As time passed, I wore the hamsa more and more, and without fail, every time I wore it, someone made a comment – asking me about the stone, or where I got it, or what it meant. I learned that it was an opal (mine was blue, like the one in the photo at left), I discovered more about the person from whom my friend had bought this gift (her name was Rachelle Tratt and she was a Venice-based yoga instructor). I learned that the jewelry business was called The Neshama Project (in memory of Rachelle’s mother, Nicole), and that it also generated donations for charitable causes (Innovation Africa, Friends of Ofanim and Zeno Mountain Farm).
But the fact that people kept commenting on this little piece of jewelry, literally every time I wore it, had to mean something about the piece itself, and also about human connection in general. Also, I didn’t think it was an accident that every time someone commented, my hand flew to my neckline, hand touching stone and chain, and actively, physically remembering the piece, its fire, its point and person of origin, and that it had become literal touchstone, a physical anchor in my process of assimilating loss into – instead of permitting it to overpower - daily life.
represents a universal connection, that even though we may come from different
paths, backgrounds and faiths, we are all inter-connected. We are all
One,” Rachelle affirmed in an email interview conducted last week in
advance of Hanukkah. (Necklaces from The Neshama Project make excellent
Hanukkah presents, by the way - and you can get 10% off by using the code "holidaysoul.")
Rachelle’s bigger visions for The Neshama Project include spreading the messages of people and organizations “who are making this world a healthier, brighter, and more soulful place,” and she envisions leading spiritual /yoga minded retreats to Israel for those of all faiths, in order to bridge the gap and help educate those about life in the Middle East.“I used to dream of a way to help others shine and heal,” she reflected. “I used to dream of a way to allow my personal story to inspire others. I used to dream of a way to have my mother's spirit live on through me. But never in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that The Neshama Project would connect me with people in such meaningful ways.”