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On Being a Vessel

Personal Narrative, Spirituality, Temple Building

I was sleeping. I normally don’t dream or at least don’t usually have memories of dreams. This night was no different. It was maybe a year or so after my mother died. In any event, I was sleeping. Soundly. Suddenly, I woke up with this idea. It wasn’t an idea I wanted to have. It wasn’t an idea I had been mulling or chewing on. It was an idea that showed up, fully formed, in my consciousness. It demanded I wake up and write it down.

Efforts to ignore it and go back to sleep were wholly ineffective. It came with its own adrenaline rush and there was no pushing it off for the sake of shut eye. So there I was, in my office, trying to capture this idea that didn’t come from me, but was certainly coming through me. I remember feeling desperate to get it all down. And when it was all typed out, I felt as if I had just given birth. Having never actually birthed a human, I can’t be sure, but that’s about the closest I can get to describing it.

I knew at that moment I did not have the resources to make this idea a reality (yet). I thought then that it was at least 5 or 10 years in the making. I went on with life, not giving much thought to the idea.

This was around 2004 or 2005.

Since then, every two or three years, the idea gently resurfaces, as if to remind me it still exists. But earlier this year when it resurfaced, it was LOUD and demanding! Some aspects of it had changed, and it wanted me to know. I’m talking about it as though it has a life of its own. It does.

I felt scared because it seemed as if the time was getting closer to bring it from the world of the formlessness into the world of form, but I’m. Not. Ready. At least so I feel. Felt. Feel? I don’t know. It felt urgent. Like hurry up! Interestingly, there are still many pieces I don’t possess. But recently I realized that’s okay. Since I need help, I’ve now asked for it. I’m praying to meet a mentor who can help me. And I know that if I am truly a vessel for this, as it seems I may be, the path will be illuminated if I will just start walking.

Memories of Stuff

Personal Narrative

My dad was easygoing. He was one of those people who always said, “Don’t give me gifts! Just be a good girl!” or “Just be happy.” And he actually meant that. Stuff was cool, but peace was better.

My mom on the other hand? She wanted STUFF. Flowers, jewelry, gadgets, whatever. Just make sure you got her STUFF. Preferably, wrapped goodies she could shake and pinch and guess about, then unwrap, ooh and ahh about.  Me being the (sometimes) good daughter, I’d shop, and wrap and give her stuff for Mother’s Day. We’d also go have brunch somewhere that required reservations and stockings. Such was our tradition leading up to 2003.

But that year, I wasn’t feeling it. I called her up and suggested a movie instead, fully prepared for her to laugh me off the phone and ask what time I was picking her up for brunch. Instead she readily agreed. We ended up seeing Bringing Down the House, the silly movie with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin. She laughed so hard during that movie, I remember being glad no one could see us in the darkened theater. She laughed from beginning to end, and all I could do was snicker and shake my head.

Afterward we had a late lunch at Applebees. We ate well and then ordered a dessert we’d normally never get. Some kind of cinnamon crisp, apple something or other that was surprisingly delicious. More laughter, although I can’t recall what on earth we talked about. She was glad we broke “tradition” and didn’t seem to mind that she didn’t get stuff, but laughter and smiles instead.

Two short weeks later, Memorial Day weekend, she was dead. A brain hemorrhage, a result of the clot buster doctors gave her to stop her heart attack, was the culprit.

Shock and devastation inadequately express my emotions at that time, but I remember being so glad we shared that time and laughter, rather than stuff.  I was especially glad because my mother and I did not always get along. Especially during my teenage years. There were many ugly moments that I’m sometimes embarrassed or sad to admit we had. I remember being grateful we had the time to work through our shit (because that’s what it was) before she died.

When she first died I tried to whitewash those bad memories – pretend they weren’t as bad as they were. I cursed her. I yelled at her. At times I hated her. But I realized it was wrong to try to wipe that away. It happened. It was us. And we made it through to the other side.

They really made me appreciate our laughter so much more – those ugly years. It’s the totality of our experience together that makes me a better person. A better daughter. And hopefully, when I am so blessed, a better mother.

Thank you mama. I love you. Always and forever.

Saying No to Say Yes

Personal Narrative, Spirituality, Temple Building

I don’t know what the future holds.

This is an amazing realization for someone who prides herself on being a planner. I remember being in my room, the summer before my freshman year in high school, with the brochure of graduation requirements. As a “rising” 9th grader, I plotted out all the courses I would take and when (including summer school to possibly get done early). I stuck pretty closely to that plan and graduated in the top 5 of 360 people.

Still mad about that C in Clothing, but what can you do?

Without going into my whole academic career and life events since then, let’s just say I like to know what’s next. Which brings us to where we are now, in this amazing and scary place.

I was offered a job this week. One that would have me working at the ground level while an internationally respected organization builds a new organization in my current city of residence. I would be one of the first to work in this new division. I would have lots of responsibility working with teachers across multiple sites. I would continue working with a team of smart people, as a member of a partnership of well respected scholars. I would have mad cred.

But I don’t want the job. Or rather, this is not the job for me.

Right after the meeting to discuss it, I walked to my car feeling sad. Spirit communicates through my feelings and this sadness is as clear as it gets. Don’t get me wrong…Ego is excited, yelling Don’t! Skip! This! Opportunity!

Spirit is sad and whispers, just say no.

The problem? There’s nothing waiting on me. There’s no “other option on the table.” And in fact, I wasn’t job hunting at all. I still have a few months to go before I am ready for that. It’s easy to be excited and jump at every opportunity that falls into my lap. But something tells me if I have the courage to follow my heart rather than my ego, I will discover the divine perfect place for me.

This ain’t it.

It’s scary, moving forward with no plan, no clear next step. But I honestly feel as if this isn’t really a no. It’s a yes to my ultimate Truth.

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