Monday, January 19, 2015

What Do I Believe?

It is easy to believe
The world has gone insane
The headlines prove it
Another terrorist hit
An illness has struck
We have become stuck
In despair
Because from where
Will salvation come
We look to the mountains
Those massive problems
And think
There is no way to go on
But every mountain
Has a summit
And if you want it
You can read the top
And see from above
How every road leads home
And every calamity
Has a remedy
But we are still stuck
But through this journey
Of darkness
I believe
That we will receive
The redeemer
At the top
We never stopped
And waiting
For his return
Despite the pain
The destruction
We will hold on
To what we believe
And what I believe in

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Scattered Heart

There is a piece of me
Scattered in every place
I left a shred of my heart
Where I shared my heart
With strangers
The places
That led me to danger
Because an open heart
Can be a dangerous thing
But with you
Who took without asking
And gave more than I could ever imagine
You showed me
How true love is a priceless thing
And that is it something to share with the world
So across the sea
And up a mountain
I let you have
A part of me
I split my heart
And locked you deep inside
Beneath the layers of questions
And unconditional caring
There you will find
The places
I call home
With the people
I call family.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Shidduch Crisis... Correct Me If I'm Wrong

Earlier this year, I went to an event organized by some ladies in my community. It was called "Meet the Shadchan" and was meant to give the single girls in my community an opportunity to meet out-of-town shadchanim, as well as local shadchanim. Being naive and optimistic, I went. I dressed up, printed out my resume and picture  (only for the Shadchan's eyes, of course) and headed off to meet the shadchan (read: meat market). It was kind of fun in a way-- seeing all my friends in one night. Obviously so, we were all feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable. I met with two out of town shadchanim and a few locals. I left feeling excited because someone had also mentioned my name in association with a local boy. So yea, I felt great. And ten months later, they arranged a second event. In the time between the first and second event, I did not hear from a single shadchan. Not. One. Single. Shadchan. I sent emails with updated resumes and pictures. I did what I was supposed to do and I did not hear anything. Not "Oh, thanks for getting in touch" or "we are thinking of you." NOTHING. So when this second event rolled around I was completely less than enthusiastic. I have definitely changed in ten months. My perspectives on the shidduch system have become a little darker, a little less optimistic. Now, I can't complain. I am young compared to others. I am not at the point of desperation or thinking of "settling." But I am upset.
So I didn't want to go. But, after some convincing, I paid my dues, and went to the event. It was just as awful. And it was worse because this time I could see how flawed it was. Tens of girls were lined up, looking DROP DEAD GORGEOUS in Shabbos clothes, heels, makeup and jewelry to the nines. To meet the SHADCHAN! It felt like something straight out Mulan... off to meet the matchmaker, minus the synchronized song and dance. And it just felt wrong. I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to put on a good show. I was chewing gum, wearing my double-sided studs, no heels and did not take off my coat. I was told off by one of the event planners to throw out my gum. I left on my coat. I met with one out of town shadchan who hardly looked at me and one other Rav who seemed genuinely interested. But so far, no calls, no email.s
Now why do I think this event is wrong?
First of all, a five minute conversation is not enough time. These shadchanim could care less. They get paid to come so its worth their while. 
Two, why are we dressing so nicely like we are prancing down a runway? We aren't marrying the Shadchan!
Three, WHERE ARE THE BOYS?! Let's get real people- if you want to make shidduchim, stop looking at the paper. Yes, checking out backgrounds and hashkafos is important, but I bet if you put the boys and girls in the same room FOR TACHLIS you would have a better chance of making a shidduch than a five minute interview and paper filed away for later reference.
Another thing-- where are the local shadchanim? I noticed there was an important (or two) local shadchan who was missing on the scene, a shadchan with a monopoly on a group of boys.
Like I said- I can't complain. I am young, I am still picky about who is redt to me, and BH I have a lot going for me so dating would be nice, but I am not forlorn or desperate. But it bothers me INTENSELY to see a room filled with beautiful girls INSIDE AND OUT, girls who I personally can attest to their maalos and kochos, having to hawk themselves to a market of buyers who just file them away.
Now you might say, putting the boys and girls in the same room would be the same thing, because everyone is just seeing the outside, how they look and what they are wearing, and I get that. I do. But this system, this meeting the shadchan, is unnatural. Strangers coming in to inspect our girls? Do they actually care? If you don't fit their "type" then forget it. 
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am just bitter and jaded (and I haven't been dating for so long) but it's gotten personal. It's gotten personal when my close friends are struggling because they have been written off as not good enough. When my good friends are rejected because they aren't a size 0 and well off. When incredible girls are struggling because the shadchan doesn't like how they look. And a billion other reasons.
I don't have a solution. I don't have an answer. I have my own silent pain and rage. I have my own tears and frustration over all the boys who I have loved and lost. I have anger. And so maybe that's why the shadchanim don't call.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Can It Still Be Tuesday?

