September 20, 2009

I Cast Away My Sins

I cast away my sins today or I hope as I suspect that this year there were more than usual. I am not really sure what that means, but I feel like I need to say it. Standing at the cement banks of a man man lake I joined hundreds of others in feeding the ducks day old bread that symbolized my sins.

It is called Tashlich and it is an ancient ceremony that usually has a lot of meaning for me. This year I had trouble focusing. Perhaps it was concern that the dark haired beauty was going to fling herself into the water along with the bread or perhaps it was the lady who kept talking about cleveland, not sure.

What I do know is that at one point I closed my eyes and did my best to look inward and focus upon the moment. Oftentimes when I try to drown out the world around me I turn on a song on the mental jukebox. For some reason all I could hear was The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War by Holst.

 One section in particular stuck with me and I found myself wondering whether to laugh or cry. This is on my workout mix. It is something that I listen to when I am focused on lifting more. It fits well with trying to add another plate to the benchpress, less so with spiritual moments.

Ok, that is probably not entirely true, but it wasn't really where I was trying to go with it. So I did my best to shuffle up a new song and came up with this. I get the connection, I am sure that John Williams was influenced by Holst. Certainly Darth Vader is a man who is in dire need of casting away his sins, but I am not him.

Confession time. If I had to go to the Dark Side I would always pick Darth Vader. Darth Maul had a cool double blade on his light saber, but the whole horns and Judaism thing doesn't work for me. And the emperor just doesn't do it. Nah, I'd be a 7 foot tall Sith lord with a cape and a bad attitude.

End of confession. Now we return you to your normally scheduled programming.

It took a moment but I finally managed to focus. I was surrounded by a sea of people but with my eyes closed I stood alone. Inside my mind I jumped off of a cliff into a sea of black. I could feel the air rushing by head and I really wasn't sure when I was going to hit the bottom.

Had I been able to step outside my body I would have seen someone with their eyes clenched shut and a rigid back. Pretty sure that you would have seen my lips silently moving.

In short, I would have looked like I was crazy or constipated, maybe both.

But that is ok with me. I am in a period of transition and I have stopped trying to fight it. I accept that things are changing and that all I can do is deal with me. Depending upon who you are that can sound new agey or religious, but that doesn't really matter to me. All that matters right now is riding out the storm.

If we continue along our Star Wars theme it feels a bit like when Obi-Wan fought Anakin. Ignore the bad acting and go with the theme. Anyway, I feel like the grizzled veteran who has seen incredible potential go up in flames. Perhaps it shall rise again like the phoenix, I don't know.

Slowly opening my eyes I look down and see children staring up at me. The dark haired beauty and her friends are giggling the way that girls do. They may be five but I can see the future and I know that 20 years from now the giggling will still be there, but it will be accompanied by a certain amount of knowledge and life experience.

But right now I see happy girls who haven't any idea that life can be so serious or that the grown ups don't have all of the answers. That is ok with me, not having all of the answers. As much as I kvetch about it and wish that I could see the future there is a certain amount of excitement in not knowing everything. There is a joy and a rush in knowing that sometimes I may sail blindly, but with a purpose.

In the interim please excuse me. I have to go brush away the bread crumbs those giggling girls left on my pants and shoes.

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Chaviva said...

I opted not to do Tashlich this year. For some interesting reasons. But on a sidenote, did you know that the Tashlich ceremony was initially to reenact Abraham encountering Satan at a river while on his way to sacrifice his son?

John Sullivan said...

I thought growning up in NYC and near Monsey NY I knew something about the Jewish religion but I never heard of this.I like the part where you felt something ?
Anyway I listened to your google msg also and I was thinking I like this guy.I came from a comment that you left on my blog.I'm often glad I click back but in this case I was glad to read some of your posts.
Wish I could write like that :)

Jack said...


I vaguely remember hearing something about that, but I can't say for certain. I'll have to look it up.

Hi John,

Welcome to the blog. We have all sorts of wacky stuff that not everyone has heard of.

Writing is based upon practice. Just something that you do over and over it and gets to be easier. At least I think so.