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Life is full of cycles. As it says in both Ecclesiastes and Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season):

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Written by Pete Seeger • Copyright © T.R.O. Inc.
 ~ ~ ~
Today is my father’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death; Morry Bloomberg died 15 years ago today. I remember that time as if it is an open wound that feels like it will never heal. And yet, the good news is that it did heal. Moving forward became my reality.
 
While the loss of my father sometimes looms larger than life, the devastation is mostly held at bay. I miss him deeply, but his presence is always within arm’s reach.
 
I loved my father and all the moving parts that made him both beautiful and challenging. My father was not always good at taking care of me, but his love was profound and pure. I never ever doubted his love, only his ability to keep me safe. (BUT, that is not the story I want to share now.)
 
In the last few days, I have found myself navigating some beautiful light and profound darkness. This is what happens to me around the time of my father’s yahrzeit. This is the time when I recall the multiple dichotomies of not only my father, but of other people and other times in my life. Somehow this is one of the times of year that inner reflection is inevitable.
 
Very few things in life are simple. We love intensely and then we lose our hearts with deep veracity. We create beautiful masterpieces and then destroy them with a fierceness that only an artist can understand. We do our best to change the world for good and then one day our spirit needs a break; it can no longer make a difference so we give up.
 
And then we find ourselves loving again, creating again, and doing our part to change the world again. The cycle begins – again.
 
Navigating the world as I do means that I have to honor the cycles that nurture both profound light and profound dark within me. I have to do what my father would have called, “listening to the silence”. So. . .that is exactly what I do this time of year and many others too. I “listen to the silence”: I take some very deep breaths and I allow myself to reflect inward.
Ocean Sept 2014

Photo courtesy of my someone who really knows how to listen to the silence, Shay Seaborne.

My desire to listen to the silence always coincides with the anniversary of my father’s passing.
 
There is no surprise that my father used to have a loving way that  he would hold my ears and say, ‘listen to the silence’. Love and calmness would permeate my entire being in those sweet moments.
 
So, today, on my father’s yahrzeit, I am consciously taking the time to ‘listen to the silence’, to remember my father, and to honor my spirit that is craving a little more quiet in my world.
 
May my father’s memory always remind me to go inward and to listen to the still quiet voice that is always illuminating my way.
 
May I always honor the cycles that move my spirit.
 
Onward with love,
Chava

it's all inside of you

 

 

Question: How will I find or allow for balance of this coming period of time?

Answer: it’s all inside of you.

~ ~ ~

Only through writing, do I fully navigate my thoughts, my realities, and hopes for the future.

Good thing I have my journaling because I am not sure who else would put up with my rambling at 4 AM.

This weekend is the first weekend I am home after a beautiful month of travels.

While the travels were amazing in every way, what is more poignant is how my heart and soul has continued navigating.

With each mile traveled, I found myself aware that my soul travels many different terrains at any given moment.

I am a seeker.

  • the Colorado Mountains call to me and ask me look inward.
  • the Bay Area give me the opportunity to see my values and voice in action.
  • Woodstock, NY holds the beauty that reminds me that I will always have a home away from home.

And yet, I have also learned that while I can journey from coast to coast and in between too, I am always traveling the landscape of my heart and soul.  Breathing deeply, I seek the quiet in a world that often full of noise.

My travels have been illuminating and more than a little scary.  Far from easy, I found some of my vulnerability to be exactly what was needed. By owning it, I am finding myself slowly releasing the cocoon that I had woven around my entire being.

The journeys I have taken this summer have been different than any previous journeys I have ever taken. Each and every step, each and every written word, AND each and every breath has been about my search for balance in a world that is full of kinetic energy.

Onward!

(Note: Each morning as part of my Morning Pages (journaling), I end by asking myself a question and then picking a Hope or Angel Card to help guide that journey. Hope cards can be found http://www.bonesigharts.com/store/hope-cards.)

 

Tonight, it seems like my entire being is playing a wrestling match with itself. It has been such a tough match then when I tried to wake myself from the jarring movements, I couldn’t find lamp on my nightstand. It was gone; the light had literally moved.

While I found some of my pillow, a few of my limbs were knotted up in a blanket and my dog was sighing deeply wanting me to stop kicking her. Poor Maddie became so unhappy with my erratic movements that she did what she never does by choice…she went to curl up in her kennel.

After fighting sleep I decided at 3:30 AM that it was time to stop wrestling whatever demons were visiting me and try to redirect myself. LOL!  That didn’t work too well as well as I would like either. So I decided to do what I do best. I picked up my laptop and started writing.

