Friday, February 04, 2011

Living with Ceremony

For the last three months, I've been working at sorting out papers, diaries, photographs and other paraphernalia that come with living a life worth spent. An unexpected experience with my health last October, made me consider all the unfinished business and clean-up work that needed to be done just in case I meet my sudden demise.

I'm fine now, and I learned a lot about myself as one does during very trying moments. A surprise was discovering that I have little fear of death, that my decision to take a chance on a vital transfusion came instead from careful consideration for those who love me and would miss me.

I've come to the conclusion that those who fear the unknown of death, do so because they have not experienced so many of life's adventures, have not taken the chances that make us grow as humans. Their lives have been narrow, parochial. The fear may also derive from a lack of spirituality in their lives. Here again, much of humanity equates religion with spirituality, and prefers not to take the risks, once in awhile,of veering from that straight and narrow that has been ingrained since childhood in both churches and synagogues.

My life has been one of seeking knowledge of all possibilities, of learning not only about my own religion which is Judaism, but also about ceremony from the Navajo, from the Shoshone, from participation in what the Navajo call the Beauty Way. My friend Alex Cigale calls himself a Jewish/Lakota and that sounds fairly close to where I am right now.

This post is written in celebration of the completion of my book "Beauty Way" which is a celebration of the good way to live in your Creator's eyes. The photos were taken at the Miccosukee festival on New Year's eve, where Hy, Brian, Alex and I had our own private ceremony and where the Kiowa created the beauty of life in dance.