Kabbalah

I Can Do Hard Things, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I Can Do Hard Things, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly,
Or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
                                                         Pema Chodron

I can do hard things.
 
I didn’t know that when I was younger. I thought it was all about being talented, special, and somehow gifted. I knew I was not those things. So, I believed I could not do hard and difficult things.

Finding Peace, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Finding Peace, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

It feels like as an elder in this community, I am being called upon to hold on even more tightly to the inner unity I have already found, rather than convincing others that I am right politically and socially.
 
It is disturbing to me to experience the violence and meanness that is so prevalent in the political world.  I don’t understand the divisiveness of racism, sexism, xenophobia etc.

Seeking Truth, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Seeking Truth, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I was teaching a Kabbalah class last week and was especially moved by the delicious desire of this group to explore and find Truth. They were creative, curious and spiritually seeking.  The clarity in the room was refreshing and restorative.

The Light and The Dark, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

The Light and The Dark, by Susan Austin-Crumpton
"Sometimes shadows are the only light we see."    
                                   - Leo Kotke

It was my birthday.

I was at a Leo Kotke concert with my sweet husband and family.  The guitar music poured over me with quiet joy and contentment.  I was happy, the venue was just right, we were sitting almost in front, and it felt intimate and joyful.

Spiritual Challenge for 2017, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Spiritual Challenge for 2017, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

A very wise student of mine asked a wonderful Kabbalistic question:  When is ”not-making” doing nothing?  And when is it doing something?

Jason Shulman describes not making in this manner.

“Not-making is that condition in which things are simply what they are and we are not making a “secondary something” out of primary experience.  We engage with reality directly."

- Jason Shulman
Kabbalistic Healing

A Place Without God, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

A Place Without God, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

One of my daughters invited me on a European trip before she began a study program abroad. We started our adventure in Germany, moving into Austria, then the Northern lakes of Italy, on to Switzerland, ending our trip in London where she will study for the fall semester.

Our first sightseeing point of interest was Dachau, one of the concentration camps established by the Nazis during World War II. My daughter did not want to go and was kind enough to appease her mother for an afternoon in anticipation of the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, the one thing she was most excited for on the vacation.

Shattering Moments, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Shattering Moments, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I don’t like summer.

I know, I know!  Most of you do like it!  My husband loves it.  He loves to be hot, to feel the sun, and the extended light of the long days.

I love rain, clouds and dark days.  On those days I feel free and exempt from all duties.  My soul feels free!  Maybe it was because my Baptist Grandmother always gave herself permission not to go to church on the Sundays it rained.  She believed being in the rain made one sick!  So I have permission to make my own choices on dark rainy days.

Participation, by Suzy Newman

Participation, by Suzy Newman
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as One,
Received not in essence but by participation.
It is just as if you lit a flame from a live flame:
It is the entire flame you receive.
    --St. Symeon the New Theologian
(949-1022)

I absolutely adored this when I read it this morning.  I love the imagery of the flame because it makes total sense to me.  The “essence” St Symeon is referring to, I believe, is God (the flame)…and to believe I am the essence of God is a very comforting thought.

Reframing the Shadowed Life: On Being Abled, by Larkin Oates, MFA, MA

Reframing the Shadowed Life: On Being Abled, by Larkin Oates, MFA, MA

A few years ago I happened across a radio interview, “Losses and the Laughter We Grow Into;” with author, storyteller, funny and wise man Kevin Kling and Krista Tippet (On Being).

At that time, I thought about the way in which Kling conveys his experience of being ‘dis-abled’. He said that in Dante‘s epic journeys, ‘Dis’ is “the underworld of shadow and reflection.” Kling therefore translates his experience as, “being abled through the world of shadow and reflection.” I embrace his reframe, because I too am abled, in my own way. In fact, many can relate, especially as we age and experience changes to our own abilities.