one thing I wanted more than anything from the church experience was family unity. Sunday was family day and everything that we did on Sunday, we did together. It was a wonderful time in our lives. So if going to church every Sunday was part of me living a wonderful life, I was okay with that.  If my grandmother saw me kneeling in church……….Oy, I can’t even finish that sentence. Never mind.

We got along great with the priest! He was awesome until you didn’t agree with him. He  would often come to dinner at our home. We got fat on homemade pie together (yeh baking pies was my newest hobby yee haw) and played lots of games of Pictionary. (what a sore loser he was). He stayed late into the night and always went home with a full belly and an argument from me. But he still kept coming back. (sort of like a Jehovah’s witness but not exactly) I’ll never forget the night he told me that dogs can’t go to heaven because they don’t have a soul. When I was finished arguing with him, he didn’t speak to me for weeks.  LOL! I loved how “human” Father Joe was even though he really tried his best to be “holy.”  It was great.

We lived in the country for 8 years. Those years were rich in unique learning experiences and filled with many, many moments of joy.  Something was always missing, however. Spiritually speaking I think one of the biggest things I learned when I lived in “Green Acres” is what I DIDN’T want to do with the rest of my life.  I didn’t want to stay in a place where my spiritual growth was stunted. I longed to be with people who had open minds and hearts. There weren’t too many options for social media interaction back then. Wow, that sounded prehistoric!

My daughter went to college. She was hours away and I missed her. Without the whirlwind of her activities and friends, I turned inward. There was definitely a lot of empty nest syndrome going on.  I sat at the computer for hours like a pathetic puppy just waiting for her to get on AOL. I spent a lot of time alone and did a lot of reflecting. I wanted to be closer to my daughter and I knew she would never come back to the country. Her career path was city track all the way. I also wanted to be somewhere where I could make a difference in people’s lives. I had so much inside of me that I wanted to give. The wonderful but very closed-minded community in which I lived wasn’t going to allow for that. It was time to say goodbye.

I cried the day I left my beautiful home in the mountains. I still cry when I think about it because of the wonderful life we had there. We were so blessed in so many ways. I’ve been in my new home for almost nine years now.  My daughter never did come home. She graduated college, went to grad school, got married, had children and has a very successful career. I’m grateful to live only two hours away from her.

I always maintained that if my daughter was able to become a college graduate and never have to worry about anyone taking care of her, I would die happy.  Thank God, Kine-hora, pu pu pu this happened for her. I’m thrilled for her happiness but I don’t want to die…….not yet.  I’m not ready. I need something for me now. I spent 21 years micromanaging her. (her words) –  kill me. how does a daughter say such things to a mother? I’m ferklempt from this kid.

It was now time to do something that would make my soul sing.

Look out. Here I am and I have a hell of a lot more to say! Come back next week and visit me again!

Love,

Dana

*Note – my grandmother always told me that the only reason the world thinks that Jews have horns is because there was a statue of Moses at 52nd & Parkside in Philadelphia, where he was depicted with “high hair.”  I cannot corroborate that such a statue ever existed, nor can I say that said statue started the rumor that “Jews have horns.”

Glossary:

Borscht Belt:         a resort area in the Catskills, frequented mainly by Jews

Meshugganah:     Crazy

Kine-hora:             An expression used to ward off the evil eye

Pu, Pu, Pu:             Jewish equivalent of “spitting” to ward off the evil eye

Ferklempt:            When you well up and are on the verge of tears

A Heathen with a Christ Consciousness

IMGP6605s(1)
I AM THAT I AM

Hello. My name is Dana and I’m a heathen. (well that’s what my husband calls me anyway).  Although I do have a “Christ Consciousness,” I haven’t practiced main stream religion for many years.  I don’t plan on changing this anytime soon.

The above statements are how I plan to introduce myself to Father Dan, the priest my husband invited to our home for a “house blessing” and some coffee talk. (Cawfee tawk) – thank you Linda Richman and Mike Myers -coffee talk is not just for Jews by the way).

More later on how the house blessing went.

I told Al that I would be happy to meet Father Dan but I didn’t feel it was necessary for him to bless the house when I could do it myself.

Me:  You do know I regularly bless and cleanse the house with sage, right honey? (I don’t know how he wouldn’t realize this – the odor can be overpowering –  but I thought I’d mention it anyway)

Al:   It’s not the same.

Me:    Why

Al:     Because it’s not (hesitates and clears throat) ……….. “legal”

Me:   Legal? Legal, how?

Al:    It just isn’t. That’s all.

