Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I know I'm spiritually in tune when the small things matter.
I know I am spiritually in tune when nothing is small at all.
That was the theme that pulsated through every experience I had in Tzfas.
For me, learning Chassidus was all about discovering the unity inherit in everything.
Learning a Sicha, and experiencing how the Rebbe weaves through various levels of Torah and reveals the interconnectedness.
Seeing how tiny decisions have cosmic affects on my growth.
Realizing that my learning in the classroom was was in sync with the trees outside.
Being alive to a spider.
Yea, that's when I know that I am sane. Thats when I know I am okay.
So I was walking to the bank yesterday.
I was opening my wallet to make sure I had my check on me.
And just then, right before crossing Eastern Parkway, a quarter fell out of my wallet.
I didn't flinch. I didn't chase it. After all, it was just a quarter.
My coin did a little dance and a few twirls before landing on Kingston Ave, close to the sidewalk.
It glistened in the sun, my little quarter. But I wasn't about to actually go pick it up. Whatever, you know?
My light had turned green. I started walking. It was just a quarter.
And then it hit me.
"Just a quarter?"
The Mimi that sits on a Hilltop and is inspired and is learning and is good and is....yea, her - she never would have said, "Just a quarter."
I thought, "Mimi, you may not feel like you're on a Hilltop lately, but goshdarnit! Start making decisions like she made 'em!"
I was already crossing Eastern Parkway, but turned around. Inside, I couldn't believe what I was doing.
But I am realizing, the thing that feeds inspiration is a certain aliveness to the world; always, and in every detail. Enough pretending its only about farbrengens.
As Jews, our separating title is the belief in one G-d. One G-d as the living force behind everything.
This demands something of me.
I cannot be a robot careening through this world. I must be alive and active, finding the purpose in everything.
Yes, I must go dashing after my fallen coins.
That quarter - that coin that was willed into existence by our mutual Maker - is twenty-five cents of worth. Twenty-five cents of hope. Twenty-five cents of possibilities.
Twenty-five cents of purpose.
After about a minute and a half episode of mental battle, laziness waiting to be conquered, and a good dose of anti-Jewish "whatever"ness squashed by inspiration from "nowhere," I bent down, picked up my quarter, and put it in my jacket pocket.
A bochur who had also been crossing the street saw my mad dash and turned around, giving me a quizzical look.
That's right, dude. Twenty five cents of purpose, right here. In my pocket.
I haven't felt this aliveness to details in a long time.
I must say, it feels amazing. It's like returning to myself.
Thats the Mimi I know and love. Chasing a run-away coin to better the world.
Yup, I'm going to be just fine after all.
Monday, October 29, 2007
I have no excuses.
And I don’t even know what I am doing back here.
It’s really just like what Rabbi Friedman says about praying:
“The most challenging thing about praying is to be honest. To let G-d see you as you are. To bare your soul. If you can do this once a day, you’re a very real person. Stop defending yourself. Stop protecting yourself. Just show up.”
Just check in. Present yourself. With all your fears. With all your faults. Maybe even with all your blood and brains spilling onto the floor.
So here I am. Just showing up. In all my lack of composure and sophistication. With nothing but my moving fingers and a desire to just be here.
Sometimes you know where you have to be but you don’t know what to bring with you or the best route to take. And sometimes you just have to get up and start moving your feet. Or else you’ll just sit there forever, staring out the window.
I don’t want to stare out the window anymore.
So enough of this waiting for something “real” to say. Enough of this waiting for something to wow me so that I can wow you. Enough with the wows altogether, you know?
I just want to be honest.
Why can’t I just tell you that my mind is elsewhere?
Why can’t I tell you that I just went for a walk down Kingston and up and down Eastern Parkway and I felt like a foreigner?
Why can’t I tell you that I know where I want to be holding, and that I’m not there yet?
Why can’t I tell you that it takes a lot more to inspire me lately?
Why can’t I tell you that I want to try harder?
At a farbrengen last night, Rabbi Posner started crying. He recalled the days when he would bring students to the Rebbe, for them to experience firsthand the Rebbe’s love for every Jew. To experience themselves in the presence of what Rabbi Posner called “truth.”
“So what do you want from me?” he addressed the students.
“I try,” he said, “I try just to give you one drop of the Rebbe’s love. If only I could just take you to the Rebbe. "
"But no, you’re stuck with me...and I’m sorry.”
Rabbi Posner is an honest man. He was saying, “Here I am. I am nothing. But here I am.”
It was probably his refreshing honesty that jolted me back here, to write to you.
Because, even when someone is uninspired, helpless, a little antagonistic, and wanting more...perhaps their honesty can cause at least a little stir.
And perhaps just sharing the tiny steps towards getting to where you need to be is all that matters anyway.