Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine) served as a Mormon missionary in Tokyo, Japan, left the church of her childhood when she came out as a lesbian, and years later converted to Judaism. She is currently working on a collection of poems about her cross-USA bicycle ride, titled The Journey Home. Kim has a clinical practice in alternative medicine specializing in brain and nervous system disorders in Spokane, WA. She and her wife, Rabbi Elizabeth W. Goldstein (HUC, NY, 2001) edited an anthology titled Music, Carrier of Intention in 49 Jewish Prayers. Her latest book of poetry is Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.
View all posts by Kimberly Burnham https://reformjudaism.org/blog/blog-author/kimberly-burnham
Writing the Torah and Honoring the Name of God by Kimberly Burnham 12/16/2015
There was such joy in his voice as Rabbi Kevin Hale talked about going to the river near his house to wash himself in a mikveh (ritual bath) before writing the name of God in the Torah scroll he worked on. Letters gather into words. Words spiral into sacred texts. Each one is different. Each one strives to create a world of peace. Each one calls out a name of God. One of about 100 Torah scribes in the United States, Hale taught a dozen or so attendees at the 2015 Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City, UT, how to sing out each letter and word as we inscribed "... Read More https://reformjudaism.org/blog/2015/12/16/writing-torah-and-honoring-name-god
Crossing the Border, Jewish at the Boundaries by Kimberly Burnham 7/24/2015
"You know, I was never Christian. I was born Jewish."
"I know, and your momma and your ema and your grandparents were all born Jewish," I said, deep in conversation with my 6-year-old stepdaughter, Shaya.
"I, on the other hand, am the only one in my family that is Jewish," I added.
"Because you turned Jewish," she piped up.
Three years ago – before I knew anything about this amazing child or her mother, who I fell in love with, or her twin brother and the 9-year-old twins – I decided to bicycle... Read More https://reformjudaism.org/blog/2015/07/24/crossing-border-jewish-boundaries
Originally Posted in Our Community of Humanity at Inner Child Magazine
Connection to the Earth
Two years ago I was bicycling through Spokane, Washington on a 3000 mile Cross-USA trip from Seattle to Washington, DC. In the last two years I moved across the country from Connecticut to Washington state and this spring just moved into a new house with trees and land for a large garden.
Sponsored by Hazon which means vision in Hebrew, the bicycle adventure connected me to the land, this land of my birth and experience has taught me so much about myself, my friends and the United States. I found community with people who otherwise would not have spun in the same circles as I did. I noticed our similarities and the places we are connected and I learned from our differences.
Now I wake up to the sound of quail running in the tall grass, baby birds just learning to fly and the sound of children's bare feet on the newly carpeted stairs. I am part of a family, a community, a country and the earth.
Earth Teach Me
"Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves
which die in the fall.
Earth teach me courage as the tree
which stands all alone.
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed
which rises in the spring."
- William Alexander
I Am Learning
I am learning patience
from a garden that takes time to build and grow.
I am learning compassion from seeing the frustration of children
too small yet to do all they want to do.
I am learning to better explain my needs and desires
from setting up a house and merging our things.
I am learning to heal the land
with cast offs like coffee grounds and banana peels.
I am creating from dry earth where no worms yet burrow
a lush vegetable filled garden.
I am learning to appreciate and the sunshine and the rain
from the colors and hues of the setting sun as I stand on my porch.
I hope you are learning great and wise things
from the land and your community this summer.
Originally Posted in Our Community of Humanity at Inner Child Magazine
The Resilience, Beauty and Healing in Natural Diversity
There is power in droplets of time that change the flow of life. Moments in the future where I will dig deep for the strength to finish the hundredth Montana mile on my bicycle this summer.
Moments in the past when I felt the exhaustion and exhilaration of the fifty-third Connecticut mile on Hazon's New York Ride while raising money for sustainable agriculture. Then five pounds lighter I rode 71 New Hampshire miles along the coastal waters enjoying that diverse interface where the particles of sand and earth meet waves of water.
Moments in the present as I train for a 3300 mile bicycle ride across the United States. June 13, 2013. I will dip my bicycle wheels in the cold Pacific waters near Seattle and set off across the Cascade Mountains for Montana, Michigan Maryland and points East before riding into Washington DC to the shores of the Atlantic.
My goal is to cover all the ground between the oceans on my bicycle, stopping along the way to talk to people about what they love in their land, their perspective on how to share something wonderful and beautiful with generations to come. I will connect and converse about how we can feel the comfort in the similarities we share, while noticing and learning from our differences thus creating the kind of community we each want to live in.
