a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
Entries tagged with ideas.religion 
30 September 2017 00:53 - "For the very first time"
rosefox: A bearded man in a yarmulke shouting L'CHAIM! (Judaism)
Kol Nidre was splendid. I'm high on music. Saying the Al Chet in community was everything I could have hoped for, and I was also unexpectedly moved and thrilled to sing the Shehecheyanu with others. (I get earwormed with it sometimes, which always entertains me.) The rabbi and student rabbi did a joint sermon that was a little long but full of very good discussions of allyship and mutual support and what teshuva means in the context of large-scale divisions and reconciliations between communities, specifically with regard to racial justice. I'm really glad that Veronica and Miriam W. came along; it was good to have hands to squeeze at a couple of points.

I wore a kippah (after much researching into the history and practice of head-covering). I wasn't sure I was going to, and then I wasn't sure it would feel right, but it did.

I had been planning to go to the 3:30 service tomorrow, which is all about digging into the Book of Jonah. Thanks to Small Peculiar's illustrated version, I feel like I'll have a leg up. (Buy the comic here!) I'm so floaty on the musical mystical evening service, though, that it's hard to think why I should go to a grounded exegetical one tomorrow. But I'll see how I feel when I wake up.

I am thinking very seriously about joining this congregation. I have to figure out how that would fit into my life, pragmatically; I don't really look at my calendar and think "Gosh, there's all this free space in here", Friday evenings are challenging when I'm the one who picks Kit up from daycare and no one else gets home from work until later, and Saturday mornings are challenging because mornings. Membership dues are also rather a lot, and I know I'll want to volunteer (I always do) at the same time that my volunteering for Readercon is ramping up again. But... I'm really liking this. Even if I do have to constantly retranslate and reinterpret the prayers in my head as we go.
22 September 2017 03:07 - "Home away from home"
rosefox: A bearded man in a yarmulke shouting L'CHAIM! (Judaism)
Selichot )

Rosh Hashanah )

It's genuinely disorienting to encounter all these spaces where I don't have to educate anyone or fight to be seen for who I am. Other people have already done that work, and leaders have clearly been receptive to it. (Rabbi Lippman is queer, but I don't assume that cis queer people will be welcoming to or understanding of trans people, especially nonbinary trans people.) I get to just show up and be a human being in human community. What an immense privilege. What a gift. Honestly, that might be the thing that gets me to stick with this—just the pure pleasure of being in a place where I didn't personally have to claw out a space for myself.

Josh met me and Kit in the park and we walked for a while (GMaps Pedometer says I walked 3.2 miles today, most of it pushing a heavy stroller with a heavy toddler; my feet and arms are very tired). I teased him that he should be glad I didn't make him meet the rabbi. But this is my thing, really. Maybe it's my latest three-month hobby. Maybe it'll be more than that. We'll see.
rosefox: A man's head with a panel open to show gears, and another man looking inside. (examined head)
No 18-month Kit update yet because they've got a fierce UTI and the antibiotics have only just started kicking in, and I've been sick all week with a weird stomach bug or something, and assorted other things have been going on. But there will be one as soon as they're better. They're holding up like a champ, but they are also still a wee baby and being sick is rough. I'll be so glad when their fever is gone and their tolerance for things going even slightly not their way comes back.

~~~~~

Recently I've found myself thinking in religious terms a lot more than I used to. Not sure what to do with that. It's odd to feel my own sincerity when I describe Kit as "a blessing" or think "God willing, I'll be well enough to do laundry tomorrow". It feels very natural and reasonable, and I wouldn't look askance if I hadn't been agnostic/panentheist my whole life. Also, given my OCD and anxiety, I am generally suspicious of things appearing in my head that feel reasonable but have no rational basis.

I wonder, too, how much of this is about my Jewish identity mattering a lot more, politically, than it used to. If I'm going to be endangered by the fact of being Jewish, then I'm going to double the fuck down on my Jewishness.

But I don't feel a stronger inclination toward ritual or ceremony (or not much of one... though I have gotten more interested in celebrating holidays and learning about Jewish traditions, hm). I'm just more conscious of a... sense of a benevolent deistic presence in the fabric of the world. I mean, I've always had that sense, that's what panentheism is, but I feel it more strongly now, and I'm more inclined to invoke it.

Well, if it's a fun new kind of mental illness, it doesn't seem to be a harmful one at present. Mostly it's about joy and gratitude. I think sometimes I just feel so humbled and glad for all the things in my life that are due to chance as much or more as my efforts, and there's no real personification of chance to direct my gratitude to.

So all right, little beneficial brain worm, I'll keep you around for now. Just don't get too big, okay? I've only got so much brain.

~~~~~

This evening I managed to eat some soup AND some bread, AND I drank ginger ale. This is an improvement! It has been a pretty w/retched week. Now I'm kind of energized and of course it's nearly 1 a.m. Maybe I'll burn it off by sorting some laundry. Amazing how fast it piles up when I'm sick.
rosefox: A painting of a peaceful garden. (peace)
As mentioned here, I recently read Thích Nhất Hạnh's The Miracle of Mindfulness (which had a very gratifying focus on mindfulness in daily life; for a taste of that, see this shorter piece by Nhất Hạnh). One of the things he suggests is taking a mindfulness sabbath every week--you do your ordinary daily things, but you do them at about a third your usual speed, with full attention to the thing you're doing in the moment that you're doing it. I like that idea so much better than a day of rest in the traditional Jewish mode, and have been thinking about implementing it in some way.

I tried it yesterday (beginning with lighting candles on Friday at sunset, which was very pleasant in the winter dark) and only sort of managed it. At one point on Saturday night I realized it was dark out and that meant Shabbat was over and I didn't have to be mindful anymore. Then I thought that was a sort of silly way to look at it, and did my best to be very present with whatever I did next (washing my hands, I think). If it were easy, I wouldn't have to make a practice of it.

One place where it was very effective was doing work on Friday evening. I was proofing my pages for the week, which I usually get very distracted from and take ages to do because of the distractions. But I focused on it not in a furrowed-brow kind of way but in a presence and mindfulness kind of way, and it went very quickly and painlessly. Unfortunately I have not yet managed to apply that to the work that I'm currently procrastinating on by writing this, because in order to be present with the work, I have to actually start doing the work, and I don' wanna. But once I actually start it, I will hopefully stay focused despite being incredibly tired, and it will go quickly and then I can sleep.

Today I was taking my meditation walk in the park, and caught myself getting distracted, and thought, "Be here now." And then I thought, "I am here now," in the sense of, why do I need to instruct myself to be here now? I don't need to actively try to be here now; I'm already here now. I just need to stop being anywhere else (in the mind-wandering sense), and then being here now is the thing that's left. That little moment of enlightenment lasted maybe twenty seconds, but it was a really good twenty seconds. I am here now. No effort needed.
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