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Archive for April, 2014

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Middah (character trait) focus: Humility

Humility doesn’t mean one is weak, cowering and silent! Humility involves “limiting oneself to an appropriate space, while leaving room for others.” (Everyday Holiness) Being humble does not come from negating one’s worth. In fact, to be truly humble, one must become aware of one’s own strengths and then choose to use those strengths in a positive way.  www.gojcc.org/jewish-life/jewish-values/tikkun-middot/

Humility is being open to the fact that you don't have to do everything.  Sometimes you need a little light from others to open you up.

Humility is being open to the fact that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Sometimes you need a little light from others to open you up.

Sometimes I tend to take up a lot of space; sometimes I am better at walking gently.  What I love about growing older and perhaps a little wiser is that I now appreciate the silence of my voice.  I am becoming happier to listen and happier to refrain from having the last word.  While I appreciate that I have wisdom at times, I also appreciate that I have so much to learn from others.

Humility for me has also meant learning to ask for help.  Over the past few months, life has thrown me some punches.  Asking people to listen to me as I process my sadness, darkness, and sometimes anger has been humbling.  Asking for friends and sometimes strangers to proof my resumes has also been a learning experience.  Reaching out and asking for what I need has helped me to become more aware of both my strengths and weaknesses.  Each step of the way, friends and acquainces have opened themselves up to helping me; I have never felt like I was imposing on them in any way.  I am extraordinarily lucky woman to walk in the world that I do.

Having humility is actually good for my soul.

May each of us have the humility we need so that we may ultimately thrive.

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Middah (character trait) focus:  Giving and Receiving with a full heart

Throughout life, I am someone who loves to give and be present for others, but who also struggles when it comes to receiving what my friends and loved ones want to offer.  Yet sometimes I reach out like I did when I recently decided to post the following status line on Facebook:

Sundays are never easy these days. While I smile and choose not to sit in darkness, I still find it difficult to wrap up what originally brought me to Tucson. Two weeks from today, I will be doing my final wrap-ups and leaving what I had believed would be a great experience when I initially moved here two years ago. May the transition for Temple be a good one and may I land on my feet so that I can take care of my family and love what I am doing too!!

After recieving 41 likes and 32 comments of support, I was blown away by the love and care that was flowing and continues to flow.  Every comment was filled with loving advice, hope, and encouragement.  So even though I am trying to navigate the darkness that I feel around my upcoming job transition; I am also feeling incredibly supported as well as hopeful that the right door will open.

I am also acutely aware that as a human being it is my responsibility to not only receive support, but give it as well.  My hope and prayer is that I am as giving as my friends. Sometimes help comes by listening as people navigate their lives, by doing what needs to be done when people need a hand, and sometimes I can pray or vision for people’s needs to be met.

A great illustration can be found in the artistic version of the tzadi, the Hebrew letter; When you look at my friend Jennifer Judelsohn’s work, you get get a sense that in order to be balanced, you should give and receive from your full heart.

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

 

In her book Songs of Creation: meditations on the sacred hebrew alphabet, Jennifer Judelsohn reminds those reflecting over her words and artwork that:

Tzadi commands us to open our hearts in service to others.

At the same time she also invites us to explore how we receive the gifts that come our way.

May we all be blessed to give and to receive with a full heart.

With light and blessings, Chava

PS- For more information on Jennifer Judelsohn’s book and her amazing work, please check out – http://www.soulworksstudio.com/Store.en.html#Songs_of_Creation

 

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Middah (character trait) focus: Finding/Seeking the positive

Goodness and harshness are part of life.  The question is how you decide to see what is unfolding in front of you?  I tend to find the gifts in the challenges; it is just how I have chosen to walk through life.  This attitude doesn’t mean I don’t experience sadness and unfairness in life, it just means that I seek light that will wrap whatever package is in front of me.

This morning as I struggled with some of the challenges I am facing two quotes showed up as a reminder to how I want to walk in the world and how I want to see things.

Since today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Rememberance Day, consider:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~Viktor Frankl

The second quote which showed up to remind me of one of my core values:

 “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” ~ John Lubbock

May each and every storm we face remind us of the beauty can emerge both in the midst of the darkness and in the aftermath too.

Light emerges out of darkness.

Light emerges out of darkness.

