Forgivin’ is Livin’

by Jane Tawel

“Fake Bird, Real Sky” by Daveography.ca is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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Forgivin’ is Livin’

By Jane Tawel

November 19, 2022

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Forgive my assumptions

that lead me to doubt

that You have guided and gifted me.

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Forgive my forgetting

the times that pure Grace

was all that protected and lifted me.

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Forgive my instructions

that force You to choose

whether Your will or my will is done.

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Forgive me the most

for the things that I boast of

while neglecting it all came through grace.

And help me, today,

to walk in a New Way,

that one day, We may stand face to Face.

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Forgive that I choose

to be lazy or greedy

and to live in a life based on fear.

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May I do what is hardest,

and forgive me, Myself;

to stop looking outside me,

for there’s nothing to right me,

but the Love that’s inside me,

and has always been here.

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Forgiving is freeing

You, you, and you.

Forgiving is seeing

that all that is True,

is Faith, Hope, and Love—

all the rest will be past,

and all that will last,

is whatever I’ve given

to bring to earth, Heaven.

Oh! “for-givin’” is livin’

in Eternity now.

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“Go, now, your sins are forgiven. Which is harder to say? Your body is healed or your soul is healed? You have forgiven yourself in the same measure that you have forgiven others. Forgive yourself as We forgive you. Forgive, and Live.” (Paraphrased from The Wise One)

© Jane Tawel, 2022

Getting Old

Jane, Bryce Canyon, 2022

Getting older has a lot of downsides but on the plus side, when you know people already assume certain things about you because of the color of your hair or the texture of your skin, you don’t mind as much as you did when you were young if they think you are crazy or weird if you speak your mind. Yesterday, I had a medical test — another one (ugh) and I looked at the very efficient and young technician and when we were finished, I looked her in the eye and smiled my crooked old-lady-toothed smile and said “Enjoy every minute of your life. It goes by faster than you think it will.” When you are older you get more medical tests and that’s a bummer because you realize your health is going, going, and will sooner rather than later be gone, and especially if you are a woman and an old woman at that, you realize the medical profession prefers to think it’s all in your head or that removing the pain is the answer because there aren’t really any answers that will “cure you” of an old body breaking down and letting go, but on the plus side, you have a lot more empathy for people who come into this world with two strikes against them healthwise, or who live a lifetime in this prejudicial world, and prejudice-wise have always had to deal with people judging them on how they look or don’t look and you feel a new sense of love for humanity and you hope that kind of not getting anything in return kind of love translates into a new sense of love for yourself — for others AND for little old you. Because empathy just might be the one thing that when translated into truthful, take no prisoners, absolute, crazy Love can change even an old heart and body and mind and soul. Sometimes when people see you as an old lady somewhere like a doctor’s office or a grocery store or your workplace or even your own home with friends and family, you want to say, “you don’t really see me. The real me is not this old shell.” 

And maybe that’s just another lesson to learn, that if I am very, very quiet and patient, and open the ears of my heart and eyes of my understanding, then I might see the real you, the real him, the real her, the real them and when I really see them, well, then all I can do is love. Because the only thing in the universe that is worth seeing and holding on to is the Truth of Love. I choose to hope that Love is the one thing that might remain forever. Love never seems to have grown old for me, and I think that is because in whatever this real world might be or become, Love never grows old.

© Jane Tawel, 2022

What Will I Do with Love Today?

What Will I Do with Love Today?

By Jane Tawel

July 21, 2022

“Clouds — Summer 2014” by Pam_Broviak is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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What will I do with Love, today?

What will I do with my love?

Will I open my hands?

Will I walk in The Way?

Will I watch what I say?

Will I trust and obey?

Oh, what will I do;

what now will I do,

what will I do with Love?

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What will I feel with Love, today?

What will I feel with my love?

Will I hurt with a friend?

Will I forgive and mend,

all the fences that others might tend?

Will I suffer the cross?

Will I risk feeling loss?

Will I laugh hard and long?

Will I sing a new song?

Will I to my fears die?

And without asking why,

will I quickly employ

the strong will of true joy?

Oh, what will I feel with my Love, today?

Yes, what will I feel with Love?

