It’s irritating. This skin of mine feels too short. Ready to get out of it, become something new. Many are thinking the same thing. Squeezing out of the old could have, should have been delightful. But it’s been a forced push. Change is upon us and the transformation is confusing and even scary. From deaths due to the coronavirus to people peacefully protesting for equal justice getting tear gassed for the So-Called President of the United States’ photo-op, we are truly in some weird times.


So what is the new normal? Or can we only hope for nearly normal. Even though we don’t yet know, each of us can find a sense of balance. For me, the Torah is a teaching that instructs us on how to resolve the inherent disparities of life. For example, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is a concept consisting of diametrically opposed notions. Our sense of spirituality includes non-rational aspects, inherent conflicts, and outright paradoxes. It requires the seeker to decouple from, or dispense with our everyday way of viewing the world. In other words, it pulls the rug out from what is considered normal and requires a more poetic way of seeing to achieve understanding.

Then you have to apply what you comprehend. We live in a real world and not just what we think about it. You have to manifest your desires and thoughts. The time to do so is always now.

Take for example the term ‘social distancing’. At first blush, applying it in our daily lives seemed counterfactual, and caused uncertainty and unease. It implied being in the physical company of others, yet staying at least 6-feet away from them. Without some sound advice, the requirement by our state governors and city mayors was perplexing. Yet communities creatively adapted. Of course, a determination about our national wellbeing and guidance on how to stay healthy was warranted to achieve a balanced approach, especially in high population density areas such as New York and Seattle. However, three and half years into his occupation of the White House, the cognitive dissonance set up by Trump is overwhelming. Although he wants to portray himself as caring, his recent publicity stunt before a church, crudely holding a bible for a photo-op after his secret police on horseback tear-gassed peaceful protestors, is more proof he is unfit to lead.

I came across this tweet by HowardinDC, “Explains why MAGAts create all the Trump "porn" - like a muscular Trump standing on a tank: it must alleviate the cognitive dissonance they feel when they realize their 'hero' is actually a draft-dodging, mind-bendingly incompetent, cowardly bully.” A September 2019 article in the Sonoma Index-Tribune about why Trump’s lies don’t affect his standing in the polls noted something similar, “People who believe in someone will believe almost anything he or she says, also refusing to believe almost anything negative about them.” According to the Oxford dictionary, cognitive dissonance concerns circumstances involving “conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This may result in feeling mental discomfort, which can cause you to alter one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to decrease the discomfort and find balance”.

I purposefully wrote ‘My Random Death’ to not come across as a know-it-all, new age guru. Rather than a self-help book, my memoir is a guide for self-discovery, to live life in your own way. I encourage people to pay attention to the meaningful coincidences in their lives, learn to trust their intuition and follow its inner guidance to find your own sense of poise, and the self-confidence to move forward in the ‘real’ world.


Path We Share

There is a bit of history between him and me. The homeless guy recently pitched a tent underneath the big magnolia tree. It's located at the edge of the park next-door to my apartment building. For the past year, he and his dog hung out there during the daytime. A few months ago, I noticed he was handcuffed and police officers were questioning him. A couple of weeks ago, I found a lost driver license and recognized his face in the photo. Of course, he was thrilled to get it back. Last week, I got curious and decided to speak to him, and find out why he gets to sleep overnight in the park. It’s usually forbidden.

Now that he is my neighbor, my ulterior motive for talking to this man was to tell him to keep the noise down during night. I was polite about it. With social distancing intact, the homeless guy told me he needed to sleep in the park because he has nowhere else to go. He was born here but the city won’t do anything that encourages homeless people to come to the area. Consequently, there was no plan for the poor to shelter-in-place when the coronavirus hit us. The homeless guy told me the city of Ventura is putting people like him up in motels, but not here, in Santa Barbara.

“I feel like a loser,” he said.

Based on my many years as a federal criminal appeals attorney, which you can read about in my memoir, My Random Death, I told the homeless guy the police wouldn't allow him to sleep in the park if they didn't think he was a good person. This was especially true considering he was arrested not too long ago. If the police wanted, he would be gone now. Instead, they are making an exception for him and he should feel good about himself. My pep talk seemed to cheer him up.

