I have realized that my experience creating this piece on Psukei D’Zimrah is much like the way I experience this section of the service in communal prayer. Intellectually, I know that the goal of this part of the service is to get me to a higher plane of spirituality – to move me closer to God. Similarly, creating art can often bring me to a different place – the zone where I’m one with the fabrics and the piece comes to life.
And yet, I find myself struggling with this piece – fighting for every small step forward and being pushed back several steps with each attempt. This is the same feeling I get at morning minyan during Psukei D’Zimrah. I try to focus on the psalms and allow them to move me to a holy place, but there is always a tension I can’t let go of. Since my Hebrew isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be and I didn’t grow up reciting these words daily, I struggle to keep up with the pace set by the prayer leader. The balance of keeping up and still finding meaning in the moment is one I have yet to master.
This tension is also found in the way I’m approaching the creation of this piece. The reality of the piece as it comes to life is not the picture I’ve been living with of what the piece could or should be. Thus, each step forward feels like a step in the wrong direction. Instead of letting the piece or the prayers guide me, I have been trying to control them. I have to accept the fact that neither this piece nor the worship experience it’s based on can be perfect. I simply have to let both be what they are and, hopefully, in the process of letting go, find something more meaningful.