Monday, December 22, 2014


The picture is a mashup my sister put together, of a photo we took at a gathering a few months before my sister Karen died, and a few weeks ago in Oregon. She was interested in recreating a few photos from the 1980s gathering. I think this one is by far the most compelling.

The fact that we are facing each other is powerful. My brother asked, "If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?" When I thought about it, I decided that the younger me was not able yet to listen, to take in advice. I was still finding my way into myself, or you could say it this way: at that age I was still needing to bang my head against the wall - repeatedly. The only thing I could imagine saying was Good Luck.

But if the younger me wanted to ask for specific advice, well my goodness she would get an earful.

Just for fun, I decided to ask for her advice. What do I need? How am I doing, from your perspective? I've been letting my imagination run with it. It has been kind of a hoot. The younger me is very impressed with my hair at this age, and approves of the glasses. Of course she is thrilled that I still wear lipstick all the time.

Of course.

It's fun to imagine seeing myself as an old lady. I think the younger me would be surprised and kind of impressed.

As I gaze at my young self, what I feel mostly is protective. I wish I could wave a wand to make all the anger and sadness vanish, to clear some of the confusion, pour a little self-worth into that lovely young woman. Of course that is never possible. Healing, even spontaneous healing, is hard work. When I look at the face of my younger self, I'm in awe of how much healing work I've done over the decades since then. My goodness. This young woman in the picture isn't even Reya yet. I was Rebecca at that time, I believe, or maybe people still called me Ruby. I think I was involved in psychotherapy, and also was seeing the great osteopath/homeopath, but had not yet begun to study witchcraft. I was decades away from becoming a healer of any stripe. I look so raw, ill prepared.

Maybe the right advice would be: You're Going to Make It.

The younger me and the current day me are having many conversations about what it means to be a healer, what it takes to become a healer. This meditation is yielding a lot of interesting ideas. I should write about them on the other blog, probably.

One thing the younger me believes strongly is that I need a boyfriend. I've explained that I don't care about that anymore - it's liberating. She says no, it's not about that. She says, you need someone to talk to every day, to share your life with. It's time. 

Interesting to think about!

Our jolly company.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Round peg, square hole

I don't want to be a grinch, I really don't but I kind of am. Maybe not even kind of.

I don't like Christmas carols, only because I've heard them all too many times. They're pretty songs. I guess. I have never seen The Nutcracker, yet I'm tired of that music, too. I never get a tree and own not even one Christmas ornament. There are no boxes of tangled Christmas tree lights in my closet.

See what I mean?

Hanukkah is not inspiring, either. It celebrates a military victory and is not a major Jewish holiday. It was placed on steroids to compete with Christmas. Not really my kind of holiday.

I honor the solstice, though usually alone. Even when I was part of the Reclaiming community, I dreaded winter solstice when we were expected to stay up all night. I'm a diurnal creature who prefers to be tucked in bed especially on the longest night.

I believe I've made my point. This year I decided to save all the Christmas cards and the few little gifts I will receive until Christmas morning. I will open these things with my morning coffee. Maybe that will get me into the spirit, ya think?

Maybe. We shall see.

I'm not in a bad mood and I don't hate Christmas and I don't resent anyone who wishes to celebrate any ritual of the returning light. That I can't find a way to appreciate the holiday is yet another example of what an odd duck I am.

Hey. Rather than a grinch, maybe I could think of myself as an odd duck. It's not as self blaming. I kind of like it.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Tribal Summit

My sister Deborah above me, brother Josh next to her. Hannah is at the bottom right. Michelle is holding the center.

I used to hide from Thanksgiving. For years after I stopped working at Whole Foods, I hid in my room on T-day, cooked rice and veggies and watched Hugh Grant movies. It was true then and still true that the traditional feast is repugnant to me. I can't digest any of those foods. Also I saw so many dead, raw turkeys at Whole Foods, the idea of facing a cooked one was unbearable. I was a Thanksgiving grinch.

One year my housemate invited his extended Puerto Rican family for Thanksgiving dinner at the house on Tennessee Avenue. Well, that event was a game changer. It was so much fun. There was turkey, also a gigantic ham, rice and beans, and a lot of booze. A lot. I had no idea what was being said, since I do not speak Spanish. But I could feel the energy of blissful celebration. Those Puerto Ricans know how to blow off energy. They know how to party. Yeah.

It was an epiphany. All of a sudden I realized I could actually enjoy Thanksgiving. It was a healing experience. I've enjoyed the holiday ever since, for the last two years in the Cascades of Oregon, at a cabin on Crescent Lake. Last year it was my sister Hannah's family including her daughter, husband and grandkids, minus her son, wife and grandkids. And the dogs, of course.

This year the ante was upped. My sisters and brother flew in from hither and yon to join our jolly company. It had been years since all of us converged in one room. We are a Jewish family, hence we are much like the Puerto Ricans, everyone talking at once, lots of laughter, hooting, and such.

In fact the way it turned out should have been a perfect storm: eight adults, two children and three dogs, stuck for three days indoors in a space that comfortably accommodates six. We had planned to get out for walks, but the weather insisted we stay in. An icy rain fell almost non-stop during our time on the mountain. You can not argue with the weather.

I was rattled. There were so many conversations ongoing at any one time, plus the TV, games with sound effects on devices, dogs barking and maybe someone playing the guitar. All at once.

All at once.

My life is pretty quiet. I do speak to people, of course, though usually it's one at a time. When I work, no one talks. Spoken language is very difficult for me in the best of circumstances. Oh I was rattled. In spite of that, I managed to behave decently except when I broke down a couple of times and started lecturing. Fortunately I caught myself fairly quickly.

There were moments of similarly ungraceful behavior from others in the group, but mostly we were all on our best behavior, determined to relax and enjoy ourselves. The ancestors kept their distance except on the last night when everyone had gone home except me. My sister, brother-in-law and I watched Annie Hall. I felt, afterwards, this was our nod to those responsible for placing my siblings and I in the same family. That movie is so good. If you haven't seen it in awhile, I recommend it. So many iconic scenes in that film. Fabulous.

It snowed the last night we were at the cabin. It was gorgeous.

OK then. I have learned to enjoy Thanksgiving even in circumstances that are very difficult for me. It was wonderful to see my siblings, all of whom I love, and fantastic to spend time with Hannah's branch of the family.

... and ...

It is so good to be home! I even smiled at the Pentagon from the plane as we made our final approach. The big lunk. Awww. DC is home. There is no place like it.

I don't like traveling but it is good for me. It's very good to connect with my family. It's great to be home, it was great to be there. Onwards to solstice.


A blurry picture of my niece Emily and her husband Brayce. Magnificent humans!