Of course, I gave the homeless man some money. My spiritual practice includes daily prayers to be a generous person. And then actually doing it. I remember attending a lecture by Rabbi Lew, who almost became a Buddhist monk. He spoke about cherishing his alone time on walks because his companion was God. The rabbi always kept a dollar in his pocket, just in case he came across someone in need. “It’s a simple act,” he said.

Meanwhile, certain famous and not-so-famous American preachers appear to believe in the opposite. Instead of having a giving spirit, they are inclined to fleece their flock. A recent ‘Church and State’ article noted the prosperity gospel, “is a religious doctrine that encourages poor people to send specific amounts of cash (usually in the hundreds of dollars) to charismatic preachers, an act the preachers characterizes as “seed giving” — and the preachers promise that God will reward these gifts by making the givers rich.”

Trump even pulled one of these evangelist-types into the White House to work in a spiritual advisory capacity. Richard W. Painter, who served as the chief ethics lawyer in the President George W. Bush's administration, suggested this religious leader was committing "fraud" and running a "Ponzi scheme." He noted, “Paula White is using her position to make a ‘sales pitch’ that “tests the boundaries between 'religious freedom' and criminal mail fraud and wire fraud with her message to send her money and God will make you rich.”

At the general assembly of ‘Caritas Internationalis’, the Vatican-based federation of national Catholic charities, Pope Francis celebrated Mass on May 23, 2019 and reminded people that faith "is a path to follow together, always together, with a spirit of trust," he said. "Seek in others the presence of God, who does not dwell in the greatness of the things we do, but in the smallness of the poor we encounter."

Even school children know the Bible says we are created in God’s image. This theological doctrine is in Judaism, Christianity, and the mystical branch of Islam, Sufism. The concept has an even deeper meaning then just what our face looks like. Recently, a Republican lawmaker foolishly gave this as a reason for not wearing a face mask in public. Currently, I am studying The Zohar, an ancient Kabbalistic text and using Daniel Matt’s Pritzker Edition translation and commentary. Volume 1, footnote number 718 states, “Generosity is inherent in the makeup of humanity, the clearest sign of our original divine nature.”

Garden of Eden

Updated: May 7

A Hasidic Rabbi once told me optimism wasn’t a gift a few lucky people were born with. He insisted all of us can have it, “Optimism must be developed. Similar to the muscles in your body, you need to exercise and work at strengthening a positive attitude.” When we apply this frame of mind to our current shelter-in-place situation it can be seen as an opportunity. Certainly with all the alone time, it’s a monumental moment to get fascinated with one’s self. I mean it in a good way and not in a narcissistic, self-indulgent Trumpian fashion.


No one said staying at home was going to be easy. The anxiety is fierce for many. Aloneness demands we confront ourselves and make tough assessments about ourselves. To forgive oneself, to rediscover oneself, and then to reconstruct oneself is part of a wholesome quest to find one’s authenticity. It is paramount to be ruthlessly honest concerning your likes and dislikes, and then strive to dig deeper. Some folks might find it difficult to self-reflect when self-deception is easier for them to pull off.


An optimist can see the present circumstance is ripe for a new, personal paradigm. A reconstruction motivated from within should not influenced by current fads and fancies. We are all unique. I know this for a fact. As a tarot reader for more than 35 years, I’ve never met a dull person. What drives people to have their cards read is when they’re energetically blocked from their gifts and talents, or they might lack the self-discipline to hone their skills, and make excuses that prevents them from achieving their goals.

Forgiving oneself is an opportunity to correct past wrongs. In Kabbalistic terms it is called, Tikkun Ha-Nefesh or healing of the soul. These last few weeks have brought many memories of mistakes and foolish things I’ve done. These painful arisings are the dross of our existence. In order to move forward and lovingly exonerate myself, it is necessary to shake-up old stuff, and slough-off negative habits. This act of self-love repairs my soul. It heals me from siding with my overly mean, internal prosecutor who condemned me to years filled with guilt and self-loathing. Now is the moment to liberate myself.


By the way, “Forgive, rediscover, and reconstruct” was adapted from a line in a film noir movie, which stuck in my head. Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds and can’t remember what picture it’s from. If you know, let me know.

Garden of Eden

 

For Inquiries, Please Contact

Myra Mossman

© 2019-2020 Myra Mossman.

Images©Myra Mossman 2019-2020

Proudly created with Wix.com