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Archive for October, 2014

Morning Pages BinderI love to write.

If given the opportunity I would write all day long. Some days I actually do!

Today was no different then any other day.  I woke up in the morning.  I stretched a bit and drank a little water.  And then, I did what I always do, I took time to write what Julia Cameron, creativity author, calls Morning Pages.  On most mornings, I take 15-45 minutes in order to write long-hand. Some of you may have forgotten this beautiful art-form; it is when you take a pen in hand and write on a old-fashioned piece of paper.  Now some of you may remember how to use the penmanship you learned in 2nd or 3rd grade, but for others, like myself, I write with a combination print and script.

Morning pages are like sunshine to me; they turn me on and get me ready to take on a new day.  They nudge me awake and literally light up my life.  Each and every time I take time to put pen to paper or even fingers to keyboard, I fill up with light.

During the morning pages, Cameron urges her readers to write at least three pages of stream of consciousness writing.  Today, I was able to sit down and start writing from the deepest part of my soul.  On some days, it may take a few minutes to navigate to the essence of what is on my mind, but not usually.  But, when I first started this practice years ago, I would start by writing my daily affirmation 100 times or perhaps make a shopping list, a to do list, a friends list.  You get the idea.  Today, if I am really struggling, I find one of my most beloved sayings and start writing about it. What normally happens is that the saying inspires me to write that which is weighing on my heart.  I always write that which is on my mind.

While reality may be that I’d love to write from morning to night, with eating or stretching breaks along the way.  I can’t.  I have responsibilities, work, chores, and sons; I have a ton to do.

In all practicality, the Morning Pages would not be described as beautiful prose (although sometimes it is), they are the words of someone  who is literally puking out what is on her mind.  When I do that fully, I am then ready to move forward in my day.  Subsequently, this routine leads to more solid and actively engaged writing on my computer because the cobwebs that were in my head are now on my Morning Pages.

Anyway, just because I have taken time to get the cobwebs out of my brain doesn’t mean I am really conscious.  This morning I was so in another world that I ended My Morning Pages with “it is time for me to get to work and turn off my pen.” Oy gevalt. . . . Perhaps, maybe, I was still in a subconscious mode pouring out my heart and soul.  Or perhaps I just need to learn to turn off my pen. 🙂

Morning Pages Open

 

 

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Many of my friends know I really do love tie-dye!!! In fact my entire family loves tie-dye!

What I have grown to appreciate is that our friends actually acknowledge our love of tie-dye in a variety of ways.  Over the years, we have received a few special presents that included tie-dyes of varying types.  When my son Aryeh was sick, his friends made him tie-dye sheets that actually covered him and surrounded him when he was recovering from brain surgery.  On other occasions, friends have found great tie-dye shirts and even a scarf at a thrift shop.  And then last week a good friend found an amazing t-shirt at a Grateful Dead Weekend.  And guess what, he mailed me the shirt this week! Why do you think he did this? Just because. . . . .

TyeDye6

Over the last few years, I have thought a lot about how I can connect with people.  I am not the best in staying in touch, but I have been  intentionally trying to change my ways.  Still I know that when I am not staying in contact, it does not mean that I don’t love someone; it is because I have been honoring my need for quiet time in a world that is often too kinetic.  There is always something to do.

Yet, I have to say that I am profoundly touched  by those that somehow find the time to give in any way.  I love when friends and loved ones drop me a card, send me a small treasure, or give me a new rock/stone for my collection.  I never take the small and large acts of kindness for granted; I am in awe of each and every person that reaches out.

When my older son Aryeh was critically ill, people went out of their way to send cards, make us meals, or visit for just a few minutes.  People cared.  Once when Dovi, my younger son, was really sick, an acquaintance came over to give me a new Book of Psalms because she knew that I like to say/chant psalms as part of our healing journey.  To this day, tears come to my eyes nearly each and every time I use my book of Tehillim (Psalms); since I use it nearly every day, I am wondering if I should have saved those tears in a bucket. 🙂

Recently, a new friend took time to find chants that she thought would touch me and then she took time to create a few CDs for me to cherish.  Another new friend has been sharing some amazing musical compositions that he wrote, nearly every one of them takes my breath away.  They are beautiful!  People keep sharing, their music, their art/photographs, their words – Just because. . .

How awesome is that?!?!?!!!!!

With all this in mind, I have been sending ‘thinking of you’ cards to people for every occasion.  The funny thing is that I sent out a ton of cards over the last few months and I am not sure that all of them reached their destination.  Unless people acknowledge them, there is no way to know.  (BTW, I believe a large stack was lost by the mail service; but I can’t know for sure. LOL!) And you know what? I love that I am learning to give just because. . . 

