I feel a strange emotion deep in my heart. It's love. Not romantic love, not infatuation, but something like agape. I see this beauty in people that I have not allowed myself to see for many years before coming to beit tshuvah. It's an embrace of this community, this small pocket and sphere of human community that exists in this space and which God brought me too. Quoting: Light of my Little Left Eye
Lately I've been sick with the anxiety of this internship. I stared at a blank computer screen for almost an hour while Jesse wrote up a storm. I was myself a blank, just like the screen. I was so worried about doing it wrong that I could not do it at all, and Greg noticed. I know he had compassion for me, and told me I didn't have to work on it in my spare time, but I did anyway. And I approached it differently to Jesse, and that scares me because I fear it will be wrong once again. But I also think it might be good to be different. That maybe something unique in me will find a unique place for creative matters. I hope it will. I still havent totally finished the article. While I was nearing tying my writing together, Kaylee found me on my patio and asked me to go to the in house meeting. And the funny thing is, the piece that I was writing for creative matters at that time was about Kaylee. When I told her that I saw something soften in her eyes. She's always referred to herself as a bitch but I got to know her in that interview and some kind of intimate exchange was made on some level. It made me more willing to accept her directions and it made it easier for her to be compassionate when I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
The meeting itself was a trippy experience. Molly was going crazy throughout it because David, the speaker, spoke like a total paragon of light. She was texting me her frustration and I was sympathetic, feeling the need to validate her, but also struggling with the dissonance that I shouldn't be encouraging gossip which also felt wrong. I shouldn't be helping her feed her dark wolf. I also helped Amanda feed the dark wolf of her bulimia. I cant justify those actions. Maybe I wanted to be liked. Maybe I wanted to let people play out their own stories in their own way. But towards the end of the meeting, molly was texting me that she wanted to scream, laugh aloud, or leave the meeting. That level of discomfort spoke honestly a message of disruption from her soul. Her dark side was pronounced. But she is also a good person struggling to be light. I see both sides. A resident shared that his little sister had died almost as the meeting was over. His pain was so raw and so real and so great that the whole room felt like it was bending toward him in sadness. Every person felt his heart crying. And as sad as he was and as terrible as it was I was struck by the beauty of such profound empathy and such honest and vulnerable pain.
When the meeting was over many people gave him a hug. I was one of them even though I don't think I've ever exchanged a sentence with him. That didn't feel awkward. It felt necessary. That's what this community is. We feel for each other because even the people we hardly know have a place of connection in the spirit of the space. Connected to ourselves. And in that hug David appeared and joined in a group hug. And Molly was there too being hugged by David whom she hated yet she did not pull away. And when I walked away to leave I saw Tony who I barely know but I seem to know on some familiar level and I gave him a hug. He just seemed to need it. It was intuition. Earlier that day he approached with tears in his eyes and ventured some meek words of greeting. I didn't see the tears at first. He sat down and said hello and I looked up at him. One look in his eyes and I knew he needed someone to see him, hear him. Notice his suffering, even if saying nothing. And I offered him a hug and he held me tightly and it didn't feel sexual or romantic, but very human and necessary.
I'm starting to feel this intuitive and spiritual thing for other people. Before it had been selfish, my pursuit of knowledge, my secret of the universe. Yes, I made every attempt to share that secret, but I made no effort to feel deep and compassionate love. I wanted to be transcendent and saw myself as something not human anymore, not needing or wanting connection and love. It was not merely introversion or isolation, it was a complete rejection of every human impulse to love. I became a liar, I became profoundly selfish and while I sought to confine that selfishness to my own means and ends, I still ended up hurting many people by disconnecting entirely.
One of the many beit tshuvahisms here is that the opposite of addiction is connection. I literally could not, on an emotional level - even an intellectual level - make sense of or agree with that until today. I thought that my distance impacted nobody around me or even impacted myself. If I'm not there physically or emotionally, I dont exist to others. But I do. People are present in my absence, present to my absence. And it took getting here and being here for a long time to feel what Asher described as profound love for every person, just a basic and simple love with no judgement or even bearing on what your natural subjective opinion on the person is.
The two interviews that I've done with Jesse were with staff members. I thought that I could always see beyond a person's front, but the interviews showed me that I wasn't seeing them for who they were before. While interviewing there were no pretenses about who was in charge and who was the Rabbi and who was the supervisor and all the implications and impressions that come with those roles. There were just human beings there explaining their human stories. It made me see something that I had been blocking out. Today was a frightening and terrible day that turned into a series of incredible insight and amazing love. Both of those things, simultaneously.
