Bubbe Wisdom Blog

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Teresa Of Avila


I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond.

Teresa of Avila is the queen of Catholic mysticism. Her book, The Interior Castle, first published in 1588, derived from profound personal experience. Her castle is a metaphor for the human body with the human soul as part of The Oneness, dwelling within its innermost mansion. Our challenge is to overcome and forgive mortal short-comings to identify and unite that within us to the Divine Presence everywhere.

Entering the first mansion, the soul spends time in self-knowledge and humility, defending against the attractions of worldly pleasures, ambition and deception.

In the second mansion, the soul grows in holiness through perseverance in prayer, contemplation, conversations with forthright people, reading good books and listening to edifying talks. Contemplation advances its ability to concentrate the mind, withdrawing the senses from all outward things and consciously looks inward.

Souls entering the third mansion have overcome their initial ego defenses, are careful in their speech, consciously avoid committing negative actions, and practice works of charity. Souls in this mansion are still governed by reason, learning the value of perseverance and suffering that prepares the soul for the life of mysticism.

Entrance into the fourth mansion marks a significant advancement in the soul’s journey to a greater and more profound intimacy with Divinity marking the transition from the purgative and active stage of the journey to the illuminative and passive stage entering into the supernatural power of more direct Divine Communication. Teresa reminds us that the interior world of Divinity is always close hand and if we continue to persevere in the practice of prayer, overcoming obstacles, trials and servile fear, a greater, disinterested love of The Oneness will arise in the soul allowing us to experience a temple of solitude accompanied with great peace and quiet sweetness.

Entering the fifth mansion, the soul is still in the illuminative stage of the journey with hidden treasures to be found in the castle as the soul falls asleep to the things of the world while faculties are suspended, and virtual unconsciousness of a soul withdrawn from the body appears as a kind of mini-death.

Entrance into the sixth mansion marks the transition from the illuminative stage of the journey to the unitive stage. The soul has fallen deeply in love with The Oneness and is now ready for spiritual betrothal. The suffering experienced by the soul in the sixth mansion will be counter-balanced by many mystical experiences the soul undergoes of a truly amazing nature. It is in the sixth mansion that the soul begins to experience extraordinary mystical phenomena that one associates with some of the great saints including: visions, raptures, and/or jubilations. Teresa explains these experiences in significant detail through eleven chapters, but cautions the soul not to rely on them, fearing the soul might think too highly of itself or even become delusional.

When the soul comes to the seventh mansion, she enters into spiritual marriage with Shekina where self-forgiveness becomes so complete that it seems as though the soul no longer exists independently and has a marked detachment from experiences in almost constant tranquility.

The Interior Castle reminds us that:

The Oneness is always near dwelling within each of us.
Contemplation is absolutely, unequivocally indispensable, with humility and self-knowledge of personal weakness and Infinite Goodness being the foundation.
Profound interior peace helps soul deal with exterior trials. All harm comes to us when we fail to realize that Divinity is near and instead take your gaze off The Power.
The spiritual journey, although sustained by grace, demands intense effort, including detachment, mortification and perseverance, as well as patience.
Progress not perfection is the way of the true spiritual journey.

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Some Resources for 2019 Seder


I am hard at work on this year’s Seder and found lots of great resources I want to pass along:

NEXT YEAR IN A JUST WORLD AJWS’s Global Justice Haggadah

The Indivisible Haggadah by Invisible Nation BK

THE FOUR CUPS OF WINE: Awakening, Solidarity, Action, Freedom by American Jewish World Service

5 Haggadahs and other Passover supplements to modernize your seder this year by the Jewish Telegraph Agency

the always invigorating The Maccabeats singing Dayenu.

New Freedom Seder for the Earth by the Shalom Center

And if you are not sure that you need to adjust your Haggadah to the times read this article in the Forward: Why You’ll Need a New Haggadah For Trump’s America.

La-shanah Ha-baah shalom: Next Year peace and the end of suffering

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Honey In The Rock


This life may be a mystery, but it is a mystery of love. We simply need to know how to surrender to whatever God gives us, like mana, each day.

One day I realized that something that had always plagued me in meditation was my own voice speaking to me from the far reaches of my childhood, sending me a message from past times in the only way it knew how. Even though I had thought it was a negative voice, I realized it was not speaking doom or sending out a challenge: It was offering an opportunity to heal a split that kept me from some of the most precious aspects of life. On that day, I discovered that this voice that afflicted me was actually a great friend.

We nay never completely understand the fullest extent of God’s love and how it manifests in unexpected ways, sometimes within difficult circumstances or impossible situations. But we can make a start by acting as if we understand, by changing our behavior.

Do This Each day pick one small difficulty and hold it gently, with the understanding that something inside this difficulty is precious. Don’t demand that God show you the ultimate meaning of this difficulty, but take it on faith : There is honey in the rock.