Environmentalist and author of The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk said, "Value diversity—for diversity creates resilience."
I ride to honor the diversity around me in the natural environment, in the people I meet and connect with in a way that passengers in a speeding car cannot and to feel the inner changes that happen when you wake up in a different place every morning for nine weeks.
I ride to share in the beauty of this land, to feel the cool breeze as the sun soaks the earth and plants like tiny wizards change light energy and water into a colorful array of physical matter. I ride East with the prevailing winds, to feel a push from Mother Nature and see the summer move through the mountains and the plains.
I ride to raise money for sustainability. This ride is supported by Hazon, which means vision in Hebrew. Raised funds will go to start up community supported agriculture programs (CSAs), which make available to families and children local, wholesome vegetables and fruits. Last summer through my local CSA, I ate organic Connecticut grown watermelon, squash, mixed greens, dinosaur kale, heirloom tomatoes, and even more unusual things like the fractal-shaped romanesca, which is like a swirling green cross between a cauliflower and broccoli.
In my own home garden I have the usual beets, tomatoes, peas and lettuce and the unusual antioxidant rich goji berries, lemon cucumbers and large sweet Japanese pears that I became so fond of while living in Japan.
Hazon also supports educational programs for school children, giving them an opportunity to see a compost pile full of wiggling earthworms creating rich dark soil, and get up close to chickens and goats. They learn how to feel and see when a watermelon is ripe.
I believe we protect and value what we see as beautiful and I wonder how a child who has never picked an organic carrot, washed off the dirt and taken a golden carotene rich bite will care where their food and their children's food comes from. I wonder if they can even imagine what they are missing in a world without "fresh".
What do you see as beautiful? In my life off the bike, I have an Integrative Medicine practice in West Hartford, CT and consult in physical therapy, chiropractic and massage clinics around the world. I use hands-on techniques and other forms of alternative medicine to decrease pain and help people see and move more easily. My clients report improvement in their eyesight as well as a growing awareness, consciousness and insights into ways to heal and share the life they want with their family and community.
I ride for my own healing, weight management and health. My grandfather died of diabetes. My uncle lost his leg to this disease shared by 18 million Americans. Avoiding their footsteps at age 55, I enjoy bicycling, eating healthy, creating opportunities for mindful self-awareness and reconnecting with the rhythms in my life.
Diabetes is linked to a loss of sensation, a loss of vision captured by the retina, plagued by neuropathies, and a failure to connect to the rhythms of life — the rise and fall of blood sugar, the chase of insulin up and down the curve, the restful recovery period of sleep followed by alert, creative, productive wakefulness, the cycles of flow creating sensation from the toes to the eyes, and the rise and fall of hunger balanced by mindful eating.
How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up refreshed and feel energetic and creative? Are you ready to contribute to your community and enjoy the abundance in your life?
I believe that people, who feel better, make better choices for themselves, their families and their communities. I want to be a part of a community where everyone feels good, has lots of energy and knows how to enjoy the beauty of nature, the strength of relationships and the abundance of life that we each hold in our own hands.
Getting Ready. Two Weeks to the starting line in Seattle, Washington.
This summer I am going to spend nine weeks bicycling and writing my way across the United States. This is the story of my journey home.
I am not Jewish, but if you were to look at my life, it would seem like I am. My partner is a Sephardic Jew. All four of her grandparents were from Turkey and 500 years before that, Spain. We are members of P'nai Or, a Jewish Renewal congregation in West Hartford, CT. Sometimes when we can we go to Shir Hamakom, a Glastonbury musical service.
Occasionally working in Israel, over the years, I have learned a little Hebrew through personal study. I have spent several weeks in the last 15 years working in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa at physical therapy clinics. I was there in Tel Aviv, working on September 11, 2001 but that is a story for another time.
The people I have helped using complementary and alternative medicine, probably have not cared about my religious background. The Israeli rabbi tired of fight terror with terror as the chemotherapy chased down the cancer cells, the orthodox man from New York who had to get a special dispensation from his rabbi for me to touch his face, helping to heal his eyes or the child with cerebral palsy in the Tel Aviv clinic.
I doubt if they care that I grew up Mormon, a global nomad, living in Bogota, Colombia and Brussels, Belgium because my father is an international businessman. Later I lived in Japan and Canada. Nearly half my life, I have been a foreigner, an alien, a gaijin, a third culture kid.
In an unfamiliar group, I know how to adapt, to watch and learn the customs and often I desperately want to belong, to be included, so when I signed up to bicycle on the 2013 Cross USA ride with Hazon and set a goal of raising $10,000 for sustainable agriculture through this non-profit Jewish organization, I started to think about converting to Judaism.
