Vidui 5779

(vidui is, as I have practiced it, the annual confession made during the Days of Awe through Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day of atonement. It’s when I look over the past year and note where I’ve acted in ways that hurt or deplete myself and others, and aim to use this information constructively in the new year. It is an act done for healing.)

We make movies and TV shows to entertain each other in this waiting room of modern life. I notice more and more how my meals resemble airline meals: everything coming in tiny little plastic packages; a meal not ladled from a central, warm cauldron, but rather each person with their little packaged packages like MREs; we are soldiers marching through land to be occupied. We are the permanent settlement. The mobile occupation. Whether by conquest, by choice, or by capture…

The market is saturated with Empire. You gotta be a little empire just to get by. No one‘s hands are clean.

I can’t wash the blood off my hands; You know what it is… I help create the island of garbage the size of Texas floating in the ocean. I slit the throats of soft-eyed cows. I clip the beaks of chickens, and I pump them full of hormones. I force the cow to lactate until death. I wear the labor of young people. I live on conquered land, and drive past jails to see the view.

I take the butter of the Earth by force,and feed it to my children with tender care. I get my body the nutrients it needs through the pain of others.

I don’t want to do these things.

And I haven’t been able to stop.

And with every step I feel the weight of my impact, the pain and suffering I indirectly cause.

I am sorry, beautiful planet.
I am sorry, beautiful people, of all fauna, flora, and fungi varieties.

I have raped you; I have killed you. I have stored you up for another day, not having faith in my connections to community and the bounty of this world. I have fortified and funded the pyramid of power that crushes those at the bottom and isolates ones at the top. I have made alters of hewn stone. I have bowed down idols that I thought would deliver me from this heavy knowledge. I tried to lift off into the patriarchy’s gods of enlightenment, to blast off into the oblivious fantasy of the privileged, to believe that someone besides this very earth, air, water, and fire was the source of my life.

But somehow, Ima, you have called me back.

Well, here I am.
I will turn aside now
To see this strange thing.
I will live in knowing.
I will take off my shoes
On this holy ground.
I do not push away
this burden of hypocrisy.
I know not how
to heal this world
or myself.

I continue to struggle. 
I continue to see.
I continue to hear.

I will take off my shoes
On this holy ground.