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Archive for March, 2015

Little Miss Molly decided to stop by for a visit tonight. The last time she came over was one morning last week when Aryeh let Maddie out for a quick pee and in came Molly while Maddie was still doing her business. What I love about this dog is that she doesn’t look at the time, she just decides it’s time to say hello to the neighbors.  Wouldn’t it be great if more of us felt comfortable enough in our skin to disregard ceremony and just knock or bark at our neighbors’ door.

At about 9:30 PM or so, Aryeh yelled to me that we had a visitor.  While I wasn’t feeling particularly social, I decided it would be rude for me to ignore whoever felt compelled to drop by.  Much to my surprise, our visitor put a huge smile on my face and more importantly brought joy to our Maddie.

So much for my grumps, they disappeared as soon as Molly made herself at home.

Sometimes it takes a visit from a special friend to help someone lose their bad mood.  At least it worked for tonight. 🙂

Molly on sofa

Little Miss Molly makes herself at home on the sofa while looking down at Maddie.

Molly on foot rest

Little Miss Molly is the queen of our house for the moment. Adorable! Don’t you think!?!

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flying

 

My soul is open.
With each breath, I feel all that surrounds me, all that is within me.

Grateful that my life is what it is. And. . . .
Struggling with the transgressions I see in the world
and the angst enclosed in my heart.

Life is full.
The world as I know it is like a mountain range full with peaks and valleys.
Even with knowing the blessings, sadness trickles into the person I am.

If I jump, would my wings work?
Would my wings soar to new peaks?
Could I make a difference?
For myself? For others?

So many are struggling.
Listening to the messages that surround me.
With each beat of my heart, I am trusting the rhythm to guide me.

What to say?
How to respond?

With my heart wide open, my spirit is ready to soar.
Wherever I fly, wherever I land. . .
May my spirit reverberate for good.

 

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Writing
the song of my heart;
the meaning of my mind; 
the feeling of my soul;
Is what makes me One.

Without writing, my life would be empty and dark.  Ever since I can remember, writing gave me what I needed so that I could be grounded.  When no one is there to listen, my pen and paper have always been willing to sit back and listen to all I needed to say. Whether my emotions are overflowing or my intensity too difficult to absorb, my writing reminds me that what I feel is ok -always.

There have been times in my life that my writing was invaded by an unwanted reader and times that my written words were ignored by people that I needed to hear my that which was imprinted on my heart.  I am not sure that there is a difference; both scenarios caused me pain.  Yet today, it doesn’t matter whether my thoughts are explored or not by others.  I write because I have no choice; it is really that simple.

As a blogger, I have learned to share from my soul’s core. Frequently, I have no idea what will emerge when I sit down to blog.  But somehow I have learned to share my heart and to manage the intensity of each piece. Mostly, I have found a healthy balance that works. Every now and then I offend someone or make someone feel uncomfortable, but that is not what I aim to do.  My hope is to make people think and inspire them to find light or goodness in the world around them. Life happens.  My aim, as a blogger, is to weave with momentary sweetness or simple insight into all that I explore.  Creating light in the darkness of life or stresses of the moment, will always be my goal as a blogger.

Writing in general is how I gaze into the world and explore my feelings and my thoughts, my hopes and my dreams; blogging is how I find my place in the world that I feel compelled to explore.

Favorite Writing Quotes:

  1. “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
  2. Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
    and try to love the questions themselves.
    Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be
    given you because you would not be able
    to live them. And the point is to live everything.
    Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then
    gradually, without noticing it, live along some
    distant day into the answers.
    ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet
  3. I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.
    ~Isaac Asimov
  4. Writing and composing is like a black hole.
    ~Paul McCartney
  5. I could not think without writing.
    ~Jean Piaget
  6. Writing is a form of prayer.
    ~Frank Kafka
  7. Writing is a struggle against silence.
    ~Carlos Fuentes
  8. I must write it all out, at any cost.  Writing is thinking.  It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.
    ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  9. First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”
    ~C. S. Lewis
  10. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
    ~Anais Nin

May my writing always be part of my life’s journey.

Whether you are just reading this one blog or whether you have been follow my blog for any part of the last eight years – thank you.  Thank you for reading the ramblings of my heart!

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Morning Pages Open

 

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“We are all here for some special reason.
Stop being a prisoner of your past.
Become the architect of your future.”
R
obin Sharma, Author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Each year during the Jewish month of Elul (usually in August) through Rosh HaShana, we take the time to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an inventory of our soul.  For me that means taking the time to reflect deeply about the gifts and challenges of the last year, but this is also simply a kinetic time of year. As a Jewish professional, I am working to prepare the community for new beginnings which include the High Holy Days, school, and new programming.  As a mother, I am helping my now mostly grown sons begin their next chapters.  And in the midst of all this, I am usually feeling the need to write and look inward.

The holidays themselves are not easy for me because it is challenging to stay in a spiritual space when you are in charge of so many logistics. Yet the moment Tashlich occurs, I realize that I need to take time to go onward and allow for reflection.  Tashlich is a ritual which usually takes place on first day of Rosh Hashanah in the late afternoon.  During this time the participants symbolically cast off their sins by gathering along the banks of a river, stream, or the like and reciting prayers of repentance.  While many people choose to do this ritual in community, I love to do it alone.

And this year, I have decided to create Tashlich moments again and again.  This is a year of letting go, of saying good-bye to what was and embracing the beauty that is. In the last several months, I have been blessed to rethink my career path, my relationships, and much of my life.  None of this is easy, but it has been made easier because of my private journaling, my very public blogging, and some very beautiful friends.  I haven’t been alone and yet I have needed to spend a lot of time alone as a way of giving myself the room to gaze deeply into my soul.