There was an article about the 2012 ride that described the main cyclists as 10 Jews riding across the country. I don't want it to be awkward. When asked how many cyclists are riding and are they all Jewish, I don't organizers to have to say, "there are eleven Jews and one....."
Yes, what am I? It would be understandable if you were confused, I am confused about religion most of the time. Never about spirituality, though. I am good with my relationship with God, but the religion stuff, that is confusing for me.
My ancestors are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) five generations back. I was born in Provo, Utah, a hour south of Salt lake City. I graduated from Mormon-owned Brigham Young University in 1982. I took a year and a half off to serve as a Mormon missionary in Tokyo, Japan.
Then I fell in love with a woman, and the trajectory of my idyllic life within the Mormon church veered off its rails. But my faith in the God of my childhood is still strong, perhaps stronger because it is no longer regulated by the rules of old, white, men.
Today, I celebrate Passover, Rosh Shana and Yom Kippur, more than Christmas and Easter. I meditate using chants and words from Tibetan Buddhism and study the words of Rumi and the Sufis. sometimes I attend services at the Universalist Church, with its powerful music and inclusive nature. My Facebook page lists me as religiously eclectic.
It is hard to describe why I probably won't convert to Judaism, even though if you watched what I did, where I went and how I pray, you might already think I was Jewish.
Perhaps, for me, it is like alcohol. What I mean is, I grew up Mormon, so when my friends in high school would say come out drinking with us. I would say, "I don't drink." Sometimes I would add that it is because I am Mormon and observant Mormons don't drink alcohol. Sometimes I would just go out with them and drink cranberry and soda or apple juice and most people never knew I wasn't drinking alcohol.
Then later on when I left the Mormon church, I could have started drinking but, I was in the habit of not drinking. I had seen enough of the damage that alcohol can wreck in people's lives that I just thought, what is the point of starting now.
Of course, when you are in your 40's or 50's and you say you don't drink ever, people often assume that you are a recovering alcoholic and don't push the issue. They don't ask. Sometimes I tell and sometimes I don't.
I think that is how it will be on the Hazon ride, those riders in my group, who I will become friends with, they will know I am not Jewish and that will be fine. And if other people who we meet along the way, assume that I am Jewish, I am good with that because there is a part of me that is.
Home of the Daily Peace Challenge. Learn about world peace - one word and one language at a time. (c) Kimberly Burnham, 2022
The Meaning of Peace in 10,000 Languages
Looking for grant money to complete this peace project
Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
860-221-8510 phone and what's app. Skype: Kimberly Burnham (Spokane, Washington)
Author of Awakenings, Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health and P as in Peace, Paix and Perdamiam: an Inner Peace Journal To Stimulate The Brain
Kimberly Burnham, The Nerve Whisperer, Brain Health Expert, Professional Health Coach for people with Alzheimer's disease, Memory Issues, Parkinson's disease, Chronic Pain, Huntington's Ataxia, Multiple Sclerosis, Keratoconus, Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Neuropathy, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries, Brain Health Coaching ... Contact Kimberly Burnham in Spokane Washington (860) 221-8510 NerveWhisperer@gmail.com.
Chat with Kimberly about Parkinson's, Poetry or other Brain related issues.
Not Taking Advantage of Your Amazon Author's page?
Kimberly Burnham helps authors get their books out into the world more broadly by improving their free Amazon Author's page and book pages, posting a book review on her blog and on her LinkedIn Pulse blog (over 12,000 followers) Promotion packages start at $50. Contact her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com. See her Amazon Author's Page.
See her list of publications including her latest book of brain health meditations, Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.
Designed to enhance memory, creativity, and inner peace, Awakenings: Peace,Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program is available free of charge as a Kindle eBook on February 14-15, 2019. [Click Here].
Please share and write a review on Amazon.
I am looking for guest blog opportunities and a position as poet-in-residence. My current project is writing dictionary poems using words in different languages for the English word "peace." You can read some of my poems on Poemhunter .
As poet-in-residence I would write poems on different words in different languages and broadcast them throughout the social media blogosphere. Each poem would link back to your site where the word or language appeared.
I would expect some sort of stipend and a six month to one year placement. Please contact me for details if your organization is interested in having a poet-in-residence to help get your message out. Nervewhisperer@gmial.com
Buy the print or eBook, review Awakenings then contact Kimberly for a free 20 minute brain health consultation. Email or Phone
(Regular rates $120 per hour or 10 sessions for $650.)