Saturday, February 18, 2012


I am back in Minnesota, the land of my birth and my first 18 years. Since it has been my family center since my beginning, family life cycle events call me back. This time was for a joint Bat Mitzvah, that of my second cousins, Addie and Raye Gleekel, daughters of my first cousins Peter and Karen Gleekel and Tony and Beth Gleekel.

I'm staying with my brother Jim and his family...feels very different from the two people + two beagles + Reiki Center at home. I see highways that now have been completed that were just starting up eight months ago when I last traveled here. I see parents and uncles changing with the passing of the time, getting slower and more frail, memories getting weaker, systems breaking down. I see the lines on my brother's face, new gray hair, signs of how hard he is working on keeping it all together.

My family loves through bickering, teasing, criticizing, and occasionally laughing. One of these began with Dad and his brother at lunch with my Dad teasing my Uncle about his long hair (brother only recently out of after a month in the hospital). I said to my Dad, "Dad, he's your brother, just give him a hug!" and for perhaps the first time that I have every seen, they did.

I see myself in these people. They are my tribe, my clan, my mishpacha. No matter where I go, I take them with me, but they are here to remind me that I carry them in my DNA and by loving them, I love myself. The reverse is also true.

Dear God, please allow me the grace to continue to love them as I love myself. Please keep my heart open even with they or I disappoint, allow me to find the joy here, instead of the sadness of changes I wish were not happening. And there is joy...

Two girls (now young women or bachurot in Hebrew) who gave amazing talks, shared themselves and their families with us, and led the service by chanting the Torah and Haftorah beautifully. I felt the synagogue opening to change and connection with its congregation, very different from how it connected when I was last there. Another party is coming this evening (or food event, as I like to call it) with dancing, fun, etc. It's good to be in happiness here with the tribe...they do joy well.

I have done my life differently from this group, but still they are a part of me, they lead me to bring joy to my reiki classes and clients, to treat them with respect, to try to do some things differently, but to keep the sense of deep connection I feel with these people. So strong that when cousins were invited up at the end for the final blessing, I jumped up, considering the relationship close and found myself the only one of my generation on the bima.

It all seems like no time has passed since my own Bar Mitzvah or my nieces' or nephew's. Maybe that's the reason to keep doing these events: to keep reminding us of the continuation, the new generation, but our own heartlinks to them as well.

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