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Archive for January, 2014

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I would be staying awake all night so that I could care for someone other than family or friends.  Nor did I ever expect that I would lose half of my income and my health insurance for any reason at all.  I have always been blessed with fulfilling work that compensates me.   So it goes. . . .

Twists and turns can often accompany life’s journeys.

Today, I am working nearly full-time as a care-giver and another 20 hours a week as a Director of Education at a temple. I am doing what I need to do to care for my family.  And through it all, I love how I can touch someone’s life and make a difference for good.  All it take is just a gentle touch, a helpful hand, or a listening ear.  It really is that simple.

caregiving480-blogSpan
While I could choose to be resentful that I moved to Tucson for a position that now does not sustain my family, I am working on navigating away from that kind of energy; it doesn’t serve me well.  I have a soul to protect, two sons to support, and lots of holy work to do.  I am blessed even as I struggle.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog, Hineini – Here I Am,  http://wp.me/pthnB-2a.  Acknowledging that I am now here to serve others and to be more present in this world was important to me at the time.  Even now, I find myself excited that I am on this earth to make a difference for others either as a Jewish educator or a care-giver,  as a mother or a friend or as a human being.  Hineini.

None of this is simple, but I am figuring out how the next leg of my journey will look.  I now have a chance to reflect on what is important to me, what do I want to accomplish in the short and long run, and I get to assess how I feel at each step and then make decisions on how I will get where I want to go.

In the meantime, I am  care-giving in every way.  Senior citizens. Religious School community.  My family.  Life is the gift that keeps moving forward, so I will continue to do exactly I need to do.

Hanging on for  life’s roller coaster ride into the future. . . .wondering what the next twists and turns will bring my family.

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Life is full of cycles.

Birth and death.  Beginnings and endings.   Between beginnings and endings, there are many moving parts that need to be navigated.

Tonight as I look at the beautiful full moon, I am amazed at how much I treasure the full moons that I see month after month.  I am truly in love with the cycle of the moon, the cycles of life.

Photograph courtesy of Wicca Davidson

Photograph courtesy of Wicca Davidson

As this afternoon turned into evening, we began celebrating another cycle, Tu B’Shevat.  Every 15th of Shevat, the birthday of the trees, the Jewish people take note of all that our trees have to offer.  People aren’t the only ones to have a life cycle, every living thing on this earth does.    Are we doing enough for the trees, for the world around us, and for ourselves.

With the darkness tonight, I found myself reflective about the gifts and the challenges that come with the cycles of life.  Everything we do matters; everything can impact what comes later.

Thirty-four days from now, I will celebrate my 48th birthday.   If I want to live life fully, it is time for me to actively engage in growing the healthier cycles and releasing those cycles that don’t serve me well any longer.

Echo.

Choosing to live life fully and with a smile on my face means that I will also feel happier and see many smiles in return.  Whatever we do reflects back to us, like a mirror reflects the images in front of it.

So now is the time for me to remember to treasure my own body, my mind, and my soul, as much as I love the moon.  It is time for me to again care for my entire being by writing more, eating better, laughing deeply, chanting intensely. teaching soulfully, and really being all that I can be.  There are so many parts of my being; so many parts of my soul that need to be tapped.

Echo.

Only as I live more authentically will positive reverberate into my being and to the world that surrounds me too.

“Dance of Emergence” is what I am calling this journey.  My hope is that as the new moon comes next month, that I am more actively engaged in nurturing my body, my mind, and my soul.  Starting now. . .it is time to celebrate every step of my life by more fully embracing where I am and where I am going.

l’Chayyim! To Life!!

 

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Life happens.

One day you are working and the next day you working half-time or sometimes not at all.  For those of us that live in financially challenging times, we might be blessed with what we need, but with no extra.  Some of us are blessed with financial cushions and some of us might be cushioned with a tight budget and  little or no savings.  These scenarios here are good ones; there are many others who really do not have what they need in life.

Melodramatic?  Nah. . . .

Today, I am facing a new reality.  Effective January 20th, I am working half-time and will therefore lose my family’s health insurance.  The good news is that I will have a half-time job; the bad news is that I will not have enough to support what I have previously considered to be essential.  Health insurance will become a luxury item.  Not even the Affordable Healthcare Act can help.  As long as I don’t have the money, I can’t afford the insurance.

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The membership at my institution has declined and enrollment in my school has been affected accordingly.  With that in mind, my employer is making choices on how to manage their tightening budget.  Life happens.  So starting next month, my family will not have health insurance until I find a way to afford it.

This weekend, the reality of no health insurance slammed into me like a ton of bricks.  

  • Dovi  woke with viral conjunctivitis and ached all over.
  • Aryeh pulled out his back.

