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Archive for April, 2015

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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

Let It Flow

tears can fill the sea

After 49 years of life, I am beginning to ‘get it’.

Whatever I feel is OK, it is what I feel – it is what it is. There is no reason for me to hide my heart from those in my inner circle. While I may have to wait a little while to share the fullness of my emotions, a true loved one will support me wherever I stand.

During my younger years, I didn’t know how to express what I felt and then as I reached beyond my teens and early 20s, I struggled with my emotions.  Over the years, I slowly began to understand that I was loved and that people cared; my friends and some of my family were really ok with me sharing my feelings. But it took me years to understand the deep emotions that I felt on a daily basis. I feel intensely; it is a reality of my core being.

While initially, I learned to express myself through my writing, I did eventually grow to understand that having deep feelings was not inappropriate in any way. Throughout my late-thirties and forties, I came treasure my intensity. I learned that my voice mattered and that it was ok to share the fullness of my spirit. In truth, I believe that most of my adulthood has been blessed to be accepted for who I am.

Topsail, NC Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

Topsail, North Carolina
Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

May all of us be blessed to surround ourselves with people that really allow our feelings to go where they feel compelled to go. May we let our tears, our joy, and all of our being flow wherever it needs to go.

With love, light, and joy,
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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

Nurturing My Create Soul

what is creativity

Writing takes guts. Drawing takes guts. Letting yourself go in creative way takes guts.

AND. . . .

For many of us, we don’t have a choice. Being creative is in our blood. For me, if I stopped being creative, a part of me would die. Metaphorically, I would become dead inside.

Many years ago, I had a painful episode with my writing.  Unfortunately, my younger son Dovi walked in me having a melt down and destroying my writing. It really was a sad state of affairs brought on when I found out that my writing had read by someone who had no right. With deep sadness, I destroyed my writing and silenced myself for many months.

Being an intuitive, Dovi knew that if I wasn’t writing that something was terribly wrong. Each and every day for the weeks and months that followed, Dovi would curl up on my lap and plead for me to write. I couldn’t do it. The pain of being invaded was too great. And yet, not writing caused an even deeper wound. It was both beautiful and profoundly sad to see the sensitivity that was embedded in my precious son.

While a part of my soul was dying as I mourned my inability to write, Dovi’s persistence forced me to work my way back to the writing life. I’ll never forget the first day he saw me sitting at my computer and writing, he sat down next to me, stunned and quiet. He asked me with all the sincerity of a seven year old if I was better now. I wasn’t and I think he knew it, but he supported me in my journey back to my happy place.

Since that episode in my life, Dovi has checked in with me each and every time I am dark or quiet for too long. He has this beautiful way of reminding me that I may need to have a writer’s date. He also loves to sit quietly watching me write. In fact, even though Dovi is often in his own world, he will ALWAYS ask me what I need to drink and eat while I am writing. He loves nothing more than to nurture my spirit by making me my favorite drink, a mint tea latte; he is clear that writing is sacred time for me and he doesn’t want me to lose my train of thought by getting up from my writing.

There are days when I don’t know how to pull my thoughts together. There are days when my writing is so poor that I am surprised if any of the words I have strung together make sense. And there are days, when my writing cleanses my heart and fuels my tears.

On other days, my words flow seamlessly and my heart beats faster and faster with each written word. Every part of my body is soaring with inner peace and contentment as the words come together to weave inspiring thoughts together.

Regardless of whether I am content, challenged, or joyful, writing is the only way that I find inner balance and connect with the world around me. If I am not writing, there is no way that I am ok.

Writing is the one love of my life that has been with me since I was a young child. It has supported me and kept my spirit at nearly every moment in my life. While I may have lost my writing for moments of my life, it was always within my grasp. Almost nothing makes me happier than writing.

May each of us remember to allow our creativity to flourish and develop for all the days of our lives.

With love, 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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

Standing on Holy Ground

Hiking Boots

3:1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the farthest end of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb.

3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

3:3 And Moses said: ‘I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.’

3:4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said: ‘Moses, Moses.’ And he said: ‘Here am I.’

