MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Return Again

Posted by mbamommy on October 10, 2011

As I believe I’ve mentioned, I’m Jewish.  J, Z and S are all Catholic.  This was a decision J and I made before we were married.  I’m not exactly sure when we made the decision, it was a 6 month process…..somewhere between dating/living together and being engaged.  It was the most difficult, soul-searching decision I had ever made in my life.  And one that I think about almost every day, even now, almost 10 years later.  J and I believed it would be the most difficult challenge we ever faced in our lives….the most difficult thing we’d have to confront together.  Z’s Asperger diagnosis certainly blew that one out of the water, but it’s still a big one.

Maybe someday I’ll write a full post about that time.  Maybe.  But not now.  I don’t think I’m quite ready to share all of that just yet.

What I will say is that it was the right decision for J and I.  And, it was the harder decision for me.

My relationship with Judaism…and organized religions in general….has always been somewhat spotty.  Nothing fit quite right.  I remember going to High Holy Day services as a kid and I not enjoying it.  The first thing I would do was check to see how many pages the service was so that I knew how much longer I had to sit there.  I never felt comfortable speaking all the “Thank you Yahweh” stuff.  I just didn’t feel it.  I did love the songs though.  I’ve always loved singing the Hebrew songs I grew up with.  And the one highlight from services as a kid was the moment that I’d catch my Rabbi’s eye.  And, he’d wink and smile at me and I’d smile back.  That always made me feel special.

Through college and beyond I rarely went to services.  Some of the time, I’d completely forget that the High Holy Days were upon us and be surprised when my Jewish co-workers were out of the office.  Whoops.  Bad Jew.

Even in recent years, when it’s become so much more important to me to go to services, I still dislike going. But I am the one who will introduce Judaism to my Catholic children.  I’m the one responsible for what type of relationship they’ll have with their mother’s religion. I’d guilt trip myself into going to either the evening or morning services….drag J along and then feel uncomfortable with all the “Yahweh” stuff again.  I’d rarely stay for the whole service and I’d rarely fast on Yom Kippur.  Bad Jew.

And, the negativity I’ve felt.  The disappointment I’ve felt from other Jews because of my decision to raise my children Catholic hasn’t made it any easier not to be a Bad Jew.

At least until this year.  This year, I found an organization here in Denver called Judaism Your Way.  It’s not a temple, but they hold services throughout the year and do life cycle events.  The Rabbi was trained in the Reconstructionist movement, which is new to me (I grew up Reformed).  It’s extremely open to anyone and everyone: jewish, non-jewish, interfaith, straight, gay, old, young, super religious, super atheist and anyone in between.  Their motto is “Wherever you are on your Jewish journey, we’ll meet you there.”  And, they truly do.  The services are free and open to anyone.  The Rabbi was more than happy to sit down with me, discuss my situation and offer advice and resources that he thought would help me.  He accepted me, my decision and my family for what we are.  And welcomed me to join.

So, I went to services this year.  My plan was to go to the evening service and then the kid’s service the following morning.  I figured that’d be enough religion for me for the year.  And, I’d be including my kids into an easy to digest, fun way of participating in the High Holy Days.

What happened was just short of amazing.  I enjoyed going to services.  Let me repeat that.  I enjoyed going to services.  I didn’t feel uncomfortable speaking the words along with the rest of the congregation because they weren’t all “Yahweh this and Yahweh that.”  There was some of that, of course, but it was much more focused on the spirituality of the religion.  Of using religion to understand yourself.  The songs we sang felt like a comfortable, soft,  well-loved blanket.  They brought me to tears.  They fit my mood.  They lifted me up.  I loved the rabbi’s sermons.  They actually put on a performance the morning of Yom Kippur instead of strictly reading from the torah.  They brought it to life and made it relevant.  Yom Kippur services were 2.5 hours.  And it went by in a flash.

That has NEVER happened before.

