Hanukkah-Based Poems

Burning That Midnight Oil 
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby


Joy, pure joy…that’s what I feel. 
I write–to heal–to share 
to keep my flame flickering longer. 
A writer’s gotta write. The constant need to inspire 
has my spirits running bright. 

Hanukah, Chanukah, Hanukkah
Two thousand spellings 
(well, maybe not that many) 
but enough that I feel like having a full-on discussion 
with Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain or say 
Scott Fitzgerald…. 
as we’re about to enter the roaring 20s again. 

Jazz and romance and glitter and all the glam 
I can just see it now…. 
I’m burning that midnight oil 
sitting here, day dreaming 
about being in a place like France 
where everything has flair and there’s some kind of 
decadence that isn’t where I’ve been before. 

Where there’s style and culture…
Where not everything is the same.. 
Where elegance is part of the vocabulary 
and proper suits and ballroom gowns 
seem kind of normal in this day and age. 
Where being modest isn’t called prude 
but embraced just like being practically nude. 

I can just taste it now: 
Breakfast at Tiffany’s 
black dresses and pearls 
red hair and glitter on all the girls. 
Top hats and pianos and radio voices 
adding up the day’s artistic value 
in a song that would later become famous. 

Oh Chanuka, embrace me tightly, 
the way you’ve always done with the days of eight… 
Throw the fuel to my flame 
and permanent joy within 
to get me through the rest of the year. 

Entanglement of the Soul  
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby

chocolate rich and in love
the sun 
the moon 
the stars

and the candle that’s being lit 
that brightens up the world 
and lights up the soul 


a music box sings somewhere 
as all Jews pray 
to a new day 
to a new day 
to a new day 
latkes and gelt 
and dreidel playing too 
i like both sour cream and applesauce
what about you? 

the clock ticks and the candle burns out 
another night, another night 
we do this all again the next night…..
dreams and dreams, overnight dreams 
about being waking in the world of pure light 
and rescuing you from the darkness
of the entanglement of your own soul… 

i dream i dream i dream 
too much, it seems. 
to a new day, to a new night 
cheers to the candle light 
that’s saved many souls… 
let’s find the ones flickering in the night 
and put the flame back in their light. 

Mixed Feelings 
12/22/2019 by Karen Maeby


Sometimes… eight days is just not enough 
for the flame to keep flickering inside my soul
for the rest of the year. 

I resonate with the 1% battery example 
lasting for the 8 days, a true miracle, 
(the meme to explain how Hanukkah feels… 
to those who don’t know or celebrate) 
I only know, because I’ve been there before.

I have learned– 
we humans cannot survive like that. 
I am thankful we are given Shabbat each week 
to rest, recharge, unplug 
even though it’s sometimes hard to do so… 
it’s the only way to survive. 

I have learned 
that stretching myself so thin 
and running out of fuel before I even begin 
yet another project
without taking care of myself first
is a true injustice to G-d. 

I’ve been yearning for the first night 
for twenty days now: 
that same light that changed me two years ago. 
I was almost too exhausted soulfully to enjoy 
the lights being lit before me–the message– 
bringing me to realize a lot needs to change. 

Hanukkah 2018 Review & more!

The reason I’ve been so “GET HERE NOW” HANUKKAH is because last year it was Sunday, December 2 – Monday, December 10. This year, it isn’t until Sunday, December 22. A whole twenty day difference. It’s like waiting for Christmas or something. So here is a run down of what Hanukkah was like for me last year….

DAY ONE – 12/2/18
I had rehearsal but I don’t quite remember what for, so I missed the lightning of the menorah. After I was finished with rehearsal I went to my original spot from 2017 when I saw the light and grabbed a photo with me by the Hanukkah sign and of the menorah.

DAY TWO – 12/3/18
I went to Sundial and celebrated with Chabad. That was a whole lot of fun with music, dancing, games, etc. I ate my first latke with both applesauce and sour cream. Then, a miracle happened… I won 4 tickets for 4 shows. I ended up giving all of the tickets away to friends or strangers except one because all of the other nights I was having rehearsals.

DAY THREE – 12/4/18
I spent time with friends–out to eat, back for candle lighting, ate my first gelt.

DAY FOUR – 12/5/18
I went to my synagogue for service then watched episodes of Mrs. Maisel.

DAY FIVE – 12/6/18
I adopted Havali. We lit the menorah.

DAY SIX – 12/7/18
We had the Friday night JrS show, Coal. Did a really late lighting on my own at home.

DAY SEVEN – 12/8/18
Saturday evening was my last JrS that I stage managed. Did a really late lighting on my own at home.

DAY EIGHT – 12/9/18
Went to my synagogue for the final lighting and a get together inside. Ate all the appropriate things.

It’s kind of surreal when I say last year was the first year I truly celebrated but also the last year being non-Jewish.

I don’t know if I’ll get to write during Hanukkah but may have to be just a compacted entry like this one. I am hoping to at (the very least) post something on FB and Insta. I also want to participate in a Hanukkah challenge on Insta but don’t know if I’ll have the time. Either way, if you celebrate anything and everything… Happy Happy and Merry Merry. Choose love always.

Some Kind of Whisper Song (poem)

It’s already been a long week and it’s only Monday. Check my emails and work and rehearsal and I’ve gone insane. Need to write… poetry. Just a blurb. Just to spit out something. Thoughts.