3:5 And He said: ‘Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ (Exodus 3:1-5

Above is one of my favorite verses/teachings in the Torah! Since we read the entire Torah each and every year, I am given a chance to reflect on this verse once a year.

While this portion isn’t the cycle for this week, it is coming to mind because I am realizing that Baltimore has some of the holiest ground I know. As someone who grew up there and who loves the community, the people, and the landscape, I am struggling with what is happening. In fact, today I can’t get Charm City out of my mind.

When we stand on holy ground, we need to take our shoes off or maybe just become at one with the earth. We need to step forward and say that I am here to serve, to make a difference, to do whatever I can . . .

” הִנְנִי Hineni ”
Here I am

This morning, I woke up wasted after a lovely, but long weekend followed by a nine hour drive yesterday. While I couldn’t make it to Baltimore today, I know that I will head “home” during the weekend. I need to go there, I need to walk in the city of my youth. I need to see for myself what happened. And I need to stand with peaceful protesters that believe that Freddie Gray’s life mattered. And if possible, I need to do my part to clean the streets of my “home”

Violence doesn’t negate the holiness of any place. Wherever there are human beings working towards making the world a better place, there is holy ground. I am so inspired by some of the stories I am hearing.

  1. Toya Graham, the woman who’s video went viral, figured out that one of those desecrating property and throwing rocks at police was her son. Her reaction was priceless! With seemingly little awareness, this mother literally beat her son silly in front of video cameras. She didn’t want her son to be another Freddie Gray. While I struggle with violence, I couldn’t believe how full my heart felt when I realized she was letting her son know that what he was doing was wrong.
  2. One father woke his kids up at the regular time and told them they they were going to help clean up their city. While Baltimore City Schools were closed for the day, there was work to be done!
  3. Hundreds of people were out on the streets today cleaning up and showing their support.
  4. The peacemakers — clergy, Gray’s family and brave residents — placed themselves in the rioters’ way.
  5. Robert Valentine, a Vietnam veteran stood between police in riot gear and teens saying, “These Kids Need To Get Their Butts Home And Study; I’m Not Black, I’m An American.”

and so much more. . . .

Living on holy ground means we need to be present, we need to be willing to push the envelope by helping people in the best ways possible. We need use our voices, our hands, our strength, and our money. As long as we have the ability to make a difference.

Living on holy ground means that we need to think positively, act with loving-kindness, and walk gently in the world.

Living on holy ground means that we need to hear the different narratives and actively learn from them.

Living on holy ground means that we need to be the change we want to see in the world.

And sometimes, living on holy ground means that we need to disconnect from people that espouse values and beliefs that we deem toxic. (I am in the midst of exploring this particular idea and will expand upon this in the coming days.)

” הִנְנִי Hineni ”
Here I am

There is so much work to do and I am here to do it.

For My Journey Towards Wholeness, I wish that I could take off my shoes, like Moses, and become one with the earth, but this is not that time. Right now, I have work to do and it may be better to keep my shoes on and maybe get some work gloves for my hands. 🙂

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS – I often find that I am superstitious about the numbers that I see. What made me smile a moment ago was seeing that once I signed my name, I had written 911 words. . . . .  wow.

Guess I need to get to Baltimore. . Anyone care to join me?

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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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.
K
ahlil Gibran

Woodstock, NY April 2015

Woodstock, NY
April 2015

During a spiritual retreat over the weekend, I fell in love with the land around Woodstock Jewish Congregation in Woodstock, New York. After spending the better part of a day staring into the woods, I found myself needing to walk there. With each step, I treasured the feel of my shoes sinking into the soil. If I had more time, I might have even taken off my shoes and socks so that I could feel the earth massaging my feet.

For the 30 minutes, I found myself literally revering all that surrounded me: the earth, rotting trees, dried leaves, fallen branches, and even some boulders too. The land was absolutely soothing for my soul and stimulating for my senses.

My entire being needs to start taking more time outside. It really can’t be optional for me to feel the wind blow my hair or the sun warm my backside. While I may understand that spending time outside is fabulous for Vitamin D absorption, it is also exactly what I need to be more whole. In fact, spending daily time in the beautiful outdoors inspires me to be more present and even centered even when I have to be indoors. Can you hear the outdoors calling my name? I do!

