Sunday, September 27, 2009

Working Holiday



Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, one of the biggest Jewish holidays. Some would say THE biggest, others would disagree. That's how it goes with Jews - two Jews, three opinions.

Some years I cram myself into a rented church with the rest of the extended Temple Micah congregation (all of whom will not fit at one time in the actual temple). I find that experience extremely unpleasant for so many reasons, but sometimes it's good to be surrounded by hundreds of others on Yom Kippur.

Sometimes I take the day for myself, but instead of a food fast, I do a word fast - no speaking, writing or reading for the 24 hour period. This is always a humbling experience for me, oh yeah. How embarrassing to realize that I believe I have something clever - and important - to say about EVERYTHING. For heaven's sake. When I do the word fast, I like to welcome the holiday by watching the sun set from the steps of the Capitol or Supreme Court. Breaking the word fast has involved singing or "Ohmming" before speaking any particular word. It's a powerful and pleasing way for me to celebrate. In so many ways I really am what I think of as a "pre-Judaism Jew."

Tomorrow I will be working all day, a Very Good Thing for my threadbare bank account. My travels from coast to coast were extremely healing and wonderful in every way except financially. In addition to the cost of travel, when I don't work, I lose all my income. Sometimes it's worth it. But taking time off is always expensive.

Hence I will be working through the day tomorrow. I feel a little sad about it, to be honest, but on the other hand, bodywork can be prayer-like, and too the God I worship doesn't really care how I commune with Him or when. What works for me, works for Him. The God I worship is a really good God.

Somehow, in some way, I will come face to face with God tomorrow. It's Yom Kippur and so therefore inevitable. I wonder if my clients will notice the presence, or if even I will notice? We shall see.

34 comments:

ewix said...

Hope you have a wonderful and blessed Yom Kippur.
The other day at the dog park someone asked me if I was going to take Buster to the blessing of the animals at a local church.
I said this might be fun, but I was certain God would bless ALL the animals, whether they were there or not. Otherwise Buster would not be too interested in him/her as a supreme being or whatever --.Too Yahweh-ish if he/she was to smite all who did not bow down before him/her.
Are we getting too theological here?
Anyway, all best wishes.

steven said...

hello reya! "the God I worship doesn't really care how I commune with Him or when. What works for me, works for Him. The God I worship is a really good God." i can't express how joy-making it is to read those words reya. pure, truthful, clear words that describe the deep and essential goodness of the point of this place we get to live in and what i think is intended and hoped for by this whole piece of being a human.
work - as an act of quality is a good thing. bringing goodness, or adding goodness to the world through whatever means and on whatever scale. it's a communion of care.
sweet day reya. steven

Cynthia said...

What a wonder that you honor the day no matter the circumstances of your everyday schedule. Reya. I hope that when you encounter God's presence on the holy day, that somehow the connection reaches out to all those around you. Have a beautiful day.

NanU said...

A word fast; what a wonderful idea. Such a simple way of changing your life for a day, yet so difficult in practice.
Have a blessed day!

Barry said...

When God stops by, please say hello from me.

I friend of mine has just returned from a 3 month "word fast" or silent retreat as she calls it, at a Yoga Retreat in British Columbia. I'm anxious to see her and find out how that went. She is, or was, one of the most talkative people I know.

ellen abbott said...

I agree with you completely. I usually garden on the Sabbath, the day of rest. I've had people tell me that I shouldn't be working on that day but to me it isn't work, it's honoring the divine presence.

I've been toying with the idea of a day of silence. Not necessarily Yom Kippur.

And I totally know what you mean about taking time off. No paid holidays for us.

Rose's Blog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lakeviewer said...

"That's how it goes with Jews-two Jews, three opinions." How clever is that? You just captured the dilemma of religious observances, the holding on to tradition, the modernizing tradition, the abandoning tradition. I sense you are deeply spiritual, regardless of the label. You will feel "in atonement" on Yum Kippur, with every stroke and every word.

Just hearing you speak of this day makes me feel part of a circle of believers, (and I am not Jewish).

The pictures,btw, are luminous, resplendent. You must care so much to capture just that light!

Carolyn said...