The Instruction Manual for Receiving God: Jason Shulman; page 106

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

Live Out Loud
Looking at the cause of your anxiety? Which one of these keeps you anxious?
1. Filtering– you take the negatives and filter out all of the positives.
2. Polarized Thinking-all good or all bad without any middle ground.
3. Over-generalizations– something happens once and you think it will happen every-time.
4. Mind Reading-without asking you think you know what others are thinking.
5. Catastrophizing– You expect disaster.
6. Personalization-thinking everything people say or do is some kind of reaction to you.
7. Control Fallacies– seeing yourself as helpless or a victim of fate.
8. Fallacy of Fairness -you are resentful because of what you think is fair.
9. Blaming– You hold others responsible for your pain.
10. Shoulds– You have an unbendable list of rules about how others should behave.
11. Emotional Reasoning– You believe what you feel must be true.
12. Fallacy of Change– You expect others to change under your pressure.
13. Global Labeling– you generalize one or two qualities into a negative global judgement.
14. Being Right– Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to great lengths to prove yourself right.
15. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy: You expect all of your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off- like you are keeping score.

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Tu B’Shevat

seven species stamps 1958

Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone;
may it be my custom to go outdoors each day
among the trees and grass —among all growing things and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer, to talk with the One to whom I belong.

May I express there everything in my heart,
and may all the foliage of the field —
all grasses, trees, and plants —
awake at my coming,
to send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer
so that my prayer and speech are made whole
through the life and spirit of all growing things,
which are made as one by their transcendent Source.

May I then pour out the words of my heart
before your Presence like water, O Holy One,
and lift up my hands to You in worship,
on my behalf, and that of my children!

Reb Nachman of Bratslav (1772-1810)

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, is designated by the Talmud as the New Year for the Trees. It is the time of tithing: Every year, you shall set aside a tenth part of the yield, so that you may learn to revere your God forever.(Deuteronomy 14.22-23) The Kabbalists of 17th century Safed developed a Tu B’Shevat seder to further their model of tikkun olam, healing the world.

This Tu B’Shevat affords us the opportunity to acknowledge how the stakes of environmental stewardship are intimately connected to our well being. The enormity of destruction and degradation with global warming, massive deforestation, the extinction of species, poisonous deposits of toxic chemicals and nuclear wastes, and exponential population growth must be addressed and remedied. Tu B’Shevat is our opportunity.

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Podcasts Updated


Stitcher has a list of their top 100 shows. It’s time for a podcast update since my last set of suggestions My top 10 listed in reverse with all of the links:

10. Amicus Dahlia Lithwick
9. Where Should We Begin Esther Perel
8. We The People Jefrey Rosen
7. New Yorker Radio Hour
6. Reply All
5. Recode Decode
4. Stay Tuned With Preet
3. Rational Security
2. Pod Save America
1. Mueller She Wrote

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Ecstasy Is Chosen

Life is a Verb

Choose it: right now! What happened? Did a flash of lightning knock you off the sofa? Did the TV go on by itself? Did God call on the telephone to tell you that you are good?

Chances are that nothing happened at all. Nothing that is, to our three-dimensional consciousness, which sees only what it can touch in some manner. When we consciously choose ecstasy, all of the angels in heaven are awakened at once to help us, to care for us on our journey.But we must remember: Ecstasy is not simply happiness, happiness that is the opposite of unhappiness. Ecstasy is the condition that arises when both happiness and unhappiness are seen to have common origin. When that happens, we no longer seek the shallow happiness of light, because we know that the happiness that includes light and darkness can never be taken away.

It is the choice of this form of ecstasy that stirs the angels. It is a law of the universe that you receive help with his type of request. Request. Choosing. They are the same thing. DO it now and then let go. The rest is up to God.

The Instruction Manual For Receiving God; Jason Shulman; page 61.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

The Ego


The ego personality, even while completely desiring and longing for freedom, resists moving toward it, because it fears its own annihilation.

Dear Reader: Do you sometimes feel like no matter how hard you try, you do not make the sort of progress you would like on your spiritual path? What is that? Do you lack something? Some genius for change? Were you wounded too deeply in childhood to receive your life’s dream, to be with God, to awaken?

Please note: There is an active force that holds you back! The same part of you that searches also looks longingly backwards toward your own imprisonment. This is not a theory. It is a fact. Everything that lives has a force within it that makes it want to keep on living in the same way it has always lived. Your small self fears this new, unknown land you are trying to enter and actively seeks sanctuary in limitation- the very limitation you are trying to escape!

So don’t escape. Stop trying so hard. Open your mind and heart to this part that cannot go forward and cannot go back. See its dilemma. If you do that, you will begin to notice a form of spiritual progress you never dreamed about. You will begin to come alive.

