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Archive for November, 2010

Silencing the Noise

Noise fills my life at every turn; chances are that most of my friends have similar thoughts.  Just a moment ago, the dogs were running circles around the house and barking at one another.  As I started to settle down to write, I had to check Facebook, emails needed to be read and responded to, and then I noticed two text messages on my phone.  At the same time, there are dishes that need to be washed, laundry folded, and assorted other chores.  Those are just the external noises that envelop my world.  The kids haven’t even gotten up yet?

Meanwhile, I am listening to folk music that I love and which also reminds me of all the work I need to do in the larger world.  I am living in our glorious world, so I need to be doing my part to make this world even better than it is today.  So much needs to be done, so very much.  It is sweet irony that the first song to come onto Pandora as I sat down to write was Blowing in the Wind written by Bob Dylan and performed by many other others.  In it they ask nine questions that reminds me of all the work to be done.  Each question is profound and has many personal responses depending on who is feeling the call to answer.

And then, I hear the noise that personally affects me at every turn.  My children are growing and have so many needs, many of which I simply cannot afford.  Two of my three dogs are aging rapidly and with that brings so many challenges both emotional and financial.  Finances in our house are tight.  And yes we do have what we ultimately need.  I have a few friends that are seriously sick (both physically and emotionally); my work has its gifts and challenges; relationships need nurturing and a few need to evolve or weeded out for the time being.  Life is full.

And with all of the above comes the creative and spiritual journeys I am on.  In my heart, I know I need to fuel the creative inclinations I have.  What I want more than anything at this very moment is to fill my world with writing while I dabble in developing workshops that come from my passions, and also take time to paint and play with different craft projects.  There is so much to do! And you should see the pile of books I want to read for knowledge and the trash I read as a means of shutting off all the noise.  OY.  The good news is that my work has the potential to foster some of my creative needs.  My spiritual needs feel a little more overwhelming, my house is rarely quiet for more than a little while so my chanting and my drumming practices have faltered a bit and my daily davening (praying) is not what I’d like it to be.  And even with that, I am still considering rabbinical school.

Sometimes the noise feels like gentle tides moving through the ocean and sometimes it feels like waves crashing while the wind swirls overhead.   Finding balance to life’s noises has become of key importance to me at this time in my life.  I love all the moving parts of life, but need to manage each moment in my life better.

Well in the time that it has taken me to contemplate through my writing, my children have gotten up and helped with transitioning the laundry.  The dogs have been quiet and snuggled up with one another.  And I have found a little more balance and inner peace because I have taken some time to write.

Balance can be found within all the noise; guess I need to be a little quieter so that I can find it.

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When I was a little girl, I was addicted to watching television.  If I were terribly honest, I would say that TV was the closest thing I had to companionship.  I would watch television for up to eight hours a day.  I loved the soaps as well as any program that could take my mind to another dimension.  I also loved the variety shows as well as the family shows.  When I wasn’t watching the TV, I would read books that pretty much did the same thing for me as television.  I loved when my mind was able to go into a fantasy world; anything outside of my world was fantasy. Anything outside my world was good.

That was then; today my life is void of all television.  I really don’t have time for television; there is so much life to live.  I love to write, to draw, to organize, to read, to walk, to be with my kids, and to daydream! I am not sure if I have actively watched television since I was on bed-rest during my pregnancy with Aryeh, now 17 years old.

So this past Saturday, I had to laugh when I was essentially berated for not knowing how to operate a television.  And the best part about the conversation is that it reinforced how far I had come from the days of allowing television to be my world.  My life is so full without having a TV in it.

Ironically there have been a few occasions to watch TV, but even with that I tend to seek what I want to watch on computer.  The gift is that when I have watched TV, it is usually because someone else in my family is interested in seeing a show, so they turn on the TV.  During this past election, I did watch every possible debate via TV, but so did everyone in my house (including the dogs).

The disturbing reality of Saturday’s conversation was how people sometimes make assumptions.  Perhaps I am so comfortable with understanding that multiple intelligences guide how people function in the world.  I rarely, if ever, think of someone as limited for moving through the world differently than I do.  I do, however, become troubled when people fail to open their eyes and consider different options for exploring the world outside of what they “feel” is the only correct way.   I am open to new possibilities; I love learning from others and trying new experiences.  The truth is that I don’t even mind using a remote as long as someone can show me how to do what needs to be done.

Hopefully when I feel frustration at something that someone can’t do, I take as long as it takes to show him or her instead of berating them in any way.  And hopefully, if they sense a moment of frustration in my reaction, hopefully they remember to laugh.  We all take the small stuff way too seriously.