12.16.2019

you light my candle
when you’re near
you whisper
sweet songs that i’ll never hear
i miss you
but how
you pushed me away
and away
and away
but it was only a dream
only a dream
you say
day after day after day
but how,
after that
am i to believe you
when you were after me
too
i drink
heavily
with lyrics on my mind
sleep heavy eyes
and i write a song
a few
a dozen more
i take a look at my history
and nothing ever compares
to the likes of you
i sip some white wine
and whine
and dine
all alone
until
you come back home
to me
destiny
where is she with you
where is she with me
at a crossroads
stoplight
the music blares
the horn honks
you are in a daze
and almost crazed
because
you don’t know what to do
when
your heart, your soul
or literally say:
you
miss
me
too
but you’ll never tell me
this
and i’ll go
away
away
away
until you want to find me one day
whenever that’ll be
if ever

Letter by the Bed by Karen Maeby, fictional piece originally posted 2/10/2012.

Letter By the Bed, a fictional piece
by Karen Maeby © 2/10/2012

A loud bang on the roof and then at my window startled me enough to wake me up from my slumber. My heart was jibber-jabbering from being awoken so suddenly and a jump nearly ten feet off the bed wasn’t that groovy, either. While rubbing my eyes trying to gain my eyesight to see what happened, I noticed I was not in a familiar room, nor was I in familiar clothing. 

If you could imagine early 1850s, you would be right. A stiffened bed with real feather pillows and feathers floating in the air above me. An old wooden chair and desk to my right, a large sized treasure chest directly ahead and a small nightstand to my left. The nighstand bore a candlestick. I was fully clothed from head to toe of ruffles, buttons and lace. I had the original bedclothes on! 

The air in the room smelt musty, I coughed. As I pulled on the off-white covers, an envelope with a letter bounced out from underneath it. I took a look at the envelope and glanced out the window. The sun beamed on the grass outside, trees swaying back and fourth and some wild animals running along the green pasture. I looked at the envelope again, almost hesitant to look at it. 

Finally, I opened the letter but to my discouragement… I couldn’t read it! The writing inside was in some language that I didn’t speak nor understand. Not knowing what to do because I didn’t know where I was at, I took a look around the room to find some day clothing. I found some and put them on then decided what to do about leaving the house to find someone to read the letter. 

Even though the letter was only a few sentences long, it had my name on it, and I needed to find out what it said. Walking nearer the window, I saw there was a ladder outside it. I opened the window, put the letter inside my coat pocket and simmered to the other side.

“One foot on the ladder, turn the other, almost down, made it!” I said to myself. 

I walked around the house and down the street in hopes to find some shop or something where I can get my letter in correct translation. In one shop, out the next, to the other and another. Finally, someone was able to read it. 

The letter said “Your time will come in May. Treasures there will be. Happy is your face, I know I’ll be able to see.”  

The guy behind the counter hands it back to me and says, “Well, you’re lucky May is tomorrow.” 

“I guess I am,” I reply back to him. 

I take the letter and walk back to the house, climb back up the ladder and sit on the bed dreading the next couple hours of wait for the treasure. 

“It’s still too early to go back to sleep.” I say to myself. I then get the urge to want to open up the treasure chest. I walk on over to it, give a look at the lock and fiddled with it enough to try to open. It wasn’t coming open without a hard budge. 

“What day is today?” I ask my friend, as we were making our way into a large known thrift store.

“March 1st.” She replies.

I stop dead in my tracks, trying to reason with the thoughts going through my head when we came across this gorgeous and old vintage treasure chest! “Wow, look at this thing. Where have I seen this before?” I ask myself out loud. I stand there trying to remember where I had seen it, deja vu all over again.

My friend just stares at me and then looks around while I am all kinds of occupied with this chest.

I walk near the treasure chest, bend down and opened it without issue! Lo and behold, it is full of everything I could ever want in my life. All kinds of treasures! From vintage books to maps to pins to just everything you could even remotely think about! Everything. It had everything. I lean over and look at the price tag. I scream out, “$1,000!? I can’t afford that!”

“Can I help you with anything?” The shop owner responds to my squeal.

“Maybe….”

“Eh? Eh?” He says in question.

“I don’t have the $1,000 but this treasure chest is perfect for me! Can we do some trade or something?”

“Are you —-?”

I look at him sideways, he said my name – he KNEW my name but didn’t know me! My friend nor I had mentioned my name while in that store.

“Yes…yes, I am.” I stutter.

He pulls out a letter from his coat pocket and gives to me. “Don’t worry about the treasure chest, it’s yours, and so is this letter.”

I didn’t say a word. I was speechless. My friend stood there idle, not knowing what to make of the situation that just happened.

The owner helps us put the treasure chest and I thank him a million times over. The car ride back to my house was so silent.

When I got back to my house, I struggle to get the treasure chest in my house and up the stairs to my room. After all was said and done, I went through the chest. One by one, I took out each item and carefully studied it.

In the very bottom of the chest, it had a map attached to it. I unfold it and there I am looking at my very own address marked on the map. It says “treasure – attic”.

I ran upstairs to the attic, following the rules of the turns and hidden places in there. Suddenly, I come to the very spot.

And, you would not believe this: there was a picture of someone who looked just like me, standing by the treasure chest, dated from the 1850s.

The Chorus Sings Praise by Karen Maeby for dversepoets, originally written/posted 11/29/2011.