With the winding down of my semester and the winding up of vacation, I have been lax in my Tuesday Tunes. But since Chanukah still extends until the sunsets tomorrow, I wanted to share a few Chanukah songs and videos that really lit up my Chag.
In no particular order...

A side note: Chanukah is one of those holidays that brings even the most irreligious back to their roots. There is something about the holiday season that resonates with us all. The family The sentiment of triumph. There are so many themes that people can connect to. This is why these songs are so popular, so catchy and so feel good. But in my journey to self (which was rather halted by school) I found that the lesson of light is the ability to find it within yourself. It is not about the darkness of the world- the enemies that try to bring us down. Yes, they exist, but their power comes from us. When we are strong, they are weak. So while Chanukah is all feel good and Sameach, I think it is a Chag that involves deep reflections and introspection. I am late on sharing this, and perhaps in even recognizing it myself, but it's late, my mind is spinning and I want to hold on to the light, that inner light, just a little bit longer.

A Freilichen Chanukah!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

Wow, two weeks in a row! And lucky for you, if you haven't hear about this band, then you are in for a treat...
Continuing on the trend of Neo-Chassidus and its more mind-soul connection, I present to you "Zusha." I discovered Zusha a few weeks ago and have been mesmerized ever since.
You can find their music here:

Zusha is a group of three guys whose goal is to connect to Yiddishkeit through simplistic songs, often with just a few words and a lot of niggun. There is something so pure in their music. It stirs up questions. It makes you think.
As I write this, I am listening to this song: and through the progression, the chords and simple chanting, I find myself trying to discover the story buried within the song. It's the kind of music that begs you to think deeply. It isn't the usual head banging, voice altered, techno crazy music we are so used to hearing. It is soulful. Thoughtful.
While mainstream Orthodox Jews don't lean towards this kind of music-- the kind of music that best suits a kumzitz-- it is the kind of music that more people should listen to. It speaks to your soul.
What I really appreciate about Zusha is while their music is simple, they also share their thoughts on their site.
Like this one:
The wise men write - that everything in creation (including you and I) can be found in the first word of the torah, "Bereisheet"- 'in the beginning'
One idea from this word. Beis (the first letter, 'two') + Reisheet ('beginning') = Two beginnings. 
Every day, and more specifically every moment, we are given a choice. 
Two ways to think. Two ways to speak. Two ways to act. 
May we be blessed to always choose life, growth, and positivity. 


So simple, yet so profound. Go check them out.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Take Me Home

Take me home
Take me back to the labyrinth-like streets
Let me once again rest my eyes
On the colorful characters
And devout souls
Living higher than life itself
I am waiting patiently
Til I can board a bus to anywhere
Where every ride feels like
The first one I took
Where the speeding cars
And clear skies
Told me that I am home
I'm sitting in darkness
While I wait for the light
I'm living in night
But you're my new day
So here I sit waiting
But deep down
I know the truth
I need to return
I need to come home.

