A Mentor, a teacher

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Rabbi Jamie and congregant

Friday gratefuls: Mussar. Rabbi Jamie. Luke. Mario. Tom. Paul. Bill. Mark and Mary. Diane. Second Fall. Jodie. Blue Mountain Kitchens. Joseph, 40 on Sunday. Seoah and Murdoch. Making things beautiful. Pruning, slow but steady. Kate, always Kate.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: My boy turning 40

Tarot: The Wheel, #10 in the Major Arcana


Good exercise yesterday. Cardio. Not yet on the HIIT, gonna plan it a bit more. Had more than half of the time near heart rate max. What I need more of.

Got a call from Isaac, Coyote HVAC coordinator. David is still sick. Start up again on Monday, hopefully give him the weekend to recover. This is the nicest, kindest contractor with whom I’ve ever worked. The owner said he believed it was good business. Me, too.

For a long time I’ve wondered about mentors and teachers. Everybody I know seems to have at least one that affected their direction in life. That saw them, identified something others didn’t see. Not me. I appreciated the Gaither’s casting me as the lead in Our Town. And, Miss Hull’s calling in chits to make me President of the 1965 Model U.N. for Indiana. But neither one changed my life. Greg Membrez was a wonderful Latin teacher, gentle and understanding. But, no.

On me, I know. Self-directed. Moi. Perhaps guarded, too? Which is not to say that I failed to learn from or appreciate many of the teachers I had. To the contrary. Philosophy. Anthropology. J. Harry Cotton. Dr. Scruton. Dr. Larry Hackestaff. Bob Bryant in constructive theology. Art Merrill in the Hebrew scriptures. I learned from them, appreciated their knowledge, and their teaching. But, at the personal level? No.

Raphael. School of Athens 1509-1510

Until Rabbi Jamie. He’s taught me about appreciative inquiry, learning from whatever you read, whoever you meet, wherever you are. Going in with the attitude that though this book may have things I don’t like, it can still have things to teach me. I’m not saying this well, because it sounds obvious.

Let’s see. With appreciative inquiry you can find positive and important ideas even in works, people, or places you might otherwise gloss over. This is about radical acceptance of the other.

He’s also the best question asker I’ve encountered in a classroom or learning situation. His questions, his style of dialogue encourages going further with an idea, deeper.

I’ve taken several classes from him: Kabbalah, Tarot, Torah study. In each one he includes a presentation session, the last one, where each student can do whatever they want to show what they’ve learned.

In his tutelage I’ve become a less combative learner, (less, not passive), willing to hear the sentences of the Orthodox Jew on Jewish values and find the middot there. He has subtly reinforced my own beliefs, by supporting me when I express them in his classes. Since I’m a goyim in a synagogue, pagan me finds this amazing.

I told him all this. This week. I’m trying to not let time go by without telling people I care about how I feel. Yes, partly Kate’s death. Yes, partly my own mortality. Mostly though just trying to be more transparent, easier to know.

Found after I told him that I was shy, a little embarrassed to see him again. Almost skipped mussar. Decided no. Silly. Weird. And, not weird. Going beyond the veil of Rabbi and congregant. Not often done in synagogues. Or, churches either, though more so in synagogues.

Lucky to have met him. And, Beth Evergreen.

Jodi from Blue Mountain comes with the cabinetmaker at 11:00. I want to live in a beautiful space. I’m doing the things I can to make that happen. Pruning. Staining the house. Installing ac for a delightful indoor climate. Remodeling the kitchen. Planning to rearrange all the furniture, create conversation areas, reading areas. TV space. Probably paint some inside walls, definitely rehang art.

Next year there will be other projects. Outside. Perhaps another bathroom remodel. Seeking a hermitage with inspiration and aesthetic value.





This entry was posted in Cooking, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Health, Judaism, Kabbalah, Mountains, Mussar, Shadow Mountain, Tarot, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

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