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What will I be for Love, today?

Oh, what will I be for God’s Love?

Will I truly embrace,

every person and place,

as the Kingdom on Earth, as Above?

Will I let my beliefs,

take a humble back-seat,

to the needs of the world in this Time?

Will I know The Sublime?

Seek until I, Truth, find?

Will I make the world’s treasures as naught?

Will I with peace, leave every self- thought?

Will I brave the true lessons Christ taught?

Will I be, and not strive?

Will I be freely alive?

Oh, let me be only true Love today.

Oh, let me be all and all Love.

*

© Jane Tawel, 2022

And What Will I Be When I’m Gone?

“…Time…” by ĐāżŦ {mostly absent} is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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And What Will I Be When I’m Gone?

By Jane Tawel, June 26, 2022

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And what will it be, when I am gone?

When All is gone, when all of “I” is gone?

No and Yes,

Oh, what will I be when I am gone?

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And what will I see, when I am gone?

In fact, will I see at all?

Or will there be a different sense,

a sense beyond all sight?

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Oh, what will I hear, when I am gone?

Will I still listen to the day’s news?

Will I still hear the birds? Will I listen to you?

Or will my heart be tuned to The Song,

The Song of The Stars,

The Song of The Sun,

The Song of Eternity’s Hymn?

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Oh, what will I feel when I am gone?

Will my heart still beat in my chest?

Will my feelings of fear dissipate like the dew?

Will my feelings of love remain?

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Oh, now is the time to feel and feel more,

and to rage and to hold lovers close.

Oh, now is the time to feel and feel more,

and to shun fear for power in Love.

Oh, Now is My Time,

and I will it to be,

what Creator and human can feel, hear and see,

when We work hand in Universe — 

Universal Design.

And I will resign myself to being strong,

and to see time is short but Eternity’s long.

Oh, I will not tear down, but I will build up,

and I’ll fight all the darkness within and without,

with a whimper, a whisper, a cry and a shout!

And I will not see this Time that I’ve been given,

as anything but my one chance at True Living.

I will sing all the Love songs.

I’ll fight darkness til’ Dawn.

And I’ll seek Light’s True Love,

til’ I’m gone.

© Jane Tawel, 2022

The Flag We Really Need Right Now is Love

“Rainbow Flag at Oxford Pride” by Datchler is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Flag We Really Need Right Now is Love

By Jane Tawel

June 14, 2022

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It is the fault in us, Horatio, and not in our star-struck eyes.

It is society, and the culture of our own bent and broken time and place,

that has informed us, tried to misshapen us, and taught us falsely

that our sexuality is our identity.

Whether I have been straight or gay or I prefer to check “neither of the above”;

when I have let people think that my sex or my ex,

or my having or not having a certain defined relationship to my gender,

is what defines me,

then I have succumbed to the ills of the age.

I have fallen prey to the false religion of our times.

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And the religion of this place and time is

that what I Do is Who I Am.

This world will try to tell me that what I do,

in the board room or the back room or the bedroom,

IS who I am.

But “IS” is not defined by some public agency.

“IS” is the agency of being.

“IS” is a being verb.

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And yet, being is the scariest, most active thing a person can “do”;

and yet once one decides that being who she is,

is more important than any thing she does,

then he can be the very best self they want to be.

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“Can’t we all just get along?”

Oh, I am old enough, if not yet wise enough,

to glimpse that when I fight you, I give you more strength;

but if I giggle and guffaw at how you try to define me,

and if I but hold my pride and need for you to approve,

as lightly in my hands as Mother Teresa held the lepers,

then I defeat your ability to tell me who I am.

I don’t need to heal myself of my gender or my sex or my color or my race.

I only need to heal myself of the world’s definitions, not of who I am,

but healed of the false definitions of who the world says, I can not become.

All I need is healing to become my true self,

and that doesn’t come from out there,

but from inside of me.

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Who I choose to love is not the truth of me.

The truth of me is that I choose.

The truth of me is that I choose to love;

choosing to love me and love you.

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Why do we fly so many different flags?

The flag we really need right now is love.

Why do we carry so many weapons of heart ache and words?

The only weapon we should be carrying is the weapon of unfettered hope.

