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Archive for March, 2016

and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.
‘ it took a long breath. and replied
‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.’

~nayyirah waheed

 

 

Shadow at a labyrinth

My body aches. My spirit is a little bruised. And I really am OK.

Last Saturday, I became contaminated with gluten which left me completely debilitated and unable to fully focus. With my joints swollen and an inability to fully think, I became temporarily despondent. Of course, I also worried that this was not simply a reaction to someone with celiac disease being contaminated with gluten. Instead I thought that perhaps I had a serious illness and the timing of me being contaminated with gluten was simply a coincidence. I think many of us get dramatic when we are physically and emotionally depleted.

After a few days of feeling absolutely horrible, I became desperate, took a deep breath, and asked my Facebook Village for help. And of course they did. Even more amazing, I listened. I decided to make some different food choices, take supplements, drink a lot more water, and allow myself to go through some of my deep frustration and sadness.

In response, it is so awesome how eating the right foods, etc. gave my body a chance to begin healing and made me feel a little better with each passing day. This morning, I felt a better than I did yesterday and this evening not as well. Being on a seesaw is never fun for me, but it is a normal trajectory in any healing journey. While I have a ways to go, I know what I have to do. AND I know that all will be ok.

There are some bummers in this journey. I have decided that it is time to refrain from eating out again unless I eat simple salads or perhaps a few really sensitive vegetarian restaurants. I also realize that it is time for me to find some new doctors because my reaction to gluten contamination is growing more significant. And I am also dealing with how vulnerable I feel around this challenge.

Opening up and sharing my inner thoughts is so very hard when anxiety seems to reign inside my body. Yet over the last couple of years, I have learned time and again that I am blessed with good friends who really are present when I need them. While remaining in the shadows is somewhat easier when I am having a challenging time, the key is to take a deep breath (when ready) and reach out as appropriate.

Would love to know your thoughts and how you move forward when you feel paralyzed in any way.

With love, light, and blessings,

Chava

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Chava looking at large canvas 3

Rothko Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts;             Photo Courtesy of David Cooper

Last night, I learned to listen to that quiet voice that reminded me to remain silent when what I really wanted to do was share the thoughts racing around in my head. Somehow I knew that I needed some time to reflect before expressing myself in any serious way.

Communicating is easy. At any moment, I can pick up my phone, send a quick (or lengthy) text, quickly shoot of an email, blog from my soul, shout out to my Facebook/Twitter community, or scream at my sons. I could do that, but I didn’t. At least, I did not do that last night.

Instead of going for instant gratification, I took a deep breath, a long walk, and a shot of vodka. I decided to refrain from major conversations, long involved letters, intense blogging, or even small talk. While I wrote a few quick responses on Facebook status lines, I did not pour out my heart, make any major decisions, or say something that I would later regret.

For once in my life, I (mostly) listened to that quiet voice that provided a shadow over my soul. Sometimes it is better to allow for the quiet.

When I was a little girl, my father used to loving put his hands over my ears and give a gentle squeeze. As he did, he would whisper the words, “Listen to the quiet.” I believe that act may have been the most loving act my father ever did. He knew that when I was sad, tired, sick, or struggling that I needed the cocoon of silence. I probably also needed his loving hands to remind me that I am loved.

While I don’t have my father’s hands nurturing my spirit with his gentle touch and loving words, I do have the ability to remember that sometimes, I need to listen to the quiet. And sometimes, I simply need to allow for the silence before finding and sharing my voice.

Writing is how I best communicate. If you want to know what I really feel, don’t ask me to tell you, ask me to write. Years ago, I learned:

“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

Through writing, I share the deepest part of who I am. And while I know how to use my voice, I am a much more honest writer.

So when last night’s darkness loomed, I did the only thing that made sense. I allowed for the silence, refrained from making any ‘real’ decisions, and I sat in my sadness, my frustration, and my anger. And the hardest thing that I did was refrain from writing. I didn’t send words out into the universe that could never be taken back.

At this point, you may be wondering what was feeling so heavy. Was it that one of my sons was acting out? Was it an internal struggle I am having? Was it that I have an upcoming meeting that is reminding me of my many vulnerabilities? Yes, it was all of those things. AND it was the sense of foreboding I feel with the upcoming election that was intensified by this week’s AIPAC conference. It is also the growing rift I see in the larger Jewish community. Maybe it has always been there, but in the last few years I feel the rift growing. Whether we are talking about Israel or the Jewish people, politics or immigration, human rights or the environment, each and every issue seems to create clouds over our people and the larger world too. And with each serious challenge being brought to our attention at break neck speed, the struggle is inevitable.

Last night, I did my best to take a deep breath and to listen to the silence. I chose to go inward, to cry, and to sleep for a couple of hours. It helped.

I am not sure that the world is a better place or that the elections will bring out the best in people. I do know that this morning I have a little more clarity about what I need to do today, tonight, and in the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Mostly I know that I have to sometimes trust the silence and sometimes trust my voice. And perhaps, what I need most is to:

“Step out today not seeking to be in the spotlight but seeking
for a spot to light
– be a blessing to someone.”
Bernard Kelvin Clive

 

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Sometimes I feel invisible…..my guess is that I am not the only one.
Facebook status line from March 19, 2016

Over the last couple of years, I have blessed to accept my many moving parts. I am intense, driven, conscious, and profoundly contemplative. I rarely stop processing the world around me or how I feel about what I see.  And with this intensity, comes moments when I feel completely invisible.

