Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I stood silently, the hot water pouring down my face.  Eyes closed.  It was quiet and beautiful.  Utterly still.

All of the sudden, I found that I had placed my left hand across my neck and then my right hand above my left, feeling the length and presence of the scar which is now there.  It was something about the gesture and the height and girth of the scar.

First water and then tears.  So many tears.  And still no sound.

So much silence.

There has been so much silence and so many scars and nothing has touched how the heart inside this body beats or loves except for one thing.

It’s not screaming.  Not blaming.  It is awake and reconfiguring from its limps and places of constriction.

But this gesture: like a gesture of strangulation, was a tender gesture.  A gesture of exquisite care.  

I covered my throat and my heart ached like it has never ached before.  Why, you ask?

Because I still love.

Because I am opening to the very places which have been hurt the most and I am walking towards that pain, slowly taking its hand and asking for its forgiveness.  

It is the only thing I know to do.


Jill Bacharach

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Byron Katie said “We’re so busy projecting on each other, I’m convinced that no two people have ever met.”

How many of us have arrived at a point in our relationship a year or two in, and found ourselves feeling, thinking or saying, “I don’t feel understood by you.” ?  

Being out of work has been quite fascinating.  My time has been my own and many folks have come to me with “the big” questions.  

Why are people jealous?
Why are people impulsive?
Why do people mess with your head?
Why do people lie?
Why do people leave without warning?
Why are people cruel?

One word: FEAR.

Grrrrrrr...  The megalomaniacs of the world who seek world domination only do so because they so fear being less important than anyone else.  

Really?  Really.  

And so they often set out to mess with other people’s lives as a result.

But I believe that when you are truly good with yourself.  And I mean truly truly good with yourself, this crap just doesn’t bother you.  

My teacher Kelly Morris taught me early on about how it all comes from us.  How nothing in our world exists unless we planted the seed for it to be there in the first place.  The teaching is very deep and has a lot to do with karma.  The teaching is very rich and as far as I am concerned, it is the real deal.

Well, not long after receiving this transmission, I was getting off of a bus which was arriving in Port Authority.  I saw one man picking on another.  Man A, was much larger than Man B.  Man A was goading Man B and Man A was being very aggressive.  The bus arrived and as passengers, we took the escalator down into Port Authority and I continued to watch them.  I saw Man A begin to scream at Man B and throw up his arm as if to start a fight.  

I thought of Kelly.  I thought of my seeds.  And how I myself, had created this reality.  

I jumped right in the middle of them.  I mean, literally between them.  I yelled at both of them and insisted that they stop immediately.  Within seconds, they stopped.  Man B disappeared and Man A followed me and was moaning and trying to get me to understand his complaint.  I spoke one sentence.  “You need to take responsibility for your own anger.”

But I still have a question of my own, and I already have musings about the answer. 

Why do people disrespect your boundaries?

My musings are twofold.

They do not exercise good boundaries in their own lives.  

And... we, are not living into our own commitment in exercising the boundaries we say we want and expect to have in our lives as thoroughly or as fully as we could be living or expressing them.  And thoroughly or fully could mean that there is one person that is still blowing our boundaries.  And that person could even be a neighbor we barely know.  A person insignificant to us.  But by still not keeping that commitment, not staying congruent with our promise to ourselves, we will continue to be disrespected on a global scale.  That is what I truly believe.  

I also believe all of this can change.  In an instant.  

It is our decisions which change our destiny, and by destiny I only mean the next moment (which does lead to the rest of our lives).

The truth is, I’m not interested in the stories other people are walking around with.  It does make me sad that we are awfully busy projecting on one another.  But most people find me pausing in between.  Wondering where I came from... if I was perhaps, dropped from a stork.  Out of work... pausing... long enough to answer a question that matters to someone else.  Thoughtfully, with eye contact, only with permission, and always with love.

But only if asked.


Jill Bacharach

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wide Open

Some of the most impactful and destructive losses are the result of our communication.  Not necessarily “bad” communication, but how the communication gets interpreted and then choices which are made as a result.

So often, something is received not in the way it was intended and then you lose someone you love as a result because that person refuses to come back to the table, or  far worse, to your life.  Then you have two or more people walking side by side through life never speaking again over something small or something monumental.  But over “something” nonetheless.  

Meanwhile, a mother is sitting at bedside while her child is fighting for his life due to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Or a daughter is saying goodbye to her mother, as she is about to die from COPD.  These scenarios happen every moment of every day and there are people in the world (often just one degree of separation from them) not speaking over misunderstandings which have ripped them apart seemingly for good.


