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Willow Branches

Responding with our soul

Ellen Gittelsohn

Oct 17, 2023

Responding with our soul

We all appreciated beginning our meeting with a prayer for peace led by Rhonda. 

Annette commented that Yitzi is the group bard and pointed out that his most recent poem, read aloud, emphasizes our connection to the earth, water and to nature in general.  All forms of spirituality seem to begin with our connection to nature maybe because the natural world and our souls are one. 

"Oh God, you misheard us / You misheard us so deeply / When we were praying for rain / Waving our lulavs and etrogs in all directions / Beating them on the ground so hard / So blindly read more 

Danny said the poem is visionary and, although the poem mentions tangled thought, he does not feel that his thoughts are tangled. "Tangled up like the bundle of roots," brings us back to the certainty of the natural world.  Michael Berg in his response to the current middle east crisis (click to read and watch the video here) commented on the importance of certainty in the midst of this situation that appears to be tangled and  severely anxiety producing. There is nothing left to do but continue to pray with all our might for healing, love and peace. Political sides don't seem to make sense anymore.

Alex spoke about the distribution of mini Zohars in Gaza. Again this shows certainty and healing intentions. One woman who had a mini Zohar survived untouched in the midst of destruction. What happens when we send our blessings to people we perceive as outside of ourselves?

The lulav (willow branch) represents our soul. We shake it in all directions including heaven and earth. What does it mean if God mishears us? If we are beating our lulavs on the ground "so blindly" perhaps 

God will mishear us. We may be missing the mark. Maybe in the midst of trying so hard, it would be helpful to pause and allow ourselves to feel the God within in the midst of a crisis. What if we could do this on a regular basis without a crisis? Letting go through creativity and having fun in between the trying can really be a spiritual boost. Sometimes when you're relaxed things effortlessly float into your mind like an imminent phone call or a solution previously blocked by blindness.

Let in flow: Water is primoridal and pre-creation. Over 90% of blood plasma is water. Alex reminded us that we all come from a womb. All over the world there is mythology about a flood. Water cleans, washes away, purifies and is essential. Perhaps we will awaken to our connection through water.

Yes, I pray for rain

Rain that cools our hot blood

Our pain, our trauma

Rain that gets us all wet

Soaked through to the bone

Til we see that

Our bones are all the same

And we all lay on the ground

Not dead but alive

Rolling in the mud

Laughing like little kids again

Forgetting who are our enemies

Remembering we are friends -- from Yitzi's poem

You are perceptual beings with different vantage points and — it does not matter how much information is given — you cannot see beyond the vibrational limits of where you are standing. You cannot live or see or experience outside of your own individual beliefs.

Excerpted from Ester Hicks Dallas, TX on 3/13/99 

Janet said that naming her cats bliss, harmony and peace helped the cats become those words. Perhaps we can similarly name things in our world.

Annette spoke about the value of housekeeping expressed by Thick Nhat Hanh. Washing the dishes (water again) can be a wonderful time for mindfulness rather than rushing. Perhaps we can experience that mindfulness if we pause and say to ourselves, what a pleasure to have the time to wash the dishes and be mindful. More and more I have been pausing and saying a blessing before tucking in to a meal for which I have taken the time to sit down. Click here for the Thich Nhat Hanh quote I found in Goodreads.

The next two meetings are scheduled for Monday, November 20 and Monday, December 18. I will send reminders.

Thank you Ché for suggesting that we end the meeting with a word. I forgot to write down the words this meeting but what I remember is transformation, curiosity, love, and light. I know I'm forgotting one or two. Perhaps peace. Please let us know if you remember. I love your words.

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