I can not agree with Stevens comments more and you said them so eloquently and simply. All I can add is blessings and smiles Reya.

Tom said...

sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do...and earning enough to eat is kind of important. I know living in DC isn't cheap! Happy Yom Kippur to everyone to celebrates, no matter who or how.

lacochran said...

"That's how it goes with Jews - two Jews, three opinions."

Says you. J/k. :)

Joanne said...

I like the idea of the "word" fast. I'm completely green here, so am wondering ... is that fast unique to you, or is this something others practice too?

madtexter said...

Hey Reya!

I know from experience, that if you fast, afterwards everything tastes better! (Even a stale latka.)

Happy holiday to you!

-M

The Bug said...

I really need to connect with a spiritual community in our new home - I miss being reminded of the seasons of the church. They're useful because they remind us to put spiritual matters to the forefront for a time. Of course, you need no such reminder!

Reya Mellicker said...

Lacochran, you are funny!

The cool thing about Judaism is that there isn't one central authority who can explain how to be Jewish, so we are free to argue, disagree and generally do it our own way, whatever that is. And then argue about it. Oh yeah!

As far as I know, I made up the word fast for Yom Kippur, though in many traditions, silent retreats are part of the practice.

You would think, after a word fast, I might be more careful with my words, but no no no. I talk my head off, read voraciously, write page after page in my journal. I love words!

Elizabeth, the whole smiting thing has never resonated with me. I know that nature deals some heavy blows, including death, all part of the natural cycle. The God I worship can wrap his "arms" around the whole cycle. As a human I just can't get a grip, so I leave it to the Divine. But a vengeful God that smites? I don't get it. Doesn't ring true to me.

Lori ann said...

I know that God too Reya, wishing you a good working but wordless Yom Kippur. The rose is breathtaking.

Ronda Laveen said...

OH, you will notice...and so will your clients. God is in EVERYTHING so it doesn't matter how or where you observe.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Lori Anne!

Ronda, I do think there are ebbs and flows to the Divine current, to that pure ecstatic Divine, I mean, the one surrounded by a diffuse glow. I don't perceive that at all times. Do you?

Mary said...

Have a wonderful day - in the manner which you choose......so happy to be back and reading your thoughts again - you are so special.

Ronda Laveen said...

Not at ALL times but, as I continue to do "the work," instead of being aware less frequently it has shifted to more. I have to be vigilant when there are more distractions around me. Just like anything else, it is just practice.

Pauline said...

do you not come face to face with your God every day? your photographs would say you do...

glnroz said...

for the previous post. You definately have NOT lost your eye. I cant wait each morning to "click" on and see your shots and hear your words. Both are seed for study. thnx

karen said...

I do love my ritual visits to your blog. Best wishes for your word free Yom Kippur, and looking forward to when you are "back"!

debra said...

We connect with the sacred spaces within us in many ways. Wishing you connections this day.

Liza said...

Great post Reya
"That's how it goes with Jews - two Jews, three opinions." Too funny. Thanks for that!
"How embarrassing to realize that I believe I have something clever -and important - to say about EVERYTHING"
I am baking my own humble pie right now Reya.
Thanks for another thought provoking post. Enjoy your day!

janis said...

Oh but you DO have something clever and important to say about everything! that is why so many of us tune into you and your blog. That and your amazing photography!
I wish you a wonderful Yom Kippur!

Meri said...

Don't you worship with your life? I think so.

Bee said...

The delicacy of that rose, with its little covering of dewdrops, is just so beautiful to me, Reya.

Does a word fast mean no blogging, too?

Bee said...

Ah yes, I went back and read again and I see that it does.

I think that I could manage without talking, but no reading or writing would be very hard indeed.

Geeta said...

I love your photographs and words... how do I follow!!? :))

Mrsupole said...

Hi Reya,

I hope you had a blessed and beautiful day with God. Peacefulness with God can be so special and wonderful.

God bless.

Rain said...

Happy holidays Reya! I wish you all the best!
:-)

Barbara Martin said...

God is everywhere, Reya. I have been experiencing more contact of late through miracles that have been happening to me. He listens and provides through belief.

eda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.