I was told that when I was an infant, I used to soothe and sing myself to sleep.  I am sure that I was also trying to drown out external noise.  Even as I was pre-verbal.

When I was a toddler and of school age, I had constant ear infections because I loved to swim and I would stay in the water until forced to come out.  I dove to the bottom of the pool or the ocean as often as possible and never thought twice about how much water was accumulating inside of my ears and eustachian tubes.  But those ear infections were extraordinarily painful, especially growing up with a mother who was extremely loud and never thought twice about her volume.  


The Fifth Chakra is considered the chakra of purification.  Located in the throat.  It is about speaking your truth in order to purify a situation.  It is also about the purification of substances, people and karma.  

I learned that when you close off your ears, you are closing off your Fifth Chakra.  So as a child, that was what I was doing.  Too much noise, and I was cutting off my voice.  A voice which I was often told to shut down as well.

That message left a scar.


Flash forward to my adult years.  My good friend told me several times that I scare people with how honest I am.  


I can see how that has been true.  I have watched many friends and loved ones walk and run straight from my life.  I say this as fact, not from a place of wounding.  I know that it was not the result of my truth telling.  I know that.  Could I have been softer in my truth telling?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Even as I have always prefaced discussions carefully so as to prepare friends and loved ones so that they would know the content of what they were entering into without surprise.  

For instance, when my father became terminally ill, I knew discussions needed to be had about his burial plans.  And so I asked for him to have that discussion with me.  He did not want to.  But I also knew that it was important that his wishes be spoken to someone.  And so I asked for him to have that conversation with me explaining why it was important.  I began with telling him what my burial plans were.  


It’s taken me a long time to learn the distinction between being fiercely honest about everything and giving people a break and room to hurt my feelings without having to tell them every single time that they have in fact hurt my feelings.  I can remain in my integrity, work through my process and still keep my Fifth Chakra clear without having to bring out the Good Year Blimp every single time I feel someone has violated my boundaries or not listened to me or hurt my heart.  

This WAS my modus operandum for longer than I care to name.  And it had to have been very challenging for others to live up to.  I was committed to it because I was lied to left and right growing up and I needed to remain faithful to my own soul by being fiercely honest.  But what was coming across, instead, was my PUSHY NEW YORK JEW, which I was really just holding up as a banner and wearing as a suit of armor.  (Purification, needn’t always occur through the process of dialogue with another.  Many of us know that this is not always possible.)


When I woke up in the hospital after this last surgery sounding like Brenda Vaccaro and in utter agony swallowing, all I felt was grateful.  I was grateful to wake up.  I was grateful for my blood drain.  I was grateful to see my friend seated beside me.  Grateful to see a brightness in her eyes rather than worry.  I was grateful, that after being with me through all those hours of surgery to finally see her eating a sweet little sandwich.  Grateful for the years of self- care reminders which were now finally paying off in my hospital room.   I was grateful because there was trust being laid in my hands in this sweet gesture (through an act of nourishment) on many levels.  

I was grateful that when one of my nurses told me she had a headache, I could offer her some of my coconut water to help hydrate her.  I was grateful I could remember everyone’s name who came into my room.  I was grateful to see that what was once a fierce push was now turning into a soft strength.  

I don’t think you get your neck sliced open without deciding to have a clear commitment to speaking love and truth.  

Before the surgery, I was sad for what I would have to let go of in terms of my body and my physical abilities which I was attached to.  It will be a long time before it is even a wise option to see what is left or what is there.  But all that matters now are the simplest things:

What am I grateful for?
Is it wise?
Is it kind?
What is the truth?
What does the heart say?

You don’t get your neck sliced wide open without waking up to speaking up clearly, softly, lovingly and with a greater sense of perspective.

There’s only so much you can do to clean up a mess.  I am sure my instinct will be to always want to try.

But from where I sit now, I know that all there is to do is to stop pushing.  

And to speak the truth with wisdom, tenderness and love no matter how closed off anyone else is.  There’s always an opening.


Jill Bacharach

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Chaverim

We are all drawn to each other for different reasons.  Chemistry.  Attraction.  Special interests.  Intuition.  Past Lives.  Fortifying the troops... Who knows...

When I met my Chaverim... it was an instant knowing and it was also a Darwinian process of Natural Selection, although through selective choosing.  “Not you, YOU.”  “NOT YOU, YOU!”  We were like that with each other at every workshop.  We were cordial towards others, but would not trust our bodies with them.  Only with each other.  One American.  One Russian.  One Israeli.  Loving.  Giving.  Generous.  Kind.  Devoted.  Unyieldingly reliable.  We were stalwart and mighty.  Vigorous and tenacious.  Unwaveringly compassionate.