The Chorus Sings Praise (poem/poet chat)
by Karen Maeby © 11/29/2011

fade away
into oblivion
i’m gone

let the chorus sing
praise
she’s gone

burn her –
crumble her up in dust
wipe her away

celebrate
celebrate the day away
unjust, frightful

her face shows
on the wall in the dark
she’s a ghost

she will haunt you
her words will taunt you
you can’t live without her any more

let the chorus sing
praise
she’s gone

she’s gone.

she’s gone.

sing hallelujah – she’s gone.

~

I wanted to cover some of the questions inside of DversePoets.com since I don’t think I’ve said much about poetry as a whole.

Who has the right to define poetry, beyond preference? How do you define poetry? Many have tried, perhaps in an effort to put poetry in a box, but feral animal that it is, it won’t stay caged long. Must it have meter? rhyme? metaphor? rhythm? any number of word tricks and tools? Must we lay it against a ruler and make it one more thing where we make excuses for size? Or is it heart that matters?

As we all discovered growing up, not any two people’s opinions are the same. Sure, there’s a right to define poetry to an extent but the definition of poetry should be kept secret. How so? Any poet writing poetry IS the definition of poetry. There’s no right or wrong answer, there’s no definite feelings. Poetry is like art – there are no boundaries.

Poetry by me will always be non-fictional packed with true emotional feelings. (So yes, I just pumped out that poem above – about me – when I had a sad moment a few minutes ago…)

Poetry flows with the flow of emotions (or whatever you are writing about). I write in free-verse a lot. I feel like it’s forced if every single one of your poems rhyme. Some are done on intention, but your feelings don’t rhyme. Certain poetry writing feelings usually make someone stabby, instead of wanting to write a sing-song with a jolly happy face on.

Almost everything that I do write often include a metaphor. I’m THE queen of metaphors and symbolism. I always like showing a comparison, two sides of the story. I like being complicated. I like people trying their best to figure me out but never doing so. I like mysterious. I like all of the “what the fuck is she saying? she’s crazy!” type of responses. THOSE are the marks of genius, or at least – in my opinion – it is.

Poetry, in the name of the universe, is undefined – but defined by each individual who writes it.

A poet’s job is to paint the picture – but with words. 

Thought Process poem by Karen Maeby for dversepoets, originally written/posted 4/21/2012

Today on dversepoets it’s all about paying debt. This is a great theme for me right at this moment, due to a decision I made a few hours earlier than dverse hour. Below the poem is where I’ve been and what possessed me to write…

Thought Process
by Karen Maeby © 4/21/12

I met my soul at the cash register:

I was unloading every single thought and every single
thing going on with me at the moment.
Pulling each one out and placing it on the belt.

Everyone was looking at me funny
as they watched each shape and size thought
be placed in front of them.

One, twenty, twenty one, fifty, fifty one –
we get to 1,000
and my soul stops the belt. No more incoming thoughts
—— can pass.

“You’ve run out of time,” my soul says.
I stand there, stunned. “But I still have more left to give..”
“Nope. You’re holding up the process.”

My soul stands there, not allowing me
to move on, to add any more thoughts, nothing.

“What’s my total?” I say, worried.
“You currently owe about a million dollars and one lifetime to yourself.”

I am nearly blown away by that amount.
And, I nearly pass out.

Was I alive, still?

Minutes later, a part of me hands me a journal
and an organizer. My Soul tells me that I need
to prioritize my life with work, what I really want
and what I really need to do. Stop with the
meaningless projects, and the things that will not
make a difference. You’re going to be paying
debt to me (your soul) if you don’t.
Finish something,
breathe, don’t take on too much, prioritize what
you take on.

Beads of sweat float down my body,
after the severe chills:
here comes the fever. Medication.

I need the medication
for I am really truly sick this time.

Now, I know what it means
to owe debt to my soul.

Let this spring cleaning happen.

Dim the Stars into the Night, originally posted 4/30/2010.

12.14.2019: So, apparently, I’m going to be taking all of you (and myself) down the journey of a younger me because I am trying to do research on myself to help me and where I’m going and piecing together what I’m supposed to be doing in this lifetime after-conversion. I know that didn’t come out right, but that is the mess that’s inside my brain. Otherwise, the conclusion out of all of this research into a younger me will inspire the older me to create some kind of a book. Whether it’s poetry, non-fiction / narrative, sorta-kinda fiction or maybe a play or script. Either way, I’m kind of having fun looking back at all of the things I had forgotten I wrote. I hope you guys are too. Everything has been sitting on my computer since I downloaded it and I haven’t looked at it in years. Also… I was living in NC at the time of the below post.

4.30.2010:

If a star has a lot of life to live but has dimmed out for the time being, can that mean once it get its needed break, it will know how to glimmer once again? 

Tonight, as I was borderline another crazy breakdown, I had to get to the lake as fast as possible. Fighting within myself, left brain vs right brain – one giving the other a “black eye” – so to speak. That quote above? Was something I thought of while there admiring the water, thinking.

I wrote what I think I needed, I wrote what I needed, I wrote what I needed to do. It was just chatter on paper, that was it, but it was fulfilling enough to make me realize something.

“I need to do what I say. Finish what I start. Retrieve what I’m after and what I really want. I want to die within the soul of music, let it flow like water over my body. I want to write, do good by writing, change some lives. Change my stars, fix them with bandage. I need to know what I want. I need to stop wasting time. The now is here, I need to get my focus on.” – Paragraph of what I wrote there.

