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Posts Tagged ‘Aryeh’

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 . . . .]

Accepting Our Scars

A Personal Story:

In January, one of my dogs bit the tip of the other dog’s ear off; nothing like a dogfight  to alter what is.  Unfortunately there are a lot of wounds from that day, but I want to focus not on ‘the wounds’, but on some lessons learned post dog trauma.

Since that dark day in January, I have found myself worried about Maddie and her spirit, much more than necessary. For a time I mourned Maddie’s ear. At first, it was because it was bloody and sore; later it was healing and sensitive; and then one day it was fine. Maddie stopped responding to the injury (or is it the chomping?); I could touch her ear without receiving a pain response. Yay!

On the day that I first noticed this, I turned to Aryeh, my older son, and lamented that her ear will always be missing a part of it.  With that he looked at me sort of cockeyed and ask, do you mind my scar? I have to share that the question made me squirm not because I was guilty of feeling uncomfortable with Aryeh’s scar following brain surgery, but because I thought he was ludicrous.  I love Aryeh’s scar; it is a symbol of his fight for life and his ultimate thriving. His scar symbolizes one of the most profound gifts I have ever received. My son’s health restored and survival after years of critical health.

Aryeh and Dovi - imperfections together for blog

Since the day of that conversation in early February, I have looked at both of the creatures above with such immense gratitude for them being exactly how they are.

The conversation also forced me to look inward. How do I perceive physical wounds, body disfigurement, emotional challenges? How do I see the reality that surrounds me? How do I perceive my own blemishes or imperfections? The last question I will delve in tomorrow for my Omer Reflections.

So here’s the truth, I generally accept all people for where they are. Dogs too! But I must have a quiet voice inside of me that was challenged that day. It is important to note it and quiet it. And it is always important to watch my thoughts and what I actually say at any given moment. Words do matter and they have a chance to impact how we think and how we make others feel.

What a blessing to have both Maddie and Aryeh in my lfe!

May we all have a chance to find the beauty in each and every person, wherever they stand.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Aryeh and Maddie on bed May 2015 Aryeh and Maddie in Snow Winter 2015

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Shachar and Maddie snuggled together on the many miles from Tucson to Louisa.

Shachar and Maddie snuggled together on the many miles from Tucson to Louisa this December.

On Friday morning, I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life; I had to euthanize our beloved mutt for unpredictable aggression. After too many episodes with the final episode being the worst, I was forced to make a decision that is devastating to our family.  My heart is healing from saying good-bye to my precious Shachar and my body is healing from the pain I endured when trying to keep my beloved four-legged creatures from hurting each other (it didn’t work).

Just over a year ago, we found Shachar outside the local mall.  At the time she was nearly 20 lbs. underweight and terrified.  We adored her from the first moment we brought her home.  We weren’t sure if we would be able to keep her; Shachar cowered when we tried to pet her and she had no idea how to walk with a lead.  But it took only 24 hours for me to find her curled up on Aryeh, her head resting on his chest.  We were in love.  Even Maddie loved her!  But nearly 8 months after bringing her home, she turned on Maddie. For 5 months we kept them apart and trained each individual dog; we also hired an amazing trainer to bring the girls together and to work with us on doing this in the best way possible.  We were thrilled to have our family back in tact. Sadly, it didn’t last. . . . And the war wounds were too great.

While four days have passed, the emotional and physical pain has knocked me off my feet.  If it weren’t for the fact that Aryeh, my older son, is suffering even more deeply than I, I would have folded into a pile of mush.  Nearly each and every moment, I find myself willing her back into our physical world. I miss Shachar’s sweet presence; I want to feel her snuggles, her warmth, her heartbeat, her obtrusive nature. . .

Except for Aryeh’s profound sadness and Maddie’s (our other dog) sad and healing body.  Life’s realities have barely mattered; I have been almost numb to the realities of money or my own physical pain.  $400 poorer due to unexpected veterinarian fees and hoping that none of the injuries that I sustained need a physician.  (So far, so good on that front.)

What has helped has been my friends and my sons.  Within hours of our loss, our friends David and Jennifer showed up on our doorstep.  And my sons have been making me as many mint or chamomile-citrus lattés as I need to warm my heart and soothe my battered soul.  At times, Aryeh has had to hand me the cups gingerly and grab it as quickly as I finished drinking.  On Saturday, I struggled to hold my mug; I am still struggling with the pain and achiness that I sustained when I tried to save my dogs from one another.  Healing.  And while there was almost nothing that anyone could say, it has helped that nearly 125 friends have actively reached out and offered their love. (Facebook ability to document how many comments are generated does help for some things.)  There wasn’t much that anyone could say, but a few friend’s nailed it perfectly when they said:

You gave her love and she knew it. She did the best she could and so did you. 
Lynn M.

