Sixty-eight women writers and Cheryl Strayed in Maui, in March. Heaven.
I met Rita Kampen in Maui. In March. Her liveliness, curiosity, and compassion were evident. Her ease and warmth, graciousness available to all. I overheard her talking about Jubilee. I had never heard of a Jubilee. As I had already promised myself a year of breaking old patterns, I was intrigued and curious. In Wikipedia, I found:
In Judaism and Christianity, the concept of the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.
How cool is this?! Not being a “believer” myself, and not having much religious education, well, virtually none, how would I have known?. The little bits of Bible I’d been exposed to for one reason or another didn’t resonate. Adam/Eve? Not. Us/them? Nope. Patriarchal God. Not so much, at all. But, this Jubilee business… remission of sins, universal pardon, freeing of slaves and prisoners, forgiving of debts, and a truly merciful God? Yes! Sign me up for Jubilee!
Rita came from a religious background and got her bachelors degree in Theology. These days, however, she says she “experiences the heart of love outside of church doors”. This is how Rita explained her Jubilee year to me, “I’m claiming a concept, not the religious version since that was always and only done in community. I asked myself what freedom from slavery (slave to my mind, old values that don’t fit etc), and returning land to original owners (returning to the spirit of myself before all the religion got slathered on) might look like on an individual level. It happened to be my 50th year, so it fit, but Jubilee (jubilation, celebration) can be done intentionally and often any time.”
I like this “intentionally and often any time”.
Maybe I never heard of Jubilee because, even though it’s in the Bible, modern day Jews don’t observe Jubilee. Per Wikipedia:
In Judaism the Jubilee Year is currently not observed in modern times because it only applies when representatives of all twelve tribes have returned to Israel and a majority of the world’s Jews live in the Land.
Ok, so no Jubilee for us.
Rita Kampen! Even her photo is inspiring! (that’s her on the left). You can’t really see her that well in this photo, but the way she’s standing? that’s how her energy greets the world. She’s a life coach, and a writer, and hopefully will have her book about Jubilee ready to publish in the Jubilee year of 2016. Here’s a link to her website, to some fascinating and inspiring things she wrote about her year of Jubilee. http://ritakampen.com/my-year-of-jubilee/
This idea of Jubilee, and especially Rita’s re-invented-up-dated- celebratory-trusting-in-the-universe idea of it is invitationally inspiring! Just hearing about it, I considered myself invited. Personally, I needed this Jubilee year, before I even knew such a thing existed. I was looking for a way out of my previously patterned life. I was in a rut, unhappy, moderately depressed. I didn’t want to hurt myself, or anyone else, but I wanted out. I felt there had to be another, better way.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t already tried a million things to find my sense of peace, my center, my happiness. From volunteering in a number of places to participating in various small groups, several of which I started, and continued to facilitate, to organizing benefits for others (an AIDS outreach program in South Africa and Creativity Explored in San Francisco), to meditation and yoga, to… well, just a million things. I’m nothing if not pro-active. But nothing much was working for me.
Though I’m 17 years late to the Jubilee table, I decided this is my Jubilee year. I was planning to wait ’til my birthday in August to start “my year”, but before Maui, Anna said to me, Why not start with Maui? In an instant, I saw the truth; I was procrastinating. Procrastination is not a good bet at my age. In March, in Maui, I joined ranks in body and spirit with Cheryl, Anna, Rita, Joelie, Smilin’ Sue, Linda, and other wonderfully intelligent, intentional, writing women (see pic at top).
This is my year for shaking myself up (gently, kindly), and out of self-imposed prisons, fog, not dreaming big enough, not being self-respecting and sassy enough. If one year isn’t long enough, I’ll extend it! It had been a long time coming. But everything in its own time, they say. Anna said “Now”. “Yes, now”, I answered. And, I say, never too late to get started. (stay tuned for more details of my Jubilee!)
Epilogue: (paraphrasing Leviticus in my own way) May this be a Jubilee year for the world. May slaves, prisoners, women, children, and yes, men be freed, may debts be forgiven and the mercies of God (a loving, compassionate, fluid gender sort of god I’m speaking of here) be particularly manifest. May all beings be free from suffering.