How can I let people into a world that is constantly navigating my intuitions, my feelings, and my many insights? I realize that the way I walk can be a little daunting. This reality leaves me in my own little world at times. Not everyone can or wants to hear the many voices in my head.

And yet, I am lucky. For the most part, I have found ways to be heard. As a writer and blogger, I create platforms to make myself heard. As an educator, I am able to share what I have gleaned from others and through my own studies. As a mother and a friend, my family and friends are intertwined with my many dances; my thoughts/opinions matter. And as a human being, I reach out to make a difference for good. And yet, there is always a shadow; sometimes I feel the need to refrain from sharing so that I can stop exhausting my confidants and overwhelming others in my life.

Labyrinth Shadow

Simply put, being in my mind can be overwhelming for everyone. With that, comes the need for silence which also leads me to feeling invisible. If I am not sharing my writing, my facebook posts, the way that I navigate in the world. . .will I be missed? Will my friends notice?

Thankfully, there are some precious beloveds that I treasure with every ounce of my being. They have held my spirit when it felt too much and they have opened their arms to hold me when life became too heavy. Most have been with me during life’s most challenging moments-some in person and some metaphorically. Seriously, can you imagine being my confidant? Well let’s put it this way, if I overwhelm myself, do you think that I may overwhelm others? I do. I know I do.

Yesterday, was one of the moments, when I felt alone. Maybe it was as simple as one of my close friends is stepping back. And some others are going through life’s twists and turns. While I know that I am not really invisible for more than a few minutes, there are moments when I am less visible than I need. And that has to be ok. Standing in my power is also a good thing.

Writing about my feeling of invisibility on Facebook struck a chord for so many people. Most shared that they also feel invisible at times. Other friends wanted to comfort me and let me know that they see me. And still others gave me realistic and brazen tools to make certain that I wouldn’t feel unseen.

All of us have moments when we become unglued and we want someone to hold us and to hear what our hearts are navigating. I know that I am not alone. I do know that over time I have learned to self soothe my soul. Being surrounded by loved ones can’t always soften my footsteps. Sometimes I simply have to navigate alone.

Rabbi Leslie Schotz responded to my Facebook status line by reminding me, “It is good you speak up for so many. Empowering visibility.” Suddenly, I understood that not only did I let my friends know that they are not alone in feeling invisible sometimes, but that they could find ways to grow their visibility if that is what they crave. Looks like yesterday’s journey lead me to grasp that we can all choose to become visible or invisible.

By reaching out yesterday, I found myself realizing that even if I felt invisible I wasn’t, not really.

my feet at the museum

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Have you ever been woken in the middle of the night by an inner voice? You know the one that tells you what you need to do.

Feb 2015  Walking from behind

What amazes me about that voice is that sometimes it is so on target and other times it fuels the fears that live deep inside. The key is learning which inner voice speaks truth.

The veil darkness has a way of both nourishing me and instilling a deep loneliness. When I envision the darkness as nourishing, I revel in the cocoon of my own making. I love being surrounded by the blanket of warmth which provides me a safe haven to dream, to think, and to simply be exactly where I am. And sometimes that darkness gives me the lonely space to realize my deepest pain, my loneliness, or the unanswered questions of my heart and soul.

The blackened skies provide an expanse to emerge exactly as I am. There is no one to protect me from my own inner thoughts. And no one to nudge me forwards or backwards; I am on my own.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And so my morning began.

At 3 AM, I awoke to the realizations that caused me to both cry and find comfort in my racing thoughts.

The question is whether or not to trust all that is racing through my brain. Or do I shut it down and let go.

Sleep doesn’t usually follow these episodes. Once I awake, I can’t hide from the stream of consciousness that flows. Unspoken dreams and profound realities are realized. With each breath, seeds are being planted in the soil of darkness.

Perhaps at daybreak, my eyes will open to some new sprouts and the morning light will brighten my spirit.

I am waiting. . . .

 

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Have you ever had a false start? You know those days when you have prepared to start a diet, take on a new hobby, or create new life practices.

At first you are really excited. You have made a decision on how you want to live your life and now all you have to do is start. The first hour may seem easy, and maybe the second hour, but by the end of Day 1 or maybe Week 1, reality sets in and you realize that whatever you are working on has a mind of it’s own. 🙂

False starts are frustrating; so is falling off the wagon. I have done both and it never feels good. And yet, I believe that these realities are part of life (at least my life). In order to be the best me, I need to face reality; I stumble sometimes. Just because I revert back to old ways, doesn’t mean I should never try again. Although it may mean that. Mostly it means that I need to get up, figure out the best way to maneuver to a better place, and then do what I have to do to get to where I want to go. Simply put, I need to refocus and do the holy work of putting my puzzle pieces

In ‘Sweet Darkness’, David Whyte says it best:

 anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

With this poem and specifically this verse as my guide, I am going to do what I have to do. I am going to take better care of myself. Anyone that has read my blog knows that I thrive on walking consciously in the world; I also need to write as I take each step of the journey.

Life does have a few too many storms; my nature is to see the rain as cleansing instead of the alternative. So, even if I have to dry a few tears, take time for moving in healthier directions, and creating time to write – I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I am living consciously and embracing  the aliveness that is who I am.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS – Keep your eyes open for my next blog series, Dance of Emergence: Amazon Woman is Born.

Raining Day - Time to Refocus - David Cooper March 6, 2016

Berkeley on a rainy day; Photo Courtesy of Rabbi David Cooper

 

 

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