Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter photo 2

A heartfelt look by Aaron B. Cohen at the great arc of life through the prism of its details.

Heart of the Matter

Pre-Passover cleaning

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As we approach Passover, and prepare to read again from the Haggada, the "Telling" of the story of our people's transition from one situation to another, I return to my journals to remind myself where I was in my personal journey at points in the past. Here's a reflection from 10 years ago, during a Passover visit to a family member in New Mexico. I see now it's a mediation on cleaning house, and cleansing the spirit, before the holiday.

 April, 2004

 It's morning in Las Cruces, with the sun rising over the Organ mountains, and around me the essence of my relative's life: the home reflecting so much, even as the people who inhabit it sleep. The old cars and the antique cameras, the handmade woodcraft and the academic papers filled with mathematical theorems, the fading photos, the fraying around the edges of the whole construct and the fatiguing struggle to maintain it.

We build our lives around some essential outlook, which guides us as we spin our webs, create structures, and then at some point wither. There is a great need here to clean house, to clear away that which no longer serves a purpose, that is detritus, that is the crystallized echo of hopes and desires, aspirations and yearnings and ambitions, which no longer have momentum. The need is to take that stuff and simply discard it without ceremony, to note its passing but to fix the gaze not on how it all arrived, but on what might replace it. To be stuck, to be mired, to be a body beneath the accretion of sediment, to cling to it all with sentiment, believing in the kernel of unkempt truth that holds the key to the past, but may present an obstacle to the future--that is what we must overcome. 

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