Category Archives: Counting the Omer

Renewing my Soul

Emotional Spring Cleaning

Affirming core principles through Kabala.

The last few years have been very hard on me. I am amazed at the extent of my marginalization as a person with a dis-ability, and as an activist who dares to speak up for Palestinian human rights.  The nexus of the two has had an enormous impact on my life.  Almost every time I leave my home I am exposed humiliating and even dangerous situations.  I have had to limit my contact with the outside world.  Pwds (people with dis-abilities) don’t have a ghetto to fall back into (except the  gulag of healthcare facilities and skid row.) We can’t gain comfort in the exclusivity of our exclusion. We make due in the world of those who may some day join us in this marginalized identity, by illness or accident, (serving as a deadly reminder of their own vulnerability).  Andy and I are building a space where I, where we can work, where people can gather, where we can hope to develop a community based on values other than moral relativism, cronyism, opportunism and greed; though it’s hard to go against the grain of the pervading culture. Fueled by the motion picture industry, this is a tit for tat (and a tit and ass) city, and it filters down into almost every relationship.  “What can you do for me?”

This year has been especially devastating for me.  Even limiting my interactions to my own home– an amazing compound that includes supportive neighbors, a small urban farm, a work studio, a gathering place to build connections, I am still constantly hit with messages of marginalization, usually in emails attacking my body politic, defending privilege, making excuses for exclusive events that don’t consider the input or inclusion of pwds as important, essential or valuable.

For middle class activists who have only minimally suffered the ravages of capitalism (if capitalism isn’t a boot on your throat, it’s all theory) there is great impatience.  Friends think I should be “over” this.  Since it isn’t “over”, since the blacklisting and the ridicule and exclusion continues, this demand demonstrates their own intolerance, their own need to see oppression as something that happens somewhere else to someone else, not someone like them.  Their activism is more about assuaging their guilt in measured bursts that don’t challenge their privilege, than about a real battle of life and death. It shows their own inability to understand that for many people, life is a series of events for which there may be little or no escape.  Tragedy isn’t the occasional experience, it IS the experience.  Their activism is based on charity, not solidarity.  They fear and reject seeing any connection to their own lives, the lives they attempt to defend. In my case, and it isn’t just my case, tragedy has revolved around loss of my job due to dis-crimination, the poverty and isolation of single parenthood, the marginalization of my own illness while raising a child with a serious condition, the brutality of the health insurance and “care” system, the social service industry, the educational establishment, lack of services, lack of respect for single mothers, discrimination against my gay, Jewish Mexican son, political marginalization, dis-ability discrimination,death threats, vandalism, sabotage etc. etc. etc.  This isn’t a reality one simply snaps out of.  I can’t just show up at a dinner party or a social or even a political event and discuss these matters as if they were happening to someone else, far away. I can’t avoid bleeding on fine linen.  For me, the death spiral of the capitalist system isn’t theory, and it isn’t temporary.

I find myself in the  grip of  a profound depression, afraid for the end of the world, the incredible loss of life  of those who are expendable to a brutal machine that needs our labor and our minds less and less.  Somedays I wish I could stop breathing. My grief is very deep.  I have an intractable hopelessness.  AND MOST OF ALL, I AM TIRED OF PLATITUDES.  Telling people to “think positive” when they are under attack and in the midst of a terrible reality is actually a very cruel and negative act.  Though it is much easier than actually bearing witness, listening, and taking appropriate action.

Today I woke up, bathing in despair,  thinking, “something has got to give.”  Somewhere in all of  this, there  has to be some salvation.  I hope that I can at least break from my own complicity in the attacks against me and rise up from under my own self doubt, hatred and demoralization.

Counting the Omer

Starting on the second day of Passover, it is tradition and enter into a   49 day period of study of the principles of Kabala. *1 Keter-“Crown” 2 Chochmah-“Wisdom”3 Binah-“Understanding”4 Chesed-“Kindness”
6 Tiferet-“Beauty”
(Secondary emotions:)
7 Netzach-“Victory”
8 Hod-“Splendor”
9 Yesod-“Foundation”
(Vessel to bring action:)
10 Malchut-“Kingship”

So here I am, at a point where I am personally, politically and spiritually mandated to do exactly what is simultaneously indicated by the Hebrew calendar. I appreciate such sinchronicity.  It is rare in my life.

Of course, there remains my own rebelliousness.  Study of Kabala is forbidden to those under the age of 44, and I started studying Kabala when I was 40. It is also not traditional for women to study Kabala.  But unlike many of the Mosaic laws I have broken, I don’t think this one is a capital crime, so there is that!!!  (The religious enforcers may put down their stones at least on this account.)

