Year in Review: In 12 Months I’ve learned to Dance with Everything

Mmm grateful for the words of brother Daniel..

“Excitement. Anticipation. Joy. Fear. Confusion. Doubt. These have been close friends on this journey. The pleasure I found in the past year has been just letting these be close friends and nothing more. When there is fear, to see it as a messenger to slow down and re-ground, to remember what is important to me and who I really am. When there is doubt, to take action nevertheless, and to know that whatever happens, the result will not be final or finished. When there is joy and excitement, to savor and enjoy without clinging and grasping, knowing full well that they will pass.”

In The Verge

I’ve wanted to write another blog post for a long time. Each time I sat down to write, I would think that there was too much to say, not know how to say it, then get overwhelmed, and then give up.

This blog is a space for me to write my truth as I see it in the moment, and sometimes that truth is hard to see through the fog. But sometimes that fog lifts, and things are far more clear and simple, yet mysterious and wild, than my mind could have ever imagined. The fog is lifting now, daunting possibilities are showing themselves to me. Something is within reach that I’ve never been or seen, but have always known deep down.  Do you know what I mean?

Are you willing to say yes to your visions, dreams, and goals? I have many doubts about my dreams and goals for…

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This Too We Shall PassOver

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This weekend I committed a crime.

I packed a backpack with water, a bit of food, layers of clothing, a first aid kit, The Tao of Physics, a journal, a flashlight, a camera and a sleeping bag.

I left The Magic Mobile by the side of a dirt road.

I hiked five miles along the seashore, through forest and meadow, to a waterfall cascading into the Pacific Ocean.

As the sun went down and the other humans headed toward their built homes, I stayed.

Clouds descended over me and I entered a portal

These last moments of Pesach (Passover)

of sunlight

of Shabbat

We are at the shores of the sea.

The ego, the attachments, the false identifications…the seductive security of the familiar are chasing us.

The only way we know

is behind us.

Can we really leave it?

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Pesach/Passover 5775: Forever Being Born

We reached the entrance. Why were these women just standing there with scared eyes cast toward the ground? Why were they waiting for a man to come and open the door? Their skin was pale and blemished. No signs of thriving or empowerment. They all looked the same…and a bit like me.

“Are you serious? Basic bitches,” I muttered as I pushed them aside and strode to the doors. One appeared easy enough to enter, perhaps a cellar door. The other, a tiiny keyhole shaped opening, looked impossible. I almost reached for the cellar door before I saw some of my spirit allies on the other side. Ha! I got this.

I knelt down at the opening, which didn’t appear to be wide enough for my shoulders. The narrow walls hugged my body and allowed my bones to spread them wider. I relaxed my entire body, then squirmed my way forward, just a few inches at a time. My allies watched with wide eyes and bated breath. As I made my way through what I quickly became aware of as a birth canal, I realized I was dying. I was truly entering a new world, a new life, a new dimension. I was birthing myself, letting go of everything I’d known before. With this realization, I slowed down. I allowed myself to feel the process, the death, the transformation. I let out a deep moan of mourning and pleasure.

It wasn’t until mid-chant that I remembered this dream. Shekhinah, el shaddai, imah illa’ah tzimtzemai WHOA. 

My being is raw from this birth. My body is so new. I want to protect her. And yet there are those people whose Presence dissolves the walls in sweet caress. They know. They see. Their eyes are open in this moment as they swim beside me in these waters. The ones who feel the world a little ‘too deeply’, who refuse to silence and numb, to pretend.

Daniel is one of these people for me. We met at the Kohenet Passover Seder on Saturday and when he asked to stay with me for a few days, I felt the yes. When I shared my dream with him that morning, I had no idea what could be unleashed with his witness.

Him, on rattle and drum/guitar. Me, didgeridoo and drum. Tear-stained face. Deep sigh. Thanking creator for the release of this grief that spans everything from my own lost loves to the way we are violating our mother Gaia. Casual pre-work ritual…

Meanwhile, Anna woke on her first day back in the Bay after time in Costa Rica studying yoga and permaculture. The moment I saw her with her drum on her back at the New Year’s Eve party, hours after I left Mount Shasta in a whirlwind of chaos and surrender, I knew she was my sister. We felt some sadness that she was about to leave for what we thought would be many months…and now, after only three, she was back! And as Spirit would have it, she and Daniel had been together in Costa Rica and are now planning a Permaculture Action Tour together.

The next morning was Spirit Team Rivka Restoration Round 2. I am forever grateful for their presence and encouragement as I released pain that is not mine to carry. As Daniel said while checking in later, “We don’t make it until we all make it.” 

