All together now, say it with me:

I’m breaking my long-term blogging hiatus (due mainly to needing to find employment) to weigh in on something that’s been all over the media recently:

Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl. He then ran to France to live a welcomed, upper-class life rather than stay and fight any judicial misconduct with what was and is available in the legal system currently. You know, like all the little people who aren’t artists and who don’t create.

The quality or lack thereof of his movies should not actually be relevant to this at all.

A Yom Kippur Activity

Recently, someone I know said something very smart: that whenever you stop listening to what someone is saying, you’re deceiving them. Meaning that if they’re speaking to you, and you’re nodding along but internally you’ve checked out, then pretending to listen to them is actually a form of lying (not to mention a waste of their energy and breath).

This really stuck with me – and helped me better understand other, similar forms of deceit. So if you’re looking for something to change this year, consider the little ways that you may be deceiving people:

- If you break a promise to someone, or don’t follow through on it fully, then that promise was a form of deceit (and a potential source of stress for them, if they need to make up for what you were going to do).

- If you make plans with someone and then flake, then that is a form of deceit (and a waste of the block of time they set aside for you).

- If you apologize for something but don’t change your behavior, or claim to accept someone’s apology when there’s more that needs to be said, then that is a form of deceit (and an abuse of that person’s trust and vulnerability, and possibly an enabler of more unhealthy behavior on their part).

Everyone knows deceit is an act you want to think long and hard about before performing, but we let ourselves get sloppy with little things like plans and apologies. We rationalize things to make our own lives easier: He won’t notice, she won’t mind, it’ll all blow over anyway. What little things do you do to deceive people? What makes you do them, and are you able to overcome that? What is one form of deceit that you can realistically eliminate from your interactions this year?

a thought

Just finished reading Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus, which made me think seriously about my love/hate relationship with spirituality. Here’s the part that stood out for me the most:

…to my surprise, I saw a thangka [a Tibetan devotional painting] depicting a dakini, or goddess, dancing next to a large Jewish star. In tantric Buddhism, the six-pointed star is a symbol of the cervix. This is a coincidence worth meditating on. In Judaism, the star is proudly displayed on the flag of Israel. It represents the magen david, the shield of King David. A shield is the outermost layer of protection, what one thrusts out to the world as a mark of identity and a sign of God’s protection. A cervix is in a sense an esoteric part of the body, hidden within, a mystery, the neck of the womb, the channel through which all life emerges. It is purely and uniquely feminine.

In part, this coincidence shows once again how Jewish and Tibetan culture have common historical influences. The six-pointed star originated in ancient Mesopotamia as a symbol of fertility. It did not become a specifically Jewish symbol until the late Middle Ages. The same symbol came into India with the Aryans, where it represented Shakti, the Mother. It entered Tibet along with the teachings of the Hindu tantric tradition.

Think about that next time you put on your necklace. It’s common for women to wear shields. What if it were as common for men to wear doors?

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