Friday, December 5, 2014

In Everything I See

I wake up 
And I look for you
I go to sleep
And dream of you
I wait for your arrival
And search for your existence
I have been wandering down roads
And making choices with uncertainty
I write with the hope
That I will find clarity
I feel in every moment
For your presence
And in every moment
You are present
I know that it is a gift
To recognize you
To know that I am not alone
That there are answers
To the questions that concern me
And to the questions I don't dare ask
People ask how I cope
But it simply through my hope
My belief and faith
That there is a higher being
Or else
All the pain
All the promises
Would have not point
If not part of some divine plan
That I too limited to understand
In everything I see
In everything I do
In everything I feel
I know that there is nothing
Nothing more real
Than the truth of you

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Torn Apart

And it hurt like hell to be torn apart....

There has been something I have been battling with for four years. A force stronger than me, more mighty and powerful. It's hard to go into details without creating some sort of expose which while it is something I want to do, it is something that would rattle the world.
It hurts like hell when you invest your heart and soul into something, only to be turned on stepped on, and disregarded.
I just cannot adequately explain because it means throwing so many people under the bus. It means unleashing four years of frustration and pain. It means letting the world see the dark colors of something that is meant to be so bright.
It hurts like hell.
It kept me awake at night for a year. It drove me to make rash decisions. It made me question almost everything I believe in. And its happened again. Its happening always.
It hurts like hell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

Finally, I remember! (It is Tuesday, right?)

As of late, I have found myself on a quest of sorts. A journey to discovering myself. Yes, that is what life is inherently about, but I am trying to be actively cognizant of myself spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Mindfulness.

An important part of this journey is the music I listen to along the way. So I have decided to try and feature a different artist that I really resonate with on Tuesdays. (Let's see how long this last...)

Omek Hadavar is Hebrew for The Depth of the Matter, as the album art indicates. Their second album, Mekor HaChaim is "The Essence of Life"

I am constantly searching for music with meaning and passion. I have found that the simplicity in their music really stirs up emotions that I sometimes let lie.

"Hariyu" in particular is one of my favorites. What I feel is so powerful in this song is that in calling out to Hashem, we are not limited by how we can do this. Sing. Play an instrument. Trumpets, horns, shouting! Hashem hears us, no matter how we reach out to him. We can sing, we can paint. In my understanding, connecting to G-d is not limited by one road or system.
ד  הָרִיעוּ לַיהוָה, כָּל-הָאָרֶץ;    פִּצְחוּ וְרַנְּנוּ וְזַמֵּרוּ.4 Shout unto the LORD, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yea, sing praises.
ה  זַמְּרוּ לַיהוָה בְּכִנּוֹר;    בְּכִנּוֹר, וְקוֹל זִמְרָה.5 Sing praises unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp and the voice of melody.
ו  בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת, וְקוֹל שׁוֹפָר--    הָרִיעוּ, לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ יְהוָה.6 With trumpets and sound of the horn shout ye before the King, the LORD.

I think in today's world, we are pressured to conform to one way of serving G-d. People think that the community with which you identify with is the way to connect with Hashem. It is unfortunate to see how a relationship with G-d becomes defined by the shul you daven at, the school you attend or the Rabbi you follow. 
The Jewish Action featured an article this month about the movement of Neo Hassidism. I have observed and heard from many of the individuals quotes in the article, but in the theme of this post, a particular quote stood out to me:
...defines neo-Chassidus as "people trying to live Yiddishkeit from the inside out, to live more deeply and fully . . . . People today are refusing to be put into boxes. God is One, and His truth can be refracted in many different ways."
Judaism is a prism. The light of G-d shines through one side, His pure undeniable truth. As the light shines through, it emerges as a spectrum of light, color and expression. Judaism is a beautiful thing to behold and is not observed in only one way. But, there is a understanding that without a firm foundation in Yiddishkeit through Halacha and text, the light can be warped. We must refract into through pure methods. The light shines through a prism... that prism are the leaders that guide us on our journey. 
So how does this all connect? There are those who are inspired to connect with G-d through raw Halacha and text. And then there are those who seek passion. They want music and passion. I feel that Omek Hadavar is one of those conduits towards a relationship with G-d that surpasses textual structures and allows us to strengthen our emotional connection with G-d.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The F Word

