SPIRITUALITY AND HEALING
Ceremony and Ritual have been an important process for me these last 20 years. I Daven daily, (a Jewish Prayer practice) coupled with prayers in Pali. In 2004, I attended a course called A Weekend with G!D at Elat Chayyim, a Jewish Retreat Centre in Accord, New York. I took part in a Mikveh, thinking it was only for Orthodox Women, and learned about preparing my soul and body for Shabbat and how to say the prayers to support myself into a two day retreat. Prior to this, while growing up, I learnt by rote, mouthing the words as if I understood the meaning and when I sang my heart was closed. However, during this course my heart and soul opened anew. I was able to meet nature, the community, Rabbi's, and myself differently. I began attending Jewish Meditation retreats and learned about the Talmud and Torah. I started to lean into the various prayers and felt a connection with all aspects of my life.
In 2004, a Shaman, from Salt Spring Island, used my home to facilitate a workshop called Reclaiming Our Whole Selves. We journeyed using the drum and rattle. After the workshop, the Sanctuary space was created to build and hold space for me and community events.
I have joined various Buddhist retreats with teachers in Toronto and attended retreats on a yearly basis to support my foundation. During these retreats, alters were offered to us as we sat together in community, walking in silence and I was held in a way that I had not experienced in my life.
I don't dance to
Photo Credit: Tamar Geraci
In 2007, I became a student of the Center of Psychodrama and Sociometry. There I learned about the work of the Protagonist, ritual and ceremony, role reversals and family constellations, all from a body-centred perspective. I remember once I was a table bearing witness to the secrets of a family’s conversation. I used scarves and flowed like
the river as each person moved through their own process. Psychodramatic Bodywork offered a different lens of understanding and helped unpack my story and proved to be a very powerful and energetic practice. My meditation teacher and Spiritual Director, Billee Laskin, offered new and innovative rituals, ceremonies and teaching that deepened self reflection and offered abundant growth. I had my first Simcha Chochmah, coming of age at 50 - A Joy of Wisdom Ceremony. The teaching from the Torah and Dharma were interwoven together. Together with close friends we sang and chanted. I offered myself a walking meditation as the Sanctuary space held the light of the candles and I ceremonially walked to my 50 years of age.
I use sound as healing, listening deeply to the vibrations of the crystal bowl(s), and other instruments. I create altars, using my garden as a place of refuge. I dig into the earth and leave objects or notes like the Wailing Wall in Israel to support presence. Birth Stories, the album I recorded, offers the listener deep drones of the didgeridoo, chanting and an interweaving of funk music.
During my artistic endeavors, my home becomes a cocoon and my practices of creativity are able to unleash themselves into new and vast forms of consciousness. I created a healing garment called For The Merit of the Soul, using my mother’s dressing gown when she departed. I invited in a different lens to our healing together using textile art to share my narrative.
The last 20 years have been a continued practice of lessening the critical and judgemental thoughts and replacing them with love, acceptance and celebration for who I am. Heineni. Here I am. This is supported by a loving kindness practice, Metta in Buddhism and Chesed in Hebrew. Ceremony and ritual have held the suffering that I have embodied and have facilitated a path into joy and loving-kindness.
If I am not for myself,
then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself,
then what am I?
And if not now, when?