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Archive for November, 2012

It’s official. . .I am certifiably nuts. . .  Tonight I went out walking and I serenaded the moon. While Dovi, my 15 year old son, might not forgive me, I am thrilled to have decompressed in this way.

I am one of the most intense people I know. I rarely shut down and just chill, but tonight I did.  Tonight I sang and created new lyrics to songs that usually have different words.  I chanted chants that move me to a spiritual place.  I laughed out loud and smiled broadly.  I felt truly alive.

As someone who has yet to study the power of the full moon, I believe it had something to do with the full moon’s energy.  Perhaps it also had to do with my need to relax and appreciate the rhythm of the earth and the rhythm of the sky.  My entire body reverberated from the energy I was feeling and it still is.

Life’s biggest gifts come when you open your eyes a little wider than normal, breathe a little deeper than usual, and watch things unfold.  Today that’s exactly what I did.  I appreciated what was and appreciated the moments as they unveiled themselves.

A few days ago, a distant friend who feels like a soul friend, asked me if I was ok.  With that one question, I was struck with the fact that I had not been managing my intensity as I should. And now, I feel blessed by both the question and the realization that came to me 24 hours later. While I embrace life and the emotional roller-coaster that comes with it, I really am feeling grounded and content.  While I am actively engaged in life’s journeys, I am also conscious of each and every emotion.  The bottom-line is I am an intense soul who constantly navigates the world and all of the inhabitants that I encounter.

I think, I feel, I dream, I vision, I seek, and I struggle.  I hope, I believe, I soar, and I embrace life intensely.  And yet when the day is done, when the moment ends, I am basically a content woman.  I love life.

Tonight the moon called to me.  She showed me her beautiful energy and she surrounded me too.  With that realization, I became acutely aware that my heart was soaring and my soul was singing.  And with each step under the moon and stars, I found my voice.

With love, light, and blessings . . .

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Moving to Tucson was a leap of faith for me.  I knew I had to leave the rhythm of the DC and seek a new rhythm elsewhere.  The blessing is that I found Tucson and fell in love with the rhythm of the land.  The love grows daily with almost no watering.  For now I am home and perhaps I will create a community of friends that sustain me long term; I don’t know that yet.   Even as I say that, I am also in the midst of creating solitude for myself.  I love to write; I love to chant. I even love being alone.  At the same time, I am lonely at times, but learning to turn the loneliness into a cocoon of warmth for myself.  For so long, I have hidden my feelings from even myself; I am facing them today.

Many paths lead to the mountain.

The funniest part of being here is that I am accepting a part of myself that I never quite connected with before.  While I can do what I need to do; I would love to fade into the woodwork more than I ever have.  I would love to walk a little quieter and allow for my more introverted personality.  In my core, I am shy in so many ways.  I find myself nurturing the connections that allow me to be most authentic.

Living in Tucson has connected me to the world in a way that I have never quite experienced before now.  Each and every day I am touched deeply by new sounds, sights, sensations, or experiences; I am seeing life as I have never seen it before.  I have always loved nature, but this is different.  The rhythm of the earth is quickly becoming my greatest teacher.  I am learning to trust the rhythm as I become more conscious about the not only my life, but the many lives that surround me.

Each and every morning, I open my eyes around 4 AM.  Some refer to this as the un-Godly hour, but to me it is fast becoming the most sacred time of the entire day. Morning loneliness gives way to a gentle calmness.  I have come to love the rising of the sun; the sun calls me to action.  With each step, my morning walks with my dog Maddie have taught me so much. I notice the change in the trees,and  the cacti, the land; I notice the weather, the rising of the sun, and morning skies.  I am learning about life as I notice the life that surrounds me.

Now that I am in Tucson, I no longer feel directionally impaired at every turn.   The Catalina Mountains and my new toe shoes always make me feel grounded on my new terrain.  The rising of the sun and the setting of the sun have made certain that I always know the difference between east and west.

With each passing day, I grow; new insights surround me when my eyes, ears, and heart remain open.  My feet take me on a journey that is slowly helping me to become a stronger and more spiritually grounded human being.  While I mourn what I have lost this year, I am finding solace in the many new gifts.  Those that know me well, know that I treasure the Shehecheyanu moments, the moments when you say a blessing for new ‘experiences’ in a lifetime and sometimes for the first time you face something within a year’s time.  Every day seems to be full of them.  Here are some examples:

  • Stopped to allow a snake to cross the road.
  • Saw my first pomegrante tree; and now I watch it change with each passing day.
  • Introduced to my first tarantula.
  • Went walking in Sabino Canyon way after dark.
  • Ate my first dragon fruit.
  • Found and fell in love with Maddie, my new furry dog.
  • Making new friends who are touching me deeply.
  • New hikes weekly.
  • Cafe Passe is my home away from home.  With each and every word I write, I feel like Cafe Passe brings beautiful Shehecheyanu moments.