I am that star that needed a break {being dimmed down out of the spotlight} but now, after I’ve ‘grown’ completely out of that being dim stage…I’m after what will make me glimmer once again. I AM on the path of that, it just takes a while, yes, I realize and I know. It takes a lot of hard work, I just need to lay out the plan on my steps and take one step at a time to get there. The big ending, final finish, will be well worth the work and wait.

The answer is finding the flame that lights the star
and finding the one glisten of the sun that reflects off the water
and finding out what makes the water flow
and the wind blow…
and the line in the sky

The answer is within me.
Ignite me. Light my fire. Make me shine – the brightest – that’s what I desire.  

Two weekends ago I went home to my parents. I went back for answers. I went back to tie up loose ends. I went back to “find what I was looking for.” I did all of this – alone. I did find what I was looking for, I fixed what needed to be fixed and I even found the very perfect ending to my Push Pin Memories story. I haven’t written about the trip back home, I haven’t even posted pictures or the rest of the videos. I spoke about my vacation on Twitter, if you kept up with that. Since being back, SOME things are clearer, I feel tons of peace within myself for the fixed relationships… and good things really keep happening. I have no reason to be unhappy. 

But still, even after all of this, there just came that breaking point where I needed to go clear my mind… and going and sitting on a picnic table right near the lake did it for me. It’s like I could breathe again. My thoughts weren’t so harsh, my pen flowed on paper, the clouds in my mind went away… I was sitting on a picnic table that was on the dock where the water was all around me on every side except behind me. I felt my soul being flowed from my body to the water… I felt my soul be in the water… felt my soul be the ripples flowing through the water… and it felt so good.  

I needed that today. 

Frozen – in time –
the world moves all around me… as I sit still…
admiring the life being lived around me,
I say, “Peace? Be with me, be real.”  

(Added this poem here because it’s appropriate.)

Stepping Outside of My Comfortable Skin
by Karen Maeby © 9/27/10

I took the six-layer sweater off my back today.
No sleeves, I say; just let me be free.
Free to feel the wind on my bare back.
Oh – not enough, not enough!
One, two, three… there’s so many layers…
I keep peeling them off.

Pretend; I look in the mirror, nose squished.
I always hate what I see.
Put the camera away, zoom down
I pull the bottoms of my pants up
reveal the rock’n rain boots. Today is ROCK!
I smile. I feel angst today.
I splash through the standing rain on the soaked ground
when I’m walking to my vehicle.

I get in and drive.
It’s raining; pouring and pouring and it just won’t stop.
Hasn’t stopped in over two days now.
The windshield wipers wipe away the rain.
Tears? Nawh. Just seems like a day to wipe away fears.
I am, after all, without six layers of my skin.

I want to step outside
and take a little dance in the rain.
WHO THE FUCK AM I? – I want to scream.
I need to step outside the extra skin,
peel back… let my soul out, give in.
It’s tough stepping outside of my comfortable skin.

Speaking of spirituality and religion, here’s some original thoughts of mine from May 2009.

Note from me, 12.13.2019: Getting in the spirit of Hanukkah and my need to talk about Judaism reminded me of something I wrote 10 years ago, and so I wanted to share it. I think this list had been snowballing since the Columbine Shooting when I started really discussing and picking apart my faith in my journal at the time. I wanted to understand the way that I felt and come to some understanding. The below notes were originally written in 2009, the only editing I’m doing is if I repeat myself a thousand times. This is actually the first time I’ve re-read through this in many, many, many years since posting it online at some point, so I might have to give an updated note at the end.

2009:

If you’ve read me a while, you would totally know I’m not anywhere near RELIGIOUS in a certain denomination. I’m only spiritual. I wasn’t exactly born in a religious atmosphere (as in the home). My relatives, however, has introduced me to all kinds of religions [pilgrim holiness, nazerine, baptist, free methodist, christianity]. While I’ve appreciated all of the religious experiences I have had going to several different churches and learning in classes about several religions, I still have to come to a conclusion about what I personally believe in. I think I’ve always longed to learn about reglions but always have settled (happily, that is) in being just spiritual especially with the impact of taking Native American Literature in 1st year college of where we discussed the jest of believing in spirit AND of spirit of one soul to nature. That’s about where it all began for me. In absolutely no order, I will explain what I believe in with describing situations with main words.

FAITH: Standing up for what [you] believe in and standing strong to those morals and not letting someone change your mind. Faith is about believing in what you believe in, regardless of what happens. Faith, for me, is not letting go of the fact that I have hope – and sometimes it is hard… even along the road of wanting to give up, I still believe that everything happens for a reason. Faith is me standing ground for all of this below that I believe in and will continue to believe in until my dying day.

HOPE: Hope is hoping for the best, believing positive things will happen and will happen for a reason as it was supposed to… HOPE is living life — rather it be a rollercoaster ride or not, you’re up or you’re down, but you’re still positive for the majority of the time and find the glass clearer at the end. HOPE is living each and every day knowing soul purpose and reason why you’re hoping and having hope.

LOVE: Even from way back when, I knew this was the best gift in the world. Love is free, love is absolutely amazing when you find the right person, love is loving and being able to accept all of the personal flaws in another human being and loving them for who they are…. Love is doing stuff you’ve never done before, love is getting butterflies even after being with someone for a long time, love is holding hands, laughing… etc. Love is a big great adventure… if you are with the right one.