I refuse
To let it be heard
That horrid words
That makes the innocent cringe
And the perfect puddle on the floor
No one wants to hear
That four letter word
That instills failure
And fear
Cuz it means
We have done nothing right
But we all have it within us
There is no way to escape
I could choke it
Drown it
Four letters
Insignificant letters
With more power
And more potential
To make a change
We hear it
And we want to be more
We hear it
And we want to be different
If I heard those four letters
That little F word
I would surely change my ways
There is no law
As definite and dynamic
As the F word

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks

Since I will be traveling tomorrow and spending thanksgiving with a friend, I wanted to share some of the things I am thankful for... In the spirit of the holiday...

1. Three weeks from today I will finish my first semester of graduate. I am not sure what I was thinking in taking five classes, working part time and volunteering, but I am grateful that I am almost done with what I think will be my hardest semester.

2. In three weeks from today I will meet my new nephew. The little guy lives across the country and is almost a month old, so I am glad I get to see him.

3. I received an email today about my latest volunteer placement which will hopefully positively contribute to my experience as I move forward in my graduate program toward my career.

4. Coffee. Always. Plus, I have a free drink on my Starbucks card which will be awesome when I travel tomorrow.

5. Friends who check in even though I know they are busy.

6. My rabbi who has supported me for almost four years and continues to encourage me and listen to me when I rant, kvetch and yell.

7. Thinkthin bars. My latest obsession. And today I found cookies and cream and espresso flavors!

8. A job that is flexible with my work schedule. A co worker who supplements my paycheck with chocolate. Kids who are utterly hysterical, spotty and adorable all at the same time.

9. Israel. Even though I am 6000 miles away, I am grateful I can always call it home.

10. Even though I don't tell them enough, my parents. Without them, I would not be the person I am today or the person I can become.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Gobble, gobble.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stages of...

Note: I wrote this a few months ago when said guy had said no, this time for real. Flash forward a few months later, he is now engaged. When I found out, I cried like I never thought possible. While I went through these stages before, I went through them again. All I can say is that if he isn't the one, I am getting closer to finding him...

He said no...

No he didn't. Why would he? He couldn't have! 
Lock the doors. Give me a pint of ice cream. 
I don't want to talk. Don't want to listen.
He said no. But he didn't.
So there.

He said no...

That JERK! That inconsiderate, self-absorbed, selfish, callous JERK!
How could be so rude? Why is he so STUPID?!
Boys are stupid. That's it. They are dumb, unintelligent, cruel JERKS!
And he is the BIGGEST JERK OF ALL!

He said no...

Maybe if I had prayed more... maybe if I had done more good deeds.
Maybe if I had slept less, worked harder...
I'll be better. I'll pray harder. Please...
I just want him...
I'll do whatever it takes...
Take my heart... I don't need it.

He said no....

I don't want to go out.
I'm not gonna bother getting dressed... no one cares anyhow.
No one cares about me.
I mean, honestly, who would?
G-d, life sucks.

He said no...

He said no. He did't accept me.
But I accept my self.
I accept... that things will get better.
I will find someone better.
I will move on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mori V'Rabi

At around one in the morning
What should have been a time of peace
Turned into pain and mourning
Blood shed
I cannot imagine
The horror
This time
It was too close
To me
And while I am 6000 miles away
How can it be
That I would not cry
Or be afraid
My Rebbeim
My teacher
My Rabbis
The ones who guided me through turbulent time
Are you ok (alive)?
Please answer
I cannot sleep
Until I know you are safe
But even then
Mori V'Rabi
What answer can you give
What comfort can you provided
Our collective soul
Has been stabbed
We are all bleeding
Mori V'Rabi
Give me an anwer
Give me hope
My emuna
Is being stretched thin
I don't want to snap
I want to go home
I want to be close
I want to be safe
Mori V'Rabi
My teacher
Teach me...
Where do we go from here?