The Rhythm of the Earth touches me differently now.  As I burrow into the life of the dessert, I am looking deep inside and working towards being an even better me.  While I have always done that, I no longer have the crutches that once held me up; with this move and with the cycle of life, I have experienced some loss.  Yet I have also found so many blessings and much beauty to help me weather the loss.  Loving Tucson and my new community is helping me move forward.

Exhaustion now comes earlier than I ever imagined it would; at the same time, sleep is sweeter than it has ever been.  The rhythm of the earth is guiding me to a more peaceful place.  With each step, I am opening my heart to what surrounds me and treasuring what I have.  Wow, I am profoundly fortunate.

Now that I have been here for nearly five months, it is time for me to re-connect more with those I love and adore.  Just because I moved to Tucson doesn’t mean I had to lose the ones I love.  Now it is time to integrate all the parts of my life so I become more whole or shalem.  My soul friends mean the world to me! I’ve missed walking with them over the last few months, but now I need to do a better job of staying connected to those I love.

May the rhythm of the earth help me to grow and evolve with each and every step.  May my heart allow the beauty I see to seep into my soul.

With love, light, and blessings. . . .

 

 

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The Torah is often referred to as ‘The Living Torah’ in part because so many of the timeless stories weave together the Jewish ethics and values of the past to those of today.

Life is full of journeys.  Personally, I have traveled great distances to seek what I am looking for; I have made choices that have empowered me to navigate myself out of hot water; I have had to tread high waters for periods of time before finding calmer waters.  Within each and every journey I have received messages from the universe or perhaps from God that have enabled me create stronger foundations within my life.

As I studied Parshat Vayaytzay, I found that I, like others are following in Jacob’s footsteps as we have all navigated life and sought that which we are looking for.

Here are a few examples of what one can learn from Jacob’s journey.

  1. Upon leaving home to both run from Essau and to find a wife, Jacob stopped for the night to sleep.  After he laid his head upon a rock while sleeping, he gained insights and believed that God would protect him.  After a long day, we often come to our strongest realizations when all is quiet in the world and we are left alone with our thoughts.  I find it intriguing that Jacob used a rock to lay down.  Rocks are often used as a metaphor for life and for building strong foundations.  I often keep a rock in my pocket as a symbol to remind me to hold firm to my values and to work towards creating stronger foundations within my life.
  2. Once Jacob arrives at Haran, he goes to the well to care for himself and his animals.  At this point, the wealthy Rachel who herself has her own servants, gathers water for the stranger and his flock.  May each of us remember that regardless of what we have or don’t have, we have the power to reach out to others and to help in any way we can.
  3. Jacob falls in love with Rachel and even though he has worked for seven years in order to marry her, he is deceived into marrying Leah, Rachel’s sister, instead.  Jacob then works another seven years in order to be granted permission to marry his beloved Rachel.  Waiting is a challenging part of life, my hope is that none of us have wait fourteen years to marry our beloved, but sometimes it takes years to reach our goals.  Only through actively pursuing our dreams do we have a chance of actualizing our personal ambitions or hopes.

In his book, The Bedside Torah, Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, shares that through the power of imagination each of us has the ability to transform the world and ourselves.  When Jacob laid his head on the rock, little did he know how that one dream would transform how he walked in the world and the effect it would have on others to this day.

May each of us be blessed with a moment that empowers us move forward with inner strength and to make positive choices in our lives.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

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These feet travel through many doorways.

Not all who wander are lost.  J. R. R. Tolkien

I love life.  With each step I find myself exploring, digging deeply to strengthen my already solid foundation.  I am a seeker who walks through the world with a core intensity.  I am real.

With all of these realities lurking in the background, I truly value who I am.  Exploring leads to new understandings.  While I feel like I am constantly finding a lost part of myself, I never feel lost.   With each step I take through new doorways, I seem to feel more complete.

Below are some of the doorways or passages that are part of my daily trek.  I seem to thrive on analyzing life’s complexities and growing with each realization.

To writing:

I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die. ~Isaac Asimo

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
~ Joan Didion

For these reasons and more I write.  Simple.  The more writing I do, the more balanced I am.  When writing is part of my daily practice I can move through ever doorway with a stronger sense of calm and in a more conscious way.  Writing helps me to walk through the world.

To Loving Connections 

Moving to Tucson was hard.  I love my friends; I miss my friends desperately.  And the good news is that I am making new friends.  And some of those friendships are becoming nurturing and fun, a nice balance.