KARMA: When someone does something really bad to someone or makes fun of that person, I totally believe they’re going to get it back twice as bad when it comes back around and bites them. This is also for the ones who lie and steal, too. I also believe that possibly in a past life, those people that walk in and out of our lives (for reasons of bad) & needed to fulfill some requirement of karma… this goes for ex-bfs and ex-gfs… they just served a sole purpose of & you learning some kind of a lesson to move on with life, then that karma is over and life moves on.

DREAMS [telepathy thru dreams]: The dreams that completely have to do with a situation and then that situation happens. I believe are to be dreams that are made to make you prepare to hear the news and to be extra cautious of something in case it does happen. It’s the reality in dreams prior to whats going to happen. Take for instance, back when we first got Peaches (lhasa apso dog that passed away in 2008), I had a dream that she ran away from us when we were out walking her. A couple days later, we really did go walking, she really did get loose from her collar and she was running out in the road. Luckily there wasn’t a car coming, I took off running after her and finally caught her. She was ok. The other dream I had was about being in E’s old classroom and the teacher replacement telling the class that E wasn’t coming back to school. I was screaming YES SHE IS, SHE IS COMING BACK! That very morning Momma pulled me aside in her media class and told me that E was retiring. Since those situations, I have still had numerous dreams that gave me prefeelings before a situation. Usually, spot on.

GUT FEELINGS / FEELINGS AROUND SOMEONE: We all have our different feelings about if someone is creepy [bad vibes] or something’s going on with that person and we shouldn’t be friends with them [doing something shady]… then it usually is. I’ve dealt with that a lot working in retail. There had been several times when I and the managers talked about certain people being shady or if they were weird, and they usually were, and they eventually got caught doing something or weeded themselves out. I highly believe in vibes, too. I guess that part just comes with being human…. but it is also a gift because some people don’t have gut feelings or get vibes from the bad people.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON: I stroooonnnnggglyyyy believe in this! If it all falls into place and it happens out of good — it was meant to be and it was totally for a reason…. as if it was already pre-planned to happen but we just had to make it happen by taking risks. An example of everything happens for a reason would be when back in 2004 December there was this dog that just happened to be outside when my parents came home at night. We ended up putting Doggie Stares into the backyard, we kept it until the vet could come and get it. She was too wild for us but I grew attached to the idea of having a dog. Next thing we know, a week or so later, we were handed Peaches because a neighbor couldn’t take care of her anymore. Having Doggie Stares at our backyard and taking care of her prepared us to get Peaches.

DIVINE SPIRIT / POLAR OPPOSITES / TWIN FLAMES / SOUL MATES: I believe that everyone has a soul mate and, if it’s the right match, those two people will be inseparable. Those people will be completely polar opposites with some things in common so the two will get along. One mate will pick up on things that the other mate isn’t good at and vice-versa. These people will be greatly in love and feel like they’ve known each other forever. When united as one, it is a feeling so close to heaven that those two people that share this feeling will never forget… and will always be known to each other for future lives and past lives.

MAKING WISHES AT 11.11, FINDING CANADIAN COINS ON ACCIDENT, EVEN NUMBER TOTAL AT REGISTER CHECKOUT: These things are all good luck for me…. When I worked in retail, I’d find canadian coins and have good luck to last for a while after having found it. After not finding too many coins, I went to another conspiracy of mine that just came about… was having a customers total ring up completely even after tax. I knew it’d be a good day if I got one of those (and it would be).

STARS/ FORTUNE TELLERS /  FORTUNE COOKIES/HOROSCOPES: I believe all of these have significance to truth to it. I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with being closer with nature and the universe, feeling as one with world — unity of everyone and everything around. If the sun is in align with the planets (which is for astrology signs) – everything is fine. Also, I believe that mood rings (even though, yes, I realize this is fake) plays some role in the human body/emotions and feelings… and it is relevant to me because I believe in  the mood ring function. I believe on wishing on shooting stars.

LIFE LESSONS & PREDESTINED: I sooooooooo believe that each one of our lives has been written/predestined right before we’re born. Something somewhere or someone has written a plan IN THE STARS (the sky, universe) to be given to the world / to us as we are born and grow up. There are things that we do in our lives that brings us to the right path and serve us the life lessons that will guide us to who we really are and what we’re really supposed to be doing. It’s already in us – but we have to meet certain qualifications of life lessons before we really figure out life… and what we’re supposed to do. Or the big plan, that is… and then it is only up to us of how far we’re going to go.

PEOPLE YOU MEET: I believe that the people you meet in your life will help you among the way to becoming what you really are… sometimes they’re great, sometimes terrible, sometimes just people that came quickly in and out of your life… each serves a purpose in your life and then they’re gone. Old friends, people that have died, etc. Just like I believe I was meant to meet E just for the sole purpose of finding HOPE and starting to believe in that. I met Momma for the very reason of trust, to have my moment of ‘packing up the memories’ and to have someone that cared. I was meant to meet Sherrie online through OpenDiary several years ago, to have her to talk to me and help me when I’m struggling with something and to give me advice (since E passed away)… and she continued doing that until she passed away.