 

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Middah (character trait) focus: Believe

 

Sometimes we need a reminder that we have what it takes to move forward. . .so I made my simple memento :)

Sometimes we need a reminder that we have what it takes to move forward. . .so I made my simple memento 🙂

Sometimes life gives you more than you think you can handle.  As an optimist, I often find the gifts in the challenges, but lately it is a little easier said than done.  I have blocks of time when the struggle feels a little more scary than I can handle.  And knowledge that the bills are barely getting paid is overwhelming.  Yet I am also lucky, my dark moods rarely stay that way for too long.  Mostly I believe that the sun will come out soon and life will get easier.  Seeing reminders that foster positive feelings can definitely be a good thing.

Last spring was a little rough.  Ironically at the the time, I did not know that things would get even more difficult – in retrospect that was probably a good thing.  Anyway one day during that time period, a friend of mine called and asked me what do I need as I walk through all that is going on.  My response was courage, strength, and hope; and just like that the words appeared.  So I used a postcard from my favorite cafe/bar, Cafe Passe, and I made a little memento as a reminder of what I need to walk through life.

May I always have the courage to do what I need to do, the strength to move forward, and hope as I navigate this journey.  With each step I take may I believe in myself and the universe; may this be true for you and your journey too!

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Middah (character trait) focus:  Listening

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

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with both the spoken and unspoken words, music and silence between the notes.  Both sound and silence have impacted my world for good and for bad.

As a little girl, I was not blessed to hear like most other children.  while I don’t remember the details of my hearing journey, I do recall the first time I really heard sound.  The overwhelming emotion and pain was too much; I didn’t like the harshness that entered by quiet world at around 6 years old.  After that experience, I don’t believe it took me too long to learn to love music or the spoken word; I did struggle to handle some of the anger that was spoken in loud, infuriated voices.

Growing up, I learned to gauge how my day would move forward just by listening to what was going on around me.  Sound and silence both have enormous power to heal and to hurt you, to calm you or to trouble you.  One of the most important lessons I learned in life and that I am still learning today is that I don’t have to fill the space between the words or music with sound; silence can have it’s own innate beauty.

When I was a young girl, my father used to hold my ears between his hands; I loved the pressure and the warmth of those moments.  When my own children were young, my father would often hold them the same way and say, “Listen to the quiet.” As soon as, my father touched my children’s head, they would instantly smile and relax.  Perhaps we should all take time to ‘listen to the quiet’.

May each of us find holiness in both the silence and the sounds that surround us.

Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.

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

 

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

 

Honoring myself would be returning to this beautiful spot and realzing wherever I am is the 'congested area'.

Being alone is sometimes the gift we give ourselves.

 

Middah (character trait) focus:  honoring myself

 

“anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”
~ David Whyte (excerpt from Sweet Darkness)
from The House of Belonging

This has been a painful few years; I have lost beloved friends because one or both of us has decided that our connection isn’t healthy for one another.  Sometimes the sadness is overwhelming, but the reality is that life is too precious for doing that which doesn’t bring us to the place we want to be.

When I consider what a middah (character trait) is, I consider the attributes of what makes me a more whole person.  As long as I am honoring myself by surrounding myself with people that jazz my soul then life is good.  And while I may be sad to lose those I love, it is ok in the end.  The journey might hurt, but in truth why should we be with people that don’t jazz our soul and lift us to a better place.

May we all be blessed to find the people in our world that nurture our spirits and allow us to nurture their spirits too.  And remember sometimes being alone with ourselves is the doorway to honoring oneself.

With light and blessings, Chava

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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Middah (character trait) focus:  Wholeheartedness

Wholeheartedness.  There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing I am enough.” ~ Brené Brown

Over the last couple of days, I have heard (and read) both Bre Brown and David Whyte speak about wholeheartedness; on a core level this concept very deeply resonated with me.  In order to live as  authentically as possible, I need to allow myself the space to be real without fear.  Or if I have fear, perhaps I need to embrace it by breathing into the uneasiness.   Wholeheartedness living is the journey of my soul.

While I have a strong thriver mentality, I have also had to face my own fragility and neediness.  My heart has been shattered many times over my lifetime and yet I still approach life with an open heart and with hope.  Always.

Living wholeheartedly is not an option, it is a given.  May I be blessed with the ability to push through all of my intensity and to be real at every step.  And with each step may I be surrounded by love and support and may I do the same for others.

May I remember to breathe into all that is as I walk within my wholehearted journey.

With blessings and light, Chava

pet-rock

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