You loved her and gave her a home, she will always know that.
Sharon G.

“so sorry to hear this. Sending you love and condolences.”
Rain Z. and so many others.

Today was the first day that Maddie, Shachar’s furry sister, started moving with more ease.  While I was awake and reading at 5 AM, it took her until nearly 8 AM to start moving, The good news is that when Maddie did get up this morning, she seemed to be able to move, to play, and to bug us whenever someone was prepping in the kitchen. Yay for this huge gift! We are all getting used to a quieter house with no puppy energy; it is too quiet.

We will always miss the way that Shachar loved to wrap herself up to us – the closer the better.  If possible, she tried to rest her head against our heart.  Both Aryeh and I loved feeling her body against us.  Healing will happen, but in the meantime, tears will be falling for a long, long while.

Shachar doing what she loved to do most.  She really had no clue that she wasn't a lap dog.

Shachar doing what she loved to do most. She really had no clue that she wasn’t a lap dog.

Shachar really did need to be as close to us as possible.

Shachar really did need to be as close to us as possible.

 

  We love you Shachar – now and always.

 

 

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“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
Quote by Aldous Huxley

I am an optimist.

By nature, I find the good in bad and strive to rise above whatever shit comes my way.  I also notice the rainbows after the storms – both metaphorically and figuratively.  I love life and I tend to make the best out it.

I don’t usually kvetch, whine, about human nature, but tonight I will.

So many well-meaning people feel inclined to tell people how to feel or how despondent they should be when difficult situations occur.  And guess what, none of them enlightenment; they need to be given room to feel exactly how they feel. That goes for me too! 🙂

Years ago, my seriously ill son was heading into his second brain surgery when he had a reaction to the lights and sounds of pre-op.  The lights and sounds physically and desperately caused him pain; in fact, his pain was beyond anything anyone expected for the then 14 year old Aryeh.   At one point, after unexpected hours of trying to prep my son for surgery, a doctor turned to Aryeh and said, “I need to give you a shot, but I promise you it won’t hurt.  Really.  I promise.”  At that, Aryeh started screaming, “Don’t tell me what I will or won’t feel; you don’t know.” To my amazement, the doctor responded beautifully when he said, “No, I don’t know. And I have no right to ever tell anyone how they will feel.”  Instantly, Aryeh calmed down and allowed the doctor to again explain what would happen while sharing how he may or may not feel, but not how he would feel.  And with each word, the doctor spoke with integrity and in the end, Aryeh told him how it felt.

From that very real life experience, I learned never to tell someone how they feel.  When I meet someone who has lost someone they loved or has been sick or whatever, I do not make any assumptions. Each and every one of us handles pain and sadness in our own unique ways.

At this point you may be wondering why am I sharing this now?

Many of you know that the last year has been often overwhelming and sometimes just down-right painful.  Under-employment, Unemployment, loss, and . . . .  well I am sure each person who knows me will have an opinion of what my year must have felt like.   But, I want everyone to stop telling me what I must feel or how hard it is or was.   Instead, take a moment and listen.  If you want to know how I feel, let me share it with you.

In my heart I know that nearly every person who is telling me how they think I am is actually sharing their empathy and how much they care.  But my challenges are my challenges; your challenges are your challenges.  Let us both listen to each other and share what is in our hearts.

While I know that I have been having some hard times; I have also found sparks of light in the darkness.  At any given moment, I may feel anxious or peaceful, sad or happy, joyous or frustrated.  I don’t need someone to enlighten me on how I should or do feel.

Each of us navigate life in the best way we know how; we all see those realities through our own lens.

Someone obviously thought this was a congested area; I saw it as an oasis of solitude.

Someone obviously thought this was a congested area;  I saw it as an oasis of solitude.

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Life has been hard. Very hard. And yet. . . .

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin Did you notice the butterfly? :)

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin
Did you notice the butterfly? 🙂

I am blessed that there are so few moments when darkness doesn’t allow me to see clearly.

Today I feel warmth from the amazing sparks that could easily burst into a flame.  There are so many gifts that surround me at any given moment.  And yes, there is also deep pain that is part of my life and part of the lives of so many people that I love.  But for now, I want to focus on the gifts.

My sons:

  • Today Aryeh and Dovi went biking together for the first time in forever!!!! Now that may seem silly because they are 21 and 17 years old; yet for so many reasons, it really is quite amazing.
  • AND Dovi has asked for shorts so that he can be more comfortable biking; he hasn’t worn shorts in nearly 10 years.  Now this is a shehecheyanu moment (a blessing that is recited when you do something for the first time in a long time or ever).
  • Dovi decided to excel in math and that is exactly what he is doing!
  • This week, we have had some incredibly sweet moments as a family.
  • Aryeh continues to amaze me in the way he takes care of everyone in the family; he is truly growing into a man! Wow.