A few years ago I underwent a deep study of Kabala.  Using my own drawings and writings as meditations,  I published those writings and drawings on this blog.  Feel free to join me and meditate with me on these principles.   I am very lost.  very very lost.  Help me find my way back to something resembling wholeness.

Day one:  loving kindness in loving kindness:


Counting the omer: the end of the journey

The last day of the omer_day 49

text:_the journey is over I have just begun
my life is not what it might appear to be _behind the beauty of my random strokes lies an inner agony _evil images invade my deepest sleep _brutal thugs wage war against my deepest hopes _what is the color of fear? how bitter is it? _the next few months demand transformation_the current realities cannot support me_each stroke of pen is indulgence _i cannot afford food or medicine_this city costs too much.
something must give
my skin explodes. i am a bomb
capitalism is the fuse
i implode
i want a quiet simple life _i am tired of the fight for bread and home
my contradictions with capitalism are not theoretical
today is day 49 of the omer
marking seven weeks of the omer
grounding in grounding I am waiting to land

_my broken pieces_falling_falling_falling_i am the broken one they threw away so long ago_they journey is dark and i am so alone_shadows dance on walls and scream my name
I hope you find some hope to be hoped for…… dissillusionment is a deadly virus…. it could make way even inyo your tomato seeds….. please, smile. _Posted by clown on 06/02/2006 03:58:33 AM

Counting the Omer: Day 48

i _now _know_i can break tablets_on_mountain tops
defy the law_the hegemony
the rule of kings
if one is not counted to rise with us to the top of the mountain, just one excluded from the law or sacrificed for it_It cannot be the work of the creator spirit wonder of all
i pray to the ancestors  frida khalo  emma goldman leon trotsky (I confess) diego rivera  virginia woolf , miriam the prophet  moses (on a good day)  Judith the warrior  rosa luxemburg paolo freire harriet tubman lilith those who show the way
i cannot climb out of bed some days but even then i know i can break tablets on mountain tops and defy those who clam the words of gods.
i am the first born sacrificed on the mountain top.  nothing else will ever do me harm.
yesod shebe malchut
48 days of the omer_six weeks six days of the omer.

Counting the Omer: Day 47

Day 47
i was sitting in my garden watching seedlings grow _planning for future harvests_counting weeds
i’m tired today but not too tired. and i’m not in much pain. so i was sitting this morning, cool and dry, perfect socal morning. as i sat i thought of this omer journey, almost completed, only three days left. today is hod (theory, order, splendor) in malchut (kingdom, sovereignty, grounding) and it occurred to me that i should begin to reflect on the journey, what better day to begin than on the day of theory in grounding. sometimes i find myself on time with a divine calendar, sometimes.
but I don’t know_where am I? _where am I going? _what are these daily ramblings providing? _what does my blog look like as I go back to daily life without the omer journal?
i am still sick and poor. i have yet to join plowshares with other who find themselves likewise, trapped under the wheel of this huge machine. i am still a prisoner of illness and distance. i perhaps have a greater understanding of purpose and direction. but i don’t know if i can make the journey, if the work will come, the money, or other sources of sustenance to provide. i have long discarded middle class mythology: “do what you love the money will follow.” it doesn’t if one makes choices that don’t feed the machine.
i am aware of the death machine and the war me must wage against it. i am aware of the walls of time, of space, of money, of distance, of brick and mortar that stand between us. i no longer pray, and on the rare occasion that i utter words to the heavens, i don’t expect an answer. i expect more from tomato seeds. they respond to me. prayer is for those with money and power so they can convince themselves it was pray and not brutality and bribery that served their interests.
i listen to wind and plants and water; growing things.i’m grateful for fresh bread and tomatoes, cucumbers, homemade soap. i have learned to wait; for the ability to walk, for strength, for change, for love for hope. i can wait forever, forever. i who used to be so impatient; i can wait.
and i mourn for all that is lost, all that is dying around us; hope against the thunderclouds; the impending storm of bombs, bulldozers and the knock on the door.
i am no longer surprised or disillusioned. i know the system doesn’t work. i know my phone is tapped. i know i have no secrets from those who wish to do me harm.
each breath is manifesto

Counting the omer: Day 46

Day 46_six weeks and four days of the omer
creativity inspiration endurance_within within within within within _kingdom sovereignty grounding

Counting the omer: day 45

Text:_beauty harmony balance
kingdom sovereignty grounding
today i have nothing no wisdom at all.  i am grounded in illness and pain, my sovereign pain no harmony
i observe the beauty of growing things
create secret subversive works of art_worthless priceless_in a world of capital and profit
my work is worthless and i do not exist
there is subversive power in the invisibility of insignificance
i live in the shadows i am invisible
i live in an impossible body
broken broken broken broken broken body boken heart heavy load lonely road lonely road lonely road lonely road
i must remember that we never really know the difference we make in the world.

