the eighth day of Hanukkah: wholeness




the light has reached its fullness
and we witnessed the miracle of ourselves
kindling the flames of our wholeness

we are loved and loving and love
we are blessed and blessing and bliss
we are healed and healing and whole

____________________

on this last day of Hanukkah (the day before the day before the first day of 2020!) I offer one final poeming to accompany the art I made from the lights of my hanukkiah.

(it took me all day to write this, because of starting and stopping and editing and continuing to write because I had a lot to say! by the time you read this, it won't be Hanukkah anymore, but that's ok. it was written on the last day of Hanukkah.)

Hanukkah isn't a big holiday in Judaism, but it's taken on a lot of additional symbolism, because of its timing (near the solstice, aka the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere) and use as Christmas gift exchange replacement in American Jewish culture.

I'd rather think about Hanukkah metaphorically and poetically than as a gift grab, and so I used this time to art/poem/blog every day.

you'll have noticed that some days, I didn't write much. and some days, I wrote a lot.

that's ebb and flow.

(and also me, being conscious of my current need to not overwhelm myself. radical self care.)

___________________

because there's only two more days left to 2019, I'm starting to think about whether or not to undertake a 366 (2020 is a leap year!) project and if so, what it will be.

my 2019 idea (to do a double exposure archive video project in addition to the one second a day project I'm doing on the app 1SE) did not work out. it was a good short term project, but not a good long term one. at least not last year.

(it turns out, I gave myself leeway to have it not be a year long project. "it's a practice, not a perfect" as I wrote. yes, yes indeed. thank you 2019 me for that important reminder.)

for 2020, I'll continue my main 1SE project.

(I foresee continuing this as a daily practice for as long as the app is functional. remembering to take one or more live photos or video clips everyday is easy and the process of adding each clip to the app and then "mashing" each month together is something I can do whenever I have the time and energy for a big fun creative burst.)

so the question really is, do I want to add another (small or related) protect? go back to a self portrait a day? or a double exposure a day? something new?

I'm not sure yet, these are the things I'm thinking about as the New Year/ new decade loom.

(in addition to thinking about the past year and the decade, a bittersweet at best nostalgia. 2019 was hard. 2009 and 2010 were really hard, too. there's been a lot of amazing years in between, but damn. that's some trauma.)

____________________

I am healing now. and it is enough to be healing. I don't need an additional project this year.

(maybe I will create a project to help in my healing process, maybe I won't. I'll decide as I go.)

life is a plethura of (fun and not fun) choices. liberation(ing) is (in part) the process of figuring out which of those choices are needs and which are extra. what can be left along the way and what is essential.

and that right now is not always the best moment to make every choice.

____________________

right now, I am sitting in bed listening to M finishing up playing songs on his guitar in the other room.

there's a big thunderstorm moving away from us outside and it's beautifully foggy and the windows are streaked with rain droplets.

I've got my weighted blanket on my lap, which is comforting.

I want to decide so many things right now, but I'm bringing myself back to the present moment.

this is radical self care. not all decisions need to be made in this moment, while I'm blogging.

____________________

and then the mail arrives, the rain storm breaks. I pause from writing to do other things and then return.

I pause from writing and return.

this is the routine of my writing life during winter break.

I am very blessed.

I am whole.

in and of myself, I am whole.

____________________

there's danger and violence and hatred in the world that I do not comprehend. but even though I do not understand it, that doesn't mean I don't live in the world with it. (I have lived through having a gun pointed at my head.) the stabbings this weekend were even closer to home than the shootings in Jersey City.

our synagogue keeps the doors locked at all times now. someone has to come to the door to open it whenever anyone arrives. but still there is someone to open the door. still, the stranger is welcome.

(even now. we are the welcoming we want to see in the world.)

we live in a dangerous world. Hanukkah is, in and of itself, a response to the dangerous world.

we light our candles in the window, taking pride in our traditions. reminding ourselves of the miracle of not giving up hope.

(this hanukkiah in the window in Nazi occupied Germany, for example.)

and we will continue. Hanukkah will continue. lighting our candles and responding to danger (and injustice) will continue. we will not give up hope.

while we live, there is hope
even in the bleakest places, that's when hope has to be at it's strongest.
even when you're only holding on to the possibility of hope.

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we will rise, my beloved friends, we will rise. 

one day we will all be free.

one day, the cracks will be healed and the world will be whole again.

one day, please, please, please. one day.