Why do we put our faith in the gods of definitions?

The only God we need is the One beyond all defining.

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No, what the world has told us is not the truth.

Are we all too afraid to unmask the lies?

Or are we too used to living behind our masks

to recognize the lies we live within ourselves?

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Surely nothing is true when it becomes the mile-marker of who I am.

World, I take your erasable markers writ on me

and I use my magic eraser of self-worth,

to clear the chalk-board of your scribbles on my soul

and then write in large letters of indelible ink:

“I Am Worthy.”

I am much greater than my color or my creed,

my gender or my sex,

my body or my intelligence.

I am not checked-off boxes on the world’s identification censuses.

I am proud to be myself,

but I don’t need your pride in me to give me my grade.

And I don’t even need my own pride in myself

because I am worth more than ego-fulfillment by anyone’s standards,

even the standards I have sucked in

from the world’s alluring but empty teats.

I won’t accept your judgement or mine.

I don’t need anyone’s a-okay.

I am great, not because of anything I do or don’t do.

I am wonderful;

because who I am

is enough.

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No, whom I choose to love is not for anyone to judge,

except of course, for me and them.

Because they that I love will be the only ones

who hold the scales of judging any thing.

What we are all just trying to do,

no matter who we say we are, is this — 

We are all just trying to love and be loved.

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No, who I choose to love is not about my gender or my color or my sex

or my race or my religion

or my nation or my education or my station.

But That I do love

any one,

Wholly,

Completely,

Sacrificially,

Truthfully and truly,

with all my heart, soul, and mind — 

That is all that has ever defined any of us,

ever.

And if the body, which is only a symbol and nothing more,

follows the heart in that love,

then that can not be me

if it is just my gender or my sexual self alone.

My body, my symbol,

And all symbols, whether of peace signs,

Or crosses, or raised fists, or rainbows,

All symbols merely point the way

to true and whole being.

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No one defines me, but me.

And if God defines me too,

Then She defines me obviously not by gender, since THEY have none.

No, definitions are meant for crumbs to lead us on the way,

But they are not The Way,

For there is neither Greek nor Jew or male or female,

But all are One. Or so it is foretold.

And also, just to point out,

who we shall be, our true definitions,

are unknown by all,

even ourselves;

except, I believe (and hope) that

who we are and who we will become is known,

by that Universal Good that some call God,

and some call Awakening, and some call Woke-ness, and some call simply,

Love.

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My body, my choice.

My I.D., my voice.

Their silence, my noise.

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But when the world has told me that because

I am a woman, I have to be a “feminist” to get the same rights as a man;

or because I am a white man, I should be a “proud little boy”;

or because I am not heterosexual, I have to fight for my rights in only one month out of the year;

or that because I am Black or Native, my great history

should be separated from the history books because it makes imperialists uncomfortable;

Or that because I work with my hands or live in this neighborhood or talk with an accent,

that I must be “deplorable”

and not bright enough to know that something is wrong,

very, very, very wrong.

Then if this is who I am,

and who you are,

then shouldn’t we all stand up for each other and say — 

Don’t we have to say,

“There is nothing wrong in us.

There is something wrong with the systems

that set us up to use definitions against each other.”

NO! it is not some thing “wrong” in me or in you — 

It is the deep, deep wrong in the unseen and unseeing energies,

in the systems allowed to mutate the narrative,

against our wills.

It is something wrongly seen and lived in the whole set-up

of the place and the time in which we live.

But we can right it.

We can if we believe we can.

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We must make it right, if not for ourselves, for our children,

and for the children of the birds, and fish, and trees.

Let’s right this ship,

so that our children have easier sailing,

so that there is a Mother-Ship left for them to sail;

and a planet and world in which the tides are always running in our grandchildren’s favor.

Are you in or out?

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When the Powers that Be

try to define me,

I want to say: “No More!”

And when the Powers that Be,

try to define you,

I will say: “Enough!

I stand with her or him or them, and we have had enough.”

I want to stop fighting you, my brother and my sister.

Let’s link arms and fight what does not want us to be free together.

When the Powers that Be,

try to define me,

I want to stop fighting within my better self,

and I want to laugh at them and say:

I don’t need to show you or prove to you who I am.