Through watching the many people that have touched my life through giving in large and small ways, I am learning to be a little more thoughtful.  Sometimes I pick up the phone and call an old friend, just because it feels like it is time to do it.  I really do love forever; I care in profound ways.  Today I am trying to show those I love  and/or those that I care for how much I do by taking a moment to reach out.

To give and to receive is such a gift (physical and/or emotional). I love when people do something just because they can, just because they care, just because. . . .

One thing I don’t want to leave unsaid is the power of giving to a stranger.  When Aryeh was really sick, I was blown away by the strangers that reached out to help us over the years.  Why did they do this? Just because. . . . And now as I am in the midst of reaching out and asking for people to help us in our journey to move east by giving to our Go Fund Me account http://www.gofundme.com/g8o220, I have been completely humbled by the lovely souls that have given to the fund without having met me.  I have also been brought to ‘happy’ tears by those that know me. I really never expected that people were give.  I was praying and hoping they would, but not expecting. Wow.

Whether we send cards, give tie-dyes, make meals, or ________ (you fill in the blank), know that giving always makes a difference in the lives of those we touch.

May I remember to always give in a loving way,  just because. . . . .

With blessings & light,

Chava

PS – When I buy Tie Dye for my family, I only buy from Milky Wave Tie Dye in Opal, Virginia; it’s our family tradition.  We found this Tie Dye shack years ago; it was a gift in every way.  The moment my family walked into the store, we became a tie dye family and the family that owned Milky Wave Tie Dye became our family too.

PPS – Take a moment to like Milky Wave Tie Dye on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/milkywavetiedye?fref=ts

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 “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” –Martin Buber

China Camp State Park, San Rafael, CA. Photo Courtesy of Sarah Nesson

China Camp State Park, San Rafael, CA.
Photo Courtesy of Sarah Nesson

Destiny Unknown

I am getting ready to embark on one of the scariest journeys of my life.   And I am becoming good with that.  While it is scary to move forward when you don’t know exactly where you are headed, I am finding it painfully difficult to stay still and wait for something to happen.

When my sons and I came to Tucson about 2.5 years ago, I came with promise.  I came with career goals and hope that I was going to flourish as the professional that I am.  But that is not what happened; I always felt like my wings were being clipped and my spirit submerged under water.  So now I am moving forward, I am leaving behind the land that I love, a few close friends, and the job that nearly crushed my soul.

Sometime in the next month, Aryeh, Dovi, and I will pack our car up and head back to the East Coast.  We are ready to return to the cocoon of people that love us for who we are and also know us for the rough gems that each of us are.  Each of us are missing our friends and our different communities.

While we don’t know anything more specific than we are going to Charlottesville, Virginia.  My friend has opened her second home to three human beings and two pure bred mutts.  We can stay for as long as we need or leave if another opportunity arises.  Once I get there I will look for any work that I can find with a hope that I find something meaningful and  social action oriented.  And if what I find is just a job, for now I am actually ok with that too.

Some people may believe I am really flexible and can just go with the flow.  Maybe that is true sometimes, but it certainly is not true all the time.  I like to know how what to expect at each stage of my day.  So what in the world am I doing for my family by taking the trek to Charlottesville, Virginia.

I do not know if it will be a stopping place or a planting place, but it will be close enough that our friends are already planning to visit.  For that I am feeling grateful to new beginnings and moving forward.

With blessings & light,
Chava

PS – If you can and want to help us financially, we have a Go Fund Me account. . . Gal-Or /Grossman – Moving East, you can do so by going to gofund.me/g8o220.  We would also love to have you vision, pray, chant, or just believe that all will be OK.

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So many unique doors to go through. The Whistle Depot Tucson, AZ

So many unique doors to go through.
The Whistle Depot
Tucson, AZ

Asking for help at this time is one of the most surreal and scary things that I have ever done.

With some of my closest friends nudging me forward, I reached out and started a Go Fund Me drive, www.gofundme.com/g8o220.  In the initial letter, I shared some very real challenges and how I am trying to move forward.  To say that it wasn’t easy is an understatement.  So, with a heavy heart, I have listened to my friends who told me to reach out and trusted that people will help if it is something that they are comfortable doing.

While Go Fund Me is still in the early stages, I have been profoundly impacted by how it has been received.  At this point, it is obvious that some are supportive of what I am and doing and I can only assume that others may feel it isn’t right.  Human nature works that way. What has impacted me most is by the variety of people that have given and how most of them weren’t even on my radar as potential givers.

I am not certain if I had any real expectations of who would give, except for those people that have previously told me that they would help.  Yet I am rendered speechless by each and every one that has donated to helping the boys and I move back to the East Coast.

