Are you grieving?
If you are, I want to tell you, me too. I want to breathe deep, but when I do send all that wonderful life to my heart and core—oof, the pain it enlivens—there are times of late that it groans out of me like a woman too tired from labor. I howl and feel more animal at times in my anguish.
I must breathe gently now, a little at a time. And, as always, the Breath keeps me. In Hebrew the words for breath are interchanged with life, and spirit, and soul.
In the Torah, Deuteronomy (Devarim) 4:15 has this incredible instruction, “watch over your life (breath) diligently…” Here it is the word, nephesh.
Our souls are so precious, within them the spark of the Divine, the Infinite, dwells. When we dwell intentionally here, there is not a lack of life, but a fullness of it, we feel so much, even grief. I have much to learn, but I know these times of depths we must be gentle with ourselves.
Breath/soul/life/neshamah is spoken of when Elohim breathed into Adam (Genesis/Bereshit 2:7),
“He breathed into him the breath (neshamah) of life, and Adam became a living soul.”
Breath is Life, with us — when we rise, when we sleep — always.
As the moon waned dark this month, so did I, though it was not intentional and I did not want it. I am glad for the moon and for its poetry as well as the poetry that others have created out of their pain before me.
The funeral pyre
Where I have laid my living body.
All the false notions of myself
That once caused fear, pain,
Have turned to ash
As I neared God.
What has risen
From the tangled web of thought and sinew
Now shines with jubilation
Through the eyes of angels
And screams from the guts of Infinite existence
Love is the funeral pyre
Where the heart must lay
― Hafiz, The Gift
As the moon’s lines slowly unveil again maybe I will keep time with it, or maybe I will simply watch and wait. It signals to us now of the changing season again, autumn coming and with it “the great feast” of tabernacles, the third and final pilgrim festival of the biblical calendar. In preparation for this renewed “going up”…the nights are softly lit, darker until they wax full to the holiest day of the year, the day of covering—an appointed time to bask in what the poetry of the Torah tells us is true; His banner over us is love.
From covering to covering we travel, exposed, and often feeling alone. These are the days to remember we are not alone. I am remembering with you. I am not alone, with you. You are not alone, with me. My prayer is that we would be nurtured in our grief, that even our tears would water our ground. In this hope, I am letting it out. Part of that is sharing it with you, part of it is private, part of it is reaching out to friends and family, and going for walks and long drives. What does it look like for you?
September 10, 2021, this fourth day of the new year 5782 and the ten days of awe and returning, we are together, we are alive. For today, it is enough, even as we weep.
I’m writing through the days of awe, I missed yesterday but…
first post here: “may you know you are held”,
second post here: “may you know flight”.
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Hoping to sit by the river for my next entry here, it’s been awhile since I shared that with you. Meet me at the water?
A song that has been a blessing to me this week, for you: Let it Out, by Christa Wells
One more song that I hope washes truth over you like that gentle moonlight tonight: Pacific, also by Christa Wells (I’m kind of a fan 🙂 ) If you are hurting tonight I wish I could go for a walk in the rain with you, hoping this song stands a bit in my stead.