Archive for March, 2010

Hineini – Here I Am


Each of you has something in your lives that move you to the core.  I am not so bold to think that everyone follows one derekh (path), but you do follow your own path.  Maybe you are active in your family/friends, spirituality, social consciousness, reading/writing, learning, music, sports, etc. My hope is that something jazzes your soul.

On a personal level, I have been considering my differing roles as a mother, wife, friend, Jewish educator, spiritual being, and socially conscious person. Often I find myself asking what it means to be involved in the larger world, the world outside my body, outside of my immediate family, and outside my work.  Two questions come to my mind quite frequently:

1.    What do you want from me?

2.    How can I serve you?

When I say you, I am speaking to the larger universe outside of myself. And the answer that comes to mind always is HINEINI (Here I AM).  So much so that it January I ordered that single word to be on my license plate. (A good friend of mine, Melissa Schaffer wrote a chant with these two questions and the response Hineini. She should get credit creating a chant that I find myself utilizing quite frequently.)

We are all parts of many communities, our families, our work, our interests, our children’s schools and interests (if we have children).  Sometimes we take the sideline and let others take leadership roles, but someone has to take the leadership roles or the communities we are part of disintegrate over time.

Knowing that your voice is important can be empowering, but it can also add challenges.  Our lives our busy, but our communities can only thrive if you step up to the plate at some point and get involved.

As I go into the holiday Passover, I am wondering how I can best step up to the plate, but I know that whenever the opportunity arises, I will say:

Hineini, Here I am!

Where are you?

With love and light,


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Timing is Everything
My life has always worked like a puzzle; sometimes the puzzle is a little easier than at other times.  ☺

Last week I took some time to blog about the power of visualization.  With every ounce of my being, I know visualization can help us gain outcomes we want, we have the power to make things happen.  That attitude has guided me through many stages of my life.  The challenge is to remember that visualization is a tool and sometimes what we want isn’t going to happen.

On the other hand, much of what we want to happen, can happen if we ask others for help, if we visualize success, and if we do the necessary work in order to succeed.  Life is a force that needs to be guided in order to be spiritually and physically healthy.   I love knowing that much of what succeeds is a ‘group project’.

Success comes only with effort!  I’ve been exploring all of what I am saying above for years, but last week was the first time I was as direct as I was.  I asked for those in my world to visualize good things for my family and me.

And then came Saturday evening’s gift – the B’nai Brith Youth Organization’s East Coast Kallah.  I wasn’t able to be part of the entire Shabbat, but I did end up going to the Saturday evening program! What a profound gift!

In a nutshell, I witnessed the teens going nuts when four 20-something year olds came on stage.  They were the creators/developers of the MTV show called The Buried Life.  These gentlemen rocked in every way! The men were wise beyond their years; they understand what it means to live and to work towards what they want to accomplish.  Wow!!  These guys are also extraordinarily skilled mentors for all who take a moment to listen.

So, the significant question that The Buried Life creators continue to ask is:  What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? Creating that list is a powerful tool towards working toward your desires!  The goal is to be wildly honest and then to do the work it takes to make it happen.  Tell everyone you know and those you don’t know that you are working towards reaching a goal.  Ask them if they can help or if they know someone who can.  And while you are schmoozing ask them what they are trying to accomplish in their lives.  Ask those that you meet: What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? In some cases, you might be able to help people connect with their goals and you can always actively visualize people meeting their goals.

Each of needs to learn from The Buried Life’s creators list:
1.    Make a list – What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? 100 ideas
2.    Share the list (with your friends and loved ones)
3.    Help Others

As you work towards your goals, remember to listen to the creators of The Buried Life who empowered their teen audience to remain:
o    persistent
o    open to opportunity
o    creative
as they work towards their goals.  One key that made so much sense is that:
You should never accept NO.

You never know when you will be in the right place at the right time! ☺ Hearing these wise souls talk to the teens on Saturday evening felt like fabulous timing!

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Below is a link to a blog post that my close friend Jennifer Judelsohn created in order to create a concrete opportunity to help me over the coming days, weeks, and month.  The most important key for me is to have you visualize that my life is both physically and spiritually in a healthy place.  Together we can make it happen!!!

If you are inspired to take a few minutes to go a step further read Jennifer’s blog below.