NATURE / WITCHERY: I’m all about nature, all about being connected outside with the world with the universe with the stars and everything… All of my life, I’ve felt sooooo alive when I’m around water and the ocean and sea. I just feel like it’s meant to be that way for me… calming, etc. Witchery has a lot to do with the outdoors and spiritual… I’m not a witch now (even though I strongly believe that I was in a past life), but I have dipped my toe into wicca/paganism several times.

PAST LIFE: I believe in this, too, as stated about. In a way I also think that I was a renaissance woman… one of those women that didn’t want a family but wanted a lover and a career…. one of those girls that stirred it up back then when women didn’t really work. I don’t want kids… so that has to the be the only explanation is that about my absolute need to want to work.

What is luck when it’s common? Canadian coins if they’re close to the Canadian border, it’s not so uncommon. Good luck is definitely something that someone thinks up for themselves. Just like when I worked at Goodys, I’d ALWAYS find canadian coins in the register. When I moved to other stores, it was really uncommon… so I had to think of something else that would be good luck. Canadian coins were good luck for me at that period in my life because (it’s all about the mind) when I found them, I constantly had good luck. I probably have over $1 of pennies and numerous other change in Canadian Coins. I still have them all, tucked away, in a box… for safe keeping. Also, anytime my managers from Goodys & I would eat Chinese food together, they would tape the fortune cookie message on their desk at work (data office). When I still lived at my parents, I taped the fotune cookie message to my desk there as well (and then I carried out the tradition of just keeping the fortunes with me in my bag).

UPDATED 12.13.2019 NOTE: Despite the personal catered-to-me sort of thoughts because they happened to me and that’s what I experienced, almost everything about this is pure Judaism or a piece of it or something. It’s crazy to me… all along, the one religion I never even thought about looking into is the perfect one for me. I guess G-d didn’t want me to find mine until I was in my 30s… so it would be my own, on my own at the right time, not shoved down my throat at a young age, and where I could fully appreciate everything about it and all of my experiences that goes with it to happen at the time it was supposed to happen. Fate. Luck. Whatever you want to call it… destiny.

The Beginning: A preview of the 2017 Hanukkah that lead me down the path towards Jewish conversion.

TODAY marks the two year anniversary of seeing the light that lit up my soul. Wow. Two years, and a lot has happened in those two years. Once again I am writing this from memory and pictures. I almost feel like it’s more authentic in a way. Here goes:

I don’t really remember what time it was, but it was getting dark. I remember lounging on the couch reading The Gabber and reading that there was going to be the lighting of the menorah at the park by the local synagogue. I noticed the time and I only had a few minutes to get there if I was going to go. Something within me told me that I absolutely needed to be there. So, I put on a jacket and walked out the door. (Mind you: I remember feeling lost and unhappy with life and like something was still missing…and Christmas hadn’t felt like it belonged to me for a few years at that point. Something was amiss.)

When I arrived at the park, I stayed back a good distance because at the time I knew nothing about being Jewish or Judaism, and I didn’t know if it was kosher for me to even be there. A few people said hi to me. They said the prayers, sang, and lit the first (outdoor) candle.

I still can’t explain it… but, that first candle being lit? It lit up my soul. I was never the same after that.

I stayed there for a while collecting my thoughts as to what I just witnessed–both inside and out–as I was listening to them sing. Then, I headed home thinking to myself: get home fast, girl, you’ve got some research to do.

This is me… with purple hair… and oh how I miss my long hair… this is also a face full of “what just happened?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?” and a boost of inner happiness.

Can you believe that I still have the screenshots of what I researched on my phone? Here’s what I looked up:

-Jews by choice: in relation to reincarnation of where in Judaism the Jews-by-choice were once Jewish but born into a non-Jewish family and then finding way back to Judaism.

-Kabbalists / Reincarnation

-You might be a Jewish soul, if: G-d felt more real and made more sense than any other, related to Jewish people more, reacted more towards the Holocaust than others, the values are what you possess…

-Becoming Jewish is like falling in love (an essay)

-The Pirate Rabbi Samuel Pallache (for fun, because I was really into Pirates in 2017, ha.)

-I also took a screenshot of some books from someone that was also studying Judaism so that I knew some titles to read.

Also that same day, I started following every Jewish magazine and newsletter that I could find… including Lilith and Jewish Currents and some others I can’t seem to remember. The Jewish Currents that I ordered sent a calendar as well and it was JAZZ and POETRY. It was such a beautiful calendar. I cried when I saw it. (YES I am super emotional about all of this, thank you very much.) I still love it. Very much art. I also looked up Jews and Jazz and found Paul Shapiro. I looked into what was Jewish in the area, and what schools would possibly have Jewish classes. My research lasted forever.

So, that was basically the very beginning. That first night changed my life forever.

Fast forward though the year: I didn’t tell anyone about my finding of Judaism for the longest time. Aunt Patsy was the first one I told, and I absolutely felt like I had to, before she passed away (so that was all in Jan 2018). Also in Jan 2018, I discovered matzo ball soup. I didn’t attend synagogue until June 2018 (with the exception of attending a random one down south while at a boat show in April) and that is where I bought my chai necklace. I started my class in Oct 2018. In Dec 2018: well, you’ll just have to wait for it.

REFLECTION: Okay, so I’ve deleted what I wanted to say about twenty times now because I clearly can’t form a sentence or even put into words how I feel about this. Simply put: I just can’t imagination my life without Judaism. It’s been the highlight of my last two years. It’s kept me going, and when I converted, I finally felt complete. After 32 years of feeling incomplete and like something was missing…it’s a really good feeling, feeling whole. And it’s almost like being born again. In a way, I feel as if I went from old soul to a younger soul. Can that even happen? It’s hard to explain that.

