Sunday, December 2, 2007


Caves are wonderful metaphors for going inside. They are cool, protected, secure, womb-like spaces. You can make yourself a cave by putting a blanket over your head and leaving an open space so that you can breathe comfortably and have plenty of oxygen.

Because you want to relax in the cave. You want to relax deeply. Breathe and relax. Let your mind wander. Don’t try to control your thoughts. Let the images and memories surface by themselves. You may be surprised what comes up, but your subconscious knows exactly where you need to go.

You may keep coming back to one specific memory. Now let yourself settle in that memory. Be inside the memory as you sit in your cave. Remember what you saw, what you were wearing, who was with you, what was happening, and what you were feeling. Each detail is a brushstroke that makes the memory more vivid and restores a part of yourself that is tied to that memory.

When you unlock the feelings that are stored, or rather, bound inside that memory, then you reclaim a part of yourself.

Now write the memory with all the vivid details and allow the feelings to speak.

Here is a poem to read after your cave experience. It was inspired by a real-life cave not far from Jerusalem. My husband used to go there on Thursday nights to learn Torah long into the night with a group of friends.

Cave Dwellling

Hood of warm air
easy as pulling the covers over your head.
You leave the clear night and wide open field
to enter cave.

Earth hollowed by
prehistoric yawn.
Cave walls smooth
as the roof of your mouth.

Cave reared up out of the earth
without bulldozing trees and
picking out rocks
or sinking foundations.

You enter into
slumbering earth.
Your entrance doesn't awaken

Cave exhaling
as you bring in sacred books
to read by candlelight,
turn the axis of reality
before your eyes.

The caves
sheltered whole families
who stayed long after the Romans
left the open fields
and sailed off the edge
of history.

You expect this dwelling
will bring you back,
back before anger,
before regret,
before exile,
back to heartbeat
and simple longing.

Back to the smell of your own skin,
warm, close air
in a womb of earth.
When you speak,
words smooth down
and softly echo back.

The suede of cave tones
erases difference between
faces and ages,
beginnings and endings,
and flight.

A group of you gather
to read ancient texts,
take turns dozing off,
each sleep joining ancient sleep,
and breath matching breath
of distant stars.

1 comment:

Atarah said...

Last night I ventured into the cave, true and unloving. I found a child waiting for me. She told me how to take care of her and how to love her. It was superb.

Thank you!