With love and gratitude,



March 17, 2010

The Chava Project

I believe that we can shape reality (not necessarily change it) by our conscious intentions. Studies have shown that prayer can positively affect another’s health, regardless of whether they know they are being prayed for or not, and whether or not the prayer and one being prayed for know each other. This is your chance to be involved in a simple prayer exercise.

Sometimes folks need help in transforming their lives. This can be spiritual, emotional, or physical. My friend, Chava, has had some trying times lately and wants to transform the energy in her life to flow in a more positive direction, with less challenges showing up. Chava is having surgery April 1st. (No, it’s not a joke). The surgery is necessary and significant, but not life-threatening (so no need to worry). And she has asked for help in visioning well-being in all aspects of her life.
Here’s what you can do, if the spirit moves you:
  • Get a small piece of artsy paper, no larger than 3″x3″.
  • Write ONE word on the paper.
  • The word is your wish or prayer for Chava.
  • (Please, no phrases, just 1 word)
  • Consider each word is a prayer.
  • Embellish as you are inspired to do.
  • (Please keep it 2-D, two-dimensional, as in flat).
  • Put it in an envelope and send it my P.O. Box
  • Here’s the address:
Neshama Soulworks Studio
P.O. Box 2716
Merrifield, Virginia 22116
Please do it TODAY!
One word is all it takes!
Time is of the essence!
We’d like to assemble them into one big masterpiece before Chava’s surgery.
Got questions? E-mail me at jennifer@soulworksstudio.com
Thanks for helping to transform Chava’s reality!
Jennifer Judelsohn
We’d like to assemble them into one big masterpiece before Chava’s surgery.

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Recently I purchased two little word statues, one that says Believe and the other that says Imagine.

Those words give me strength and empower me to really use visioning as a tool to get what I want out of life.  Now to be totally honest, I already visualize the words Believe and Imagine at every turn.  I just wanted the reminders on those days that I get a little too grumpy and forget that I have a lot of power to accomplish my goals when I remember to BELIEVE and to IMAGINE.

This morning, I knew that I needed to share what was going on in my world.  In so many ways, I appear to be open, about life when you read my blog and my Facebook status lines.  Before 10 years ago I rarely shared stories about my life.  But in the last 10 years, I have learned to trust those I call friends and I have learned that my stories can impact people in positive ways.  With every fiber of my body, I pray that my written words are articulate and inspiring. That isn’t always the case, but it is what I work towards when I take time for my personal writing.

Only in the last couple of years, have I learned that I have to put my intention out there when I want something.  I’ve learned to ask my friends to help me reach my goals; so, now I will ask people I love to vision that which I am working towards.

After reading my blog from this morning, a good friend wrote, “it is storming in your world.”  I can’t deny it, but I want to ask you to help me give what is happening a different spin or twist.  I need each of you to help vision my house free of physical and emotional pain.  For those of you that don’t know my kids or husband, just imagine the energy going in very peaceful and spiritual direction. Visualize a calmness and patience as each of us move towards whatever success means to us. And if you want to know what my guys look like so that you can better visualize good health and emotional strength, check my facebook photos out.

So many people emailed me today with love and warm wishes; I loved how people offered an ear and some offered so much more.  There is a chance I will call people as I need, but I also believe that I shared what was happening and now I want to put my energy into doing that which fuels my soul.  I am writing a little and working a lot; I am putting up new artwork and reorganizing artwork that needs a new location in my house.  Last night, Aryeh and I stayed up until 12:30 or later working on something that he wanted to write.  The point is that I want to be careful not to give too much attention to the challenging things that are happening in our world.  I want my house to be clean, flowers to brighten my rooms, and friends to surround me.

Here’s how you can help – If each of you take a moment and think positive thoughts for our family that would make a huge difference.  Here are some ideas of what you can imagine for me:

o    Michael working at a job that fuels his soul.  He loves working with people especially in his work with the Red Cross.  He is great at organizing on a big scale and he is dedicated to all that he does.
o    Aryeh feeling good every day and feeling strong enough to bike ride as Spring turns into Summer! Also, Aryeh should be writing and creating more of what he wishes to create.  His love of knives should be nurtured so that he can enjoy them even more than he already does.
o    Dovi laughing and enjoying life outdoors while allowing himself time to create in whatever way he wants.  His kindness makes him a magnet to the good that surrounds him.
o    As for me, I am riding my bike and feeling really healthy and strong throughout my entire body.  I am also writing my book (at least one chapter a week) while maintaining my job and working towards becoming a rabbi.  (That isn’t too much to ask, is it?)
o    Every room of my house should be filled with bright light and fresh air flowing through the environment.
o    Healthy food should be part of every meal.