‘I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking,
what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.
What I want and what I fear.’
Quote by Joan Didion

In the midst of my disconnected sleep, I couldn’t imagine what subconscious thoughts were keeping me awake. Now that I am awake, it isn’t difficult to imagine what is filling my mind.

Falling asleep last night, I found myself focusing on:

  • The many Muslims being murdered through terrorist acts during Ramadan,
  • Jews being murdered in Israel,
  • Another black man (possibly) being executed by police last night,
  • and watching Donald Trump’s candidacy for presidency make it acceptable for bigotry and baseless hatred to become a norm in our country.
  • Baseless hatred – The hatred that makes a man go into a nightclub and massacre 49 people. And then there is the random and not so random acts of violence that happen on the street corners, in front of mosques, or in market places. . .
  • US and Israeli politics infuriate me. I believe the world could be a lot better off without those that attempt or actually create policies that inspire intolerance and damage our environment at every opportunity.

So if the list above wouldn’t have been enough, I also always have my own internal struggles:

  • Will I ever have enough hours in my life to fully honor the creative soul that I am?
  • Why can’t I find the time to call those that I adore who need to hear my voice? Wait, I guess I have to find my voice first. My throat is still so raw from the bronchitis and laryngitis that I had a couple of weeks ago.
  • How will I best protect myself against the insanity that I see daily in the world?
  • Did I say that I am craving another furry friend? This time I want to train the pup to be a therapy dog. Before going to sleep, I think I may have found the perfect way to make that happen.
  • There is a new table in my office that I was hoping I would have refinished this week.
  • My car needs another repair.
  • What have I done to make this world a better place?
  • My sons need to get their license so that they can rely on my less.
  • Did you know as soon as I heal completely from my bronchitis and laryngitis, I will be training for a Couch to 5K? I want to keep my heart beating as healthy as possible so I can still do what I can for myself and the world around me.
  • And so much more. . .

My mind literally never stops.

Loving the world as I do has a cost. As an introvert who was born to live out loud, I have always wrestled with my role in my home, my community, and the world while also nurturing my creative spirit, fueling my spiritual practices, and navigating significant alone time.

No wonder, I woke up with my sheets in a knot and a weary body.

Writing really is the way I process the many thoughts that fill my mind, my heart, and my soul. But I won’t be healthy unless I finish my sleep. Wish me luck. . . .

Onward!!!!
Now & Always

Palestine - Israel Flags
Twenty-eight of my friends posted this awesome & poignant piece written by a young Muslim interfaith activist, Nadya Al-Noor.  In the piece called Palestinian terrorism and Muslim hypocrisy: An open letter, Al-Noor fails to mention a crucial reality in the terrorism that exists in Israel and what I would refer to as the Occupied Territories/Palestine.  http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-terrorism-and-muslim-hypocrisy-an-open-letter-from-a-muslim-woman/   
 
If you subjugate a people, you create a pressure cooker that leaves them angry & wounded. The longer it festers, the more they explode. 
 
Yes terrorism is wrong. And yet, I have NO problem understanding the growing violence and hatred.
 
I am happy that this writer clearly articulated a reasonable view point, put I also fear that if we keep negating the other side of the story, terrorism will continue to unleash it’s devastating consequences.
 
We have to be willing to explore why terrorism continues to destroy lives and then look for solutions to change that trajectory.  After many decades of war, violence, subjugation, and pain, it may take decades to alter our future. In this week’s Torah Portion, Shelach Lecha, God decides that the Israelites who were originally freed from slavery will need to die before the Israelites are allowed to enter the promise land. Essentially  God was saying that the old mentality needs to die out before really moving forward.

I do understand that the realities of history and how each of us perceive history is part of the challenge here. Yet, it is also time to realize that until Palestine and Palestinians stop being subjugated by Israel, terrorism will flourish. The devastating cycle will not end. Parents on all sides of this story, will bury their children too young.

Healing takes time and I pray that I will see healing in Israel and Palestine as I remember seeing in South Africa.

May coexistence emerge from the darkness that is now filled with hatred, disdain, and terrorism on all sides.

(Note: My views may infuriate some of you. I am writing to make sure that voices like mine are heard. I am so profoundly saddened by the tragedies that continue to unravel the land that so many would like to call home.)

yahrzeit candle

Upon hearing of someone’s death we say, “ברוך דיין האמת / Baruch dayan ha-emet,” Blessed is the true judge.

While I often feel compelled to follow tradition, this expression is the source of great struggle for me. I don’t think Gd’s judgement causes death or holds truth. . .I just don’t. Tsunamis happen; earthquakes and volcanoes destroy; accidents occur. . . . Perhaps all of these happen because of things that humans have done, but I don’t think there is a force in the world that literally decides ‘who shall live and who shall die’.