Wow.

I have learned a few beautiful lessons over the last few months and especially with the Go Fund Me drive.

  • Limited budgets don’t stop people from reaching out to make a difference.
  • People sincerely care; they won’t let us go homeless.
  • No matter how scared I feel, there is support out there for me; I just have to ask.
  • Out of sight does not mean out of mind.
  • We are not alone.
  • Somehow we will make it to a healthier space.
  • I always have a responsibility to the world outside myself.  I loved the reminder that came from a stranger that gave me $75 with a loving note which said, “Never met you but have been in this position several times. Pay it forward.”
  • Remember to be there for friends even if a lot of time has passed and you have been out of touch.
  • Always be thoughtful and kind.
  • Give unconditionally.

The most important thing that I have learned with this journey is that I truly have the most amazing friends in the world!

May I be worthy of the trust that people are giving me – now and always.

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Don’t be afraid to tread when you can’t really swim
Dance in the rain and find the rainbows when darkness prevails
Find the good in every challenge that crosses your path
And always soar and reach for your best.
(Excerpt: Sometimes Life Gives Us No Tomorrows
written by Chava Gal-Or)

Have you ever had those moments when your were furious about something only to find that you may be looking at the whatever is happening the wrong way?

One of the most significant practices of my life is to try to find light in the midst of life’s challenges.  I even changed my last name to honor the way I hope to walk in the world.  My last name Gal-Or means wave a light. Years ago I decided to acknowledge that I have mostly been able to find light in darkness or within troubling moments AND I wanted to remind myself to continue to walk the world in this way.  Having said that, I also realize that I am human, there are times when I have to take a moment and reflect.

Over the last few days I found myself reflecting that I really do need to pay attention and to take a deep breathe before allowing frustration to penetrate my heart and mind. As conscious as I am, I am taking a few minutes to openly share exactly how I find the good in the following scenarios.

  1. Accidents happen.  Often times I count my blessings when I am stuck in traffic; I find myself feeling relieved that somehow I was blessed to be running late and missing my potential role in the traffic accident which is just ahead of where I am.  At the same time, I pray for all that are involved in the accident; I never take spiritual or physical health for granted.
  2. Recently, I lost my position at Temple Emanu-El, a local congregation, because of their financial challenges.  For the most part I have chosen not to share the impact of that loss too fully; it wouldn’t serve me well. What I will say is that it hurt my spirit very deeply.  And yet out of the pain, I have come to grips with some spiritual and emotional needs  that I may not have faced so directly if I had not received my walking papers. Living consciously is a powerful gift that I am giving myself.
  3. A few nights ago, my son left all the lights on in the house.  Sigh.  I am so sensitive to light and it ultimately woke me up; I needed to wake up fully so I could turn off all the lights. 😦  To say that I was thoroughly annoyed is an understatement.  So, in order to distract myself and manage some of my agitation I went on Facebook to check out was going on in the world.  And what I found was a friend that was in serious crisis and needed me.  Two hours later, I was profoundly grateful that I could be there for my friend and to help her manage some intense darkness.  If it weren’t for my son’s mistake of leaving the light on, I wouldn’t have been there to listen and to offer some potential ways to navigate all that she needed to cope with.
  4. How many times have you been at a doctor’s office only to be stuck waiting an extra 30 minutes or maybe even an hour?  Well for nearly five years, we were blessed with doctors that didn’t rush my then teenage son through their office visit because they had other patients.  We also had doctors that created a slot for our son because he was too sick to wait.  After such a positive experience with so many medical practitioners, no longer do I get agitated when I have to wait.  Having a doctor that is compassionate and present when we most need him/her makes a world of difference to me.  Ultimately my son emerged healthy and vibrant, but the journey to get there was full of loving souls that really took the time needed to care of my son when he needed it most.
  5. While initially, I may feel frustrated when I get stuck in the Car Repair place or anywhere, but over the years I have come to appreciate the ‘accidental’ gift of time which allows me time to walk over to the coffee shop and take some time to write and people watch.  To me there is nothing better than having time to sit quietly and write and/or people watch.

We never do know what is on our horizons; life happens and so does death.  My job is to try to make the best of every moment.  Sometime the moment is all we have. . . .

Oct 20 - sunrise Pantano WashMay we all be blessed to find the light shining in the horizons.

