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Unpacking Authenticity and a Happy New Year!

31 Dec
As I reflect upon my incredible learning journey of 2019; delving deeper into understanding cultural curiosity, diversity, inclusion and equity, I continually stumble upon the “authenticity” term and find myself pondering it. I so value the opportunity the word presents. I gratefully succumb to being my authentic self in personal and professional relationships. Though code-switching is integrated into our social constructs, I am challenged to don the cloak of authentic perspective when the “switch gear” is enacted. I appreciate and meet this challenge!
However, today with the finality of 2019 upon us, I find myself mulling over this concept of authenticity. Questions that come to mind are as follows:
1) Is being authentic excuse to not grow or change?
2) Who are my personal authenticity police officers?
For my own answers to 1 & 2, I am reminded that being authentic does not mean static and staunch. It means I am a fallible human in need of continual learning and my “police” are those individuals put in my path to ensure I continue to open my mind, heart and ears to growth.
The authenticity piece is understanding who I am, how I got here and the need for continual support along the way. My police officers are many and can be found in various locations within my sphere of influence. Some of these individuals I’ve never met, such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Some are as close as my most intimate partner, my husband. Some are well aged and several (and many) are still skipping through their youthful years. The range of support, for me to be authentic, is a wider cast net than the actual Me, Myself and I concept found within the “be authentic” principle.
Bottom line…for me to be truly authentic, others need to embrace me where I am at and see the value of investment in the potentiality of my growth. Gratitude abounds for me here at this juncture, as I unpack authenticity and find a village inside.
Blessings to all for 2020!
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Where’s Rivka?

8 Sep

Hi world,

I’ve been holed up in the prison of my mind. Thinking many thoughts, engaging many feelings and investing in hard work. This past year has been a doozie for me and “making it through,” the analogous energy-zapper, meeting me daily at my doorstep. Most of my expression of the past year lives in perpetuity on my instagram page: @mybentlife

I will return soon. I feel the slight heat of a new ember within. The momentary pause of an unrestrained timeline will lift, eventually. And with it? Who knows…

Be assured that my eyes are open, my ears attentive and my spirit alert.

xo, Rivka

Grace, she is my Mercy

28 Sep

**I wrote this piece a while back. And now, amidst the global natural disasters we are under, I am feeling as if this piece is a bit too selfish. But I share it anyway, because the sentiments were (and are), legitimate. The Medical Board of CA called today because they are reviewing a doctor who treated Cole, they are concerned his care was unethical…

I’ve been using the phrase “I need grace and mercy,” this past year more than ever! It is not that I didn’t have use or previous need of the extension of that which grace bestows, but I am recognizing the consistent failings of my humanity and the longing therein for compassion’s salve. Honestly, I have my “shit together.” That just means I am of sound mind and physical ability and utilize these tools as I carry on in life. Beyond that, I am damaged goods bouncing along this road of life and hoping to not hurt others as result of my own struggles. Of course grace is a divine assistance and not really a human trait, but it is the foundation of mercy; compassion or forgiveness shown to someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

The above statements aren’t necessarily illuminating. They aren’t meant to be. To me they are just facts I am sharing. Really what I want to focus on in this post is the reality of sorrows imposition upon the soul; and the tangible need for grace from above and mercy here below. How I see it (visually) is much like bowling with a child, when the bumpers are up on the sides so the ball can safely bounce back and forth down the lane in order to accomplish the intended goal of knocking down some pins. I see the extension of grace as the bumpers, and the hurt person the ball aggressively moving from side to side until the bumpers have absorbed enough friction to calm it down, and set it straight. Of course the knocked pins are the victory, the accomplishment of the goal through much aid, protection and mercy. Funny I should use a bowling analogy…not really a game I play, ever. Perhaps its a subliminal homage to my grams–now she was a bowler!

Here’s the thing, if you don’t know or fathom rather, the need for compassion’s touch–bless you and my sincere prayer is you remain in the good favor of the almighty. But if you do, if you are someone who has suffered a sorrow that is debilitating and you have to find somehow, someway to keep on living, then you understand the profound need for compassion from others whether in small or large doses.

The reason for this is simple, it really does take a great deal of energy to usurp the pain of loss. To daily strive to allow joy to be present, and to even be an active participant in life’s activities such as grabbing a cup o’ joe (coffee), can consume a days worth of effort. This doesn’t leave much energy left for superficiality, self centered choices, inconsiderate behaviors, and intolerable acts. And because those, too, exist within the daily walk of humanity the energy left at the end of the day is most often only enough for “a little bit more.” This my friends is where the gift of mercy is most appreciated…

It is here, at this point, at the exhaustion from living-in-pain point, where you will find the newly, unimproved, Rivka. The Rivka who gives an answer with a sharp tongue (ok, that’s always been my strong point!). The Rivka who hasn’t much to talk about (new found trait). The Rivka who doesn’t want to go to social events (ever). The Rivka who uses the F-word to get a point across or when stubbing a toe (learned in the hospital alongside my paralyzed son). The Rivka who doesn’t call (because she’s out of words). The Rivka who falls short on birthday celebrations (birthdays are overrated, are they not?). The Rivka who has no patience for people’s judgement (of myself or others). The Rivka who doesn’t get excited when things go wrong (I live daily in the “wrong” of my son’s death). The Rivka who wants to annihilate inconsiderate drivers (move them off the road). The Rivka who might not seem burdened by heartbreak (but is). The Rivka who is struggling just to connect to this world (but thankfully does). And, it is at this point you will find the Rivka who is desperately in need of compassion or forgiveness when it is (justifiably) within one’s power to punish or harm her.

Knowing this about myself allows me to don a cloak of empathy most of the time, which has just about shut out my ability to cast judgement (still in me are ill thoughts toward those that callously hurt others, and cars that don’t let me merge onto the freeway). In practical terms, I recognize I am overusing the grace of G-d and the mercy of humans on an ongoing basis. And as such, am using some of my depleted energy bank to ensure I am not stingy in considering whom else might be traveling down life’s lane with the bumpers up.

And if I’m real here in this post, I can confess I hope this writing will challenge each of us to consider further the grumpy person in line at a store and the fact that their story might be wearing them down. Or the aloof individual who doesn’t reciprocate a friendly smile, who might just be making it under the weight of loss. Of course none of this encouragement is new, there are scriptures and proverbs that guide in this wisdom. But in our humanity we forget and so a reminder is not such a bad idea.

 

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