The vidui prayer of Yom Kippur...and of every night.
New Year's Card 5772 / 2011

Right here, right now: a poem of preparation



Early evening, the rains
finally over and gone
I take my son outside
and point out the rising moon
almost full, the lunar month
halfway past. From his vantage
the best part
is our fluffy white cat
perched on the railing
close enough to touch.
I'm thinking about
the Days of Awe: who's
our shofar-blower this year,
what have I forgotten to print,
gotta get that suit from the cleaners
but he's my Buddha, always
right here, right now.
My son knows how to let go
and laugh, wholly lifted.
I don't need to roll up my sleeves
and scrub my soul with a toothbrush.
Return happens in an instant
as soon as I release myself
and climb back
into God's arms.

This morning at meditation I offered our group the mantra I learned from Lorianne of Hoarded Ordinaries years ago: right here, right now. It's a powerful exercise for me in these hectic weeks at the start of the school year as the Days of Awe approach. Breathing in: right here. Breathing out: right now. Whatever arises in my mind from yesterday or last year or ten minutes ago, whatever comes bubbling up in anticipation of tomorrow or next week or ten years from now, just let it float away. Right here, right now. That's where teshuvah happens.

The idea of teshuvah as something which happens in an instant was raised for me by a recent post from Reb Jeff. I feel like my son is reminding me of the same deep truth. For all that I resonate with the notion of teshuvah as a practice of the internal work of discernment which is the appropriate focus for these weeks in our calendar year, there's also value in the notion of teshuvah as an instant existential leap.

I was feeling guilty earlier today that I haven't made more time lately for poetry, and then this poem came knocking at the interior of my consciousness. It's an early draft; I imagine it will change eventually. But I'm sharing it here in hopes of spurring myself to keep creating, and in hopes that it might speak to some of you.

Shabbat shalom to all who celebrate.