On a good day, the journaling strikes chord after chord, but this doesn’t happen all the time or even most of the time.  More often than not, I am left with a rhythm that isn’t quite working for me.  I am a work in progress. At times the work has been bitter sweet; sometimes it is actually heart wrenching; and once the puzzle pieces come together, it can be beautiful.  Soul-searching is an art form and I am learning with each breath I take.

Writing  is the most profound tool that helps me find center, but that isn’t my only means to finding balance.  My world is full of chanting, drumming and physically moving (sometimes dance and sometimes hiking).  In the midst of all the soul work, my sons keep me grounded and remind me that while I have a lot of work to do, I am actually doing well!  My world is in fact quite amazing; I have all that I need and much of what I want.

As fortunate as I am, there is still work to be done. One way of moving forward is to create Tashlich moments by letting go of all that is holding me back.  Last night, it meant that it was time to get rid of a ton of clutter; I deleted thousands of emails from personal and professional relationships that no longer served me well.  In most cases, it was simply about not needing those particular emails; in other cases it was time to say good-bye to old connections. The delete button became a co-conspirator in propelling to close some doors as a way to open new doors. The goal is to make room for my next chapters and to celebrate what is.

As I woke up this morning, I was acutely aware that there was a shift within me.  The rays of sunlight were slowly warming me up and nudging me toward the many gifts that are very much a part of my life today. I am feeling (perhaps) like a butterfly as it begins to take flight.  Last night, I said good-bye to the cocoon that was binding in a myriad of ways.  With each passing moment, the bindings release and my wings are spreading; there is no turning back for me.

Support for my Tashlich moment when I opened up Facebook this morning to find the photo of  the Topsail Island beach where a group of my close friends are gathering this week.  While I am not with them physically, the photo reminded me that I am not alone.  Once I saw that photo, I realized that outside my front door is the space to create my own Tashlich moment.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Topsail, NC Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

Topsail, North Carolina – Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

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“Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.
Quote by: Wendell Berry

(Prologue: I have grown to love life and tire of people wondering if I am for real.  I am. I am human, but I am a thriver. Regardless of what is tossed my way, I will be ok. Always. I have a choice on how to move forward and I choose . . .)

Life happens.

With every breath, I get to decide how I will emerge and how I will face the holy world that I have and will continue to experience.

Struggles have been a part of my life – never by choice. In response, I have made a conscious decision to NEVER allow them to define who I am.  The trouble is that there are some people see my life as really hard and need to focus on just that. I see my life quite differently – full and blessed. The gifts have come in all shapes and sizes. Each passing moment has lead to new adventures – some simply divine, others challenging, and still others painful.  Yet, regardless of what has transpired in my life, I have come to find the treasures that have made me the person I am.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a work in progress.  I have had days that leave my heart broken with endless tears falling. But those days have been far and few in between.  When I look back at the trials and tribulations that I have endured, I choose to see the beauty that is often a consequence of life’s difficulties.

Life happens.

During some of the segments of my life, I have faced a few too many arduous junctures.  Ultimately, each has led me to find inner peace, phenomenal opportunities, and many open doors.  I am who I am because I have always found light, maybe not instantly, but eventually.

The last few years have had a few challenges. I recovered from the nightmares that plagued me once my son recovered from years of serious illness, I navigated professional challenges that left me jobless, and I treaded life’s waters as a single mother. Regardless, none of it destroyed any part of me. In response, I have found that I have special friends, people that will help me in countless ways. Struggling alone has never happened for me. My amazing friends have nurtured not only me, but my precious sons too.  Whether I needed emotional support, financial help, or a hand, my friends have been there for me.

Through it all, there is a inner joy that sustains me and allows me to thrive.  When I smile, my entire body feels the reverberations; no wonder, I am drawn to feel happy. I want to share my excitement with every one I meet and sometimes I am lucky enough to do so.  I am not certain where I found the inner joy that sustains me even as I navigate tough realities, but I have.  Yay!

Creatively, I am becoming the person I want to be.  My writing soothes my soul and confronts life’s storms.  Over time, I seem to have impacted others with my words. Wow. . . how sweet is that?  And I have also taken up drawing and painting (just a little); I even have a new piece of artwork that I have been creating.  None of this would be what it is if I hadn’t experienced life in the ways I have.

Educationally, I have learned to trust myself as an educator and to push myself to make more of a difference to those that I mentor and teach.  Only once I believed in myself fully was it possible for me to create and then share my creations with others.

And spiritually, I have found my voice.  Whether I am drumming, chanting, praying, or hiking, I find that I am becoming connected with the earth in profound ways.  I have grown to love how I walk within the world.  Sometimes I find myself dancing, and moving in ways that I have never done before.  I am alive, fully alive.

Nothing has ever destroyed my spirit. Even when I have had moments that I felt broken, I emerged stronger with tools that allowed for healing of my heart, my mind, and my soul.

A long time ago, I learned that while the world is sometimes dark, my spirit is full of light.  I always have the ability to choose to see the light and if I am really honoring who I am, I can be the light.

Only when I live in the light will joy exist within me.  So, I guess I need to choose light; there is no option.

Sunset near Pupukea Hawaii; Photo coutesy of  Kathleen Kendle

Sunset near Pupukea Hawaii; Photo coutesy of Kathleen Kendle

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