Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What Does It Take?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 [Today is a positive day on the Kabbalistic calendar]

I was reviewing my manuscript this week and stopped at one poem called 'People Beaching'.  It was written almost five years ago, ten days after receiving my final radiation treatment.  What a crazy time those eight and a half months were.  Quite a blur.  The expression "the Lord works in mysterious ways" could definitely apply.  I had started studying spirituality almost two years prior to being diagnosed with cancer. What an unexpected safety net!  The meditations and lessons that I had learned certainly provided a haven during those challenging days.  

So, sitting on the beach that afternoon and looking around as though for the very first time, everything appeared to be brighter and more beautiful than before.  I didn't question it, I just grabbed my notepad and pen from out of my beach bag and began to write.  When the poem was completed, it dawned on me. Hadn't all of the sights and sounds of the beach been as wonderful the last time we'd visited?    
The gifts that we receive each and every day; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch - are these to be taken for granted?  These things are big!  What does it take to appreciate, day after day?  Do we have to have something taken away before we can realize how great it is?  

Sadly that is sometimes the case.  I am reminded of a story about a young, married woman who complained to her rabbi that she needed a bigger house.  The poor woman and her husband had seven children that shared a very small home with their dog and cat.  When called upon for advice, the rabbi suggested that their cow be brought in from the pasture and placed in the already crowded domicile.  The woman was shocked but followed the advice.  Two days later she returned to consult the rabbi.  She was beside herself, what with the lack of space, but returned home only to add to the already filled rooms two goats.  This went on for the entire week.  By Sunday of that week the seams of the mud and straw walls were bursting with the additions of a chicken, a rooster, a lamb and a horse.  Sunday morning she ran into the rabbi's study and shouted that she could no longer take it and was about to go stark raving mad!  The rabbi calmly told her to remove all of the animals.  Again, the woman did as she was told.  That evening she mentioned to her husband that she never realized just how roomy a house they had! 

Here is my poem, written at the pinnacle of a new and more appreciated life..............

People Beaching

Pretty beige sand in mashed potato mounds
Iridescent pigeons, dandy dollar rounds.
A dozen white fish jumping way above the waves
Escaping barracudas' munchy, mouthy graves.

Double para sailors, dangling toes so brown
Twenty digits pointing, far above the ground.
Kites and dogs and Frisbees, streaking 'cross the scape
Bathers preen and gesture while the boyfriends video tape.

Sandy sea shell castles, turrets partially crumble
Brightly costumed skim boarders, taking salty tumbles.
Lacy, frothy, curly waves, depleted by the shore
Out-of-towners lay about, and some begin to snore.

Runners, joggers, walkers, bodies bound in motion
Scent of cocoa butter and aloe vera lotion.
Beach balls bounding on the breeze
Footballs tossed with graceful ease
All the sights and sounds do please
The people of the beach.

Deborah Desser-Herchan
April 11, 2004
Wishing you light and love.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Work It Out

Monday, January 19, 2009 [According to the Kabbalistic calendar, today is a negative day]

The following is a poem that I wrote almost two years ago.  It was created at a time in my life when I looked around and noticed that so many people had conflict within their own families. More often than not we were more compassionate with others, acquaintances and even strangers, than we were with our own nuclear family. Sometimes exhibiting patience stretches us to the very limits of our inner and outer selves.  Resolution to gain and keep control of our turbulent emotions generally occurs as the calm after the storm. Would that we could experience the calm prior to the storm.  The storm may then never happen.  

The Home Fires

I made a vow
to keep faith alive
to keep the home fires burning
and the lines always open
I took an oath
to never disconnect
to ever communicate
and to honor the value of family
I chose a family
before soul was body
when consciousness was clear
and spirit was freely displayed and boundless
I figured that in a time
when telethons spark excitement
and good will missions make the news
keeping my word may seem a little trite
I will ever aspire to keep the home fires burning
while I continue to reach out across the patchwork
of a distant yet close family network ever expanding
and I will always and forever honor my word to you
Deborah Desser-Herchan
©March 10, 2007

How wonderful that we volunteer, tithe and give charity.  Cumberland is thought provokingly quoted as saying "It is an old saying, that charity begins at home; but this is no reason is should not go abroad".  

Wishing you love, light and boundless energy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Tuesday, January 13, 2009 [According to the Kabbalistic calendar, today is a negative day]

I always detested math, that is, until the day I discovered that it was so easy when one used the formulae taught diligently by our teachers.  The whole math episode transpired over quite a period of time.  I failed grade 8 math, went to summer school and failed again.  In grade 9 I retook grade 8 math and, no, unlike a fairy tale and a happy ending, I did not pass.  But I believe that the teachers were tired of seeing my face, so I moved on and graduated high school without my math credits.  Years later, about thirteen or so, I went back to night school and aced my high school math.  

Had I become smarter?  Well, yes and no.  I finally started accepting the tools handed to me and began using them. Every math problem fell into one of the categories of formulae taught by our teachers.  It really was that simple.

