Rosh Hashanah

11 years ago on this day the car I was driving in went off the road, hit a ditch which flung the car through the air and into what seemed like endless time and space. It narrowly missed a giant poll which probably would have killed us, but instead rolled into a field after it nose-dived back to the ground. 

We landed with my passenger side down. The glass of the windshield fully cracked but not shattered. Somehow my glasses completely intact still on my face. My boyfriend at the time got himself out of the car and was trying to find a way out for me. At first I thought maybe it was a dream or that I had died. Somehow I managed to hear him say that I had to get out because gas was coming out of the car. 

So I did. I pulled myself out of the car through the broken window above me. I pulled myself out of the car not understanding why it felt like my arms would not work. I pulled myself out of the car and the dark night of broken metal with two fractures in my collar bone and six in my sternum-right through the center of what we call the heart space. 

Later, I discovered that those fractures were a result of the way the seatbelt restrained me and the impact of the airbag on my chest, which would have suffocated me had my seat not been reclined because I was falling asleep at the moment we drove off the road. I would also like to say this is not a tale of a drunk driver. He lost sight of the curve of the farmland road. That's it. It was dark. It was chance. 

And we literally walked out of that car alive and to the side of the nearly empty road in the new-moon darkness to meet an ambulance that had been called by two good samaritans who happened to be on the road that night. 

It was the second night of Rosh Hashanah and it was the Fall Equinox and it was Navaratri. 

I have always considered that night a rebirth for me. Though I rarely ever talk about it now. I did recount it for the first few years as I tried to understand the narrative and soothe the PTSD I developed. But over the past few years it has felt less relevant. 

The other day I was getting some bodywork and my Rolfer and dear friend was working on my right arm. She asked if that collar bone had ever been broken. "Yes" I told her. And since then I have been thinking of this night. Not in a bad, traumatic way. But in a deeply reverent way. 

As I write these words I can feel that old familiar painful ache in my chest. The kind of ache I lived with for years. First the intensity of bones healing and regrowing. And then the trapped fear and freezing. And then the old memory that creeps in through feeling when the air is damp and cold. 

I died that night. That night of the new year in 2006 as we turned towards fall, toward the liminal portal of the Days of Awe. But I was also reborn that night. I was reborn by Grace. Thrown into the Book of Life. Durga took away all the ways of being that were slowly sinking my life into a hole and made my life something more whole and holy. She delivered me that night. 

This time of year feels sacred to me not only because my traditional ways mark it so, but because I know with every living cell in my body that veils are thin right now. Prayers matter. And if we are given the chance to live. Let us delight in the moonlight and the royal sun by loving more fiercely than we can ever imagine. 

My relationship with a man I deeply loved also died that night. He was driving us home. It was an accident of no persons fault. We never managed to recover from our fear, pain and overwhelm. We grew apart. We hurt each other deeply. But he did indeed drive us Home that night. We were launched into lives that took us away from one another and towards our own future children and the spouses we deeply adore. We were reborn into the lives and loves waiting for us on this Rosh Hashanah eleven years later. We were initiated. 

This is my Rosh Hashanah prayer and blessing: 

May you be reborn. 

May your broken bones filled with the worlds sorrow heal. And remain achy enough you never loose sight of the worlds need for your healing touch.

May you move towards the sweetness and newness of Life even in the dark shattered and scattered night. 

May you dwell in the deep trust of the Goddess as your guide gently and ferociously surrounding you with Grace. 

May you go forth in this new year and new life and new cycle with a strength and vulnerability on your tongue. 

Livia Shapiro1 Comment