I don’t need to fight the Powers for my pride.

My ego, my pride, doesn’t come from anything that I do,

or any one I do it with,

or any one I do it for.

The egos and powers of the age don’t define me.

And neither do they define my neighbor.

My neighbor and I will begin this day

to redefine ourselves

as mutually

Human.

And my only goal will be to be a better human Being,

and to let you be the best human Being you can be, too.

And now, let us become.

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As a matter of fact, my ego trips me up and defeats me.

That’s what ego-trips do.

Just like your ego, whatever name or pronoun or adjective it goes by,

does to you.

Now don’t get me wrong,

the problem with pride, is that our world hasn’t given some folks

as much self-esteem as they have handed out freely to others.

But when did people start letting governments and nations

and religions and institutions

define us?

“I am Human! Hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore.”

If we are honest, don’t we all realize somewhere deep inside,

that only those we love and who love us can define us.

And the definition of Love is — 

Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? All the poets and saints and gurus and teachers and lovers in the entire history of the world have never been able to define Love.

But we all know real Love when we see it.

And we all know real Love when we are it.

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Beloved children of the One Great Parent:

To be a part of the ONE, means we are One.

And that is beyond anyone’s understanding of who any one of us is.

And if I know I am One with The One, and One with all of you,

then no definitions of who we are, are ever necessary again.

We are One in Love.

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And so, we march for pride,

and march for justice,

and march for life,

and march for rights,

And Oh Yes!

we should be, must be

marching, marching, marching,

with hearts pounding,

like the drum beats of reckoning and righteousness.

And we have always had to march.

But can not you and I also walk gently and peacefully together

in The Way –

together just as we are,

today?

Does it really matter what color I am,

Or where on the spectrum you are,

as long as we live,

and as long as we love,

we are all a part of the same Rainbow?

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We march for justice and freedom and happiness and love for all,

Rolling down like thunder.

And we march not just for our sense of justice, but for the kind of mercy for everyone,

that we think that we ourselves deserve.

And we march not just for who we think we are,

but we march for what all humans

are meant to have been,

and still might become.

We march for what we are meant to be

with a bit less ego,

and a bit less humility,

and a bit less fear,

and a bit less anger,

and a bit less defeated-ness,

and a bit less push for success,

and a bit less power,

and a bit less powerlessness,

and a bit less pride,

and a bit less sense of worthlessness,

and with less of all that –

we could find so much more within ourselves — 

and find within us

a lot, a lot, a lot more love.

Well, you may say that I’m a dreamer.

But I’m not the only one.

I hope someday, you’ll join us.

Then the world will live as One.

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Even our marches,

should not define us.

No, what defines each of us

is what a once powerful guy

who gave up his power for Love once said:

“If I have not love, I am like a loud, brassy gong,

Cuz without love, I am nothing.” — 

We live on a planet with lots of sounds,

full of fury but signifying nothing.

Full of fury, but too much in a hurry to be defined.

And we raise our voices or raise our fists,

not with enough self-esteem to see it isn’t about just our own team.

Without love we are all just blinding ourselves with giant planks,

while picking the splinters’ out of our neighbor’s eyes,.

And if I am blind, then I won’t see,

that I am still letting the Powers that Be,

define me.

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Take back your power to love who you want to love.

But make sure you are truly, and truthfully,

Loving someone.

Because some of us have learned the hard way,

that we use other people

to define ourselves or get the love we need,

and that has never been

and will never be enough true meaning;

without love, no one’s identity can ever

be enough to live by.

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So, love yourself for who you know yourself to be.

And then find as many people as you can to love as they are.

And then with those we call our enemies who seem hard to love — 

Don’t love them for who they are defining themselves as,

but love them for who you secretly define yourself as –

a beloved child of The Super Power of Great and Mighty Love.

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Because when our bodies are gone,

and our minds are gone,

and our marches are in the dust bin of history –

Love will remain.

Not just in pride month,

not just in Black History month,

not just at Gentile or Jewish or Hindu holiday months,

not just in the U.S. of A.

or in the Ukraine or in Babylon or Rome,

not just in A.D. or B.C. or in AC/DC,

and not just in you or in me.