Addiction is the opposite of connection. I am the healthiest I've ever been, and I'm not even working this program particularly well. Rabbi Ben asked me where I was in 11 o clock group and I stammered over my words and then he reprimanded me because I was wearing headphones in public. It's strange to say but at that moment I recalled something in Torah study when God finds Adam and Eve hiding in the garden after eating the fruit of knowledge. God asks, "where are you?" And not because he didn't know where they were hiding, but because he couldn't see who they were, or where who they were went. So I felt shook up by it and attacked because I felt exposed to my defects. I wanted to say I was interning but I left my job before his group began. I could have gone but I was so shook up from my writers block at creative matters that I couldn't bring myself to come to a group that might have helped me process it. I admit that I was ashamed when Rabbi Ben asked me that and saw that I was disconnecting from people with my headphones because it made me realize my problem lately, that I wasn't showing up. I was part of the problem he was complaining about in big ethics and because I respect him greatly I felt shame.
Just yesterday I had a terrible conversation with Josh about how I will always be his side piece and I want a family and somebody who can be with me completely. But my counselor pointed out that this was evidence of real progress, being willing to admit the painful truth I had been denying for so long and finally remove one thorn from my heart. And that thorn which was removed did leave a bleeding hole but also gave that hole a chance to heal. And that night last night after a terrible day I had a magical heart to heart with my mom on the phone and I felt so connected and seen and heard and engaged with her. It left me with another sweet and gentle feeling of love and connection and I went peacefully to sleep despite my anxiety about creative matters.
I showed Austin my videos on YouTube today even though I was terrified he would never see me the same way. He loved the videos. He thought they were fascinating and asked me to marry him and told me he wanted to go camping with me and pick my brain. He said he felt like if I punched him he would fall into a different dimension because I'm some sort of higher being. He asked me if I was real. Of course he was half kidding but I felt really happy somehow. Not that my ego didn't like the stroke and not that I took the ego stroke too seriously. Just a growing affection and connection with I person I am deeply fond of. Once again I felt seen.
And if all this wasn't enough spiritual revelation, I talked to a newer resident here who is older and who offered to teach me a trick about writing. It was just today that my writing block completely overwhelmed and shook me deeply and he didn't know that but he just happened to offer it to me today. So after the meeting he saw me in the garage and taught me the numbers of the fibonacci sequence and how to figure them out for myself. I struggled on the math, which was basic, so badly that I actually felt retarded. But he was patient and didn't judge me. And it was an essential connection I needed to make about the fibonacci sequence, not the idea of it, the fact that it's the pattern of creation, or the image that clicked so well in my mind. But the actual numbers, the numbers themselves, and how to get them yourself. It was a click somehow that felt like a bridge. And then we spoke for an hour about the occult, the spiritual, and the metaphysical. It felt so unlikely and so stimulating and engaging. If Kaylee had not found me on my patio writing about her, I would not have had that conversation with that resident.
I gave him my symbol book and felt an intense ambivalence that I might never see it again. That ambivalence made me aware of what a giant piece the book had played in my life in countless capacities and stages of maturity and thought. I was so scared I may lose it. I could buy another one, but it wouldn't be that one. I considered asking for it back, grabbing it even. But I also felt like I needed to let him show me that I could trust somebody. Also that he needed it more than me at that time. But he picked up on my fear of losing it and recognized what I felt without me saying it: the book was sacred, and he would read it for sure, and he would return in for sure, and if I ever wanted it back, I only had to ask. And then he left for awhile and when he came back he brought me one of his special books. I was drawn to it and recognized immediately that it would be significant to me.
I had amazing conversations with Nate and Rebecca, deep and soulful. When they closed the patio at 10 and we all decided to go to sleep, I hugged everyone on the patio because they all wanted to hug and say goodnight, not just to me alone, everyone wanted to hug. It's not always like this mind you. There's something in the air and the stars align and sometimes God just wants to show you what love truly is. And when I left I heard somebody call the fibonacci sequence man Jason. I had not even known his name! And he was so familiar that when he first came into the house, I thought he'd been there for months.
This morning Bernice gathered everyone to form a giant circle around Noam and hold hands and wish him prayers and good luck on his job interview. It was spontaneous and really strange but we all did it. Nobody said no. And it was sincere. And he got the job. And that's probably not why - it's because Noam is a great person. But that's what it is: they saw how great he was and hired him, we saw how great he was and gave him our prayers and showed him how great we thought he was. So he would be reminded of that.
It's been very special lately. So special and so sacred in ways that are so deep and so clear to me. I fully feel Gods influence in a way I never have before, even when I used to feel like I knew what connection felt like and love meant. Today I feel spiritual and God given love that left me doubtless of divine influence and a warm embrace. How far a simple hug and prayer and listening ear can go.
I guess that's all I have to say for now and everything may change tomorrow. But what I am learning here is that I actually love people and they have amazing things to offer me and spirituality is not entirely self or other but something gracious in between. I know that the magical synchronistic undoubtable white light is never constant, but it's a spotlight in time which runs craggy canyons into the inner eye. I seek it and hope that every day brings me closer to living in the light of love.
sounds like one big synch! same place, same time, same reasons! ride the wave! lol