The Instruction Manual for Receiving God by Jason Shulman; Page 25

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018



This weekend working in the studio, not wanting to hear any more politics, I turned to my favorite spiritual advice from Sounds True: Insights From The Edge. Each and every one of these was the encouraging affirmation, perfect for your listening pleasure.

Robert Augustus Masters talks about The Depthless Depth of Shadow Work. Our shadow is whatever in us we are keeping out of sight, that we can’t/ won’t face about ourselves. To truly evolve, we need to know our shadow; to discover and make wise use of what lies hidden or otherwise neglected within us. His work helps discover and cultivate intimacy and healing from our core shadow wounds. WOW!

Ronald Siegel in The Psychophysiological Component in Healing explains the ways that stress and other psychophysiological components can instigate everything from insomnia to irritable bowel syndrome. He encourages frank conversations around chronic pain, as well as making friends with negative emotions like fear and anxiety to cope with life’s inevitable hurdles. His work is totally consistent to what I have learned in my myofascial release work.

Miranda Macpherson in The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation guides the spirit to surrender into nondual realization based on the practice of welcoming all of our experiences and responding our unique compassion and wisdom. Ego relaxation allows us to stop beating ourselves into spiritual shape and yields instead to an unshakable loving presence within. Loved the concept of ego relaxation!

Kristin Neff in The Liberating Power of Self-Compassion helps us let go of our constant, debilitating self-judgment to heal past wounds of shame, insecurity, and not being good enough. In addition to listening to the podcast try some of her helpful self-companion exercisesPrologue.

Van Jones speaks about Breaking Out of Our Resistance Bubble offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change regardless of party or politics. Jones aims for a deeper patriotism that is the vital business of solving our toughest problems without accusations and abandonment. I was impressed with him right after the election but lost track. It is encouraging to see he’s still at solving our current political dilemmas.

And finally, Mary O’Malley’s What’s in the Way Is the Way encouraging us to being with the way things actually are, rather than continually struggling to make the life we think we should have. She has the most well explained and justified explanation of how our true healing can and will occur in the miraculous, incandescent present moment. I’m onto her book!

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Flag Quilt Part I



Honor Human Dignity

Be The Best You



Right Intent

No Distraction

Live Life As A Verb


Monday, September 17th, 2018

Preparing For The Walk

Zen Rocks

Whether you hike the entire route or just the last stretch — or even if you’re just there to vicariously enjoy the thrill of the latest in a thousand years of pilgrims finishing the Camino de Santiago — it’s an experience that will stay with you forever. Rick Steves

If all goes according to the plan I initiated yesterday, in 34 weeks by my 69th birthday, I will be totally prepared to confidently walk the last 71 miles of Camino de Santiago.

You may rightly question why a nice Jewish Bubbe like me would choose to follow The Way of St. James??? But Rick Steves tells all, it’s the opportunity of a life time- a way to embark on a spiritual journey and as any wise Bubbe would retort: What could it hurt???

My daughter worked out a weekly training plan:
– A long hike day working from 4 miles (which I successfully completed yesterday) up to 11 miles a day
– 2 short fast hike days from 1-2 miles (which I successfully completed today in the rain)
– 2 mid-length hike days from 3-6 miles
– 2 rest days

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

BubbeCamp 2018



Name Tags
A delayed bus
Dee’s Dogs
Homemade Slip and Slide
Gigantic Bubbles
Yummy Grill Foods
Qwems card game
Real Fruit Popsicles
The loss of Lily
Late Mornings/ late nights
Lots of Bagels and Fruit
Camp Songs and Dances
The Complete Genesis
Paper Folding and Handmade Books
ScrapBook ad-ons
Subway Sandwiches
Public Art
Baked Tofu
Chocolate Balls
Bat Mitzvah Discussions
Eco Tour
Prince of Egypt
Pizza and Salad
More Rummy-Q
Ruth and Naomi
Russel Crow’s Noah
Swimming at Iz’s
Asian Food
Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Coat
Parsha Miketz Genesis 41:1-44:17
Jane’s Pancakes
Science Center
Gateway Clipper
Steve’s Stacks
Rosh Hodesh Elul

Final Night Questions in preparation for Rosh Hashanah:

What is your biggest personal pet peeve of yourself?

When you are feeling sad, what do you do to make yourself happier?

What is one new thing you would like to try?

What bad habit would you like to stop?

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

What is the one thing you’d most like to change in the world?

Name something you do well and then something you would like to do better.

If you were the major of your city, what would you change?

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

If you could do something that would help change global warming- what would it be?

How would you help others if you won the lottery?

If you were a color, what would you be and why?

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you spend the extra hour?

If you could be any age what would you choose and why?

May truth and justice guide our acts and compassion temper our lives as we move into the month of Elul.

See the video version HERE

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