Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Monday, September 28, 2015

One Hundred Years of Love

I believe our souls hold contracts with each other’s souls. Some of these contracts prove to be unbreakable. 
My most sacred contract was with my maternal grandmother. Our love for one another was unmistakable and we simply would have done anything to create a better life for each other.
Our contract probably began before we each arrived here. But to my conscious knowledge, I always felt the commitment to be fierce. When I was 5 years old, I saw her collapse in front of me from anaphylaxis when we were alone in her home and I was not willing to watch her die. When I was 6, she felt the same when I spent a week unconscious in a hospital room, and with my mother on another continent, she  watched over me night and day; she was my guardian, my heartbeat, she was utterly unwilling to leave my side. 
Our connection went on like this throughout her life including the traumatic details surrounding her death and all that followed.
My grandmother would have been 100 years young today, had she not passed from a severe trauma 12 years ago, this same week: October 1, 2003. 
She was the woman in my life who taught me about the power of love and through her I learned that love never dies. 
She was opinionated and judgmental. She was curious about life and the questions it raised- from the DOW to deep spiritual questions which enabled us to sit in conversation and contemplation about her own death and how it would impact her heart and my own, and my urgent request for her to find ways to contact me from the other side. 
With 60 years between us, there was simply no distance that separated us. She spoke to me of her loneliness and alienation, experiences which we all share, but feelings I knew I could not take away. 
I learned this lesson as a child: it was in that quiet look she had, her vulnerable eyes which spoke powerful narratives and taught me about the stories of her life.
I was the one who told her that her beloved had passed and I was the one who held her when he was removed from their home. I held her in her grief for the duration of her life, which grew to bewilder and confuse her. And she would continue to teach me about that quiet gaze.
This is why I sit now.
When my grandmother died, it was a traumatic event. What was asked of me caused further trauma which initially took at least a year for me to recover from. The sight, the smell, the entire forensic scope. But it took me far longer, more than a decade, to recover from the loss which was thrust upon me with the same ferocity as the accident.
It took time. Time given. Time lost. Time broken. Time forgiven. Time to rebuild. It  took the time it took. It took time.
The reality is nothing in life is ever ours. And nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. The only thing you can count on is who you know yourself to be. And surely that is going to shift and change with varying circumstances, especially traumatic ones. But I believe our core values tend to THRIVE and flourish even in the worst of circumstances.
What I know and have always known is that I came from my grandmother. I came from her and I honor and love all of her nuanced holiness and complexity just as she would want me to honor and love my own. 
I honor our ability to understand what was unspoken between us but was always deeply conveyed.
I honor all that she taught me about the beauty and power of love.
This is the power women possess and pass onto one another.

She taught me the ways love can break you. 
And how it can force you to rise from the depths.
Again and Again.

She taught me about the helplessness of love.
And also the anchor of it.

She taught me the sustainability of love.

She taught me about a love that is so quiet, you have to develop a new way of listening.

She taught me how to navigate my own edges of pain.
And grace.
She led me to learn how to wait for myself
no matter what.

She fought with me.
She fought with me.
She fought.
She fought
So I would know 
I could and 
Would always come out on the other side
And strong
And capable
Of knowing 
I would always be there to hold myself up 
and With love.

In honor of my grandmother and in honor of our collective call to act, in honor of the places in my grandmother and the places in me that push and push for things to be better and for others to rise to their strongest and their best, here is my personal call: 
I’m not buying that anyone and I mean ANYONE, a lover, a friend, a family member, or even a foe, can get in the way of this kind of love, or this kind of power. Not ever. 
In honor of my most sacred of all relationships, the turn of a century and on this Yarzeit, I honor you, I honor me, I honor all women and I say in honor of my grandmother, I’m not buying anything that does not line up with love, strength, empowerment, truth, integrity, dignity, accountability, kindness, engagement, and generosity of pure heart. 

To my grandmother, I thank you for always inspiring my heart to open. And I thank you for teaching me how to love more and from more. 

That is a power women possess and one we must honor and celebrate fully.

Today, I honor 100 years of love.

Jill Bacharach

Please join our call to action on October 1, 2015 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Japa Mala

It is said that when a mala breaks that you have burnt off some of your karma by your practice. It is looked upon as something to be celebrated.

I understood this and practiced this quite diligently every time my malas broke and I released them with love and surrender and sometimes sorrow, when they broke. However, this time, when my mala broke, I wanted to repair it.