So, why am I writing about mathematics and the trials and tribulations of learning something that I had, at one time, found so difficult?  Because, too often, we over work and under think what is going on in our lives.  Intuitively we know certain things.  We call it our 'gut feeling', 'sixth sense' and instinct. Mathematically and Kabbalistically we are living in the 1% and oblivious to the 99%.  We live in a physical world of just one percent!  Behind the curtain is the 99% of our world that should be known to us.  The success of my night school mathematics course was part of the world that had escaped me up until then.

Some days we feel as though it couldn't be any tougher.  Our kids, parents, partners, job, life, etc., etc., etc., are really bringing us down.  Do we call our shrink or write to an advice columnist?  Definite possibilities, but, we already have the answers to all of our problems and questions.  It's easy.  We have the answers.  

The formula for living a calm, tranquil and amazing life is right in front of us.  It's as easy as 1+1=2.

In mathematics we want to get the 99% on the test, not the 1%.  In Kabbalah we wish to live in the 99%, not the 1%.  It all makes cents, I mean, sense!

Love & Light.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Words That Rhyme

Thursday, January 8, 2009 [According to the Kabbalistic calendar, today and tomorrow are positive days].

I have always wanted to be a teacher.  Education and knowledge of any subject always fills me with a sense of accomplishment and pride.  When I have learned something I am always eager and happy to pass it along, share it with others.  It doesn't matter what the lesson learned is;  the definition of a new word, a recipe, history, or, something that I consider most valuable, spiritual discovery.

My main concern is, that while sharing, it is done in the spirit of teaching, not preaching.

Teaching.  Preaching.  When does one cross over to the other side?  Is it tone of voice?  Body language?  Is it the volume of one's voice?  Webster's defines 'preach'  as delivering a sermon, to advocate earnestly and to exhort in an officious or tiresome manner, while 'teach' is defined as to cause to know a subject or to guide the studies or impart knowledge.

I remember playing 'school' with my sisters Rachelle and Cynthia.  I loved being the teacher.  We would make up little tests and then correct them.  We so enjoyed marking the papers with a big 'E' for excellent and putting little gold and silver stars at the tops of the pages for work well done.  I don't ever remember playing congregation and wanting to be the preacher.  Perhaps it was best said by Pope - 'Men must be taught as though you taught them not'.

Currently I study with a couple of spiritual teachers.  I value their lessons, their knowledge and sensibility. But even more, I value that they impart and guide and, well, teach.  For while I really like being a teacher, what has given me enormous pleasure is the ability to be a student. 

To all of the teachers out there, both academically and spiritually, I say thank you. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Checks and Balances

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 [According to the Kabbalaistic calendar, today and tomorrow are considered negative]

To all my family and friends who commented on my new blog, thank you.  Today I am sharing one of my poems, written back in December 2007.  Balance is key in all that we do.  For every up, a down.  For every no, a yes.  Going even deeper, the issues of race and color are as much in need of balance, so please, read on.....

Black and White

white on white
snow blindness
nothing, nothing
no forefront
no backdrop
peripheral nothing
each layer jockeying
for position
there is none

black on black
no definition
one darkness
ebony upon ebony
no gradient shades
to highlight the other
silhouettes exist not
all is dark

meets black
black on white
white under black
light illuminating
the black of which
now has introduced
a shadow
of a doubt

fuzzy indistinction
curiously clear
much like
a blue tree in a red forest

black letters stand out
dark iris pronounced
on white orb
not white without black
black lost without white
gray is not the rightful heir

black and white

Deborah Desser-Herchan
December 22, 2007

Today I leave you with the following thought.............
"Mortals are equal; their mask differs"
                                    - Voltaire

Monday, January 5, 2009


Monday, January 5, 2009 [this is considered a positive day on the Kabbalistic calendar]

Everything has a beginning; a seed level, if you will.  And this is mine.  Encouraged by my husband and household techie, Michael, to begin a blog, I finally decided to 'just do it'.  I really didn't know what topic to espouse as I have so many interests, but then it came to me.  

The Spirit.

Sometimes willing, oftentimes, not.  But each and every day, we, the humans that inhabit this great earth, jump, stumble, drag [choose your own descriptive] ourselves from our cocoon of comfort and start another day.  It is not always easy.  In fact, sometimes it is difficult beyond all else, but, we do it.  To those of us that dragged ourselves or stumbled mindlessly out of bed I say, go back and start over.  You get a 'do over' every once in a while which is a good thing.  While back in bed, think.  Think of all the wonderful and amazing stuff there is out there.  Feel gratitude, awe, introspection and genuine caring.  Feel it all. Love it all.  Even the not so great thoughts.  Without those, the wonderful would not be as wonderful.

So, for today, I will leave you with a wonderful thought. "Beautiful spirit, with thy hair of light and dazzling eyes of glory!" - Byron

Let 'Beauty', 'Light' and 'Glory' be your mantra for today.

Wishing you 'Light & Love'.