Tag Archives: Reflection

A Yom Kippur Reflection

The year has turned and
so far
it looks a lot like this one.
The year has turned and
I want a
moment
to open my arms and send out a
wish.

To you.
Whoever you are.
Wherever you are.
I wish you
peace
in the year ahead.
Peace
in your mind and in your
heart.
Peace
whether you find it in
mountains or
seas or
a cup of coffee or
a hug from a friend.

I wish you
living
today. Right now.
Tomorrow is a new day.
An unknown
day.
Wake with this
one.

And wake well.
Live in peace.
Live well.

B’shalom,

Rebecca Michelle

Lessons from a Friend

I was really frustrated when I left work today. As often when that happens, I came home and threw myself into a run. A fast one. Since moving to a new neighborhood and devising a circuit that I really like I’ve also developed a habit of stopping in a lovely little park about halfway through and sitting for ten minutes of meditation. When I lived by the beach I would often pause to stare at the water and sometimes I try to be intentionally mindful while running but purposely stopping my watch for ten minutes is a new one.

Today it was hard to focus on my breathing, or the sound of the waterfall in the pond, or the birds that make their homes in the trees. But I tried.

One of the things I learned to do through meditation is to recognize the thoughts I’m having and focus on having the thought. Okay, here’s a thought. Now back to the breath. Etc. But one thought in particular stood out sharply today and I kept it in my mind for the rest of my run.

Today I thought about a friend from the first few months of living in Malaysia, and I thought about when I learned in December of last year that he had passed away in July. He was only a few years older than me. His wife, who I had only met twice and did not know well, wrote to me. She reintroduced herself, gave me a bit of background on her husband’s life since I’d last seen them, and apologized for breaking the news. In turn, I contacted the entire group of people we’d worked with and every single person wrote back.

What struck me today was not sadness for my friend who died too soon; rather, it was determination. Determination to remember the model he was for me in terms of doing what he thought was right. I didn’t always agree with his choices but never had to guess where they came from. He was a person who meant what he said and did what he promised. He stood for fairness and justice and was easily the friendliest person I’ve ever known. He knew everyone and everyone knew him; he expected nothing from others except the kindness and respect that he gave everyone.

Sometimes good people die too soon.

Along with his joviality, this friend taught me. I worked with him like I’ve rarely worked with anyone and I hadn’t known that model before. Recently I started working like that again and the vividness of those first memories has never, ever left me.

This friend was also a fighter. When something wasn’t right, he tried to fix it. He stood up when others around him remained seated. He made a fuss when there was a good reason for it and never, ever left doubt about who he was and what he stood for.


Is it strange to say I miss him? We hadn’t spoken in at least two years before I heard from his wife.

Is it strange that as soon as I got home I reached out to a friend I’ve long owed a phone call and to another I’ve been trying to reach?

This is where frustration at work led me: To a friend from a former life who was good and kind and honest. Who loved living and the world around him. Who did what he thought was right. Who stood up and stomped his feet and demanded action.

I remembered important things today. Thank you, my friend.

The view from the first place I met this friend. – Seremban, Malaysia, September 2014

Lost and Found

Not for the first time, I caught myself staring off into space. Looking at nothing but staring far, far away, somewhere I didn’t recognise I’d gone until I pulled myself back.

Not for the first time I wondered at myself, marvelled at the ease of getting lost in a distant place. I have no words to describe this place, no feeling or physical sensations. Instead I have a sense of surprise when I realise that I’ve gone away and come back again.

It’s not that the real world is difficult to hold onto. It’s not that I’m discontented with what’s right in front of me. Instead, I think that my mind likes to seek out quiet. We’re surrounded by so much noise and distraction and I actively engage in pursuits that require me to be right where I am. I run, I ride my bike, I practice yoga, I dance, I go rock climbing. If you lose yourself there, you’re lost. The mind must be quiet. It must focus.

I think moments drifting away are like this, too. They’ve very different in form but similar in purpose. They’re a means of shutting out and opening up. The difference is in focus – with the activities described above, there’s intentionality. When I finally notice I’ve left this world for another, I didn’t mean for it to happen.

But clearly I needed it. Clearly my mind needed a rest just then. Just now. There was nothing in my hands and I left for a moment. The book next to me remains closed.

Much of the time I like this world, the real world, very much. But the rest of the time I’m aching for a different one.


I caught myself just looking out at the ocean multiple times per day when I spent a week at the beach this summer. That’s how I saw the dolphins and the open-water swimmers practicing with floaties. That’s how I saw the sun move and the tide advance and recede.

I saw the world around me because I was able to let go of distraction and be exactly where I was. I got lost, and I found what I didn’t know I’d been missing.