So who is willing to teach me how to become a little more technologically savvy?  😉

 

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Remembering: The Last Cigarette

My father was a smoker.  I rarely remember him without a pack of his beloved cigarettes, Pall Malls to be exact.   Even as I type the name Pall Mall, the smell permeates my memory.  I never did like the smell, but I did love my daddy.

While driving yesterday, the words on the radio seemed to say something about the Last Cigarette.  As soon as I heard the words, I stopped hearing the song.  Immediately I was transformed into trying to recall my father’s last days, his last cigarette.  I know he smoked until nearly the very end, but I also have little memory of him smoking in his last three weeks of life.  Because I hated the smell and filth of cigarettes so, my father would try to hide his smoking from me.  His last weeks were filled with declining health, sepsis, and emotional trauma.  Now that I am looking back, I should have realized how imminent his death was when he stopped asking for a smoke.

As I heard the words to Bon Jovi’s Last Cigarette on the radio, I was stunned that I couldn’t remember a thing about my father’s last weeks and what his relationship to smoking was.  The frustration led to me calling my brother in Israel to ask him what he remembered.  Ricky was able to remind me how Dad used to always say (even in his last weeks of life) that he was going to stop sometime.  My brother’s response was always, “Don’t worry about stopping, just enjoy it!”  Now that some time has passed, I am so grateful to Ricky for his wisdom and his sound words of advice to my father.

The similar advice that I gave to my father six or so weeks before he died was a little less sound.  We were celebrating my father’s 71st birthday when I suggested that he have a piece of his birthday cake.  Little did I know that a diabetic person shouldn’t eat a large piece of birthday cake because it messes with their sugar level.  Big OOPS on my part; as we sat in the hospital celebrating his birthday, my dad began to feel awful.  Sugar for a diabetic person is not always the best choice.

Well the good news is that my father did smoke until his last weeks of life and he never ate another piece of cake again.   Some experiences are worthy of doing again and again as you reach the end of your life; some less so.

Life with my father was tough at times, but he was a man who taught me some beautiful lessons.  In many ways, he lived life fully.  One example is how he smoked until the end.  Even though, I can’t recall for certain when he smoked his last cigarette, I hope my memory is correct when I see him smoking until he could no longer sit up in a chair or bed. Ultimately smoking killed him; he died of lung cancer after it metastasized to the brain.  I will always wonder what it was like for him to have his last cigarette.  I hope that last cigarette was good for him.

Funny how two words trigger a string of memories and a desire to know more about my dad.

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Being Present: Possible?

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.’

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Lately, I have been considering how I move through life.  There is so much to manage in my daily life; I also feel passionate about making conscious decisions, taking time to write, and remembering to remain present in all that I do.  I am filled with expectations of myself and I also feel the need to be fully present for those I love.  My creative juices are pulsating through my body without enough time to flourish into a source of joy in any way, shape, or form.

The key to remaining healthy in every way is to listen to the rhythms of my being as I walk in the world.  Lately I have been astonished by so much of what I am sensing.  I am feeling the vibrations of so many people that need to stop, including me.  I am sensing that my most beloved friends are thriving creatively and yet lacking what they need to follow through with their creative process.  I put myself in that category.

Many seem to be working his or her way through some very trying realities.  Sometimes it is a matter of living in an overwhelmed state, but still others are moving through challenging health situations (emotional and/or physical).  Life is really full for everyone and yet I admire how everyone moves forward.  All of us seem to doing what we need to be accomplished, but yet there is a cost.  We seem to be struggling to find personal equilibrium.

The good thing about facing reality is that I am coming to understand that this pace isn’t working for me personally.   My body needs to take more time to breathe deeply; my mind needs to take time to contemplate my thoughts more fully; my heart needs to feel more intensely and to allow the feelings to resonate within my being.  My legs need to stretch out and walk through all sorts of terrain; my fingers need to type more, write more and doodle more; my voice needs to be more expressive through chanting and storytelling.  I need to soar differently then I am soaring now.

Today I allowed myself the day off; I did some tasks for my family, but I also allowed myself to move slower, talk to a couple of my beloved soul sisters, and to rest when my body was hurting.  For me, the day was glorious; I loved having time to move slower.  I was bummed that my back was in pain, but it will be fine. . .it always is.  I have come to appreciate when pain or illness slow me down.   Life experiences echo what I already know; my body is telling me to slow down.

Over the coming months, I am hoping to move slower, to write more, and to pause with the intention of just being.  When I listen to my body, I am clear that in order for me to feel truly alive, I need allow myself the time to exist without feeling the need to always produce.  I am not sure that I will ever be able to fully do nothing, but I will work towards doing a little less.  Mostly, I want to feel the cool grass between my toes as I do my own little dance with life.

Walking gently,

Chava

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