It was always this way.

When we came together, the environments were dramatic.  We were the calm and steady ones.  

No one knew the circumstances we would each eventually face.

That is what must have called us toward each other. 

The look in our eyes.  The knowing.  

We were never the kind to question “why me?”  But to ask “what now?”

Never would we wish our circumstances on another.  Never would we even dream of burdening another with the content.  Just figure out how to manage them and keep going.    


We would each scoff at the word “brave.”  It never occurred to us that we were “being” brave.  It was simply what there was to do.  You just put one foot in front of the other and deal with what is before you.  

What is courage?  It’s being afraid, but doing it anyway.  

What if this happens?  What if that happens?  What if this happens?  What if that happens?  

None of those things have even happened yet.  

My grandmother used to say... “What if the sun comes out?!!”  



When all was said and done, what was going to matter in the end?  

What others didn’t know?  Or how they felt?  

Love.  Just love.  

It will always come down to love.

Before my grandmother took her last breaths, she held my hand and pursed her lips to blow a kiss to me.  She was saying goodbye.  I knew it and she knew it in spite of her severe brain injury.  She called herself back for those few moments to say goodbye in that tender and intimate way because nothing could break the love between us, not even death.  

It took my father’s terminal illness for us to heal our relationship.  But we did heal and painful but beautiful and magnificent truths were revealed to one another as a result.  And as he was dying, a love began which had finally grown steady and strong and at last, had a chance to live.  

“Death ends a life but it does not end a relationship.”  (Robert Anderson)


With every loss we shed a part of ourselves we cannot anticipate.  It either tears us apart or wakes us up to what is deeply alive and meant to be known about ourselves and our relationship to this lifetime.  I have shed many a skin.  

In the film, Out of Africa, Karen says the following words about her beloved Denys: 
“Now take back the soul of Denys George Finch Hatton, whom You have shared with us.  He brought us joy... we loved him well.  He was not ours.  He was not mine.”  

It is such a potent and significant moment.  That recognition.  Losing what we love the most and recognizing that it never belonged to us.  How to hold both truths when our hearts move toward love and grasping rather than neutrality.  Neutrality and emptiness is something we work to foster with our minds, but the natural movement of the heart has a compass of its own which moves in its own direction and occurs on a calendar of its own.  One which is real and needs tending to in order for us to keep waking up to this full relationship of movement and shedding.  

What is there for us to fear, really?  Death?  Loss of a loved one through death?  If not that, what else?  Pain, disfigurement, paralysis, blindness, ALS, cancer, loss of motor control.  I could come up with a list which could create terror.  But why?  Anything could happen or it may not.  It’s a crap shoot.

What is there to fear, really?  Loss.  Rejection.  

But the truth, once learned, can be healed as long as you have a real desire to heal.  It’s a decision.  

My father left when I was two years-old and I barely saw him while I was growing up.  It colored my life in a deep and significant way.  Which was why when he became terminal, I became vigilant that we heal our relationship.  It was a very important decision because I had tried for years to heal the fractures between us but did not have his participation in that endeavor, which subsequently, caused further and deeper fractures.  

Had he left the earth in that way, I would have had a different kind of healing to do.  So for last 5.5 years of his life when he was ill, when I pushed and ultimately helped him feel less afraid to die, we were both healed.

What is there to fear, really?

That those we love will not love us back?  Well, it happens and it has happened to me more times than I can count from the people who are supposedly “contracted” to love us.  But I believe that ultimately, unless you face what you fear, you cannot know what it means to really be free.  The fear will keep showing itself to you again and again and hold you back.

I have learned things which have hurt me so much I didn’t think I would be able to survive knowing them.  But the truth cannot kill us.  It hurts.  That’s all that it does.  And then we get to decide what kind of life we want to live knowing what we know.  

That’s how, for some of us, we can look around at others and see things in their eyes which tell us stories few could ever recognize in just one glance.  How one may have survived something unspeakable.  How another may have a strength in her that you would be lucky to be in the same room with or to ever be touched by.  

I have learned things which have split me open.  But I have always been grateful for every morsel of information.  Because knowledge leads to choice and ultimately, healing.

I think of my Chaverim.  We have endured much.  But we fear little.  And when we do, we know that what needs to be done is to step in and face whatever lies ahead.  It’s all temporary except for the love which remains which when felt, is a strength which will endure.

For my Chaverim... and all who wish to step in and bless it ALL.


Jill Bacharach