I’m holding both renewed appreciation for the power of love, and a release of the idea of “making it” as getting somewhere else, somewhere higher. In my dream of this dream, there’s nowhere to go but more fully here. Sometimes I sit in the center of awareness of the Tao. Sometimes it feels like a mirage just out of sight. One cannot be better than the other. There is no hierarchy of moments, only an endless loop where darkness leads to light and light leads to darkness and we travel as the One.

These words wrap up my week before a much-needed Shabbat on unpaved earth. The Magic Mobile awaits to take me and brother Mitchel to camp along madre mar on the land that now lives and loves with the host of the New Years party where I met both Mitchel and Anna (insha’allah). Such strings of circumstance are far beyond my orchestration.

Soon the portal of Pesach, this time of liberation and rebirth, will close…or will it? As I spiral deeper with seeds planted three months ago, five months ago, and surely long before we can yet remember, I let go of the striving toward that freedom. I witnessed a certain desperation in the preparation toward Passover. PLEASE, FREEDOM, PLEASE. Yearning for some “lost” peace and awareness as if this is THE chance. Afraid of getting left behind as my tribe journeys to the Promised Land. 

Somehow truth is born from illusion. I relax my body. I move forward. I moan and release.

I am forever being born

to Source

to the edge

as Source

as the edge.

I Make Friends By Hitting Their Cars

And in many other bizarre ways…

including offering someone waiting for the bus at the Berkeley Marina a ride home a few weeks ago, which turned into them taking me to dinner. I was muy cansada by the time we left the cafe, and scraped up against the car parallel-parked in front of me. Ugh. The Magic Mobile looks a bit beaten up, and their bumper needed a paint job. Trusting my financial fears to Source, I left a note with my contact info.

The sweet owners were so touched by my note and email correspondence that they decided to pay half of the repair! When I asked to treat them to dinner they invited me to eat at the Salvadoran restaurant they own…

Tonight it was time to meet these beautiful souls. I took a break from cleaning in preparation for Passover to walk around the block in my new neighborhood, and met some of my neighbors. After a little more cleaning, I headed over to Platano for dinner.

I walked in and saw the neighbors I had just met, with more of my neighbors! They invited me to eat with them and sang me songs about the drought. I think I shook them up a bit during a conversation about IUD’s when I said that I love and care about my natural moon cycle. All of a sudden, it got awkward. I didn’t bring even bring up my Diva cup or offering blood to the earth! I forget that other people don’t necessarily talk about bodies and queerness and ecofeminism all the time…

After dinner I savored a plantain dessert at the bar and talked with a young Salvadoran man who began working at Platano as soon as he moved here last June. Jose looked off into the distance with wide eyes as he reflected on the challenges of coming to a new place. Everything is different, even though he is blessed to live with his family here. Using another language is especially challenging; I can empathize…though I was able to get around with my limited Hebrew and English while I lived in Israel, I remember the embarrassing misunderstandings and the frustrating inability to express myself and connect with people. Jose’s English is much better than my Hebrew! We were able to have a nice conversation until Nicolas arrived. I wrote him a check and he gave me his friend’s card for auto body work in case I decide to repair The Magic Mobile. Mostly we just smiled at each other and thanked each other for being wonderful.

I’m grateful to have been raised by an ELL teacher who taught me that immigrants are resilient, courageous, and kind. Grateful for new friends of all shapes and colors and abilities and perspectives and traditions and interests…Grateful for whole interactions and sweet community…Grateful.

Wish List

Dear Ones,
Tomorrow (Wednesday) marks a new cycle through space and time for this body. If you feel a desire to join me in celebrating this miracle of life, this is my wish list for us:

-make eye contact and smile at each person you pass
-show/tell yourself you love yourself
-take a moment to close your eyes, hands on your body, and breathe
-tell someone you love them and why you appreciate their being
-question your assumptions and beliefs
-ask for help when you need it
-hug/kiss/talk with a tree or other plant
-nurture a dream
-give thanks for clean food, air and water and pray that all beings may have access to these in right relationship forever more
-dance!
-honor and express your truth
-release tension with a big sigh/loud noise
-learn something new
-create abundance through sharing whatever gift arises in the moment
-linger a little longer in a hug
-initiate that hug
-celebrate the gift of your life

🙂

With overflowing love and gratitude,
Rivka

Tiny Home on the Prairie

Those of you who’ve been with me from the beginning of this journey may recall an interview I did with my friend Connor in September. Visiting him in Stevens Point, WI at the start of his final semester of forestry school, I asked him to share about his plans to build an off-the-grid ‘tiny home’ and small farm with his fiancee Claire. Congratulations to them both on their graduation!

