Archive for August, 2012

Would you prefer to continue limping, or are you ready to remove the stone from your shoe?~ Susan Scott, “Fierce Conversations”

We all have things in our lives that need our attention; most of us procrastinate doing the things that are a little awkward, a little less enticing.  A chore, a conversation, a long overdue visit to someone in our lives.  Life is full of opportunities and with that comes a To Do List that can feel overwhelming.  Metaphorically, there is always a pebble that needs to be removed from your shoe.

Nike, the shoe manufacturing company said it right when they started using the slogan Just Do It.  Those three words say it all.

  • Instead of thinking about the tasks you must accomplish – Just Do It
  • Instead of thinking about the challenging conversation you have to have with someone – Just Do It
  • Instead of putting off a visit with someone that you really want or need to see – Just Do It.

There are so many tasks that need our attention; There are so many words that need to be spoken; there are so many people in our lives that need our attention.  The list of what we want and need to accomplish goes on and on, but unless we take the necessary steps to get things done they won’t get done.

Opportunities are there for when we have them and sometimes we lose precious opportunities through procrastination.  We also take an inordinate amount of time and mental space thinking about our long To Do List.  Unless you take the rock out of shoe, you really can’t move forward comfortably.  Maybe it is time to take Nike’s words to heart.

Just Do It.

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Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.
~ Holly Shere

Silence.  Stillness. Absence of sound.

At different points in my life, silence has been a painful reality, even scary.  That isn’t the case today.  Today I treasure silence. Sometimes I long for it; I close my eyes and for a moment, I can feel silence deep within my soul.

Only in the silence, can I come to understand the essence of what is going on around me.  There are days when I seek the silence of solitude or crave the company of those that don’t need to fill space with noise.  Mostly I am ok being where I am while those around me do what feels right to them.

In the silence, I better notice the beauty that surrounds me: the moon,  many of the earth’s creatures, the feel of the wind, the sensation of the sand on my feet.  In silence, I see so much more than I see when there is a lot of noise.

Today silence  has been transformed.  My entire body has learned to treasure the quiet.  Only in the silence, can I come to understand the noise.  When I drum, I have learned that the beat is as important as the rests in between the notes.  The power is knowing when to trust the silence and when to trust the sound.

Holiness happens when both silence and sound can be trusted.

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The human body was designed to walk, run, or stop; it wasn’t built for coasting.

-Cullen Hightower

How are you choosing to walk through life? Actively or Passively? Are you engaging in life or disengaging by accepting the status quo?

As a Jewish Educator, a parent, a writer, and a human being, I wrestle with this each and every day.  Some days are better than others; some days I am stretching and reaching for for that which moves me.  When I am stagnant, nothing in my life flows; my life lacks purpose and productivity. With movement, I have more of a chance of finding balance in my journey.

The challenge for many of us comes from trusting ourselves to move at different rates depending on how we are at any given moment.  May each of us be blessed to keep moving, to keep growing, and to honor our true selves with each step.

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“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen


For the last four or so months, light has taken on new meaning; it has become a metaphor for how I maneuver through my life.

Light is a cocoon of warmth that has surrounded me with protection.  With each breath, I breathe in light and I breathe out darkness.  In essence, light cleanses my soul and comforts me when I need it.

While darkness or challenges are part of life, they aren’t life.  Next time you feel like you need a boost, breathe in the light and breathe out that which is challenging to you.  It helps.  My beloved friend, Reb Sarah Cohen, told me that ‘when we close our eyes and let the light infuse every cell in our bodies, we are flled with our inner rainbows.” I love this metaphor.

May light be a surround you as you journey through your days.


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What is to give light must endure burning. ~Victor E. Frankl

Life happens.  At any moment there are gifts and challenges.  The question, I naturally find myself exploring, is how can I make the good better or find positive in the difficult moments.  I walk through life seeking the rainbows with every step.  I love rainbows and double rainbows make me cry of pure joy.

Storms are a given part of life.  The question I often ask myself  is how can I navigate the storms with grace.  As a fairly intense person, I grapple with this on a regular basis.  As I get older, I find myself allowing for the silence in most interactions, as well as for the unanswered questions.