Imagine that if each of you took a moment to vision any one or two of the above ideas, our life would be even more awesome than it already is.  I believe that this will work, do you?

With love and blessings,

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Life is filled with journeys.  Each of us have journeys that we follow throughout our lives.  Some of the journeys are filled with joy and some with pain; some of the journeys are filled with growth while others are filled with loss.  All journeys naturally encourage us to embrace change; we literally have no choice.  In the end, we have to either make peace with reality or feel challenged by what is.

Finding the blessings amongst the growing pains can be challenging.  I have always been the optimist.  Joy surrounds me at every turn. Opportunity can be found even in the darkest of moments.  As long as I can see a glimpse of sunlight, a ray of hope exists.  And sometimes when loss is inevitable, I learn from what is now out of my reach.

The last six weeks have been filled with so many journeys.  And with each journey, I have had to take a deep breath and look for the rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds.  I wish I could say it has been easy, but it has been painful.  I have had moments of intense sadness, but throughout each moment, I have felt the light shining through.  What a blessing that even in my darkness, I see the glass as being much more than half full.

My Uncle Phil died less than 3 weeks after being diagnosed with brain cancer.  He was a tremendous force in my life and the only relative outside of my immediate family that encouraged me to do my soul work; Uncle Phil encouraged me to write and to always use my creativity.  In truth, his entire family seems to continue his legacy; the Grayson clan inspires me to write in so many ways.  While my uncle has died, I feel the beat of his heart as I continue to build a special relationship with my Aunt Jane, David, and Karen.

On April Fool’s Day, I will have a hysterectomy.  The hysterectomy will do its part to make me a healthier person.  Taking care of myself is such a concept for me.  No one likes to endure pain, but sometimes we have no choice.  The question is always, what do we learn as we move through this process.  In my case, I feel enormous gratitude that I will be healing with the hysterectomy and with each passing day after the surgery, I will become physically stronger and healthier too.

Aryeh, my son, continues to be plagued by challenges due to a couple of brain surgeries that never solved all of his physical pain.  No parent wants to see his or her child suffer; watching Aryeh endure his pain hurts me in the core of my being.  Having said that, I am acutely aware of his spirit soaring with each and every flight he has been forced to take. I am amazed at his ability to push himself to succeed in his daily life through writing and acting in a school play. Aryeh shines with beauty that most of us will never encounter; his energy is guiding force and his wisdom is beacon of light.

Coping with the latest setback is tough; Michael’s job was terminated effective immediately.  The anxiety in this journey is intense because of Michael’s sadness over this situation; it is profoundly affecting us all and now money will be even tighter now than it was before.  But I am handling this journey in the same way I handle all journeys.  I believe that things will get better as we grow and actively make the changes we need to make in order thrive even better than we were doing before.  Michael is a dedicated gem that would have benefited from constructive feedback and healthy interactions; it is sad that Jewish and non-profit institutions lack the grace to do this on a consistent basis.  Michael will be all right in time and I have learned to be even more conscious of what’s going on around me and to listen to my own inner voice.  Over the coming weeks, I will write each of my own staff and honest letter about my evaluation of their work performance.  The blessing I have in my own work situation is that while we can all learn, my staff is kind and conscientious.  I am looking forward to offering professional feedback while letting them know in writing how much I appreciate their teaching.

Parenting Dovi has given me strength during each and every journey I have taken since his birth.  Dovi is kind to the core; loving to each and every person he meets.  He reminds me to walk gently and to breathe as I navigate the path I am traveling.  He encourages me to check in with how I am really feeling inside, but at the same time he guides me towards ‘finding peace within the storm’.  Having Dovi’s spirit in our family’s life has been a source of strength in every way and on every trail I travel.

Only through finding the blessings in the darkness and allowing myself to sit within some of my sadness will I thrive.  Chanting and writing give me the strength to navigate my pain and my fears.  Sharing my pain with those I love instead of remaining silent also helps me through the difficult times.  In my heart, I believe that all will be good and all of these challenges will improve in a short time.  My hope and prayer is that my loved ones, my friends visualize my life filled with simplicity and healing of both body and soul for all in my family.  Life is truly stunning. The beauty in each of the journeys above is that I feel the warmth of the sun shining through the clouds.

With love and light, blessings and peace,


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