Wednesday, August 23, 2006

367. Breathe

I want the universe to have a backspace key. I would like to re-do today. Apologies in advance for the grumbling.

This afternoon, as I fielded calls from annoying clients (who were probably not at all rude, but in my foul mood I was incapable of seeing anything else), I got an email from the cantor with my assignments for the High Holy Days. My heart leapt--and yet, the moment I read it, my heart dropped even faster. I think I expected that receipt of this email would fuel me with some sort of elusive, hidden power, or make the world seem like a happier place. But it didn't. It was just a list.

As I was castigating myself for this reaction, my dearest friend in the world called to say that her father was in the ICU and would I please come to the hospital. So I did, for the next six hours. He's stable now, thank goodness. I, on the other hand, am in need of a big, psychic colander to sift through a stew of emotions, remove the nastiest chunks, and leave a clear broth of gratitude--for health, friends, and joy that drops right in my lap even when I forget to notice. I'm going to a meditation retreat this weekend which I hope will remind me of the following (from yogajournal.com, via the always wise Regina Clare Jane):

Part of yogic philosophy is the idea of "detachment." This means that, instead of hanging on desperately to people, activities, or objects, we should learn how to flow with the current of life and recognize that change is the only constant.

I would add another, very good constant: Shabbat, flowing on the current of time. Change is part of that same river, yet we fool ourselves into believing we can defy the laws of nature and make it stop. The truth is that this year I will sing differently than last year. Today my friend's father will be here, tomorrow perhaps somewhere else. It's not the destination but the parts in between, the flowing, breathing, crying, singing, that make up a life.

7 comments:

Regina Clare Jane said...

"Change is part of that same river, yet we fool ourselves into believing we can defy the laws of nature and make it stop."
This was profound, aa., at least for me considering what I have been through lately. I still want to hold on so tight to my dad, to stop the natural progression of his life and I find I barely have control over my own. It's tough and nearly impossible to live your life this way...
Thank you for linking to me, and I am saying a prayer for your best friend's father- oh, how I know about the ICU- and I hope and pray you have a wonderful weekend at your meditation retreat. That's exactly what I need to do for myself...
Hugs for you and your friend...

alto artist said...

Thank you, and sending out hugs and prayers to you and your dad, as well... I guess it's just human to hold everything a little too tightly--maybe because we're supposed to remember how precious all those gifts really are.

--aa.

Glory said...

This is one of your most lovely posts, despite your crankiness. It just reminded me how much I love your writing, and learning from you.

Ayekah said...

me too, I agree with all of the above! And peace to you and have a wonderful weekend..,lucky you.
I find sometimes I am at my best when I am cranky. I'm not sure why that is.

Mata H said...

You are probably meditating as I write this -- I hope part of what you find this weekend is a vision of your own grace. There is such gentleness in your words. My prayers to all who face issues of mortality. It is a world I know all to well. May you all find blessings amid the sorrow.

George said...

You are lucky to get so much notice. Last year I discovered that I was doing Shacharit for 2nd Day Rosh Hashanah when the list of chazanim went up in our shul, about two weeks before Rosh Hashanah.
By the way, what is your assignment?

alto artist said...

Glory, Ayekah, Mata H--your words helped me feel so much better. Thank you, as always. (The retreat was...interesting; more soon.)

George, thank you for visiting! I'm doing Shaharit on both days of RH as well as on YK, and Minha that day, as well--at three different locations, with three different sets of rabbis/musicians. So all the hazzanim have to find out way in advance in order to rehearse with everyone. This, of course, doesn't preclude the entire schedule changing at the last minute, like it did last year. (There should be a special prayer written for the month of Elul about vocal health.) Never a dull moment.

--aa,