Flashbacks and Pay It Forwards

25 09 2013

A friend and I were enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks today. Next to us was a young mom with a sleeping baby girl in her arms. We had never met, but there was something about this mom that gave me flashbacks. We started to talk to her and after 5 minutes we’d learnt that she had moved to Seattle from San Diego a few months ago. She was still learning the lay of the land, and was not sure which suburb to live permanently in, what schools were good, and where to find good restaurants. Her husband was at work, her 4 year old was at preschool, and she was drinking coffee with a precious sleeping, beautiful, 5th month baby girl in her arms, at Starbucks.

I had flashbacks in that moment. There I was, sitting in a coffee shop in South Africa ten years ago, with my year old, red-haired baby girl in her pram and her 5 week old sleeping sister in my arms. Life was beautiful. Life was scary. I was a mom to two beautiful daughters who I already loved more than the Universe itself. I felt alive. I felt happy. I felt terrified and I wanted other women to hold me, and tell me that it would all be just fine.

Another flashback. Five years ago. Sitting in Starbucks in a small quaint neighborhood of Issaquah. I had no friends here yet. I looked at the other women laughing, talking, hugging each other as they met. I felt lonely, isolated, and once again terrified. Absolutely terrified.

But then I have just one more flashback… The kindness of strangers. The smile of that sweet old lady when she saw my girls. That teacher telling me she cared. That check out lady who asked me if I ‘found everything I needed’. In those days I didn’t realize that they asked everyone that question.

But yes, I really, really did find what I needed. I found Peace, and Friends, and a great place to call my home.

Flash Forward, time to pay it forward: Today, To Kara, the lovely mom with the sleeping baby in Starbucks, I hope you know that as women, that’s what makes us great… the capacity to see our flashbacks in the Present. Thank you for the gift of sisterhood today! I hope you find everything you were looking for too!!!


Finding my religion

5 09 2013

So I just returned home from possibly the very most beautiful and uplifting Jewish High Holy Day (Rosh Hashanah) service I have attended in all my 40 years. It took me 40 years to be in a Synagogue and to actually feel something deeply. A very dear friend and one of our community leaders was leading this service and as she praised God with magnificent singing, storytelling and prayers, it struck me. Suddenly I didn’t feel like such an ‘orphan’ in a strange land anymore. Suddenly I didn’t feel self conscious or out of my depth anymore. I looked around me. No one cared what I was or wasn’t wearing, no one was there to be seen or to earn brownie points, there were no cliques of people talking amongst themselves. Everyone had a light around them. Every single person, young or old, rich or poor, happy or sad, was being raised up by the energy in that room today.

Now, as many of you know, I love and live for spirituality and philosophy. Since I was a very small child I would ask “What makes us HUMAN?!”. But, today I finally GOT IT! And this was the IT that I got, thanks to my teacher and all the teachers in that room.

Being spiritual is not about anything other than being a loving, kind, beautiful human being. The essence of everything in this world, is this ONE thing… Who did you love today? Who did you reach out to today? Who did you thank today? Who did you praise today? Who did you make feel as if they matter today? Were you kind today?

So, during this time of great upheaval in the World let’s remember that whether we’re Jewish, or Christian or Muslim or Hindu or anything in between, we all have the ‘spark’ of God within us… It’s our choice what we do with it. And as the great Martin Luther King Jr said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Shana Tova or Good Yomtov as some of us say. That means, Have a good year, or Good Good Day!! That is my wish for you!