The bottom-line is that I actively seek light.  Once I find the light, the darkness doesn’t feel so scary.

May each of find many rays of light as we navigate our days.

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Each of us have a voice. We have feelings, hopes, dreams.  We have beliefs, thoughts, and wisdom.  Soul honesty matters.

Years ago, I wrote a chant with the words Shema Koli, Hear My Voice.  The chant is simple and has three short parts.

  • I need to listen to my own voice; my voice matters and I need to honor it.  What is going on in my head? What is going on in my heart?
  • Within relationships – Listen to each other; remember your connection to others. This is a reminder to myself to live as a partner within each and every connection.
  • As part of the universe, it is my job to actively engage in that relationship.  What am I hearing? What am I noticing? How can I serve the universe with the best possible energy?  What do I need from the universe? Am I open to possibilities?

Living with integrity is the only way for us to truly allow ourselves to shine; we are part of an intricate network of relationships.

May we all live with our own integrity as our essence shines true within each and every interaction.

With light and blessings,  Chava

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Being Present

Over the past several days, I have been noticing that when I embrace where I am in a fully attentive way, I feel more balanced.

My life is full: stopping is not an option.  Frankly, that is probably a very good thing.  🙂 Yet  taking many moments throughout the day to pause is an enormous gift that I can give myself.

Accept the responsibilities that life and work give you.  Thankfully you have both.

Enjoy those that you meet and those that you love. This was brought home to me a few weeks ago.  I lost a friend. One day she was in my life and the next day she was in my memory.  You never know who will touch you deeply and you won’t know unless you are open to the opportunities.

This week, I have had four amazing opportunities to connect with people who I stepped into my life.  In each interaction, I was deeply touched by the connection.  As someone who is struggling with a couple significant losses, I am blessed that each of those human beings touched me and helped peel away the sadness.

Notice the earth, notice where you stand.  At the moment, I am looking at my backyard and cringing because it is 10 days overdo for a cut and weeds are everywhere.  AND I love it! Great dichotomy for the perfectionist.  Yes I am overwhelmed with getting it all done, but in this moment, I am more drawn to writing than being outside and besides the ground is too wet to mow.  🙂 (Note: I am ALWAYS more drawn to writing.)

Find the gifts in the moment.  This week, I found a breathtaking photo taken by my friend Dennis Boni.  My heart literally stopped when I saw the photo and in all honesty, I wanted to propel myself to where he was and cry.  The beauty impacted me that deeply.


Crater Lake, Oregon Photograph by Dennis Boni

While Dennis is a professional photographer and videographer, we can still learn from his ability to note the moment.

Being present opens your soul to possibilities of connection, of successful endeavors, and to a more fulfilling life.

With blessings & light, Chava

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Look at yourself. Seriously.

Now take stock – As you journey towards the new year, what do you need to both nurture and nourish your body and your spirit.   Your body and spirit are sacred; in fact, many would say that you have to treat them as if they were a temple.

Treasure your body and spirit; show love by doing what it takes to be healthy.

Finding the time to care for yourself takes commitment.  Only through action can you be the best that you can be.

For me, renewing my spirit and my body means that the time for me to return to my own spiritual practices of drumming and chanting; I also have to eat  more consciously and move more.

May our spirits soar and our body’s transform as we find ways to nourish our beings.

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Saying good-bye isn’t always easy, yet sometimes we are forced to experience the inevitable.  How ironic that the word shalom in Hebrew refers to not only good-bye, but peace too.

Another fascination for me is that the root letters for the word shalom infer wholeness or completeness.  With that in mind, perhaps once you choose to accept the reality of saying good-bye, then you have the possibility of being a little more whole or at peace.

In truth, we all experience endings or loss.  Sometimes those you love die; sometimes relationships change or end.  Life is a cycle; relationships have a cycle.  As it says in Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season. . . . “

May our souls have the ability to let go when saying good-bye becomes our reality.

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Balance comes from riding the waves.

Life brings us so many waves.  The expectant doesn’t always come our way; sometimes the wave breaks and we wipe out. And other times we ride the waves.

May we find the tools within ourselves to ride more waves and embrace life with balance.

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