With love, light, & blessings,
Chava

 

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Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

“The Bridge”
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Bernie Taupin

I’ve seen the bridge and the bridge is long
And they built it high and they built it strong
Strong enough to hold the weight of time
Long enough to leave some of us behind

[chorus:]
And every one of us has to face that day
Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away
And every one of us that ever came to play
Has to cross the bridge or fade away

Standing on the bridge looking at the waves
Seen so many jump, never seen one saved
On a distant beach your song can die
On a bitter wind, on a cruel tide

[repeat chorus]

And the bridge it shines
Oh cold hard iron
Saying come and risk it all
Or die trying

[repeat chorus]

I am a profoundly fortunate soul.  While I have faced enormous challenges throughout my life, I am blessed to continually find the bridges I need to cross over so that I can emerge from life’s tough spots.   Since this past June, I have been facing some intense fear even as I was moving towards resolving the stark realities of feeding my family.  I am someone who rarely gives up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of fear or darkness.
Over the last weeks, I have been feeling held by so many beautiful friends that are nudging me forward and offering complete support with each step.  With each passing day, I realize that a new chapter is being written sometimes by yours truly and sometimes by yours truly’s beloved friends.  My friends haven’t let me down as they have worked and advocated for my success.  My sons and I are not alone, we are surrounded by people that are willing to help us in a myriad of ways.  Light seems to always brighten my life when I need it most and today that is no different.  The light is illuminating our family even as we navigate these tumultuous times.

Every day, new possibilities surface just as I am entertaining self-doubt. And with each step I find myself feeling hopeful, anxious, excited, & alive.  My head and heart are bursting with gratitude as I embrace crossing the bridge.  I am consciously aware that I want to walk gently and remain cognizant of the power of each step.  It may ok for me to slip, but I really don’t want to lose my footing.  While faltering for moments in time is sometimes a reality, success is not optional.

To say I feel humbled by the love and care that my sons and I are continuously receiving is an understatement.  Each moment of love, sweet gifts, financial support, and kindness  is like a loving embrace.  I can’t  believe how held I am feeling  Perhaps for the first time in life I am not feeling alone; a village is not only surrounding us, but carrying us across the bridge.

With love, light, & gratitude,
Chava

 

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Note: Storytelling is one of my favorite past times.  What I love most about them is that a good story sometimes changes over time.  I wonder if my sister-in-law Eudice would remember this story as I did.  Hmmmmm. . . . 

Traditions and/or rituals.  Many of them have the potential to keep our family grounded and  actively engaged in life.

Since my later teenage years, I have grown to love family traditions around Shabbat and other Jewish Holidays; nearly every Jewish practice incorporates food.  From nuts to bolts, my family always tries to create tasty and healthy meals that conclude with dessert.  I love that this particular tradition was due to my amazing sister-in-law Eudice (who probably dragged my brother Ricky along for the ride).

Traditions need to be followed.  Regardless of whether or not, money is tight or any of us happen to be on diets; dessert is always part of the our Shabbat/holidays equation.  And if you are blessed to have an occasion when you may have financial challenges and/or weight struggles.   Oy.

With this in mind, I feel compelled to share one of most treasured memories because of the ridiculous nature of how it unfolded.

When I was a teenager and living in Israel, my sister-in-law and I were trying to honor our limited budget and our health journey too.  We had no extra money, but company was coming for Shabbat dinner.  With a tight budget and our diet looming, we started looking for a cheap dessert recipe that neither of us liked in the least.

After what seemed like hours of looking , we found it!!!! We found what we were looking for, a dessert that sounded disgusting to both of us.  I think that we believed that since it was called a dessert, it must be good to everyone else.  Somehow we lacked the wisdom to think that if it looked  gross to us, it probably wouldn’t be good for anyone else.

The making of  the ‘Orange Rind Pie’
As luck would have it, we not only found a recipe for what would ultimately become our infamous Orange Rind Pie, but we also had all the ingredients in the house.  We couldn’t help but laugh at our great fortune.  We were so happy to find a dessert that neither of us thought we would like.  So we mixed all the ingredients together and baked our scrumptious dessert.  When it came out of the oven, we looked at it with disbelief.

The pie looked absolutely disgusting.  It looked so yucky that my brother suggested that he try just a sliver to make sure it was edible.  Well, it wasn’t. . . .if I remember correctly, my brother took one bite of the pie and ran as quickly as his legs could carry him, he ran to the bakery so that he could buy some ‘real dessert’.  So much for finding a recipe that was gentle on our budget and good for our diet.

Guess now it is a good time to reflect that sometimes looks can be deceiving, but not always. 🙂

The D'Isa family's teeny tiny pie.  Made with love. (No doubt, THIS pie was amazing.)

The D’Isa family’s teeny tiny pie. Made with love.
(No doubt, THIS pie was amazing.)

With blessings & light,
Chava

PS- In case you are wondering, the reason I thought about the Orange Rind Pie today, was because yesterday, a good friend of mine emailed me a recipe for a dessert that needed orange rind.  Do you think I should try making it for this coming Shabbat?

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