So anyway, I’m going to post below a piece that I wrote in Feb 2018. It’s a poem that explains better in-depth explanation of how I felt. Also, if you read the previous entry, I was talking about making changes and being scared and knowing it’s the end of the line sort of thing… I took my first step towards that changing today. And tomorrow, I’m going to take another, and another, and another… . and march forward until..

The Very Beginning

Nearly every single day of my 31 years of being an old soul on this Earth:
I have been searching endlessly for what my heart wants,
where my soul belongs, and what my life’s purpose really is.
Reading and questioning everything. Why this, why that? What if this, what if that?
I’ve created this realm of philosophical thoughts that led me
to wondering why this often ignited flame inside me dies out?

I am in a much different place than where I was born..…
I broke away from those roots at 21 with a different mindset
by walking down the road less traveled, and I never looked back.
Growing older—supposedly wiser—only harmed me in some way.
My soulfulness of my wondering youth and the youngness of my mind
was nearly erased by the every day menial problems.

Last year in December, around Hanukkah, my soul was screaming.
After not being successful to distract myself with anything else,
I walked down to the local Menorah lighting ceremony on the first day.
Something about being there was magical—I saw a flame that didn’t die.
A million of my dreams as a teen have been realized, but why, I ask:
during the most fulfilling moments of living….there’s still something missing?

The night before my aunt died, I told her a secret: I discovered Judaism.
I told her she no longer had to worry about my soul. I finally found where it belongs.
This is my journey, the one that I will wholeheartedly embrace,
the one that I will choose to carefully walk—not run, skip, jump, hop—and practice
often, for this is something that deserves my true attention and patience.
I cannot ever take this moment for granted because I have found my spiritual home.

My aunt, being of a different religion, replied “A good place to start your spiritual
journey is Judaism. Jesus was Jewish so you can’t go wrong starting there.
Follow your heart and look to God. He will answer all of life’s questions.”
That answer provided me with the stamp of approval.
I sent my letter out to the universe, to the world, to God himself
that I was ready to take on this new responsibility of finding out who I am.

I’ve spent so much time being blinded and sidetracked by the clutter in life,
and in turn, I have missed some of the best moments that could have been.
There are years shaved off my life that I can never get back.
Depression swallowed me whole in the darkest days of my life,
and what I would have given at that time to close my eyes and never wake.
But, I had forgotten: both the good and bad in life serve us with life lessons.

Just this week, I cut back on TV shows, and looked to finding synagogue feeds online.
I found one in New York and I instantly fell in love with this Rabbi’s sermon:
“Gam zeh ya’avor. This too shall pass.”
How true it is that with every breath we take and move along the day, the moments shift
from bad to good and good to bad, back and fourth like a pendulum…
always leaving room just enough for an action or a reaction.

Time is sometimes a lie that we rarely take seriously, and living in the moment
just doesn’t exist anymore when people’s hearts aren’t pure from distractions.
We think we have time to say what we need to say, or do what we need to do,
but we don’t… and we’re almost always gone, even if we’re there in present day.
I’ve had many people—and moments—taken from me as I’ve come to love them.
It’s the constant reminder that nothing is ever permanent.
And to trust the thought that everything happens for a reason, no matter what it is.

These last few months–My discovery of Judaism and the beautiful Jewish Culture–has lit my life’s candle so full of love and light. It’s such an intense feeling that I’ve never felt or seen before. When a person knows, they know. I know I have a whole lifetime worth of catching up on, but embedded deeply in this soul of mine, I feel like I already know it…that I’ve walked the path before in another lifetime. It brings up a lot of loaded questions, and I’ll still be searching for answers come as they may. I can’t even begin to explain how it has completed the largest missing piece of my life’s puzzle, even in this short period of time, even with as little as I recognize I know, right at this given moment.

Visualize this: it’s like when you read a very good piece of literature and the words start lifting off the page, turn into music, and suddenly, you’re singing a song you felt like you’ve known your entire life….but you don’t know how, because you can’t place ever singing it because it just doesn’t make sense how you would have known it…and then, suddenly, the music turns into the most beautiful piece of artwork that you’ve ever seen–like a sunset–and you’re just so much in awe that you stand there for hours upon hours just staring at it because it takes your breath away. And you just want to grab some glasses, pour a drink or two, and make a toast screaming TO LIFE at the top of your lungs….because you’ve embraced life like you’ve never done before and you truly never, ever, ever want it end. That’s where I am. And, that’s where you’ll find me.

~ Karen Maeby 2.21.18

TO LIFE – TO LIFE – TO LIFE

Re-embracing the religion of trust in the light.

Million dollar question of the day:
Q: Why is there a package of salmon/nova/lox in the fridge?
A: Because! It’s mine, and it’s my lunch for the week. I’m eating it with challah bread.
Q: Oh, well, I’ve never seen it in there before… that’s why I had to ask.
(They should have known, ha.)