Connor is now out on family-owned land in South Dakota laying some of the groundwork for the homestead while Claire helps her mother plan details for their wedding this year. He’s already been hard at work building a mailbox, learning to grow food, and experimenting with aquaponics! I’m fascinated by their blog…the photos, hearing about the ins and outs of prairie life, and the inspiring and grounding energy I feel from both Connor and Claire.

I’m grateful to these beautiful souls for taking a courageous step toward living in harmony with the Earth, and for their commitment to sharing what they learn both throughout the experience and through their careers. I offer prayers and blessings for them in their work, their learning, and their love. I also offer prayers for the natives of South Dakota and all lands whose way of living in right relationship with our mother Earth has been so violated. May Connor and Claire’s efforts be part of a mass-awakening, an understanding of what colonialism and capitalism have stolen from our humanity, and a rededication to wholeness and justice. As much as I’m in awe of them, I struggle with the knowing that the devastating results of colonialism and capitalism remain and continue to manifest even in such a beautiful project. I don’t have any answers, only the prayer that their presence on the land be a blessing to that ecosystem and to our world. May their work be for the highest good of all beings. And may it be both full of reverence, and PLAYFUL! So much love.

Connor and his brother Mateusz with the mailbox they built

Sky Walker Moves Through Realms

Yesterday I awoke and, staying horizontal in bed, reached for my dream journal. Memories of elusive moments just out of reach from the density of waking, like happily rising balloons going home, with frayed ribbons almost in my grasp.

A dream came back, decided to stay.
I was outdoors with my kohenet sisters waiting for a guest teacher to arrive. I looked up at the sky and gasped
The most amazing bird
Wingspan of eight feet
Glorious
Graceful
Like no bird I’d seen
An eagle?
Grandfather my heart sang
He flew lower
No, not an eagle…
Lower
Floating
Hovering
Sitting before me
A Native American elder
Kind eyes, purest soul, stillness and wisdom
He didn’t speak but transmitted,
“Sky Walker”
He was our teacher! I was giddy and reverent and yearning.
We orbited one another.

Hours later, I walked home from work
The first time my feet flirted with this path
I looked up at the sky, thinking of my teacher.
I looked down.

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B’rucha At Shekhina, who grounds me.

Dear Ones,

I write to you
from
MY BED.
In a room I can stay in as long as G!ddess wills it
In an apartment where I pay rent
with a paycheck I receive
in a holistic workplace.
BRUCHA HASHEKHINA! G!ddess is gracious!

I moved to Berkeley yesterday, two blocks from my community acupuncture clinic, six blocks from the friends with whom I’m co-creating a California chapter of our beloved MN nonprofit Face Forward, seven blocks from Berkeley Bowl, and within a mile of many of my other friends. It’s really happening!

It’s interesting to watch the impulse to attach and to go right into ego mode: mine, mine, mine! Control, control, control! I have many dreams for my new space. I’m also cultivating patience, presencing as often as I remember to that sweet spaciousness that says: You have all the time you need. Always. And, as great as it is to have a space to ground/replenish/explore/express, my four months of traveling taught me that these things (jobs, houses, routines) are not ultimately us.

After work today I lay on the floor of my new bedroom and spoke to my mentor on speakerphone. We investigated my relationship with anger and boundaries, and she reminded me that I’ve been in an intense playground of boundaries as I’ve co-habited others’ spaces. She reflected that without a space over which I have sovereignty, I’ve had to really ground in myself, and I did so with beautiful imperfect grace. There were days in the past few months that I felt incredibly alive and authentic. There were days I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I’m learning to recognize and honor my desires…it’s a delicious, exciting, and surprisingly terrifying journey.

Why is it so scary to know what I want and ask for it?
Is it because I have this Buddhist-influenced mental loop playing that says “Desires?? Suffering! Bad!”?
Is it that I learned from my adult role models that to be in harmony with those around me, I must ignore what I feel and want?
Is it a layer of internalized oppression from a misogynistic, heteronormative, conformity-encouraging society?
Is it my Pisces martyrdom and self-sacrifice?
Is it a piece of the puzzle of human re-membrance, a confrontation we all make with the self as we evolve spiritually?

I can tell myself whatever story I want about the pain that lives in my connective tissues, the tightly held animal self so often found in fetal position, shivering and flinching at the touch of the world. Ultimately she is mine to approach, to offer my hand in love and reverence, and to coax as she allows me. In the act of showing up to meet myself with true love and respect, I embody shekhinah. I allow the divine presence in the physical world to flow through me and know herself, cycling in infinite spiral time between everything and nothing, everywhere and nowhere.

Words get tangled and lose their source. I’ve wrapped the threads of my life in a ball so I could take it with me at a moment’s notice. I’m thankful for the space to unwind, to trace back, to spread myself out and see the patterns my spirit weaves. For now, I’ll trust my dreams to undress these layers.

With love and strength,

Rivka