I am so tired of people dying tragically, young, or with pain. Every time someone gets sick, gets murdered, tragically dies, or ages painfully – I struggle. Each time, a family has to bury their newborn or young child, I struggle.Basically, I struggle with the concept that any of this can be ordained.

Life is precious – all the moving parts of life, even death can be profoundly beautiful and feel Gd-like. And yet, I don’t feel that way when I hear about terrorism, murder, sudden accidents, or any tragedy. If I believed it all came from Gd, I couldn’t be the person I am. Sh^% happens. People die. Free-will causes great good in the world, horrible atrocities, and everything in the between.

As I embrace life, I find myself traumatized by the very notion that Gd may preordain our lives. I know that there are many that have such a belief, but as for me, I need to stick with the notion that godliness is possible.

May we all give and experience godliness energy in our midst. May we all have a spark that lights up the world for good.

 

There are few coincidences in life.

This morning, I woke up with a spring in my step. It didn’t matter that I am sick, what mattered is that I am being greeted by My Morning Pages.

For the last month, I have been finding my voice through what Julia Cameron refers to as Morning Pages. Each and every morning (ok, nearly every morning), I have woken up to write 3-6 pages of stream of consciousness writing.  By writing first thing in the morning, I refrain from filtering my thoughts; instead I allow my thoughs to simply flow without editing each sentence before it hits the paper.

This morning felt a little different that previous mornings because I found myself literally celebrating the power of what my morning pages have done for me and how I have grown since I started writing them a month ago.

Here is the synopsis:

  1. One month ago, I started writing my morning pages – after many years away from this practice.
  2. Two weeks ago, I added the practice of ending my morning pages by asking myself questions about how I would move forward from whatever I was navigating during a specific day. And then I would pick a Hope card (from BoneSighArts.com) and an Angel Card. On most days, the card I pick allows me to soar while feeling more grounded.
  3. One week ago, I had the inner strength to let go of a friendship that had broken my spirit and shattered  my heart. Somehow I found the grace to release the bond that had been holding tight for way too long.
  4. Since the beginning of writing my Morning Pages, I have been really sick three times. Through finding my authentic voice, I am finally being able to purge the toxicity that has been festering inside my body.
  5. On at least three different occasions, I have asked friends for what I need. And wow, I have felt so loved and supported.
  6. I am healing in ways I didn’t even know I needed to heal.
  7. Each morning, I start my day by drinking a couple of glasses of water and sometimes a smoothie. I love that I am nourishing my body at the same time I am nurturing my soul.

So while I have navigated some really hard stuff, I have also found a healthier place to live.

With each passing morning, I have found that I am taking better care of myself in more ways that via my writing. I have been painting furniture, cooking good food, taking longer walks more frequently, and chanting.  I am also allowing myself to go inward more and accepting that I can’t talk to everyone, but I have been sending cards to my beloved friends.

Conscious reflection is adding so much more to my life. I am taking time to see the gifts and the challenges. And more often than not I am finding the gifts within the challenges.

There are many mornings, when I have started my Morning Pages with deep pain at the core of my being, but ended my writing time with a calm and peaceful heart. They are grounding me and allowing me to literally grow my roots and become spiritually stronger.

While it may seem that I am more raw or sick more often, in actuallity I am allowing myself to be more of what I am.

The chameleon in me has slowly stopped fitting in quite the same way; I have learned to say what I need and what I want. I have learned to share my deepest dreams, my hopes for the future, and my innermost thoughts.

Sometimes my thoughts and feelings are embraced and sometimes it is obvious that friends and community would rather I stop approaching the world with such an open heart. But what I have come to learn is that I am so much happier being transparent. I don’t have to walk alone and close my intensity off from the world.

One of the best parts of this transformation is that I am not sure that I need anyone’s approval now. Maybe I am only able to say that because I really do have several different pockets of friends that value me for the person I am. With that reality, I have come to a better place and I am having an easier time.

Oct 20 - sunrise Pantano Wash
I love where I am now – professionally, spiritually, and personally. And I am a work in progress; I am a seeker. So I am constantly stretching, growing, and navigating new paths. And with each new path, I am surrounded by beloveds.

My Morning Pages journey has helped me to find  more calmness and inner peace with who I am. I am living by the values that I so strongly believe. Confirmation came to me when I found  these two wonderful saying in the last few days:

To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin
to love yourself,value yourself. And that’s
political, in the most profound way.
June Jordan

~ ~ ~

and the universe listened. 
Terri St. Cloud

There is a huge shift taking hold;. I am AWAKENING in every way.

