Sunday night with Mishka

...who is settled on the desk beside my right arm.

This morning I went to a talk by Yehudis Fishman about Jewish veiws of Afterlife---which includes detailed ideas of reincarnation.
I found myself wistful for the times my beloved and I taught our version of that material at Esalen and other places. I remembered the first time, when I was a young teenager, looking into a mirror by candlelight and seeing my faces change---age, race, gender---swiftly, one after the other. I remember the times that places or people, encountered for the first time, were nevertheless intimately familiar.
And languages---some learned as if remembering; some truly foreign.
Even in this context of "eternal return", I cling to the experience of now as if it had never happened before, nor will ever happen again.
And that is also true: this very moment, in its uniqueness, has never happened before, nor will it come again.
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We have entered the month of Av, and I automatically turn to introspection: what of my actions or failures to act are contributing to destruction or violence? (I recognize as part of that my fury at, and contempt for, our head of state. I hear my own whisper from the wings that this one actually represents another body part.)
What repair must I make?
This year in particular, although I look at my own private contribtions to the disharmony in the world, I cannot avoid the larger picture---the great unleashing and increase of violence of all sorts that we have witnessed in these past years and are seeing today.
This year the fast of Tisha B'Av will carry a much larger and heavier kavvanah for me than it has before. I "dedicate the merit" of the fasting, learning and prayer to the restoration of sanity and kindness in our world.