But Only Love will Remain.

Only honest-to-goodness-no-matter-who-you-are

Love

will remain,

Forever.

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I offer you here,

All the pride you need –

Be proud to be

wholly and completely the love you have in your heart.

Be Love.

Be You.

All you need to know with the certainty

of place-lessness, and time-lessness,

and face-lessness, and mind-lessness,

and me-moreness and you-moreness,

all we need

this month, this year, this century, this place and time

this moment –

all you need to be whole-ly you, proud to be you, humbled to be chosen to be you,

all that is needed to know who I am and who you are –

is love.

Be You.

Be Love.

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© Jane Tawel, June 2022

He Bought Every Thing

“A Pile of Money” by veken is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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He Bought Every Thing

By Jane Tawel

June 12, 2022

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He bought up every thing in the whole, whole wide world.

He bought all the pleasures, the birds and the bees.

And he plotted and planned how to buy even more,

as he gassed the whole planet and chopped down all the trees.

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He bought all the finish lines, so he won all the races.

He bought so many mansions, he couldn’t remember all the places.

He bought a new spouse and he bought a new face,

and when he owned the whole planet, he bought outer space.

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This man for an instant in time was quite famous.

This rich, famous man owned the world — the whole cosmos!

Who is he, you ask? Who is this great mystery?

No one knows any more, he is buried in history.

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The richest and ruling-est here on this earth,

think that profit and power reveal one’s true worth.

But even by owning every thing one can buy,

no one can buy out of the fact we all die.

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The poor man bought every thing, below and above,

But in the end, what he never owned — was what lasts –

only Love.

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“For what is the lasting profit, if we gain the whole world, but in the process lose our souls.” (Jesus of Nazareth, dirt poor but definitely remembered by history)

© Jane Tawel, June 12, 2022

Maybe It’s For the Best

“Tree” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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Maybe It’s For the Best

By Jane Tawel

June 1, 2022

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I haven’t lost my faith.

No, I’ve just lost my knowledge;

and maybe that’s the best, the very best place to be.

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I haven’t lost my faith,

I’ve forfeited the facts.

And maybe that’s the best, the very best way to see.

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I’ve given up my hope,

in something great, somewhere out there.

But now I’m seeking hope,

in little old you and me.

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I’ve given up on hoping,

that there’s a god who’s for me.

And now I only cling to hope,

that I plus Christ make Three.

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I don’t believe in love,

that’s never enough and never been free.

But with a seed of faith,

and just a finger-hold on hope,

I do believe that Love

abides forever with you and me.

*

Sometimes if feels so sad and scary,

not knowing what I believe.

But maybe it’s all for the best,

to give up my knowing and striving.

Yes, maybe it’s for the best,

to give up my fears of living and dying.

Yes, it must be all for The Best,

to seek only the Unknown I Am,

to be in the moment unknowing, but known,

in which all that remains — 

just the faith, hope and love — 

is this moment, — this Now — 

This is where I find rest.

*

© Jane Tawel, June, 2022

My Worry-Bed, My Garden-Bed, My Bed of Nails, My Ocean

by Jane Tawel

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My Worry-Bed, My Garden-Bed, My Bed of Nails, My Ocean

By Jane Tawel

February 23, 2022

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Here am I,

in my Worry-Bed,

my Bed of Nails,

my wanderings,

down trails and trails,

of past and future ruts well-worn.

I’ve come to make my nest of thorns.

I lay me down,

my soul to rend,

my fears to tend,

like blood-sucking friends,

I let them in, again and again.

Dreams aborted, bashed and torn,

I fill the spaces in my head,

with raging demons, dead — 

and not yet born.

*

Here I am,

in my Garden-bed.

I come to plant and tend and seed.

I lay me down,

my soul to keep,

and furrows clean and straight,

my seeds of fear are shorn,

right at the roots.

From weeds of worry,

stones of grief,

I plough the field of dreams towards truth.

I water drop by precious drop

the flowers of joy and plants of peace.

Without a need to grasp or climb,

but letting go of all but faith

in God’s protecting, mindful vines,

that reach and curl and hold and keep

Gardens of peace and love entwined.

