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Archive for June, 2011

“If I don’t have red, I use blue.”

~ Pablo Picasso

Being able to be a chameleon can be a gift; except when it doesn’t serve you well.  Finding the balance is the key to making life work.

Living honestly means actively engaging in the life you want while knowing that you can’t always get what you want so sometimes you have to make what is work for you.

Lately, I have been walking through life a little more honestly.  I’ve been allowing myself the space to be who I am more openly and sometimes more quietly.  With each step I take I realize most of us live with such strong dichotomies in our lives.  We work towards goals while sometimes settling for reality; or we stop working towards what we want because what we want feels impossible to get.

To be the most healthy individuals possible, we have to walk gently with the world around us while we work towards creating what we want for our families/friends, our communities, the world, or most importantly ourselves.  What we want is important; sometimes we settle for what is.  Settling can be the easier route to take.  My work has always been to create that which I want while adapting to what is.

I remember taking an art class as a junior high school student and finding myself frustrated with the options of supplies in front of me.  I wanted what wasn’t there and I believed I couldn’t create without whatever it is I thought I needed.  My teacher, Mr. Sherman taught me to trust myself and use what I had in front of me; he also taught me to ask for what I needed.   In the end, it was my job to move forward with what was by making the best creations with what I actually had.

Whoever Mr. Sherman is and wherever he is, I love the man.  He taught me what Picasso knew and what most young children know.  Finding balance means working towards what you want by working with what you have.

The bottom-line is that in order for me to be in a good space, I need to walk through life while actively engaging in what jazzes my soul even as I trust the universe to give what the universe has to give.

And sometimes it’s all about finding the right tie-dye.  How can anyone settle for just one color?

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Words

I love words.  I love reading them; I love understanding them; I love speaking them.  Weaving words together is probably one of the top five things that I love to do.

So when I woke up this morning, I tried to find my favorite word.  So far it hasn’t worked.  I have found a few words I love more than any other.  What makes me laugh is that the first words I thought of weren’t even in English.  The top choice wasn’t even in a language that I know.  🙂

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Namaste – The Spirit in me honors the spirit in you.  – This one Sanskrit word fills me with inner peace; it illustrates how I walk in the world.  My interactions with the world around me can be seen in the this one word.  When one says the word Namaste, s/he consciously acknowledges that the life-force that exists within the spirit that is front of them.  I love the universe and the spirit of nearly each and every living and dead being.

While the saying might be Sanskit, the teaching can also be found in Perek Shirah, the Chapter of Song (or better known as the Song of the Universe).  In Perek Shirah, all of creation is given a place of honor.

I say Namaste when I see a dead animal on the road or an ambulance rushing past.  By saying Namaste, I am actively acknowledging the life-force that surrounds not only me but every living spirit.  When I hear wisdom from a teacher or from any beautiful soul or when I am leaving a beloved friend, my hands go to prayer pose and with a little bow I say Namaste.  Saying Namaste means that I am valuing the life in front of me.

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Shalom – peace, hello, good-bye – While Shalom has many meanings in Hebrew; the meaning that touches me in the most poignant of ways is peace.  In order to best understand this word, you have to understand the make-up of the Hebrew language.  Each word in the Hebrew language has a three-letter root.  In this case, the root refers to wholeness and completion.  Peace exists when people feel a sense of wholeness, when we reach a sense that our work is done.

If our hearts and souls do not have a sense of wholeness, there is no peace.  In truth, shalom comes in so many different shapes and sizes.  Each of us has moments of shalom; the work towards finding peace is constant.  A good way to approach peace is to realize that you might only be able to find peace in a small area of your life; finding peace is a challenge, so parceling it out will help peace feel more attainable.

Each step towards peace leads to more opportunity for a healthier rhythm within life.

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Breathe – to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.  Breathing means that the life-force is within me.  With each breath, I am actively engaged in life, in living.  When I breathe deeply I am not only taking in life, I am giving in return.  Without breathing, my life is nothing.

With each breath, I am reminded that the life that surrounds me and all of us takes many different forms.  I have had the gift of watching my son be intubated and then watching him take a breath on his own when the machines were removed.  Anyone that has watched a baby take their first breath knows what that feels like.  I never take breathing for granted; it isn’t always a given.  The key is that most of us can breathe deeply and take control of our breathing.

