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Archive for May, 2009

Shema Koli –Hear My Voice

Lately chanting is taking up a lot of time and space in my life.  The words and niggunim (tunes) are fueling my soul with energy and warmth that have been void for so very long. There is a sense of sacredness that is being interwoven into my connections with others and the earth too.

As the chanting fills my soul and helps to quiet my mind, the notes and the silence between the notes help me to focus on what’s important.  I am slowly learning to listen to what I am hearing, as well as what is not being heard.

During a chanting retreat/training few months ago, Rabbi Shefa Gold  empowered her students to look inside themselves and to find one word to describe a middah (personal attribute) that they would like to further develop.  I chose a middah directly out of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers), recognizing your place (makir et mikomo).  Initially, Reb Shefa asked us to name the middah using one word, but that never worked for me.  Pirkei Avot is also filled with teachings that I personalize and that had a middah in three words, so initially my middah was in three words too.

Upon my return home, I was able to find words that resonated best for me.  As a student, I took the wisdom from my teacher and allowed that wisdom to root itself into my own work, my own practice.  The words Shema Koli kept coming up, so I found myself playing with the words within my chanting.

Intuitively, I know that in order to be the most authentic person I can be, I need to be hearing my voice, listening to my most intimate thoughts, paying attention to my needs.

Shema Koli, I am alive on a very core level.  As long as I am listening to myself, I can reach for the stars and become all that I want for myself.  When I say Shema Koli, it is about having integrity with myself, not necessarily the interactions I have with others.  As long as I am listening to me, I have a chance at creating the best future for me.

For so many reasons, I struggled to ‘hear my voice’ over the years.  The truth is that I now have the power to listen and fulfill my needs, my desires. I am strong.  Listening to my voice has helped me reach this place.

Chanting makes my spirit dance.  When I chant the words Shema Koli, I am initially singing to myself!  Listen to yourself Chava.  What is it you want? How are you going to get it? Shema Koli.  My chanting leads to a critical opportunity for self-reflection.

As the chant continues Shema Koli is not necessarily to myself, but as an intention to building a better relationship to my loved ones, my friends.  My intention is to strengthen the interaction between others and myself.  My goal is to grow healthy connections.  ‘Hear my voice’; let our relationship evolve from a place of kindness, of wisdom, of caring.  Let honesty reign.

Finally, as the chant continues, I seem to be asking the world around me to welcome my words, my wisdom….Hear my voice.  As a writer, I want to share my words and to have them read and treasured by others.

Shema Koli

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Nothing is simple or easy, but it is what it is.

More than anything I need simplicity, I need to laugh, I need to cry.  Mostly I need to live honestly.  In most every way, I am an honest being.

I seek out soul connections and I give to every connection with both intention and with my heart.

I might be a chameleon in many ways, but in truth, I always know what I want and for the most part what I need.  Taking baby steps is how I move forward.  Even when I do live as a chameleon of sorts, I still continue to move forward in the direction I want to go.

I love the moments, the small blessings — I love breathing in the cool air and noticing the sun or the moon.  The stars always light up my life.

What I bring to my life is the realization that I live life fully, each and every moment.  I feel a little too deeply; I laugh a little too loudly; and I love intensely.  And in every way, I am real.

Simplicity would be great, but it doesn’t exist as I wish.  So, I do the best I can with the life I have.

Laughter and the rhythms in my head sustain me; my sons’ love and my sons’ laughter keep me living as honestly as I can.  My boys keep me grounded.

Small moments matter: Walking outside and having a total stranger start a conversation; having a stranger or a friend offer a smile when darkness is looming around me; being able to help a friend when they have a need; taking time to offer a kind work or a brief conversation to a toll booth operator when everyone around you is pushing forward at break-neck speed.

Larger moments matter too: Being with your father as he takes his last breath; Holding your child for the very first time and every time after that; Reconnecting with an old friend who should have been there all along; Making time to share a moment in time with a loved one.  Living through a serious illness with a loved one and having the loved one survive.

Living, loving, being  — This is what life is about!

Namaste (the spirit in me honors the spirit in you),
Chava

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Have you ever noticed that there is very little black and white in life?

Nothing is simple and very few questions involve one correct answer.  So many of us would like a simple answer to a question, but it just doesn’t seem to happen.  Take multiple choice questions, I was always fairly bright, intellectually speaking, and also fairly limited in finding one correct choice out of four possible options within a multiple choice question.

Relationships are always complicated.  It doesn’t matter if the relationship is with your parents, your children, your partner, or any number of your loved ones; they are just ridiculously complicated.  Recently, I have started to become a bit more aware of how each and every one of my relationships has a powerful energy and then a more challenging energy too.  No relationship is uncomplicated; although, I wish it could be!

As my mother’s 19th yahrzeit, anniversary of her death, emerged recently, I thought about how I could really hate her for the way she abused me during her life.  I do feel a strong sense of ambivalence about my mom, but I am also astutely aware that she was mentally ill and physically sick.  So, I consistently vacillate over how to feel about her memory.  In truth, I am over the anger, but the other feelings are complicated.  Nothing is black and white.

Friendships mean the world to me.  At the same time, I honor the friendship for however long it is there.  For the most part, when it is gone, I say good-bye rather easily.  With the exception of the love between a parent and a child, I don’t believe that most relationships have the capacity to last forever.   Sometimes when you have mentally ill family member, those relationships ebb and flow depending on what’s going on within the family dynamics.  All other relationships take a tremendous amount of work and evolve greatly even when they remain intact.

How many of us love our jobs all the time?  How many of us know that we are in a good position each and every day.  Hopefully, we feel this way some of the time, but much of the time it isn’t so simple.  We have colleagues that drive us crazy; people that need us to perform our tasks the way they want them to be done.  And we have our own dreams and aspirations.  If we are blessed we like our job most of the time; love our job some of the time; and cope with bad days with a sunny disposition.

The dichotomy of sometimes feels like it engulfs each and every moment of my life.  I never feel one-way all of the time.  I constantly evolve even over the course of one day.  This reality is quite ridiculous.  But admitting that within each breath is a wondering person . . . at least at this moment.

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