Women of Spirit


WOMEN OF SPIRIT (new name for blog)

May 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

All the people I love know what a terrible correspondent I am. One of the things I long for and never do is to keep in touch with you at a level of sharing and understanding both what is deepest and what is most ridiculous and shrug-worthy. I have this vision of doing this on my blog at www.judypetsonk.com – of introducing to each other the women who are the jewels of my experience, the women I trust, admire, do my best to emulate. And having regular long and fresh conversations.

My novel Queen of the Jews came out of that quest to understand how a woman stays strong, joyful, vital – herself! – even though flawed. To uncover the mystery of spiritual and emotional strength and weakness and how they make up the fabric of a person who is able to accomplish worthy things in her life. To continue to grow in joy, humor, self-control and even, dare I say, wisdom, while aging. To treasure each day. To waste fewer hours in fruitless repetitions of what never worked before.

Busy as we all are, I hope you can respond on this blog with brief thoughts and responses. I’d like to sustain a conversation among women of all faiths and none, as begun by some of you so beautifully in the book Chapters of the Heart, edited by Rabbis Sue Levi Elwell and Nancy Fuchs Kreimer (publisher Wipf and Stock). I hope we can build an ongoing conversation, a week or a month at a time, by sharing our spiritual disciplines, our sustaining thoughts, our moments of insight, readings that touched us or made us want to argue, our sense of the ridiculous and sublime. I intend, in my new blog, “Women of Spirit,” to make a place for this conversation on my web-site (www.judypetsonk.com). I hope we can keep in touch with each other there.

So here’s a contribution from me for May 26, 2014:

One of the disciplines I have found helpful is the omer, the counting of the 50 days between Passover and the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. Not that I do it every day, the way you’re supposed to, but every few days I check in at Rabbi Yael Levy’s blog “A Way In,” on the web-site of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia. https://mishkan.org/omer. At least on the days I check the blog I am trying to practice the suggested meditation. (Usually while walking: I’m not a great sitter.) I am making a paper chain across my fireplace, one construction paper loop for each of the 50 days, one color for each of the weeks. In this way I am trying to move with open eyes, ears and heart from day to day and week to week, through the expanse of time. Partly paraphrasing Yael’s message today:

“Here we stand, rooted in the mystery. Take time to be aware of the earth on which you walk. Feel the ground under your feet. Take time to re-connect with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Offer a prayer for the healing and well-being of the natural world.”

You, my friends and family, are my roots. Your love is my sustaining mystery. I’m going to walk now, to think of you, to offer a prayer for your healing and well-being. And for all those who need healing, well-being, roots. With love, Judy


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