From the 72 Names of God deck, we have Unity.
“With these letters, I pass the true test of spiritual character: I can see all sides of the problems that come before me. My focus is upon unity and soul as opposed to division and my selfish desires”
It’s interesting to see this group of kids today; mainly because my day has centred around groups of one kind or another. To begin with, I went to the second job-seeking workshop that had been booked for me, based around motivation and confidence. I had been wondering [and ever-so-slightly worrying] about what it might consist of, but trotted along this morning like a cow dancing into an abattoir. On arrival, I immediately noticed a few familiar faces. There were seven of us, since many of the job seekers on the list hadn’t turned up.
The guy who ran the course was the same one who ran the last I went on. He spent about half an hour reeling off what he had told us already and then got us to fill in the same paperwork. When we did get down to the actual workshop, we were asked to pretend we had been on an aeroplane which had nose-dived into a desert. We were given a list of things available, which we were asked to rank in order of importance for our survival and rescue. Was this exercise useful, you may be wondering? It was no more useful than being asked to join with strangers in making a bridge out of A4 paper or any other arse-about-face attempt at forced team building. Aside from nobody in the room being able to afford a plane journey at the moment, it did nothing to motivate us or give us confidence. In fact, it actually made me feel more desperate, since I quickly realised that none of the people in this centre were really going to be able to help me find work. I walked into the town with one of the women from the workshop afterwards and she was as equally unmotivated by what we had been through as I was.
Kate and I met for book group this evening. I say ‘Kate and I’, since with the arrival of one other person, we were the only three out of nine to turn up.Not a very good show. We didn’t let it stop us discussing Pigeon English by Stephen Kellman, based loosely on the story of Damilola Taylor, which the three of us enjoyed. Despite the over-all sadness surrounding the story, there was a lot of life and humour in the main character, which we smiled our way through tonight. I want to read Hillary Devey’s biography next. Since nobody else came to book club this month, I thought that it was kind of fair enough for me to choose that as our next literary endeavour. We are adding Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut to the mix.
To be quite honest, regardless of the reasons for others not turning up, I was a little miffed by the no-show this evening. It made me think of today’s card and the forty-eighth name, Mem Yud Hey. I suppose that my irritation is a reaction, as they’d call it in Kabbalah. These kind of niggles are tests, which can threaten to break up the unity of a group like this. It’s probably my ego speaking when I feel as though I am right for turning up and others are wrong for not doing so. Intolerance is a reaction. And Kabbalah does everything it can to fight the ego.
God, it is cold out there tonight. The three of us sat in the pub and chatted. In actual fact, I settled into it being just the three of us pretty quickly, since we had some good conversations. After my third diet coke, I trundled off into the night, walking past people huddled under duvets in doorways. One didn’t even have bedding, but just sat upright in a coat and hat. I was shivering in my own long coat and scarf so much that I have given myself a headache. I can only imagine how cold a shop doorway must be for a night like this. Let alone how lonely.
Illustration from The 72 Names of God Deck by Hyun Min Lee, published by The Kabbalah Centre