My soul is so stirred up about what happened in New Jersey yesterday. I posted the original Chabad link on my FB page but then they updated a few more times with new information. We’ve got a number of things going on in this country that I just do not know what it’s going to take for the good to take over the bad. Anti-Semitism is on the rise at an alarming pace. There’s a local shooting here, there, everywhere every day happening about every other hour it seems. It’s getting to the point where I’m about to unfollow our local alert page just because there’s nothing but bad news on it. Then, there’s the mass shootings that we find out about right away. I just do not even understand. In one of the latest articles, it was written that the Kosher grocery store was a target. I don’t understand why Jews in New York are being attacked every time they go out. I don’t get any of the hate. At all.

Like I posted, Tikkun olam is the answer to the world’s problems…. but until everyone is on the same page, or the majority of us, nothing’ll ever happen. I dislike saying that, but say that only because–being the nerd I am–I have read books from the 1970s on all of the issues that they were having back then… and guess what? It’s 100% the same exact problem that we are having today. Nothing–at all–has changed. We’ve all aged, there are so many new things and new people helping better the world, but yet, NOTHING has changed. The closer we get into the future the further we fall into the past. How is that even possible? All I can suggest and push forward is that everyone becomes a part of the solution and not the problem. Only half of our souls are woken up to understanding this and the way the Universe works.

The last entry that I wrote on my JM blog before I shut it down was about how lonely it was beginning to be considering I didn’t really have family (like my aunt or grandma) to discuss my Jewishness with.. well, it’s gotten even more lonely. I really miss my safe place and some of my own traditions that I created for myself throughout the almost last two years. I miss all of the Jewish holidays (it seemed like we had like 50 of them together during our new year) and there was always something to do. I miss going to class on a regular basis (my intro class that ended in May) and discussing Judaism on a constant basis. Now that I’m back in rehearsal, I’m not able to attend anything through the week (the new classes that pop up), but–for now (until performances)–I can still attend Shabbat services. After I finish up some responsibilities for my commitments, I’m just going to have to start assigning myself some Judaism-based readings so I can learn and then discuss on here like I used to. Those two months that I stopped writing seemed to really hurt me in my growth, discussion and closeness to a lot of things… now that I’m (sort of, and only sort of) back writing something again I’m at least not so moody or feeling the need to explode inside. I wholeheartedly miss the Jewish portion of my life. There’s a gigantic piece missing and it’s a force to be reckoned with (is that how you say that? does that make sense?)...

The answer has always been Judaism and I don’t know why I allowed myself to be pushed away from it. I’m so ready for Hanukkah but it still seems like moons away. I’m waiting. Impatiently, it seems. Every day for the eight days earlier in the month, I had seen my FB memories of each day of Hanukkah. There was adopting Havali one of those nights, binge-watching Mrs. Maisel, attending our synagogue’s lighting and party, stage managing Coal two of the nights, and other things. I haven’t even brought my Betsey Johnson Dreidel purse out of the closet yet. I must do that before time is up. Oh and remembering how I had blue hair and fingernails for the holiday. (As much as I want the blue hair, it will not happen again. My bathroom looked like I murdered a Smurf. I actually like Smurfs, so I don’t want to do that.) This year I am actually going to be given the first day of Hanukkah off leading into Christmas Eve / Day as a celebratory / honoring holiday. It’s still so shocking how my journey only started in December 2017, studied Oct18-May19 and then converted in June. Hanukkah is the best. It’s when the light came into my life. I can’t wait to get lit. I am going to try to write a recap of the last two years. I need to actually get the story together for my book so I have only one really good written personal narrative and leave it alone instead of always having to re-write it… only adding on as each of the years go by. I have no idea what my Hanukkah schedule will look like, but a good portion of the days might be spent in rehearsals.

On what little downtime I have, I’ve been thinking about my writing, and how I’m going to be moving forward with that. The novels or short stories (that no one has seen because I don’t believe in posting those online because of copyright issues–aka I don’t want them stolen before I publish them) have always had some sort of life lesson attached to them. Always. Every single one. And most of them are 85% based up something narrative because we all know how much I have an issue with even reading fiction. But now that I’m Jewish, I want everything to have some sort of light attached to it. So I’m kind of glad everything happened as it did, because now I can strip everything down, and if it can’t have a bit of Judaism or light or something to do with it… maybe it’s not even worth keeping or publishing or anything. Same with my large poetry book. There will be a few with some exceptions but only a few. With all of the notes I have I am definitely not running out of ideas any time soon… I just need to take the time to do all of this.

As I listen to some of the lyrics and words out of the OBR, I keep applying it to my own life. Something like “Well, it’s the end of the line, boys” then they sing Goodbye Railroad. (And, for the love of everything, I need to stop dreaming about OBR and having these songs stuck in my head when I wake up in the morning!) How do you know you’re at the end of the line and it’s just time to move on? I should know the answer to this, since I’ve done it so many times before on different occasions in different situations. It should get easier with knowing but I’m all kinds of hesitant and scared. For someone who loves change so much, I don’t know why I’m afraid of changing…. it may have something to with failures from attempting change and it not working out, then I’m just disappointed and stuck further in a rut than I was before. Or I’m just afraid of the other side. But I do know the refreshing feeling of making the change and being so glad that I did. Each change I personally had the guts to go through with has only been for the better. Growth is stunted if one doesn’t change. It doesn’t allow learning or trying something new or a possibility to rise to the next level in life… following the ultimate destiny….

Either way, that’s what I’m feeling right now: the end of the line. I feel like I’ve exhausted all I can exhaust at this time where I am now and it’s time to wrap up all the loose ends and move on. We’ll see how soon I can make it happen, but it’s really seriously about that time.