Me:  I see. (no I don’t – rolling my eyes and singsonging in my head)

Al:  A priest or a  minister or some kind of clergy who’s been ordained needs to bless the house for it to be “right”.

Me:  Oh, you mean someone who has an “affiliation” to an institution that tells you how you should believe in God? Like what rules you have to follow and stuff like that?

Al:  Why are you trying to start an argument?

Me:  (I ignored him) Can I ask you a question?

Al:   Do I have a choice?

Me:  No. Was Jesus a Christian?

Al:  What the hell are you talking about? (sputtering)

Me: Jesus was born a Jew. He died a Jew.  All of this Christian/Catholic/Protestant stuff happened later.  He taught a “consciousness.” He taught love. He didn’t teach people to go to church on Sundays then go and break all the rules, receive forgiveness by faulty humans and go out and do it all over again.

I know I’m going to get flack for this blog – it’s okay – bring it on. Diverse opinions are welcome here!

Discussions of this type are ongoing in my house. My husband is a Catholic and I would say that he follows about 75% of the rules 60% of the time.  The other 25% of the rules he makes up to justify whatever situation he may be currently facing that doesn’t fit in with the church’s law.  My husband is a Christian and he’s a very spiritual man, (most of the time) however, I think he’s a Catholic strictly for “insurance” reasons.  He knows and understands spiritual truth in his heart. He understands that God is within all of us and that we have a direct connection to Him.  But, he remains a Catholic “just in case” the church is right and his own heart isn’t.  Of course hubby won’t know this truth until he transitions so this is why he carries the church “insurance.” Better to be safe than sorry when you die.

As you probably know, I was born and raised a Jew.  It’s a beautiful religion with rich traditions and I love many aspects of it. I just don’t want to practice it. For me, it’s too limiting.  I was instructed into religion by the Old Testament where and “eye for an eye…………..” was an acceptable practice. The Old Testament also tells us to “……………love thy neighbor as thyself” which is in complete contrast to poking someone’s eye out if you got pissed.  So, what are we supposed to believe?

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish faith means fasting from sundown to sundown. If you do this, any sins you may have committed in the past year will be forgiven. Traditionally on this day Jews go to the river to  “cast your bread upon the waters.” (Taslich) As the river carries the bread downstream and it dissipates, so shall God carry away all of your sins.  It’s a nice thought but really? All of your sins for the year? So you could just do whatever you want the entire year and all you have to do is starve yourself for a day and throw some bread to ducks?  This just didn’t work for me. I knew there was way more. Much more.

As I grew older I began to really question who or what God is and my purpose here on earth. I found myself “church hopping”. I attended the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Southern Baptist (that was a hoot) and various “Born Again Christian” churches. I even checked out the Jews for Jesus.  I read about Buddhism (there weren’t any temples in my predominantly Jewish neighborhood go figure), a little bit about Hinduism and a little bit about Islam. I was more confused than ever.  Most of it made sense. How could all of those institutions be right (or somewhat right), yet the world be so divided about God?

As I was questioning all things spiritual, I happened to be living with my grandmother. She found some Christian literature in my underwear drawer one day (yep nothing was private) and freaked out. Oy vey. She called my father and told him I was involved in a cult.  That’s when I became the black sheep of the family; the pariah. Whatever. It made me more determined to discover my truth. I do have to say though that holiday dinners were a bit strained.  I’m pretty sure I heard my uncle call me an “idol worshiper” when he thought I wasn’t listening. If rabbis heard confessions, my family would have dragged my ass to synagogue.

It isn’t just Jewish people who get upset when you break “the rules” though.  I was only threatened with being cut out of THE WILL (there wasn’t much money so I was fairly certain I had nothing to worry about), but my Christian rule breaking friends were threatened with burning in hell for all eternity.  In my family it was a SIN (probably a mortal sin if I had to compare it to Catholic Church standards)  if you ate a ham sandwich on Passover.  Jews are known to be adept at imposing huge amounts of guilt on one another. It really is a fine art. With all the nagging that a person has to listen to for committing a sin, I sometimes think that burning in hell might be a better alternative.

So where did all of this confusion come in anyway? It is said that the Bible is the word of God. Okay. I can accept that. But perception is reality. Everyone perceives what they read in a different way. Each religion has their own interpretation of the scriptures. One sentence can mean thirty different things to thirty different people.  So who is right?

