Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Next Trip

I have been looking for a job for several months and the truth of it is, it is a pretty ego-bashing endeavor no matter how much humility one possesses.  And I would say I have a fair amount.  

The other day, as I was filling out a questionnaire for one of my job applications, one of the questions which appeared was “What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?”  I took a deep breath and I knew immediately.  “My compassion.”  

I figured out a way to answer the question succinctly and poetically, and I felt okay with my answer because it is the truth.  But quite honestly, my fierce truth-telling may also be a deterrent in successfully landing a job as well.

Compassion.  I am far too compassionate and although this may be a good thing, it also has the capacity to take me out.  I feel and absorb the pain of others far too deeply and I suffer as a result.  It has been this way for me ever since I was a very young child.  

I have told this story before, but when I was six years-old, I saw an animated Christmas special about an orphaned girl named Roseanne and she began to sing a song with lyrics including “I’m all alone in the world.”  And at that tender age I began to cry.  But it was a cry I had not experienced before and I was utterly inconsolable.  I was bereft about this little child who was just like me but had no one to turn to.

Looking back, 38 years later, I understand that I was crying for myself but did not have the capacity to put words to these feelings.  Every time I feel “too much compassion,” there is a part of myself that is identifying with the circumstances which come to life inside of me and feels the pain of the truth I see before my eyes.  The pain of tragedy, of death, of loss which takes so many forms.  


Recently, two acquaintances of mine told me that they became an “US.”  And this was one of the first moments in a while where I could truly feel myself again.  I found myself joyful and buoyant and smiling every time I thought of them.  I found myself blessing their union every chance I could.  I found myself tickled with happiness even as my own union was experiencing pain and rupture.  I found myself feeling nothing but love, which is so beautiful because I truly believe that love is generous.  And so this news was affording me my own experience of myself, and for that, and for them, I am deeply, irrevocably grateful.  Not to mention this is an utterly “genius” union.  

It is poignant to mention this now because as this cycle around the sun comes to a close, many of us are experiencing a knock-down-drag-out fight with the world.  Those of us who survived the Hurricane, did so with pride and dignity and community.  Those of us who survived Newtown, did so with few words but prayers which were heard around the world.  But many of us are exhausted from this year for reasons which are our own and unique to each of us, but which cut so close to bone.

What I see with myself is that as I look around my home, I could give it all up.  I am so grateful for my beautiful dog who entrains so deeply with me and I am so grateful for the love that I feel in my heart for all whom I have placed there and I hold there with nothing but tenderness and exquisite care.  

Of course, I need to find a way to pay the bills and that seems to be a tremendous pressing cloud of fear and terror right now, but when all is said and done, all that matters to me is that those I love know it and feel it and understand where it germinates from.  I could keep giving away my possessions and it wouldn’t count for anything.  They could be taken from me, and it wouldn’t count for anything.  If my heart isn’t beating, listening, loving, honoring and bowing, then I have gone very far away from the source from which I came.

I hope that this next trip around the sun will be beautiful and inspiring for us all.  I hope it will be filled with truth and hope and trust and forgiveness and a powerful love that we can draw faith from.  

I hope.  

I hope this for us all.

And I won’t give up hoping.

A blessed, safe, healthy new year filled with love for all.


Jill Bacharach

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Not Just Pie!

For much of my life, I have felt like an outsider looking in.  Peering in through a window or a doorway, a fence or a gate, at the action and feeling “apart” from it all.  Wishing I were a part of things, but feeling separate.

There are moments in films, when the action slows down, and the protagonist begins to move in slow motion and things start to sound louder in his/her head and clank and crash about and you see him/her walk away slowly to move away from the crowd so as to compose him/herself.  Those are the moments when I feel the director pulling us up close in order to feel our own humanity.  What it feels like to feel alone and alienated amidst a crowd and amidst the noise inside your head all at once.

After experiencing a very traumatic loss nearly a decade ago, I began to recapitulate relationships which were beautiful and strong and loving and which would ultimately fail, thereby creating loss again.  This happened several times over the last decade although I am sure I am not alone.  But what I have seen is that I have become more and more withdrawn, even as it is not my nature to be that way.  More and more isolated, and more and more reclusive.

During Hurricane Sandy, a neighbor of mine offered me a chance to shower in her home because she had electricity and finally one day, I accepted.  It was one of the most nurturing moments I had experienced during that week and one I barely allowed myself because there were other issues to tend to on that same day.  

Just a few days ago, a community of neighbors of a dear friend of mine gathered together to bake pies to bring to Newtown, CT to help with the grief effort there.  When I arrived at the home, it was bustling with people all cutting and slicing.  Everyone was doing something.  And everything was running like clockwork, even as the smoke alarm went off several times.  

So many people filled this house and without question, showed up simply to help.  It was awe-inspiring to me (someone who grew up on the outside and then began to re-inscribe that idea that I was somehow “safer” on the outside).  My heart felt so safe because I was there simply for the purpose of giving.  I wasn’t there to speak about myself.  I wasn’t there to do what I could not do.  And I was proud to watch myself tend to those places.  Whereas in the past, I would’ve lifted a house over my head, given my recovery status, I was not lifting anything.  But work, I did.  I sliced apples as thinly as I possibly could and at one point, I was so enamored, that I learned how to bake pies!

It was so beautiful to me to bear witness to everyone’s techniques.  Some people were mechanical.  Some were organic.  Some were nervous.  Some were free of worry altogether.  Some were so grounded, you could plug yourself into them for days.  There was so much to learn from everyone there.  But just to be there was part of my soul’s journey.  Just to be part of a community desiring to help another community.  

It was beautiful.  

And I learned how to bake a pie!

Those pies are now being distributed in Newtown, CT. with so much love, and heart, and the depth of how community comes together to offer hope in a time of darkness.

God bless all who helped in this effort, and god bless all of those whose hearts need to be held in light.  May we all continue to find ways to be with each other now.

Go to  to donate to this effort (or even just to get the recipe).  


Jill Bacharach