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Archive for February, 2010

Living life is what I love to do.  Smiling and laughing are part of my natural state of being.  Writing and chanting, loving and breathing deeply are guiding tools for me to live.  I am truly blessed.

Yesterday, I celebrated my life! I don’t remember ever having a birthday that felt surrounded by so much love.  Every moment of my birthday was a treasure.  For a woman that suffered intense darkness as a child and had to recover as an adult, that is no small feat.

With tears in my eyes, I can’t help but reflect how each of every moment from the days leading up to my birthday through the day after my birthday were empowering and beyond my wildest expectations.  Only once have I had an expectation for my birthday, and that never came to pass.  Don’t get me wrong, not all of my birthdays were dark and many of them had lightness, but yesterday’s was truly the best.

I did not receive any “traditional” gifts per se and yet I received a plethora of gifts at every moment.  So many of my loved ones celebrated my life or reminded me that I am cherished and/or loved. Both old friends and new friends connected with me in very real ways. I don’t remember ever feeling this much warmth and joy on my birthday.

The amazing thing for me was the realization that the technical world was used for so much good!!!  Over the last couple of days, I have had text messages, emails, facebook notes,  and even an old fashioned card.  Even the phone rang a few times!!!! Wow, those birthday wishes were some of the sweetest wishes I have ever heard.  People from all parts of my life acknowledged me and helped me remember that I am worthy of that warmth.  WOW…what a gift each person gave me.

A few times this week, friends gave me the gift of a great meal. The best meal was at a fabulous restaurant in Bethesda, good food and great company! I love to eat good food with good friends/family!!

Every person I met smiled; every person I saw seemed to be celebrating life with me.  Even if they didn’t know it was my birthday, each person I met seemed to be delivering me joy in the most beautiful of packages.

A few years ago, I fell in love with the symbolism of light.  Both the sun and the moon guide me.  The colors orange, yellow, and sometimes even red energize me.  Browns and earth tones of all colors support me.  I love the celebrating the cycles of the day, the months, the seasons, and the year.

When I got dressed yesterday morning, I put on a brown turtleneck, brown pants, and a beautiful orange, yellow and red scarf.  The scarf has become my sunlight when I feel dark and it has kept me surrounded in light because I love it so much.  One of my favorite people gave me the scarf and I have treasured it when I needed warmth and when I just want to feel it’s positive energy.  The scarf is close to me so often when I chant, drum, or pray.  It seems to keep me spiritually safe.  On my head, I wore a beautiful Mayan Works kippah that is filled with orange, black and yellow. When I wear that kippah, I so often find myself spiritually grounded. I love how color can have such a positive impact on my day!

Going to shul yesterday, I found myself in a Minyan where each person brought their spiritual energy and their beauty.  Being at shul felt centering in every way.  I loved sitting with people that I don’t normally daven (pray) with and feeling their energy emerge as the service continued.  Each moment was unique because of what each person brought to the service.

After services, I went to visit a friend who I have not had any time with in for what seems like forever.  Being with her and later her family was so special.  There are so many people I am blessed to love and have no time for, but yesterday, I carved out some time for one special person and in the end really enjoyed the time we had as well as seeing her beautiful family too!

Before going home, I had one last stop.  I returned to shul to chant.  The chants and the chant energy were beautiful.  The group was small, but wrapping up my Shabbat with the sweet chants that each held such power for me…..that helped me find my center.  Each and every time I chant, I find myself being anchored to the earth and the heavens all at once.  My prayer is that the healing power of the chants helped guide each of the participants to a healthier place than when they started.  I know the chanting made me feel physically and spiritually great!

Coming home was the biggest gift of all!  Michael and the boys had the table set with my favorite orange, red, yellow, and white tablecloth!  They made me my favorite meal of salmon, broccoli and potatoes; they topped the meal off with my favorite dessert – cheesecake!  Walking into the warmth of my home, surrounded by my family, the dinner, the banner they made (of course with shades of orange and yellow) and the love was the most powerful ending to the most special birthday.

As we lit the Havdalah candle, I realized that the light of Shabbat and my birthday had been part of the warmest days of my life.  To each of every person that is part of my life, thank you for being there.  To each and every person that reminded me life was a gift, thank you.  My memories of my 44th birthday will add light to my life for so many days to come.

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“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~Stacia Tauscher

With Passover fast approaching, I’ve been considering what our ancestors might have been thinking or feeling as they were living as slaves in Egypt and then as they were traveling in the desert for forty years.  My guess is that they were stressed about how they would make it through the day; the future was a dream that might or might not have felt attainable.

The closest I can come to relating to the Hebrews as they were called back then is when I reflect back to when my older son Aryeh was struggling for life.  I have this distinct memory of someone asking me how we were dealing with the realities of High School for Aryeh.  As Aryeh sat recovering from brain surgery, I didn’t once consider his High School experience.  My one and only goal was I was to help him survive each day. (Note: This Fall, Aryeh was able to return to school after 2.5 years at home and he is doing well too!)

Today, as we move through our daily lives, we often save for the future, plan for the future, and work towards the future.  I think we often forget to live for today.  Instead of remembering to live for today by taking care of our loved ones and ourselves for this moment, we push ourselves to exhaustion so we can have what we need for tomorrow.

Our children are the center of our lives; they are our future.  Whether or not, we are parents, the village that surrounds the children should mentor them as they grow into the future.   I want to take a lesson from our own Passover story.  Let’s prepare for now, let’s make some matzah and make certain we have some food.  It only takes 18 minutes to make matzah and then we can have our scrumptious meal.

Appreciating the moments we have with the people in our lives is really what makes a difference.  The more moments we take advantage of, the better we will be in the short run.  And guess what, if we take care of ourselves fully today, tomorrow will go much more smoothly.

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