Yesterday, I found myself vulnerable for a little while; the vulnerable scared me because for a few long moments I felt alone.  So I chanted the words Patach Libi, Open My Heart.  The more I chanted these words, the less alone I felt.  As my day progressed, I received a couple of texts and emails from friends.  By opening my heart and allowing the gifts of friendship to touch me, I was able to lose some of the layers of vulnerability.

And throughout the day, people kept reaching out.  New friends and old friends were with me.  By opening my heart to the friendships that surrounded me, I was able to move through another metaphoric doorway and to feel connected to those I love and to those I do feel a connection.

To Health

I am on another health journey. I am walking more, moving more, and seeing a wonderful homeopath who is unlocking some of my stagnant energy as she helps me become a healthier me.  I also chant more and actively seek spiritual opportunities through my movement.  Living in Tucson has connected me with the land more than ever before.  Wow, let’s talk about a spiritual connection.

My hope is to work on my spiritual and physical health simultaneously.   The most beautiful example of this for me is when I go walking or hiking in the beauty of the southwest; with each step there is a chant whether I voice it or not.

To Balance/Consciousness

My hope is that I continuously make choices that align with my values.  Where do I shop? What do I eat? Do I think about the packaging of the things I buy? What about my carbon footprint? Do I actively engage in navigating the political circles within the US and Israel? Am I kind to strangers? How do I treat those that work with me?  Do I smile and laugh?  Do I help those in need?

I hope I do all of these things and more.  In truth, I am a work in progress.

Living consciously with my values makes a difference; finding balance comes from honoring my values and trying to make the world a better place.

To Gratitude:

Gratitude is what happens when you feel grateful for the small things instead of fixating on the challenges. Today had moments when I forgot to find gratitude, but fortunately I was surrounded with reminders to keep me in line!
How I walk through life?

Challenges are always opportunities. Embers or sparks of light can be ignited even in the darkest of moments.  Doorways represent possibilities, opportunities, hope.  Each time I go through a new doorway, take a new journey, or climb up or down a new mountain, I am stretching myself and growing as an individual.

May each of choose to live with integrity by consciously moving through each and every doorway within our lives.

 

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If you want to succeed, you have to open the door. ~Chava

For me is is profoundly clear that in order to move forward within life you have to open doors.

Over the last year, I have been drawn to the metaphor of the open door.  So much happens when you walk through a doorway.  Each step can lead to infinite opportunities and answers to questions both known and unknown.  Each step is also filled with gifts and challenges.  Sometimes you get to where you think you are going and other times you find a horizon you weren’t quite expecting.

The journey’s dichotomies reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books/songs.  Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it.  Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

With each step there is a child-like excitement and then a little trepidation as I realize that the only way to succeed is to go through the steps that will help you reach success.  And success isn’t always going through the doorway; sometimes success is the journey itself.  Either way, when you are taking any trek, you really do have to go through it!

Every day, I am faced with the decision on how to walk through the doorways of life.  While I tend to smile a lot and find humor when I can, I also struggle with finding balance.  Intensity courses through my veins as I struggle with my own perfectionist tendencies.  I embrace life journey’s but I also struggle with many of the steps I take.

The benefit of being aware is that  in this stage of life I can now take a deep breath before I allow the struggle for perfectionism to hurt me.  I haven’t always been that way and the consequences of my behavior will always be a thorn.  In my early twenties, I destroyed much of my writing and my paintings.  The realization that I was much less creative than I wanted to be hurt me to the core; I wondered if I had anything to offer the world (even my small world).  In response to the pain, I destroyed my work.

For me, I often find gifts within the struggles of realities.  So while I ultimately destroyed my works and in the process broke my own heart, I also learned from my actions.  I probably will never destroy my work in the same way again.  I also learned that I can handle loss and move forward to create again.  Loss is always profoundly painful.  Yet I know that if you allow yourself the time to heal and the space to do the work, healing is a strong possibility.

Walking through any door, metaphoric or real, takes not only courage but wisdom to discern what derekh, path, is best.  And the work doesn’t end there; with each step we need to keep reflecting honestly and tweaking how you move through each open door.

One of my core guiding principles is that I have to find light within each journey even the darkest ones; finding light is not optional.  The light, even when it is just a small ember, helps me to remember that there is something both within myself and outside of myself to keep my spirit alive and enlightened.

May we all find light and ways to grow with each and every step we take.

PS-Over the next few days, I will share some of the doors that I am moving through currently.  Life is a journey.

PPS – I would love it if one of my good friends would happen to have a good camera AND would like to go drive around Tucson and take photos of doors, tunnel entrances, bridges. . .photos that represent doorways.

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