*

I rise up from my bed of nails,

exhausted from the fight and flight.

Oh, to wake and die no more,

to know all blindness, is now sight.

Oh, to find my tossing, turning nights,

have reached at last that tranquil shore.

I rise up from The Ocean-Bed

A wave, unique and wholly me.

I, a wave, in God’s great Sea,

and I am I, and I am Thee.

And in Love’s cradle,

even night is Light.

*

© Jane Tawel, February 24, 2022

Meditation-1, Prayer – 0

The Sound of Silence: Leaf
“The Sound of Silence: Leaf” by fotologic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Meditation -1, Prayer – 0

By Jane Tawel

January 12, 2022

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If I meditate on you,

seeing through you today,

as you were when young, as you will be when old,

then all my telling and all I am told,

fades away, and I see you.

and I see me, at last,

free;

but it is a freedom, frightening,

and I prefer to chain myself again

to outcomes and perceptions.

I will try again tomorrow,

to see through you to the little child,

and I will replant my own seed

in the womb of wholeness,

at least if only

for just a fleeting moment of conception.

In new conception, one finds Eternal Love.

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If I meditate on You,

I feel fear and uncertainty,

because I think of You as a thought,

and that You should be somewhere.

Instead, You are every where,

The Seeker and the Sought are One.

I despair—

You are never going to come,

but You are here and now, instead,

and that I can’t get through my head,

and my heart aches with the anger of my aloneness.

If I but give myself away,

to lack of desire and lack of days,

then Eternity creates anew,

the me in You.

*

Give way, oh my Mind, to Heart of pure release.

Remorse is but a fire consuming,

but repentance waters the seeds of True Life.

What is a prayer, if not a certainty of Answering?

And the answer comes in Silence,

and the Silence is the womb.

*

© Jane Tawel, January 12, 2022

A Letter to Remember

Hello All,

Many of you know my mom passed away this summer. No day will ever be quite the same for me, but especially this season of Christmas, will never be the same — Mom loved Christmas.  In the first picture here is an ornament from one of my mother’s and our favorite places in the world (Winona Lake’s Warsaw Cut Glass). It has my mom’s earthly dates on it and this: “She loved Christmas and she loved us”. If you knew my mom, you would know that of course, the Season of Giving was her favorite time of year.  I hope she is enjoying playing Broadway show tunes or Christmas songs on some big heavenly piano today as she often did on earth.

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The second picture, from a Christmas my Mom spent here in CA with us — well thankfully, Mom is not seeing it, since she would not like how she looks, but it is a good reminder that with True Love, no one really cares how we look, do they? We enjoy very much this whole idea of little poor minority, Jewish baby Jesus in a stable, and then we forget that there were no kings and gifts then, (that we added on later), and there was only fear, and lack, and uncertainty, and ugliness, and nationalism, and loss, and grieving, and pain (childbirth not least among the pain). There was nothing — not even a home. But there was the most important thing. There was true and great Love. And there was Hope. And there was the kind of joy that is deeper than happiness, the kind of joy we like to think that angels sing about.

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Oh, yes, this is a lovely season of remembering; not one story about one baby, but all of our stories about love in adversity and love in the good times, and joy in the very present moment. As both Jesus’ ancestors and future religious descendants would advise: “Remember”. “Never forget” “Store these things in your heart.” Remember so you can be present in this moment to the absolute joy that you are alive and have been loved and are loved.

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So, as we wrap up a year, and it has been quite a year! — and as we wrap up our gifts for each other, and wrap our arms around each other, and wrap our minds around another year of uncertainty, and loss, and pain, and for so many, too much of nothing or sorrow or need — we need to be reminded — Remember! — that all that ever matters, all that ever remains, is the Love.
Remember the love. Seek the love. Embrace the love. Be the love.

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Be the hope for someone today. Be the joy for someone today. And above all–Be the love.

This is a wonderful season to remember that what we really care about are those we love, and to let the people we care about know it. “Taking Care” — that’s really what the whole Christmas story is about, isn’t it? It is a good season to remember that we humans long to worship something or Someone that takes care of us, even if we are naughty and not nice, even if our doubts overwhelm our faith, even if we have erred hugely in our relationships with others and ourselves, even if we, like the little drummer boy, have nothing to give in return . So the question is — if we long for that kind of care and love despite ourselves, and despite the other person, isn’t the message of Christmas about our deep need to give that care and love to others, even the ones we find it hard to love? Didn’t little baby Jesus eventually grow up to tell and live that story?