A Day Like Today

We never should know of a day like today. But it happened. 
Terrorists entered a shul in Had Nof with only one intention: to kill, to maim and to murder.

Blood on prayer shawls and prayer books seen inside the synagogue where four people were killed in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)

I cannot help but wonder.... Why?
What answer can I possibly give to this question?
I look at my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel and I cry. It hurts. My heart has been hurt. My home has been hurt. I cry with every wife who lost her husband. For every child who lost his father.
But the Ribono Shel Olam is watching as His children are being brutally stabbed and attacked and He must be crying. Is this world so awful that he wants his purest Tzadikim to be safe in Shamayim? Tatte, we are waiting for your name and glory to fill this world. For the terror and horror to end. But Tatte, if you take our Rebbeim, if you take our teachers and leaders, how will we know how to bring Moshiach? How will we learn your precious Torah if you take our leaders away?
Tatte... why are we being hurt like this?

There are no answers. There are no words. There is pain. There is hurt. There is unimaginable suffering for our people, for the families who lost a loved one. And there is no way to go back. The Tehorim took three steps forward in their Amidah... three steps to the Ribono Shel Olam, and He felt for whatever reason, they should be with him, body and soul... but why with such brutality...?

All I know is I know nothing. But I am part of a people who continue to stand up in the face of such terror. We are still here. They have not won. They never will.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Out of the Depths

After spending a year in Israel, I truly discovered where home is. When I went back to visit this past February, despite only being there for a short time, I felt safe, at home and exactly where I belonged. This summer I worked in a camp with a very Religious Zionist perspective. Every day we were reminded about our beloved country. Even more so with the war going on. The atmosphere was permeated with Israel. It stirred up feelings I didn't know I had. I felt myself becoming obsessive with reading the news... trying to find some way to connect to my home, 6,000 miles away and being barraged with rockets and terrorist attacks. You could feel how everyone in the camp was struggling being so far away. We were compelled to do something to show our support, to somehow be connected while being so far away.
Over Shabbos I read "Out of the Depths," the personal memoir of former chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. It was impossible to put down (except for when I dozed off for my Shabbos nap.)
Rabbi Lau writes about his journey from Buchenwald to Eretz Yisroel. He documented his travels as an immigrant child who could not read or understand Hebrew to his time in Kol Torah Yeshiva to Chief Rabbi of Netanya and Tel Aviv and finally, Chief Rabbi of Israel. His life was bound up in the establishment of the State of Israel. The struggle of the British rule, the Arab attacks from every side and the need to make the world aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. It is a story that is so raw and real, yet at the same time, so pure. It is a story that in some way we all find ourselves joining with the Chief Rabbi in our collective journey home.
There was one passage in particular that stood out to me:

"At time when Israel finds herself at war, people often ask me how I feel from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor. I usually answer, 'Does have have to be a Holocaust survivor in order to understand the situation?' We are besieged, our lives our threatened, and the danger of our destruction has not yet passed. We Jews are still struggling for survival. All Jews are, in a certain sense, Holocause survivors. But for the survivors of that original holocaust, when the siege is tightened, the issue moves to the forefront, taking on an added significance." (Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Out of the Depths, pg. 247)

These days, we all feel the siege. Whether by rocket attacks, rampant anti-Semitism or simply reading the news and being an emphatic Jew and realizing our collective struggle. When one Jew is shot, we all take the bullet. We mourn, we cry. But one thing that unites us all is our ability to move forward. The Holocaust was a time in our history where national morale could have wiped us out even more than Hitler could have. But instead, our homeland was born from the ashes. We take our pain, our resilience, and turn into light.
Concrete graffiti
We turn cement blocks that are meant to stop terrorism and turn them into art.