Fortunately, everyone will be fine, but what if Aryeh needed another brain surgery or Dovi became unable to walk again?  If those things happened, our family would become a statistic.  We would be one of “those people” that have caused the American people to cover our medical costs.  And my guess is that if the need arose, we wouldn’t be able to demand the care that ultimately saved Aryeh’s life.  No second opinions . . . no third opinions. . . . We would at the mercy of those that cared for the uninsured patient.

As someone who is still paying for some medical expenses that are a result of my older son’s health crisis, I am acutely aware of how quickly our health can be lost.  Sometimes we see sickness coming; sometimes we don’t.  The bottom-line is that few of us have the means to handle what our family was forced to handle when my son Aryeh needed two brain surgeries during his teenage years followed by countless days, months, and even years in bed.  The blessing is that our friends and community created a fund to help cover many of the costs that insurance did not.

So, as I sit here this morning feeling anxious about the impending lack of health insurance coverage over the coming weeks or months, I am also aware that if luck will have it, my family will find a way to manage with whatever happens.  Already, friends are trying to help me find a way to supplement and replace the the lost income – all ideas are welcome!

My hope and prayer is that all will ultimately be good for my family and that a day will come when health insurance isn’t a luxury for any human being.

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Note: I am not a yogi, not really; still I have learned from the wisdom of my many yoga classes.  With each breath, I should breathe deeply as I reach towards the heavens and the earth. This allows my blood to flow as the energy moves to where it needs to move.

With the concept of reaching in mind, I want to share one of the strongest metaphors of my life.

TreesFromAbove

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Libowitz

Looking at the nakedness of a tree in winter, I wanted to share some stream of consciousness that is deep inside of me.  It all started with a song.

My Roots Go Downwords and music by Sarah Pirtle, © 1979 and 1989 Discovery Center Music BMI

Chorus:
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down.

Love the chorus to the song My Roots Go Down – I once did a workshop where we all wrote our own verses. The metaphors that were created by the different groups were both meaningful and deep.  With that in mind, I wanted to make myself naked like the trees for a moment.  I want you to know where my heart and head are in this moment.

My version #1:
I am a woman, intense as can be.
I am a woman seeking to be me.
I am a woman creative in my soul.
 I am a woman.

My version #2:
I am a writer sharing from my heart.
I am a writer creating my own art.
I am a writer striving to be clear
 I am a writer.

With each word, I am stretching myself and hoping that my roots go down and become rooted to the earth as they reach out to the heavens.  I want my words to matter.

Today, I touch those I meet with my soulful energy.  I have so much to give and many receive it and crave it.  That hasn’t always been the case; during much my life, I was a chameleon.  I would blend into world around me.  What I thought didn’t matter-it didn’t.  The good news is that I didn’t always realize it until later when I looked back.  Learning from my past experiences only strengthen my roots today.

So, I stand tall and proud, I now know that my energy reaches out into the world.  When I walk into the room, people often smile.  When I post a blog or a positive status line on Facebook, my written words count.  And with each relationship, I build stronger roots and develop stronger branches to reach out into the world.

I am a woman.  I am a writer. I am a mother.  I am so many things.  I am someone who strives to have integrity with each and every step.  Sometimes I succeed; other times I fail.  After all, I am human.

My roots go down. . . .

With Blessings and light,   Chava

P.S. – May we all strive to make our roots healthy and as our branches emerge to towards light.

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Tonight is New Year’s Eve.

While the traditional observance holds little meaning for me in some ways, in other ways it fuels some very deep sadness in my life.

Sadness happens.  On most days I can keep the sadness at bay, but not today.  Today reminds me of the deep void that sometimes takes ahold of my heart and soul.  December 31st has been tough for the last few years.  The good news is that I know that while I am fragile, I am capable of navigating reality.

Most folks think I am ‘an open book’ and sometimes I am; other times I am not.  Over the years, I have learned that sharing your pain can exponentially increase the pain; talking about it leads to more sadness.  So tonight, I am going to admit where I am and do what I do best. . . .I am going to actively seek the light that surrounds me.

How did I do this? How will I continue to nurture the light?

Seeking light begins with admitting how I feel as I strive to reach out of my darkness and embrace light.  For me, I have learned that light always surrounds me, I just have to willing to navigate so that I may reach the light.

Tonight, as I sat in my dark hole, I decided that I would do what I can to remind myself that whatever I have been feeling today and whatever I am feeling in this moment doesn’t have  stay with me.  So I fanned the flame and light started to emerge.  I started by coming home from the grocery store with a gift for myself and with a mission too.

Candles with rose

After purchasing the single rose and lighting some candles, I was ready to navigate my way to a happier place.  Sitting down for a good dinner with Aryeh and Dovi, my sons, I started to feel the gratitude.  And after dinner I came upstairs to my writing space.  Now that I have reached out to some friends, written this blog, and given myself a little time to work through my internal struggles, I am feeling a bit stronger, a bit more ready to face my turmoil.

I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart. ~Vincent Van Gogh

 

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