Tag Archives: Hafiz

Attitudes of Gratitude

22 Nov

This morning, I tried hard NOT to flail my arms out in African dance class as I had surgery last month and don’t care to rip stitches out prematurely. But how can one not feel joy when you hear a drum beat? Drums are akin to our hearts. They are the pulse of life itself – lub dub, lub dub. Years ago when music therapists and myself would bring drums into groups at the Hebrew Home for the Aged, even acute stage Alzheimer’s patients would tap a hand or a foot, despite being practically comatose and near death’s door.


I have the privilege of taking African dance with a magnificent teacher. I studied African dance fairly extensively in college, so it’s part of my blood. However, the reason I love my teacher is because she understands dance as a form of worship. She practically radiates something higher than herself.

Dance is a way to express joy and praise; a way to mourn and rage.

I dance so I don’t forget I have a body that is often far superior to my mind. The body has its own knowledge and its own divinity. As Whitman wrote, “I sing the body electric!” and as Hafiz waxed eloquent:

Every child has known God, Not the God of names, Not the God of don’ts, Not the God who ever does anything weird, But the God who only knows four words and keeps repeating them, saying: “Come dance with Me.” Come dance.

This is the week of giving thanks. Dance reminds me of the vitality inherent in gratitude. Often, thanks is pretty basic: I slept well last night. This coffee tastes terrific. Friends make me smile. Strangers can be kind. Let me give you a hug. The dog wagged his tail. I’m doing what I love. It rained in LA. Sunday is football. People still care.




On Having a Little Faith

6 Aug


This morning, my cat Hafiz crawled up on my stomach as I was lying in bed reading and paid homage to me. Despite the fact that I was out of town over the weekend and then upon returning had to fast him for fourteen hours so he could have an ultra-sound at the specialist’s, he still worships the ground I walk on. It’s mind boggling.

I was talking with someone the other day who said that when he travels sometimes his cat punishes him for his absence by pooping on his expensive Persian rug. This narrative is not unusual and yet my cats have never done this. Instead of torturing me for being gone, they seem to appreciate me even more because of my absence. Again, mind boggling.


As Hafiz nestled his head into my belly and stared at me with the trusting eyes of an infant, I wondered, “Why don’t I have this kind of trust and devotion to my Caretaker? Why can’t I surrender in faith that the One watching over me really is, even when it feels like abandonment, or being asked to fast for fourteen hours when having a thyroid condition?”

The poet after whom Hafiz is named once wrote:

A Cushion for Your Head

Just sit there right now
Don’t do a thing
Just rest.

For your separation from God,
from love,

Is the hardest work
In this

Let me bring you trays of food
And something
That you like to

You can use my soft words
As a cushion
For your

What would it be like to let God’s soft words be a cushion for my head in the same way that Hafiz rests his upon my belly?

Hafiz’s ultra sound revealed that his plumbing parts are getting a little rusty which is why he is getting chronic UTIs. Now we have permission to use antibiotics prophylactically. But the specialist recognized something going on with his stomach, which would hint at why he has gone from 12 lbs to 7 lbs in the last year. Sigh. That test will be $1,500 to reveal what? Cancer in a 14 year old cat? So we’re going to wait and see if he can maintain at 7 lbs for the next few weeks as both he and I are tired.

And so the sweet little guy rests and trusts in me, his mother. May I learn to do the same.