I had planned on only going to the evening services and kid services.  I wound up going to the evening, kid and morning services.  Both S and Z loved the kids services….we sang “L’shana Tova” for the rest of the day after Rosh Hashanah services…all while picking berries at a local farm (we couldn’t find apples….but, it was the same general idea).

It was a wonderful High Holy Days experience for me.  The first I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in a very long time.

There was one song that they opened each service with that resonates enormously with me.  It has a haunting melody and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.  Because, again, instead of focusing on God, it focuses on the individual, on knowing who you are and where you are in your life.  I’m pretty sure there’s a Hebrew version of it out there somewhere, but, true to their goal of being as inclusive as possible, they sang this in English. As was a vast majority of the service.

Return again.  Return again.  Return to the home of your soul.

Return to who you are.

Return to what you are.

Return to where you are.

Return again.  Return again.  Return to the home of your soul.

Now, here’s the thing.  Two weeks ago was Rosh Hashanah.  This past weekend was Yom Kippur.  Next weekend I’m going to a weekend yoga and meditation retreat in the mountains.  And I feel like all three events will speak to me in similar ways.  And I feel like I will gain something out of each and every one of them.

At the end of the day, I am Jewish.  It’s as much a part of me as my hair and eye color, the shape of my body, and how my mind works. It’s a piece of me, although not all of me.  And, I feel like I’ve finally found a place where it fits quite nicely.

And this, my friends, is what I want to pass along and how I want it passed to my children.

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I am Zen Mommy

Posted by mbamommy on April 12, 2011

(Jacquie W, if you’re reading this, yes, I’m borrowing your FB post line from way back when.  Hope that’s ok!)

In this recent quest of mine to stop being stupid via focusing on one thing at a time (aka STOP multitasking), I’ve discovered meditating.  OK…..stop laughing…rolling your eyes….groaning…I KNOW. Meditating?  Really?  Dude, I’ve totally moved back to CO, right?  Next thing you know, I’ll stop shaving, grow dreadlocks and start following the Dead.  Oh wait…they’re dead (at least Jerry, and, come on, he’s the only one I know).

Besides, I already tried on the hippie bit back in college in Boulder….it didn’t fit….I like showering too much.

But, I digress.

Yes, folks.  Meditating.  Now, you have to understand, this is not the first step down this path that I’ve taken.  I’ve been eating (mostly) Primal for about 6 months (more on that in another post), with much leeway to fall off the wagon, I buy almost 100% organic, I get my milk delivered to my doorstep from a local dairy, I work out regularly (including yoga) and I recently went to a Naturopath.

I’m guessing your starting to say “Huh?” and “Why?”.  Or just shaking your head and thinking “Man, that altitude has really gotten to her.”  And, yes, folks, even though it’s legal in this state for medicinal purposes, I am NOT smoking anything.

This is all in the pursuit of being a better ME.  Being a better MBA, a better MOM, a better MRS…and mostly just a plain old better ME.

See, I didn’t realize it while it was happening, but the past few years have been nuts.  With so much going on, so much to deal with, so many changes, I kind of lost touch with the present.  And, apparently, that’s what meditation is all about.  Being present. Frankly, that’s what all these life changes are about.

I know that sounds a little odd, but think about it.  How much of your time is spent thinking/reliving the past or stressing/planning for the future?  When you’re multitasking: getting the kids breakfast ready, checking email, feeding the dog, thinking about the day, remembering something you forgot to do, writing up a grocery list, thinking about your work project, forgetting to shower or brush your hair…..how much are you actually missing?  I mean, do you actually taste the food you cook?  Do you look at your kids?  Do you listen to what they’re saying?  Do you see their desire to interact with you?

Sadly, I sure don’t.  I’m so focused on doing, finishing, checking things off my list, moving, moving, moving.  And, at the end of the day, my to do list is still there….but my kids will be in college.  And, I really don’t want to look back and think about all the times I missed out on.  Honestly?  I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about the past at all.  Because I want to be able to enjoy NOW.  I’m realizing that as much as I keep saying I want a break from my life, to take a vacation or just sleep in….what I really want to do is focus on the here and now.  ‘Cause you know what?  It’s pretty damn good.  My kids are amazing and getting more amazing each day.  And my husband is wonderful.  And I don’t want to ever take any of that for granted.