We take pain and turn it into power. 

They bomb us, and we build. 

As a people, we are no stranger to tragedy. It something that was embedded into the design of the world. They will hate us no matter what. But instead of allowing that hate to destroy (look at 6000 years of Jewish history!) we continue to grow, to thrive.
For little ol' me, 6000 miles away from home, it is comforting and reassuring to know that I am connected to a nation, to a family, and to a history that will be united into the future.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Letting Go

I had to let go
Before I let in
A terrible sin
From which there is no return
If I ever learn
How to stay far away
Then maybe I can say
It was worth the hurt
Or perhaps
You don't even care
And if so
Then where
Were you and I ever going
I expected a fight
But resistance at night
Is weak
And you were never very strong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Are You Looking For?

I have learned to really, truly despise this question.

What are you looking for in a guy?

No one wants the real answer. They want the top three stereotypical descriptive words of a guy who sounds like just about any guy in any yeshiva/office/pit. I mean, let's be real. We all want the same thing. A nice guy, with good values and beliefs who wants to build a nice home.

Do I care what he wears? Do I care if he has a degree? Do I care if he is from in town or out of town?


What am I really looking for?

I want a guy who isn't afraid to be vulnerable. Who isn't afraid to feel something more than surface level superficiality. I want a guy who is constantly looking for meaning in his life. Does he let the small things slip past his eye? Or does he look for a deeper explanation? Does he recognize that G-d is truly a part of his life? Does he learn because that's what he is supposed to do, or because he knows that is actually the very pulse of his existence? Does he care about others? And I don't mean, "hey, how are you?" and then walks away. Does he genuinely take an interest in others? 

Will he appreciate that I recognize G-d through helping children who are fighting illness? Would he say "oh that's so depressing" and totally miss the mission that I want to achieve? Will he understand that yes, a child dying is painful, but that it doesn't have to break me? Will he cry with me? Would he hold me and let me feel the pain I need to feel and then help me to move on?

Will he read my poems? Will he appreciate my creativity? Will he accept my inability to be still and my desire to do more, to be more? Will he learn Nesivos Shalom and Rav Kook with me and accept that my Hashkafos are more confusing than a trip into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory but nevertheless, I am still going to break through the glass ceiling and become closer to G-d?

The guy I am looking for cannot be summed up in a sentence or two. He cannot be expressed in ten words or less. He is more than just a piece of paper. Maybe that's why I find the traditional system so hard. When you are searching for meaning and reason, you don't think that it can be found in the pages of a book or on a printed sheet of paper. Meaning must be felt. It must be manipulated in your heart and soul. I have a hard time believing that because his paper says this and my paper says that then we must be a match. Get. Real.

Life is so much deeper, so much more vast than that. We as people are so complex, so intricate and real that to expect individuals to sum themselves in a few categories is so wrong.
I get it. It';s the best we have. but let;s be honest: the best we have is a pathetic attempt at building a world that requires so much more effort and honesty if we want to solve the crisis.
Let's rip up the papers. Let's shred them into little pieces. Let's give guys, girls, people searching for their other half, the chance to be real, to be themselves. Let's talk. Let's share. Let's recognize that we are only suffocating our future by living in the past. The system worked for a time. It did. But I know too many good people getting burned by a system that is flawed.