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Each of us has the power to take control of our lives by living life to it’s fullest.  I find it fascinating that each of my favorite words is about living life consciously.  Blessings come in so many forms.  Walking through life is not always easy; sometimes it is really tough even painful.  The good news is that I do have some control, I can decide to walk gently or to leap with gusto.  I can choose to find peace within the storm or fight every step.  There is a time for walking with a heavy step and walking with a softer step; but there is no choice for moving forward.

With each step I take, I pray that I have the strength to breathe deeply, to walk thoughtfully in peace, and to remember that I am part of a much larger universe.

May we each find our footing to walk in the world.

Namaste (The Spirit in me honors the Spirit in you),

With blessings and light,

Chava

PS-To see a picture that I created for this post, but can’t figure out how to post, go to http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/3783264/Life-Force

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Blue jeans rock! I love them.

Some of the happiest moments of my life came when I realized that I could look good in blue jeans; by the same token, complete frustration engulfs me when I notice that my body shape can’t quite accommodate jeans.

I am a blue jeans baby; somewhere along the line blue jeans became my cocoon of sorts.  I love the way they feel on my legs, I love how durable they are, and I absolutely the way they look and feel after they have been well worn.  I also love the fact that you can wear them a few days in a row without them being grungy.

When my body holds extra weight, jeans really don’t feel great and they don’t look too good either.  The reality that jeans don’t feel good or look when I weigh too much is a bit frustrating and yet the thrill of putting jeans back on when my body is in better shape is amazing.

Blue jeans are a symbol of good health for me.  My goal is to wear jeans for the rest of my days.  Isn’t it silly that something so insignificant can take on such a huge place in my being?  This past week a woman who works in the same building as I do told me that it was time for me to go shopping.  She cracked me up when she asked me what size the pants were and then she told me to get pants that were at least 4 inches smaller.  Unfortunately, she was wrong, I needed to cut only 3 inches off my waist.  L  But that is still 7 inches from where I started 6 months ago.

With every ounce of my being, I want to be a healthy person in every way.  Currently, I am doing a lot of soul/spiritual work as I also try to eat more mindfully than I did before and make good physical decisions for my body.  Already this morning, I walked the dog while chanting for about 40 minutes or more, biked around my townhouse community for over an hour, and in now I am back from minutes I my yoga/pilates class.  Each and every thing that I have done so far today has contributed to me finding balance.  Even the writing that I am doing right now fuels my soul.

Just over 6 months ago, I started a physical journey towards becoming a healthier me.  I have not varied very many of the food choices I have made since beginning my journey.  I took soda out of my diet, but do drink plain seltzer.  I took caffeine out of my diet, but lately I have had No Doz when driving seems to challenging; and finally, I took myself off of sugar and other sweeteners and for the most part I still honor that.  I am not perfect, but I don’t eat cakes, ice cream; I sometimes allow myself bread, which is not the brightest of choices.  So it goes. Physically, I have actively and consciously changed my habits.  I am constantly moving.  I walk the dogs more frequently and for longer durations; yoga/Pilates have become a regular part of my week; today I started biking with hopes of biking at least 5 days a week.  I also make it a point to park far away from my destination.  My hope is that I keep moving and I live as the healthiest person I can.  There is really no alternative to taking care of myself.

Life sometimes tosses us some physical curve balls; I know this from personal experience.  So even more so, I have the responsibility to make the healthiest choices I can with my realities.  Today I am blessed with health; I am blessed with the physical ability to move, to make healthy food choices, and to spiritual reach for new levels of inner peace.  I have control, so with gratitude I will do everything I can in order to be the healthiest me that I can be.

Now back to the jeans.  For the last 6 months I have purchased the next size down as I reminder that I am working towards a goal.  I am in the midst of deciding whether it is prudent for me to continue this trajectory.  In a perfect world, I’d love to lose 5 more inches, but at 45 years old, it might not be possible.  Regardless of whether more inches melt away from my body or not, I am really happy with this moment.

The good news is that today, I can live as the BLUE JEANS BABY that I am.  So guess what I will wear tonight?  Tonight and as much as possible, I will proudly wear my blue jeans.

May blue jeans continue in my life for now and for always.

With blessings and light,

Chava

PS-I also love straight jean skirts, so feel free to give me shopping recommendations.

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