Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I approached the ancient ruins with reluctance. As I draped my flowing sweater over my head to honor a tradition in conflict with my principles, I heard lyrics from 'Chorus Line' in my head, "Help me feel it".  I was afraid I wouldn't.  I was scared that I would leave unchanged. And, who was I asking for help, anyway?  The closer I got, the more I seemed to unconsciously lower my heavy head, as if to give deference to a history bigger than me but also with some amount of shame that I was not more in awe.  I am a scientist.  I am a kabbalist. At home, my brain and soul are in conflict, a prayer is immediately followed by judgement and feelings of foolishness. I unknowingly carried this much religious baggage with me on my trip.

Not until I navigated my way through the crowd of women pleading for cures to the greatest ails, to a tiny patch of cool stone did I pay attention to the moist fistfull of wishes or 'prayers' or whatever it is you are supposed to call them, in my left hand.  At first, I just mimiced, leaning with one arm, resting my head and creating my own personal space.  And then I began to recount the 'hopes' I had just written on torn fragments from my sketchpad.

And suddenly, something happened.  I had "melted". 

After many moments, I looked up to find a place where the stone had been worn away by millenia of clawing and bargaining, leaving a void for my notes.  Barely able to see through my tears, I pushed them as far as I could into a large deep cavern to the right of me, hoping they would be enter into a domain in which I was powerless.

Not until those moments at the wall did I realize not only that I have had this perpetual warring of belief systems, but more, that I was tired of fighting.  In those moments, I was allowed to relinquish the control to which I clutch so tightly in my balmy fists---  control of my beliefs and control of my 'wishes'. 

There, I permitted myself to 'feel it'. At that place, I was allowed to call them prayers.