A Simpler Heart

Spring and Kate’s Yahrzeit Moon


Sunday gratefuls: Pesach. Chag Sameach. Easter. Ramadan. All together now. A time of high Winds. High Fire danger. Liberation. Resurrection. Revelation. Spring. Nowruz. Ostara. Beltane. The birth of Lambs. The Greening of Grasses and Trees. Blooming of Flowers. Bees hard at work. Snow and Cold in the Rockies. The fallow season becoming a distant memory. Fresh Milk. Seeds in the Ground. (not in Minnesota or up here.) Life triumphs. For now.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Family


The second day of Passover yesterday. Tell me that old, old story of Pharaoh and his slaves. Saw it on Zoom. Broadcast live from Congregation Beth Evergreen. Was gonna go. Got Covid feet at the last minute. Fear makes prisoners of us all. Also. Didn’t know what to wear. I don’t have fancy clothes. Well, I do. I don’t like to wear them. Jeans and plaid shirts. An LL Bean vest. That’s the outer decor. With a pair of Keens.

When I watched Rabbi Jamie go through the haggadah with the gathered (smallish) crowd in the sanctuary at Beth Evergreen, I both wished I was there and was glad I wasn’t. This is a long service. A couple hours until the meal.

I stayed with it both out of a sense of obligation these are my people after all and out of a desire to re-member an ancient tale of liberation. An ancientale of authoritarian rule and those who broke away from it. The ancient and lonely trail of trying to lose the slave mind, to take life in your own hands and live it responsively and responsibly.

It’s not easy being free. It takes work. Every day. Get food. Maintain health. Love family. And the Pharaoh’s of our day want their slaves to have just enough money to buy the things Pharaoh wants them to. Just enough to have some food, be healthiesh, maybe maintain a family. Buy gas, processed foods, over the counter remedies, pay rent.

Then there’s the lower caste. The people of the street. Who are either can’t or won’t play the Pharaoh’s game. Who suffer from mental illness, addiction, loneliness.

Those with privilege can navigate past the Scylla of money and the Charybdis of social expectations. Yet even most of the privileged founder anyhow. Crushed between the jaws of earning and wanting to fit in.

Judaism knows this in its traditions and works to keep the freedom. It’s hard though even for ones who know the true difficulty of the journey from Egypt through the Reed Sea and those days years in the desert and hardest of all-gaining the Promised Land.


Christianity went off on a tangent about mortality and its pain. Solved through a resurrected God who would take us all with him someday. Beautiful metaphor, resurrection. Death is not the end. Ain’t no grave can hold my body down. A little creepy in its bodies zipping up from cemeteries, or taken whole out of life in the rapture.

There’s a liberation message there, too. But you have to work to find it, embrace it, follow it. Would have been better without the sin. Making it seem that resurrection needed earning. By not doing this or that. Rather than by following a path. A via negativa toward heaven. Born good? Nope. Born bad. Work to put away the stain of the Eden rebellion. Wash, wash, wash the stain away. Shout it out!


We can take this wonderful wakin’ up morning and realize that death does not define us. We can take this pesach and gain our freedom. The resources of these two great faiths are available to us, but they come with so much damned baggage. So much institutional hoohah.

Even so. I’ll stand with those who find death only a part of the journey. I’ll stand with those who know Pharaoh lives in our own heart and the journey lies in turning him from dictator to collaborator.

Sure. I believe those things. They’re important.


I have a simpler heart I’ve learned. One not so enmeshed. I recognize the wonder, the miracle of elemental creation. I see the Sun and its life-giving power. I feel Mother Earth under my feet, responsive to my hands, bearing all I need for this life, the one right here, right now. Ichi-go, Ichi-e. I see the moon in the darkness. I feel its gentle lunar power ripping whole oceans from here to there.

I do not need to go further than these. I do. But I do not need to. I could live happily with giving only them reverence. With realizing awe only in their presence. With letting them think about my afterlife. About Kate’s.

Death and life. Oppression and liberation. Yes. Important, big questions. Journeys of a lifetime. But, too. Following the water course way. Living life as it comes, letting it flow beneath and around and with our feet, our body, our heart, our mind. I’ll flow with the Taoist while I stand with those others and their ways. Seems strange I know, but that’s the spot I’ve come to for right now.



This entry was posted in Commentary on Religion, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Garden, Great Wheel, Holidays, Judaism, Mountains, Plants, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain. Bookmark the permalink.

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