I purchased it in celebration of rejoining with my teacher and repairing (over the course of time) with another with whom I had treated unfairly, a profound breach I had caused and which I had always wished to repair. The entire experience was one of gratitude and honoring. Honoring of movement forward and honoring of my body’s movement back, which was the deepest honoring.

I held this mala reverently.

And as I stood a few mornings later, making my coffee, it completely broke apart. I just wasn’t ready to release it. So I asked for a “repair” which felt like the most honoring way to stay on track with my decision to honor myself fully.

I was told it would take some time. And I was okay with that.

Of all the days on the calendar for it to arrive, it arrived today. Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Indeed, it took time. But what a blessing.

I don’t know how long it will stay with me, but what I know now is that this journey has already been an informative and sacred one.

I don’t know where it’s been without me, or before me… but somehow, it holds a truth for me around how much of me has journeyed on.

A few weeks ago, I had a moment when I felt the reflection of myself in every person I saw. And I mean every single person. It was sheer and utter humility. And through that lens my heart felt deeply rich.  

In Japanese culture, items are placed in both hands when presented to another person as an offering. This used to make me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t know how “to be with” this experience. I felt I was being made to feel inherently superior. But I now see it as an expression of humility. I realize now that it didn’t make me feel superior, it made me feel vulnerable. And subsequently, even more humble.

With today be a very sacred time of the year, I wish to offer my gratitude for the return of this beautiful mala. 

As 5776 begins, as I have said before, may we all be guided by deep listening and alignment to the source that replenishes the well of love, truth, hope, kindness, forgiveness, sustenance, generosity, and faith. And may we always seek that which we wish to repair. And may we also learn to release what needs to be released when it is time. 

In reverence and gratitude, may we keep growing in love.


Jill Bacharach

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Quiet: A Revolution

I’ve always needed a lot of quiet in my life. One of my favorite things as a child was finding my own quiet in a world that always seemed so loud to me. I searched the sky. I climbed trees. I made a special place in my room and I always saw a place when I closed my eyes, beyond the horizon that brought me home to myself.

I’ve spent the last several months requiring more quiet than I ever had in my life and from where I sit now, I see that I found myself my deep sense of “happy” and began replenishing my essential well-being. That is what quiet does.

For a long time, I was negotiating this need for my own quiet in my relationships. The reason for this is because we all need and require different levels of intimacy. The “key” is in listening to each other’s needs and in respecting our differing needs. When you love someone, it’s critical to not take it personally if that person requires less intimacy than you do.

The problem becomes this: If you push up against this principle (and I believe pushing up against it is foundationally one’s own unhealed wound), then what ends up happening is you draw people towards you over and over who simply push for more intimacy from you than YOU desire because you have not reconciled a wound and integrated it as a part of who you are (because it has not been healed). You have not owned it as a part of your own humanity. I know because this was my experience.

I let go of a relationship that I fought hard for. By hard I mean fought with every ounce of love and tenderness and hope and resilience I could find. The only thing left to do was to surrender.

To surrender to all that I was losing. To all that I had to relinquish, even though everything in me wanted to and needed to continue to FIGHT TO SUSTAIN the relationship. To surrender to a BIG TRUTH: that I come from a family that I am not a part of and even BIGGER than that, in spite of their limitations, that I never stopped loving them and most likely never will.

Here comes the most GROUND “SHAKING” TRUTH, which humbles me to my very core. As a child, I never would have believed it, but in this crystal clear moment, I have been shaken and rocked by a truth I cannot ignore (whether it is ever told to me or not). HERE IT IS: Even though people walk away from you, it does not mean they do not feel love in their hearts for you, which is not meaningful to them. Sometimes, the relationships are too confrontational or too painful for some souls to sustain.

Those who know and love me may kick and scream with self-righteous indignation. But I know I love my family. I know I demand fierce honesty that is frightening for many. I know my heart is soft. I know I need a lot of quiet and this is a boundary which is inviolate. I know forgiveness in my core. I know how to sit in pain, physical and emotional, and I know how to keep going. I know what it means to rise and fill my heart with love.

Quiet has been my revelation my whole life. Lately, since my inner renovations, I have required more of it than ever. But it has been revolutionary. Sacred. Godly.

And it has allowed my joy to rise up in me in the deepest and most sustained way.

Quiet. Sustained. Ground shaking. Joy rising. Love.

Blessings on the eve of this memorial to all. May we all hold in our hearts the love we choose to abide in and remember.


Jill Bacharach