At Harvard T last night, a busker was playing "God of Grace and God of Glory" ("cure thy children's warring madness...").
Later, I also had "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in my head ("Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die.").
This morning, I had "O Come, All Ye Faithful" ("Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning...") and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" ("Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.") in my head.
Is it bad that most all these songs blur together when I'm singing them in my head? (Not so much "O Little Town of Bethlehem," but...)
Yesterday I read a Magpie Girl post on The Imposter Syndrome, and one thing that struck me from the "Treatment Plan" was:
Trust the fear. I know this seems contradictory, but here’s what I mean: The more persistent that nagging voice is that’s calling you a con-artist, the more likely it is that you are actually doing exactly what you are meant to be doing. Know that the voice will get louder before it dies down, especially if you start ignoring it, but it will, in time, begin to give up the fight and let you do your work in this world fully and without doubt, second-guessing, and insecurity. Marianne Williamson said it most famously: “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world.”(1) "The more persistent that nagging voice is that’s calling you a con-artist, the more likely it is that you are actually doing exactly what you are meant to be doing."
I push back against this to some extent -- in so far as I think there are voices inside us that tell us not to do things which we should listen to. Sometimes we're not as [smart, talented, whatever] as people think we are AND THAT'S OKAY. We shouldn't push ourselves just because other people want us to.
But that's my own bias speaking, because really she's talking about something else, and yes, the voices that say "You're not good enough to do this thing you want to do" is usually a gremlin voice and should not be heeded.
(2) "We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world."
Your playing small does not serve the world.
Last night I was thinking of a Velveteen Rabbi post I'd read ("The View from Week 35"):
Being pregnant has been endlessly fascinating. Already it's has shifted my spiritual practices. My weekday prayer practice has morphed: I'm less likely to get out of bed and daven a full shacharit these days, but much more likely to make brachot at random moments of the day. I say a blessing every morning when I give myself an injection of blood thinner, and when I feel my son moving inside me. I wonder what bracha I'll make over breastfeeding, and whether I'll be able to sustain gratitude when I'm changing his diaper at 2am.I'm less likely to get out of bed and daven a full shacharit these days, but much more likely to make brachot at random moments of the day.
I talk with him constantly when I'm alone in the car -- I tell him about my day, about how I'm feeling, about the world we're bringing him into. In that sense, being pregnant feels a bit like I'm praying all the time, because the other figure I talk to when I'm alone in the car is God. Lately I find that I shift back and forth between words intended for the baby and words intended for the Holy Blessed One without making much distinction between the two.
Being pregnant has shifted my relationship with the liturgy. I've known intellectually for years that we call God ha-rachaman, The Merciful, but I hadn't considered what it means that the root of that word for merciful is the root of rechem, womb. I get distracted while davening prayers I've known by heart for years: one mention of God's mercy and I'm liable to be caught in contemplation of what it means that God is the womb in which creation is nurtured. It takes conscious effort to set aside those meditations and move on with the service sometimes.
I think this particularly jumped out at me because I'm trying to develop a practice of saying grace* before each meal (which then begs the question of what constitutes a "meal" -- do I count snacks? obviously the answer is to adopt a more Jewish approach and say a blessing before I put anything in my mouth ... yes, I went to a gutter place when I wrote that -- but I will be disappointed in contemporary Judaism if no one's composed a blessing for that).
I'm somewhat hesitant about automatic rote things -- because I worry that they lose meaning that way; that we say them without thinking. But I am a really big fan of acknowledging God's presence and grace in all things -- and having prepared language for that really helps.
* "Dear God, we thank you for this food, may it bless us and nourish us. We ask your blessing on all those responsible for bringing this food to our table -- from the first farmers through to [the grocery store employees, the restaurant staff, these people who are hosting me, etc.]. We also ask your particular blessing on those who have no food and those for whom food is a difficult issue. (We ask all this for love's sake. Amen.)"
Yes, apparently my default language for this kind of prayer is plural even though I'm the only one asking (and am always doing it silently at that).
And "for love's sake" is totally taken from Laura Ruth.