As part of Day 24 of My Journey Towards Wholeness, I am promising myself that I will begin spending more time outside daily and at least two nice blocks of time outside each week either hiking or maybe even exploring the outdoors in some sort of new ways.

Would love to have some suggestions for what I can do outside during the Houston summers.

With love, 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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

red yahrzeit candle

My mother’s yahrzeit was today.  While I nearly forgot, my body remembered; my body always remembers.  By mid-day, a headache formed making it impossible for me to relax and enjoy my afternoon.  In fact, as I found myself with time in one of my favorite parts of the country, Woodstock (New York), yet all I could do was take time to talk to my sons and then come back to the house I am staying to shower and write.

I needed to be alone. I needed to to take time to release the tears that often remain latent. While tonight, I don’t feel like I can allow the tears to flow freely, I am allowing them to come to my eyes.  Once I know that I will have hours of privacy, I may take the time I need to cry.

While I now realize that life for Marilyn was far from easy, I acknowledge that my life as her daughter was horrible. I will never forget what I endured on a daily basis.  Still, I am not sure she could help herself; she was too sick to manage her body and mind. As I result, there will be moments of my life when I have to navigate a few too many emotional wounds.  The good news is that I can now go months without considering the impact of my childhood pain. I am so blessed that all the years of hard work are paying off. While dark memories may come, they only last for brief moments not for any length of time!!!

Each year, I try seek a healthy way of approaching Marilyn’s life and death.  For some reason, this year, I am feeling deeply scarred by her legacy and more vulnerable then I’d like to admit.

Instead of hiding in the shadows of pain, I want to bask in the light inspired me to thrive – always.  My Omer Reflections have continuously motivated me to keep finding tools to support me in My Journey Towards Wholeness. I am alive! This is the time to keep nurturing my life in the best ways possible!!

My mother’s life and subsequent death filled me with tools for survival and thriving.  That awareness feels awesome.  That is what I am focusing on as I move into Day 23 of the Counting of the Omer.  Today, I find myself committing to life and doing whatever it takes to thrive.

My mother harmed her body by continuously filling her body with drugs and alcohol. With that in mind, I am going to start my mornings off with food that is nurturing and energy provoking. Lately, I have noticed that breakfast always leaves me tired. Upon reflection, I realized that the only time I felt energetic and ready for the morning is when I begin the day with a green smoothie, so tomorrow, I will begin that routine again.  AND on my way back home, I will finally purchase the Ninja (smoothie maker/blender) and fruit/veggies for my daily smoothies. It’s time. Originally, I was going to wait until I moved to Houston, but waiting no longer seems prudent.

While money is still tight for me right now, being healthy is a bigger challenge.  I have work to do and I don’t want to wait any longer. My mother’s yahrzeit  inspired me to take better care of myself; I am worth making healthy.

All ideas for making healthy smoothies are welcome! I need your help!

With love, 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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Quote by Anatole France
1 Feb 2015

For me being whole means allowing myself to connect with a world outside myself on a daily basis!  For me, that means spending time with my dog (nature and my kids work too).

Animals have a way of bringing out my most authentic self and ultimately an even more complete person in most every interaction.

What do you think about that?

With love, 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 others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

‘it takes all kinds to make a world’

People's mandala - 12 hands

This world is complicated, but that doesn’t mean we should passively engage in the world around us.  In fact, we should embrace the differences that each of us have and work together to make the world a better place.

Tonight during the class I took at the Lev Shalem Institute of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, I found myself in awe of one of the last insights Rabbi Jonathan Kligler shared.  He explained that the Kabbalistic wisdom for today’s Counting of the Omer was about bringing the male and female energy together in the world. Isn’t that a great metaphor for life!

There are so many layers to how life evolves or works. Each person brings their own narrative, skill.s, and interests to the world.  With that in mind we need to take advantage of what each of us bring to the table and look for the ways to grow and stretch accordingly.

Everyone of us has a lot to offer; now can we find a way to work together. What ideas do you have?

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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