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Archive for November, 2016

Lori took of Ren crossing the bridge

Photo Courtesy of Lori Fortang taking a beautiful photo of her beloved Ren crossing the bridge.

The world is feeling a little dark lately.

Am I unique in this journey? Nope. . .I am really not. I am surrounded by friends that are grappling in very similar ways; they are actively engaging as seekers who simply want to make the world a better place.

In fact a couple of days ago, I asked my friends via Facebook, “Does anyone else feel like they are ‘on a narrow bridge’?” Twenty-eight people responded with the emoticons (like, love,  sad) and about thirteen people had more to say. The good news and the bad news is that I have now confirmed that I am not alone.

With every fiber of my being I struggle with the harsh realities that continue to permeate our world, the world of those I love, and even my own personal life. Devastation and destruction can be found everywhere. The world’s climate is struggling at every turn. And people I love are in their own depths of despair. Life is hard.

Here is a taste of what is filling my soul:

  • Our political climate is a disaster.
  • How could our Trump have been elected to be our next President?
  • Finances are tight, but we are navigating.
  • How could prejudice and hatred have so much momentum?
  • The Middle East is a disaster and Africa isn’t much better.
  • The Standing Rock Protests in North Dakota Pipeline are breaking my heart. I want to stand with our brothers and sisters. I want to physically support them with my presence.
  • Sometimes I can’t make a difference in the lives of those I love.
  • I am struggling to stay connected with all of life’s moving parts.
  • I could use help cleaning my house.

When I allow the painful rhythm of the world to carry my spirit, I can find myself lost with a sense of unrelenting helplessness. The beauty is that the moments don’t last, but they seem to be surfacing a little too often these days.

This rawness can easily control my spirit if I allow it to.What I have learned over time is that I have to allow the deep sadness to visit, but I also have to do the work to mitigate it. So that is what I am doing by:

  • Surrounding myself with people that nurture my spirit and share my core values.
  • Letting go of “anything or anyone that that does not bring you alive.” David Whyte
  • Embracing the many truths that are part of my life and becoming transparent with each step.
  • Eating better and doing more self care. over a month with nearly no sugar!!! 🙂
  • Standing up for what I believe in!
  • Donating money to causes that move my soul – not a lot, but what I can.
  • Painting and writing, journaling and doodling

With every step, I am actively engaged in the journey of life. Living life fully is not optional; there is too much work to be done. Still some days, I have to listen to the quiet voice that is talking to me and allow for myself to hear the messages of my soul.

Traveling the very narrow bridge means I am moving forward. . . and wow how beautiful is it that I am not alone!

Onward towards the light,
Chava

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ET struck again.

This morning, we woke up to find our Clinton-Kaine sign vandalized. We would love to have been surprised, but somehow we have come to expect that one neighbor has a vendetta of his making and perhaps another house a few doors down is fueling what one of my friends refers to as ‘deplorable’ behavior.

The cycle of vandalism began in mid-September when my sons and I put up a Black Lives Matter sign.  We were and still am proud of the movement.  Like all movements, it isn’t perfect, but it does do some incredibly holy work by trying to end the marginalization of black people (as well as others).

Unfortunately, our views and/or our BLM sign has incited a neighbor who we refer to as ET. Here is the outline of what has been happening since we decided to put up our sign from September – present:

  • Mid-September – First Black Lives Matter Sign goes up.day-1-blm-sign-goes-up-yay
  • Thursday, September 22 – ET (who we now know as a neighbor) confronted me very rudely outside my garage. He was waiting there at 7:15 AM when I left the house to go to work. At that time, I kept my cool and told him that we would be happy to remove the sign if he showed me the HOA rules. He didn’t. We believe based on interactions that he perpetuated what happened below.  (Btw, Aryeh has been with me during nearly each and every interaction.)
  • Saturday, September 24 – Black Lives Matter Sign pulled out of ground and left on lawn.
  • Sunday, September 25 Black Lives Matter Sign was vandalized to say Black Lies Matter. We then repainted the ‘v’ to return the sign to the original form.
  • Monday, September 26 – Black Lives Matter Sign was stolen
  • Thursday, September 29 – We created and put up a sign that said “God Sees Souls Not Skin” (Thanks for this sign idea Lea!)god-sees-souls-september-30
  • Friday, September 30 – Lakeside Estates Townhouse Community’s HOA gave us 30 days to remove our signs unless they are for a candidate.
  • Friday, October 7 – second BLM sign goes up
  • Saturday, October 8
    • Early AM – Found poop rubbed on sign and toilet paper in yard,
    • Yelled at by ET and others in the alley behind our house. When confronted ET admitted that of course he did it because he didn’t want “that shit” in the neighborhood. (ET seems to hang out a lot with the folks who live a few doors down from our house. There was a group of men hanging out in the garage joining in the rudeness. I did not pay attention to them because ET was in my face and/or louder; he was also outside the garage at the time.)
    • Police called – First time
    • And I decided that I would no longer confront ET on any level.
    • In the afternoon, we found chewing tobacco spit on garage door
    • Police called and came a second time.
    • We then put up a camera
  • Monday, October 17-
    • Second Black Lives Matter sign stolen while my son was walking our dog in the evening.
    • Later that evening, we put up our third and last BLM sign with a message to ET saying, “Grow Up, Have you noticed that we haven’t stolen your Trump Sign” on the back.writing-my-note-to-et
  • Tuesday, October 25 – Black Lives Matter sign taken down to comply with HOA deadline to remove our BLM sign; the sign was replaced with Hillary Clinton for President Sign.
  • Saturday, November 5- Pumpkin thrown at sign and all over yard.

While all of this has been troubling, I have found myself doing some serious soul searching, rethinking how I walk in the world.  How should I respond to external conflict.  Let’s face it, when you consciously interact with the world around you, you notice and experience life intensely.  So now I am trying to take more time to quiet my mind before I speak, breath a little more deeply and into my emotions, and allow for the quiet.

Initially, I was angry and fit to be tied, later I became a little scared. Anyone that has the ability to toss shit at my sign must be capable of doing so much worse. And then lastly, my conviction became fierce. I was not going to let my views or my values be silenced. But that didn’t mean I had to respond with the venom espoused by ET.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016, Michelle Obama said the words that I believe may have quite literally changed how I relate to the world as both an activist and more importantly a human being. She said, “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, you go high.

Within moments of allowing myself to get swept up by anger after ET admitted to throwing feces at our second sign, I took a deep breath and allowed Michelle Obama’s words to sink deep into my soul. “when they go low, you go high.”

Onward!
Chava

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