Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My Nose, and its Search for the Divine:

I have to say that I like this new photo of myself better because it more honestly reveals my nose...which I usually try to hide or couch at clever angles. There's nothing inherently wrong with my nose except that when I see it from the side I always am shocked by its appearance. Must it be so long? It's like some kind of ancient symbol embedded in my body; it means "god's lone warrior" or something. It points people to a spot about four steps in front of me, which is probably my space cusion comfort zone. But it also looks a bit like if you pressed my eyeballs into my head, it would shoot lasers, or possibly silly string.

Oh, and the photo is taken like that to showcase my haircut, not to hide a pimple or anything. Though there's always that.

I just have to say that I'm reading a (non-fiction) book, which I do not regularly do, called "Leaving the Saints," by Martha Beck. Her publicist sent it for Word by Word, and at first I was all blase and uninterested, but some little spark of interest caused me to have them send it and oh man am I glad they did. I mean this is a book I would NEVER think to look at...but not only is it helping me to understand the character of Thea in the novel I'm writing, who is a bumbling spiritual seeker since running away from home at 16, it's resonating with something inside me that I can't quite explain well.

Let me try anyway. I was raised without religion. I mean without it at all. Period. Zippo. Not so much as a "Jesus Christ" or a "Shalom." Nobody talked God in my houses. They talked a lot of astrology (see prior post: Zodiac Girl). They threw the I-Ching. They consulted with psychics and Reiki-masters. (I realize now, in retrospect, that taking lots of drugs probably helped this along). So, despite growing up with the supremely Jewish last name, Rosenfeld, in a school where two of my best friends' last names were both "Moore," I felt positively exotic, but strangely a-religious. Plus, my father, despite having been barmitzvah'ed, did not practice Judaism in any way shape or form, nor, I discovered to my horror much later in life when I was hoping to "plug into my Jewish roots," did my grandparents, though they were certainly raised Jewish. Plus, I'd only ever been to church by accident--because I slept over at a friend's house who had to go to Sunday School; for weddings, that sort of thing. So I actually grew up to fear and feel suspicious of all things god--the Jewish God and the Christian God, both.

When I came to College in 1992, Sonoma State was teeming with young Christians. On one occasion when my boyfriend and I had suffered an egregious fight that I thought was the end of things, a guy I knew in passing asked if I needed someone to talk to over lunch? Well, I thought he was offering his friendship when I needed it most. Turned out he was offering me the key into the kingdom of Jesus. I felt betrayed. I wanted a friend and he handed me religion?? Only now in retrospect do I understand that he did believe himself to be offering friendship, but I wasn't that kind of girl. Some comparative religion courses I took softened the wall for me. I could say "God," without feeling ashamed, and even admit that maybe I believed in something akin to God--minus the white robes and beard and all that hokum. Tough the more I have talked to people over the years, the more I realize that most people do not believe in THAT particular God.

However, having been bereft any ceremony or tradition or sense of connectedness in the earliest days of my life when I probably needed it most, I grew up running away from any sense of source until I hit the age of 20 and broke up with Morgan. For one thing, I had had an almost transcendent experience in deciding to leave him, like a pair of hands was pushing me out the door, like try as I might (and I did try) not to leave him, the universe, or God, was having none of it. And from that point forward, once free from him, and from aspects of my personality that he brought out in me (as I did in him), I began to attract (and still do) Seekers.

Seekers like me. I mean it. They find me. Whether they are seeking the goddess within, or the big father without, offering the Tibetan Love Hug or believe they have written the text to change the world,or they have had a visitation by angels...they keep showing up in my life. While this used to freak me out and make me think that I was just attracting crazy people, I think it's more like the universe's subtle attempt to tell me that spirituality, that GOD, for God's sake, doesn't appear only as that white-haired father or blonde-haired Jesus. It has many faces, but really only one. Mine. Yours. Lately, really in the last year, but more passionately in the last six months, something has awakened inside me...something that, when I started reading Martha Beck's book yesterday I realized had been a plea, a longing of desperate proportions for some kind of spiritual connection that I have, as of yet, not experienced. Or not in a long time. Only in blips.

I started meditating about six months ago. Erik is the meditator in this relationship, the Buddhist scholar. I resisted it for a long time...but since making the leap to working for myself and writing this frustrating, mind-numbing, but wonderful novel, I've needed a connection to my source more than ever, and for the first time in my life I'm not scared, afraid or embarassed about it. Still, it's not the kind of thing you can just spout left and right. Spirituality scares people. Religion is tidier because it's got all those rules and fits into boxes. Spirituality is like that free-form hippie dancing at Grateful Dead concerts, it's like poetry without meter and rhyme. And in a time when there are a million other false alternatives stretching their sparkly, entertaining, glossy arms out to fill that place in us, who needs a spiritual connection, right?

Well I do. I do, and I'm scared to say that because everyone I know who has asked to get really connected has gone through some kind of physical trial and I am so afraid of pain. But maybe that's where it is...who knows. All I know is that I want to be connected, write from that place of real, deep, meaningful content and not let the world with all its flashy tricks press in on me too tightly.



At 10:02 PM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

Your nose is beautiful as are you and this post. This book sounds intense.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Thanks, M. Clearly, the spirit moved me. The book is intense, and wonderful, and surprised me because I was not interested in reading it...but then I did, see. Life is funny that way.



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