The truth is that we really don’t know with exact certainty what happened at the time of Christ and at the time after his death. Except for the Romans, the people at that time were mostly all Jewish. Everyone knows that when you have 2 Jews you have 3 opinions so what happens if there are thousands of Jews all trying to wrap their heads around things they had never before encountered? A calamity I tell you! 🙂

Many times when people hear “Christ” or “Jesus,” they immediately fall into a  preconceived idea based upon their upbringing or particular religious background. Throughout history, the perspectives people have had on the life and teachings of Jesus have been varied. Some say Jesus was “just a teacher.” Some have called him a prophet. Some have disregarded him completely.  Even the opinions of those who call themselves Christian are not always in complete agreement about the meaning of Jesus and his work.

After all, How do we really know that everything written in the Bible (either New or Old Testament) is truly the Word of God? Is it a possibility that some of it could have been influenced by man’s opinion or perception? And if we could believe it, how do we know that the Bible we know today was actually THE ONE that was actually written? In my opinion, it isn’t. (Check out the Nag Hamadi texts – lost books of the New Testament  found in Egypt in 1945) . How did those texts get “lost”?  Who “lost” them?

Then there is the already acknowledged but wide variety of opinions on the “apocrypha”. Who decided which of these texts were to go into the Bible and which ones were to be left out? Trust me when I tell you that it wasn’t God who decided. (It is entirely possible, however, that The Council of Trent (1545-1563) had a God complex). Is it so difficult to believe that the people who lived in and around the time of Christ (and later) didn’t have personal and political agendas that may have altered the things that Christ really taught?

There are people like myself who look at Jesus’ life in a way that unifies all of humankind rather than dividing it. This is the Christ Consciousness and it has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with love and humanity.  God has given us a gift of free will. If we err, we eventually will rise and return to God because God is within.  We will live our spiritual inheritance and experience a relationship with the I AM presence.

I am not a student of the Bible and don’t pretend to be. I’ve read the Bible but quite honestly, not a whole lot stuck with me.  For me, personally, it’s all about how I feel not what I’m told I should believe. I know that God is in my heart.  After all, He created me. Through my personal experiences I have “found” God by looking within.  To me, God is love. God is the GPS system of my soul. Jesus preached the word of God through the Old Testament. He brought forth the true meaning of the that Word with one other very powerful word – LOVE. If we approach all things we do in our lives and every decision we make with a heart full of LOVE, we can’t go wrong. When we steer off course by not listening to our GPS we are wise enough to recognize that what we’ve done is not in line with our God self.

And why are mere humans wise enough to recognize these things by ourselves, you ask? Because God is within. We just have to listen with our hearts. <3

Love,

Dana

IMGP6559sIn every bit of darkness there shines a light. Always, always, look to the light.

P.S.

Thank you to my sister, Holly Robbins, for her beautiful photography and for always shining her light on my dark moments.  <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Om Shanti and Shalom

Well, I got my first post written last week.  I’m out of the spiritual closet;  maybe not completely out because this blog isn’t reaching many people yet but the door is off the hinges and my pedicured toes are sticking out. Yes, I said pedicured. No respectable Jewish girl ever goes anywhere sans shoes unless her toe nails are polished. My maternal grandmother would kill me if she saw me doing yoga with calloused feet.

Oh and you read it correctly the first time. I did say “Jewish”. I’m also an ordained interfaith spiritual minister. Not cool if you’re a Jew.  If my paternal grandmother was still in the physical world, she’d be tearing at her clothes and going into mourning for the “shonda” I brought to the family name.  (A “shonda in Yiddish means to do something publicly shameful because, as the theory goes, we are all held accountable for the worst deeds of all of us.) Hopefully this little confession gave you a clue as to why my spiritual journey turned inward.

I have about a million things running through my mind that I want to share with all of you. I’m trying not to over think this process and just let it happen.  This requires patience. I don’t know how much meditation I would have to do to attain this virtue but “I AM” working on it.  The “I AM” reference is definitely a blog for another day but I can’t help it when my thoughts jump out of my head, run around and trip on each other. You’ll find this to be a common theme in my writing.

It’s every blogger’s aim to be liked and followed. Despite my guilt filled upbringing, it’s always been my opinion that it’s really none of my business what anyone else thinks of me. This is something I try to live by so I’m a little conflicted with this blogging process. On the other hand, I decided to step up and truly live what I speak in terms of who I am and what I do.  When I developed this blog, I decided to put myself “out there” (although some would say I’m already “out there” ((grins)) but in keeping with my philosophy, who cares?

I understand that what I have to say won’t resonate with everyone. I’m okay with that.  I spent too many years trying to please the unpleasable. Now I just want to  live life as my authentic self.

Love,

Dana

phonto