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It’s a good time to remember that Baby Jesus was blessed enough to grow up to be a man, and a good time to read some of the stuff he said when he wasn’t a baby any more. It can rock your world. I’m trying more and more to let it rock mine, but I won’t kid you, it’s not easy, which is another thing we have to remember little baby Jesus the grown-up said. No, true love is not easy. But then, the great and true things in life are worth the price, aren’t they? Isn’t that what we are trying to symbolize with our crazy gift giving and decorating and feasting Holy-days — that Love is priceless? I know my mom believed that. I have read that is what Jesus thought, too.

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My mom was a giddy crazy lady around Christmas time. Price tags were meaningless to her. And she had a horrible time waiting for anything. Unlike I, advent and anticipation  did not bring her happiness. There was never too much — there was just so much to give! I once mentioned I liked nativity scenes and needed some ornaments for the tree — so Mom would send not one, but three nativity sets and keep sending ornaments and decorations, and yes, more nativity sets, every year. Putting them up this year made me cry those tears you get — you know the ones — where you cry because you are so sad and missing someone but you are sort of smiling and laughing and happy too because you feel so much love still warming up your insides from memories and thoughts of that person, who is also making you cry. Remember. And so it goes.

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My kids and husband don’t know it yet, but I also got a little remembrance “thingy” to give them each this Christmas,  that commemorates their grandparents, Raoul’s folks, Esther and Gaston Tawil. One year my dearly beloved father-in-law took me to Fedco or Feddies as he called it and we bought some special little fragile Christmas ornaments for the tree. Each year I put the ones that have survived on the tree and think of him. And our first Christmas with our first child, Justine, we flew to D.C. to spend with Gaston and Esty and Uncle Guy and I bought them ridiculous ugly Christmas sweatshirts with something along the lines of Proud Grandmother and Grandfather of Baby’s First Christmas. You can see below how delighted they were to wear those ugly sweaters, even though my mother-in-law had such style and beauty, she wore that ugly thing so proudly. Look at her face below looking at her new granddaughter. There was no one who could squeal with pleasure like Esty Mizrahi Tawil and Gaston would chuckle with delight as he spent time with each of his four dearly loved grandkids. Esty left us all far, far too soon and Gaston is with her and my mom now too. Ah, I miss them so very, very much. But what a lucky, lucky human I am to have such memories to store up in my heart. Never forget.

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My mom’s and Raoul’s parents’ wonderful Christmas spirit lives on — especially in their grandkids, my children, who aren’t children any more, but who keep the traditions, keep the good things, do a great job of working on healing the bad things, are incredibly giving humans, and who each live lives that did make and would make their “Gram” and Papa Tawil and Grandma Esty proud.

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So yeah, this year we sent a traditional Christmas “brag” letter, because when my mom was bragging about her own children and grandchildren she was happier than anything. I am proud of my husband and my kids, and I am working on being proud of myself. I am proud to be the play-it-forward carrier of my mom, my dad, my grandparents, and my parents-in-law.  I miss them so much. I remember and I am here now and I will do my best to carry forward all the love. All the love.

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So Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years to you all. Hug your loved ones close, even if they squirm. Study something or listen to something that brings you both joy and growth.  Find forgiveness for others and yourselves for everything. As a different but gloriously similar tradition to the one Jesus believed but which teaches truth as Christ’s many parables taught, let the negative seeds within you go unwatered and nurture the positive seeds that also lie within you so they may grow to the size of huge mustard plants —  huge Christmas trees.

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Remember the good and the love and let it grow within you, this season, and every day you are blessed to wake up.  Whatever you celebrate, celebrate with abandoned joy in the very present precious moment. Take care of yourself. Take care of your loved ones. Take care of strangers. Take care of your enemies. Take care of the world and the planet.

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You are loved. You are love. Remember that.

With Love, Jane

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Jane Tawel, December 2021