So... what am I looking for in a guy? I am looking for a guy who is looking for me.
I hope we find each other soon. And that everyone else who is searching finds their other half with great haste, great clarity, and great love.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Measuring Strength

I love running. I love the ache in my lungs, the burn in my legs and the feeling of sweat on my face. There is nothing glamorous about running. It's pretty gross to be honest.
After my second half marathon all I could feel was the vast amounts of liquid in my body and covering my clothes. Gatorade on my arms and legs. I had stepped in a puddle. I was sweating like I cannot even explain. Gross.
But that's not what this post is about.
This post is about strength.
When I was training for my half marathon, I frequented my local gym. Aside from the six TVs (which usually just showed depressing news) there was another attraction that made the gym a very entertaining place. I loved watching the guys come in, all tough in their gym clothes, tanks, tees, whatever, and go for the weights. The bench press. The true test of strength and manhood. From the corner of my eye I would watch as they packed on the weight and bent their knees preparing to lift the bar.
They would heave it up. OOH. Let it fall. AHH! And repeat. 
And then drop the bar with a definitive ARGH! The tough guy did two reps. Maybe three if he was feeling confident. Then they would get a drink, pause to watch the baseball replay. And that was it.
Now, I spent several months training. I am pretty sure those guys did not get any stronger or any more muscle. They were not consistent. They were not dedicated. They wanted to glory of saying they benched twice their weight without saying how many times. How impressive.
Physical strength is gained by dedication, consistency, repetition, and a whole lot of killing yourself over and over.
Spiritual strength is the same way. People who take on lofty goals after hearing an inspiring speech usually crash and burn. People who commit to one small thing over a long period of time usually do better. For example, I have committed myself to saying Asher Yatzar every time I use the bathroom. It is something so small you might think what's the point? Well the point is that after spending so much time with individuals who cannot regulate their body functions, rely on a catheter or need someone else to change them, I have learned to appreciate the fact that I can use the bathroom and my body functions the way it should.
But that is something I took on myself.
What about the things that are thrown at me? The challenges that face me constantly. Do I succumb? Do I throw one punch and then admit defeat? Do I stop running, stop moving, because it hurts? I would never get anywhere. But at the same time, should I even bother when I can only take  a step at a time or can only hit the target once out of every hundred times?
I know what my challenges are. I know that I have the strength to over come, but do I have the consistency? Once you can do enough repetitions you are ready for a heavier load. But that means you have to settle for the small successes.
Right now, my spiritual load is, figuratively, at 50, and I am trying to build my strength to get to 60. But 50 is heavy. 50 is hard. 50 is the constant messages I try to ignore, the phone calls I don't pick up and the lingering voices saying Oh, it's not so bad. 
But do I want to stay at 50? Do I want to know that I can get to 60? Or 70? Of course. So I will keep at 50 until I feel my body, my soul, can add more.... til I feel that I can face whatever the next challenge is that is thrown my way.
It hurts. It's hard. But I'll keep at it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Things I Wish Someone Told Me

Why You Should Ruin Your Shidduch Chances
I don’t think G-d ever said life doesn’t matter before you are married.  Life matters.  You matter.  And that thing bubbling inside of you called your life’s mission also matters

They talk of emuna. They talk of prayer. They talk of relentless badgering and incessant emails and phone calls. Sometimes they talk of the quiet... lonely... empty times.

They told me I have to behave. They told me I have to start now so I can support later.


Well, today someone finally someone told me something that actually matters. He told me that I don't have to hide for fear of "ruining" myself. He told me I can be myself, even if I am just "myself."

Yea, I am young. Yea, I have plenty of time for marriage. But the waiting time sucks. It is a ticking clock that gets louder and slower with every passing second. So I am trying to fill each second with meaning. With magic. I want magic. I believe in magic. And most importantly, I believe in me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

If My Heart...

If my heart were a field
It would be filled with holes
Exploded mines
And trenches dug
For safety
For prayer
For no one can enter this war zone
Without whispering to G-d
For some measure of protection....
If my heart were a field
It would be a testimony
To the distance I have traveled
To the travels that have worn me thin
To those I met along the way
Who had no qualms
About digging a hole of their own
To relax in
While I wonder
Who is gonna clean up this mess
If my heart were a field
I would surround it
In barbed wire
And electric fences
Because I am sick and tired
Of having to mend this field
Soaked with blood
Sowed with tears
Waiting for the harvest
So that I can reap from the destruction.


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