Politically, I speak my mind.
Spiritually, I share my soul.
Consciously, I live my life.

I have found my voice and I now live in a world that I can be me – totally me.
How awesome is that?!?!?!

Onward!
Now & Always,
Chava

Note: OK, I do bite my tongue when I find out someone likes Donald Trump or Binyamim Netanyahu because I have decided, for the most part, that anything I say would not penetrate their skull. If you like either of these two characters, chances are you are probably not part of my inner circle. So, why spend too much time trying to enlighten you. I don’t need to talk just to hear myself heard.

My entire being has grown raw.

50 dead!

And we are now starting are next political crisis. Progressives vs Conservatives. Both defending their views while hundreds of children, partners, and loved souls are no longer alive in this world.

AGAIN!

One man causes terror in the name of his radical beliefs and many are ready to condemn all Muslims.

I am so sick to my stomach. 50 dead. 50 people who were tragically murdered. 50 human beings who never got to say good-bye to their loved ones. And thousands of people, hopefully millions are now mourning for 50 now dead souls.

Tragedy strikes again.

This is not ok!

 “AR-15 Rifle Used in Orlando Massacre Has Bloody Pedigree. it was used to slaughter first graders at Sandy Hook, murder Batman fans at Colorado movie theater, kill county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino.

Now the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle has the dubious distinction of being the weapon of choice for a homosexual-hating gunman” CORKY SIEMASZKO

Something has to be done.

This afternoon Aryeh lit a candle in honor of those lost to this brutality and to the beautiful soul that opened up this bar in honor of her brother’s life journey.

Tomorrow I will go to a vigil. There I will hopefully meet the right person, the person who will open the door to my activism around making sure that an aggressive bastard has no legal ways of carrying a gun or rifle of any kind!

My heart is breaking. So many people lost in the name of mental illness, radical beliefs, or simply because of some of their deep seeded desires.

Years ago, my friend Susan Windle referred to me as a Spiritual Warrior. It is time for me to birth the Warrior’s spirit and better learn how to sit down at the table with those who have different roles so that we can really stop the massacres that keep happening.

And to my friend that shared the horrific rhetoric of one Muslim shiekh, I want to say that I have heard some repulsive words come out of both rabbis and other faith based leaders. In fact there are those people that firmly stand with the following Judeo-Christian teaching that is found in the bible. It says in Leviticus 20:13, within the Judeo-Christian Bible, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Sometimes religion sure focuses on narrow minded thinking. I am so happy to stand with those that seek understanding and healthy ways to interpret or maybe re-frame some of the difficult texts that our part of all faith based traditions.

Without modern day interpretations or a respect for when ancient texts were written, all of our teachings can lead to darkness. The reason I left Orthodox Judaism so many years ago was because I did not believe the Torah was written or inspired by God.  I see the Torah as our guide to life. And like any good book, we learn to synthesis the information and then grow as we study. As a progressive Jew, I think of our Torah as the Living Torah, it is my job to find meaning in the teachings and practices. It is my guide and I treasure it. But do I believe all of it’s teachings are just? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Before I understood the complete ramifications of prejudice, there was a persOne_race_human_eV2on in my life who was extremely prejudiced. For the first time in my adult life, I encountered someone that repulsed me because of their  core beliefs, so I found passive aggressive ways to cope. While this wasn’t a fabulous way to move forward, it felt right at the time. One thing that I did was to engage in conversations so that I could enlighten this man. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well. And then one day, I found the most wonderful t-shirt. And thanks to Google images, I found it again. I don’t know who made this, but I do know it was the final way that I knew, at that time, to cope with hatred. Until it fell apart, I wore it every time I saw this person. My guess is that he wondered if I owned any other t-shirts.🙂

I am now a little wiser than I once was. With that in mind, I realize that it is time to navigate the very real realities that exist and do my part to help things evolve. Lighting a candle was introspective, going to a vigil is supportive, but perhaps I need to connect with some of the organizations doing good work with gun violence issues. Here is one important link, I know I have a few friends that have worked with Everytown for Gun Safety, http://everytown.org/act/.

50 human beings dead, let’s not pause any longer.

There are so many layers to taking care of the human race. Let’s make connections with one another and  do our part collectively. We can make a difference.

“If you want connection, it’s because you are connection. Be what you want, and then it happens all around you. If you want love, be it. You’ll have more love than you know what to do with. Whatever you are inside, you receive a thousand fold on the outside.” ~ Adyashanti

Onward – Now & Always,
Chava

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