In the immortal words of Ferris, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So, I’m trying it.  Just like I’m trying all these other things.  So far, eating Primal is making my body feel better (my mom has celiac’s….I’m guessing I’m at least slightly gluten sensitive), eating organic and local just plain tastes better (and makes me feel better knowing I’m doing something ‘green’), working out…well, we all know the benefits of that…..and the naturopath has given me some options outside medicine to even out my crazy mood swings (and oh by the way….working a heck of a lot better!).

I’ve only really meditated a few times, but I can already feel the difference.  You’re probably saying, “it’s just in your head”.  Well, yeah, it is.  And that’s where it’s supposed to be.  I’m calmer, more relaxed, more willing to play and SEE my kids, more focused and less “multitasked”.

Who knows if it’s meditation, any of a combination of the above changes I’ve made or simply a placebo affect.  But, you know what?  Who cares.

What about you?  What do you do to find your inner Zen?

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Contradiction?

Posted by mbamommy on September 24, 2010

Before I begin, I should let you know that I’m grumpy.  Which means this post probably isn’t going to be the most diplomatic post ever.  See, Z is giving up his nap.  Gone are the 2 hrs in the middle of the day that allow me to recharge and take a break and not have to constantly tell him to stop touching, get down from there, please don’t climb on that, or jump off of it, no, you can’t play with knives, no you can’t run into the middle of the street, yes, you do need to go pee pee and preferably not in your pants.  It also means that he’s uber tired at the end of the day so anything and everything will set him off.  I guess the silver lining is that, in the short term, his bed times are pretty early.

So if this….and every other post in the future seems slightly disjointed, it’s because I’m slightly distracted.  I refuse to allow him to watch TV (or at least more than the recent rule I put in place that they could watch 1 show before breakfast, 1 after lunch and 1 before dinner and they have to take turns choosing which show…it’s really cut down on arguments) so if he’s not able to entertain himself (quietly, please, S is asleep up stairs!) I have to.  Hence Moppy grumpiness.

But, I digress….this post is about a contradiction I noticed while still living in Raleigh.  I should also let you know that while I’m Jewish and my husband and kiddos are Catholic, I’m pretty ok with anything you want to believe in.  So long as it doesn’t inflict pain on myself or the ones I love and so long as you’re not all “up in ma grill” about it, feel free to believe what you want.

Folks in Raleigh take their religion seriously.  It’s not just the Baptists.   It’s also the Catholics, the Jews, the Lutherans, the Christians and everyone else.  The Bible Belt is alive and well folks, and in Raleigh, you can even get your Belt in Black.

Introducing Karate Kids for Christ….the contradiction I want to talk about.  OK, call me naive (or just plain grumpy), but aren’t Christian values contrary to martial arts?  I mean, what about Love Thy Neighbor and Turn The Other Cheek and Jesus Loves You.  I don’t recall ever seeing Jesus Karate Chops You.  Granted, I’ve never studied any form of martial arts but my understanding of it includes discipline, body/mind interaction, defense, inner strengths, using your own strengths against your enemy, etc.  OK, I can see where that would apply to being a good Christian.  And, I guess it would be really naive of me to think that violence and force are not a part of the Christian religion.  If so, then the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition and countless other wars fought in the name of God would have never happened.

I just can’t get my head around such a Western religion being incorporated into an Eastern way of thinking.  Again, I see nothing wrong with it.  I think trying to be a good person AND trying to stay fit are two extremely important things.  It just seems contradictive (I know that’s not a word….leave me alone, I’m grumpy).

What do you think?  Is this a contradiction?  Or do they meld together?

Posted in ME | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

 
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