Counting the omer: days 43 and 44

Day 43

Text:_Chesed shebe Malchut
six weeks and one day of the omer
loving kindness within kingdom sovereignty grounding
what does love look like?_does it have form?_does it endure?_is it always kind?_the distance between us_who am i?_who are you?
dance with me
how to dance when i cannot walk
integrity_mine yours what holds us together?
i wander i wonder i wander i wonder i wander
how far do we go for love?
how far does it take us?
where are we going?
love is home
i’m not sure what i am doing
to all my stalkers:_this is not about you.
DAY 44

today is day 44 of the omer marking six weeks and two days of the omer.  strength boundaries limits in kingdom sovereignty grounding and I feel the full impact of my limits.  pain reduces me to a sick woman in am bed.  a faciitis in my right plantars tendon makes walking painful.  i need to do mild stretches and wait for it to heal; the slow mending of cell and sinew.   my neck hips elbow and shoulders also hurt.
so much to do_no body to do it with,
the body has left me and my spirit is stuck in bed.
i need to find work. my pension does not provide for me.  i am in the kingdom; a peasant, a peon and crippled beggar.  i cannot sustain myself here.  everything costs so much.
where am i going?
where is home where is home?
without my foot i cannot walk without my wings i cannot fly.
where am i from?
i have no roots i do not belong anywhere i everything i love has been scattered like old leaves.  nothing connects
separate pieces of broken glass that do  not fit together.

Counting the omer: Day 42

42 Days of the omer

it is the body that leaves the soul
i am frankenstein’s monster_i am kafka’s roach_i am virginia’s lighthouse_i am shakespear’s shrew_i am frida’s journal_i am diego’s calla lilies_i am sor juana’s poems_i am lot’s wife_    and his daughters
i am miriam’s well_i am jesus’ sandal_i am john’s head_i am samson’s hair_i am judith’s knife_i am ethel’s child_i am mary’s blood_I am hope_I am fear_i am promise_i am betrayal_i am tenacity_i am lost_i am wandering_i am heaven_i am hell_i am ancient_i am recent_i am the candle_i am the wick_i am the flame _i am the lamp_i am the lightning bolt_i am the firefly_i am the north star i am bioluminescence_42 days of the omer_malchut shebe yesod

I loved the title of this work. smile._Posted by other-clowns on 05/26/2006 01:41:07 AM

Counting the Omer: Days 40-41

<>Day 40

<>Hod shebe Yesod

how to be whole how to be whole_in a broken world_a jigsaw world of broken connections_alliances promises loyalties hopes bodies
even when we touch we can be so far away
day 40 splendor theory order
the foundation of righteousness
hod shebe yesod
It is hard to tend to art when there are bread and butter needs
how to bring art and justice into every day life
how to live a whole life_how to tend to work_how to find sustaining work that doesn’t take away from who I am_doesn’t strip away at my essential tasks _essential self
how to be whole in a broken body
being right doesn’t put food on the table_being right doesn’t make house; home
<>Day 41

<> yesod shebe yesod
the foundation of righteousness in the foundation of righteousness

Counting the Omer: Day 39

Text:_39 days_five weeks 4 days of the omer
netzach within yesod
creativity endurance inspiration
the foundation of righteousness
paradise is what we create_a tapestry of fine thread and delicate fiber_a garden of luscious fruit_libraries of ancient texts_and new ideas_stories told at the rim of campfires
mountain springs of crystal clean water
the dance of children_the rainbow of paint_on_cascades of the canvas
flute_piano_cello_ a harmony of collective vision imagery

Did the clown say to you yesterday that he loves the work of Frida….. well, don’t believe him… its me who used to have some of her paintings…. he stole them…. and now claims to people that he had gone through them…. I loved your posts._Posted by other-clowns on 05/23/2006 01:58:06 PM
Oh! My wretched ol’ alter ego, spreading all the wrong rumours about me…. trust me, Emma, I really used to have her paintings myself….. and had nothing to do this other clown._Posted by clown on 05/23/2006 02:01:41 PM
Hah! Don’t worry mate, she won’t believe you._Posted by other-clowns on 05/23/2006 02:04:07 PM