Monday, December 1, 2008

The Hospital - Part 1

I woke up the 7th day after chemo, Sunday morning, feeling tired and nauseous, unable to eat or drink without everything going right through me. I had Geoff put a brand new mezuzah from Israel on my bedroom doorpost. I went to see clients and had 3 great sessions.

That night I went to sleep with a tummy ache that turned into such pain that I wanted to die. By 2am, I woke up Geoff and told him this might be one of those times when we’re supposed to call our doctor & go to emergency. By 3am, we arrived at Dominican.

It’s hard for me to go back into all this again – so I will start with some Torah, inspired by the rabbi’s class yesterday on parshat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3). This is the parsha with the Jacob’s ladder dream where he goes to Haran to work for Laban, marries the 2 sisters and has all his children.

My hospital experience came to mind when the rabbi pointed out that G-d sends us to the worst places for a higher purpose. Ya’akov (Jacob) had to go to Haran which at the time was the worst city on earth (where the people were corrupt and terrible to each other). Haran is literally, “The Anger”.

So I remembered that when I first got to the hospital, I was wondering what G-d’s purpose was. As I lay there writhing in pain for 12 hours with no relief, I looked at the room number to try to understand what the higher purpose was. It was the number 12, which in Tarot is the Hanged Man.

Why Tarot? During the time between High School and finding Chabad again, I was on a search for my spiritual home. I studied Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Confusionism, Christianity, Christian mysticism, Hinduism, I had a guru (the one mentioned in the book, Eat , Pray, Love) and I meditated in an ashram, I went to Israel to study Hebrew before attending a year of rabbinic school at the University of Judaism, I studied Zohar with Daniel Matt at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and I finally ended up with a masters degree in Transpersonal Psychology (which brings together spirituality and psychology) where I wrote my masters thesis on using the Tarot as a counseling tool.

The sephirot of Jewish mysticism are often compared to the Major Arcana of Tarot but I never have connected Torah and Tarot. I used Tarot to map out the Fool’s journey through the human condition. I used the spiritual and psychological principles of this journey to help me navigate through my life.

So here I was in a holding pattern at Dominican with no relief in sight, trying to understand the significance of it all. Ok, what’s the Hanged Man about again? Oh yeah, turning yourself upside down to get a new perspective on an old issue… What is that issue?

Luckily, my doctor finally graced me with her presence and I got the medication I needed for the pain. So I thought, Oh, the pattern was about not going to get the doctor. She was right next door the whole time. Why didn’t any of us think of going to her?

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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