The pit

Spring and the Moon of Liberation

Sunday gratefuls: Gabe, turning 16 soon. Ruth, already 18. Art. The Artist’s Way. Morning pages. Rabbi Jamie. Vulnerability. The Morning Service. It’s depth. Alan. Lunch today. My Lodgepole Companion. Friend of Great Sol. The Eternal Moment in which I write this. My breath, each one a new life. The morning of this new life almost finished. The lev.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Cheesecake Factory

One brief shining: Sat there the red covered book with its pages facing left, turning them trying to follow Rabbi Jamie as he chanted prayers, moved from Blessings to the Shema, then on to the often silent prayers of the Amidah, worrying that I could not match his prayer shawled ease, kissing the tzitzit at the appropriate time, building up a wall of anxiety that held the world of this ancient liturgy at bay.


Oh my. Went down into the pit of anxiety. One I don’t visit often these days. But I fell into it with a thump, a real downward spiral. Haven’t worked out the inner fragile self that grabbed hold of me and belying its thin arms and legs dragged me into a fog of I can’t, I won’t, I’m not able, I’m not competent. Beside me as Rabbi Jamie guided us through the Morning Service lay the color coded sheet with its yellow slots for Student. That’s me. Those slots needed names, either mine or Lauren’s or Kat’s or Veronica’s. Too many slots with Hebrew or singing attached to them. Too many.

When I fessed up to my anxiety, I felt diminished by it. Less than. Unworthy. Of what I don’t know. But unworthy for sure. If I were not me, I’d want to talk about this. Find out the trigger. Give compensatory ballast by pointing out the stuff he can do. Has already done. And that this is a moment in time. Which will come and go. Yet this is me I’m talking about.

So I find that conversation difficult. Perhaps self serving. Definitely not objective.

Yet here we go. Oh, I’m sorry that happened to you. Must have felt awful.

Yeah, it did. Pretty bad.

What do you think caused it?

Not sure. For sure it was putting myself in Rabbi Jamie’s place, trying to imagine myself doing any of what he was doing. Any of it. Yet facing a situation where I would yes in fact have to do just that.

I get it. Could it be the old clergy in you?

Hmm. Hadn’t considered that. Don’t think so, but…maybe? Some of it. Holding myself to a higher standard? That listens.

Any other possibilities?

Well, my Dad once said to me that knowing how to get along with people mattered more than my grades. True that, but he didn’t mean it in a kind way. He was demeaning my competency by saying well, so what, here’s this other thing that’s more important. I might have learned from that competency is my way of getting along with people. If I’m not competent, no one will like me.

Ooff. That’s convoluted. But I get it.

Could be a generalized fear of being foolish. Wanting to avoid that. I don’t want to foreclose on the Fool’s journey though. What if that’s where I need to be right now? Foolish and brave.