Friends:

  • I love how my friends reach out and are totally present for me.  As I type, one group of friends is trying to find ways to help me thrive emotionally; they are working towards creating options for me to make it through a challenging period of time.
  • A few different friends have found ways for me to support myself after losing my livelihood. Yay!
  • One friend just embroidered a bath-sheet with my name on it!!!! She even used my favorite colors.  I can’t wait to see it and use it!  (If you are curious, I love sage and lavender. . . but in truth all shades of purple are awesome.)
  • A couple of friends have given me great gifts when I wasn’t sure how I would move forward.
  • I am held by some profoundly loving souls.

Taking care of me:

  • I found a care-giving position that is giving me more normal hours so that I don’t have to work all-nighters.
  • I am on Day 8 of not drinking any sodas!!!!!
  • I am getting more hours of sleep than I had been getting previously; this week I have gone to sleep by 10 PM nearly every night.
  • I am taking time to write.
  • My blog reached 30,000 viewers today.  Sometimes I even hear that my writing is inspiring those that take time to read my writings. YAY!  I so love sharing my inner thoughts through writing.
  • I spoke with one of my closest friends this week after a too long hiatus.

Insights for the week

  • Omm backwards is Moo. (Thanks Dietz Family)
  • My intuition keeps getting stronger and stronger; I love that I am learning to actively listen and respond to my gut.
  • Finding answers to questions is not always so simple. . . .Never ask your friends what is better a Vitamix vs. Blendtec OR Nutri-Bullet vs. Ninja. 🙂 Can you tell my blender is dying and I am into making green smoothies?
  • Everyone has a different perspective about the practices of the High Holy Days.  I am thinking next year I may create my own practice and share with those that are interested.
  • Words have meaning and attitude; just when you think something makes sense, you learn it doesn’t.

I love that I can always find light even when I am walking down a dark alley.  Hoping the same for you too!

With love, light, & blessings
Chava

 

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From beginning to end, yesterday was challenging and full of gifts too.  Sigh and yay!!!

The only thing that got me through was drumming and chanting niguunim (melodies).  As my heart was hyperventilating, I took time to release the energy through drumming and chanting.  With each beat of the drum, I released the tension in my soul; with each deep breath followed by my chanting, I felt my sadness leave me.

6730685121_996af44d65

The drum of my dreams. . . .

What affected me the most deeply was the deep sadness that surrounded me at nearly every turn.  So many folks were struggling with real darkness and others were just creating challenges through their actions.  For those that were struggling with their own darkness or perhaps their own demons, I found myself wishing I could share with them this beautiful rendition of Katy Perry’s Roar by Olivia Wise who is currently suffering from brain cancer.  http:/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_An8xNwupo

Olivia’s rendition of Perry’s Roar brought tears to my eyes and deep pain to my heart.  Imagining what Olivia and her family are facing hurts; I can relate and yet I can’t.  After years of the deep pain that accompanied Aryeh’s illness and to the pain that has at times accompanied my life, I couldn’t stop crying.  Life is such a gift and some people can’t find the gifts that are in front them.  Olivia made this video so that those who love her will always hear her ‘Roar”.  How beautiful is that?!?!?!

As I write, Olivia is more unconscious than conscious; her wakeful moments are few and far between.  What her family is telling the world is that Liv woke each day seeking light and finding light too.  While none of us can do that all the time, I wish more folks would go out of their way to find light and make things work with each step.

If I could make a difference for even a moment, I would shatter the illusion that there is no way around pain.

For nearly four years, I watched my son struggle for life and yet I almost never gave in to the darkness.  I always, always, always reached for life and light even as I accepted what could have been inevitable.

With every ounce of my being, I wish that the people around me could find the gifts in the challenges instead of reaching for the darkness and letting that darkness be their guide.

Choose life.

The rhetoric of the anti-abortion world and the teaching of Deuteronomy is perfect for this moment.  While I am far from the anti-abortion world, I do choose life.  Every day, I choose to wake up and find the light within the challenges.  Darkness rarely encompasses my heart and soul.

Choosing life is what I do.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire

‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Louder, louder than a lion

‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar.’

Katy Perry’s Roar

My son Aryeh is alive.  How ironic it is that Aryeh’s name means lion.  He is alive. In spite of a fatal diagnosis at times, he has always decided to be a thriver that is very much alive.  We are all alive; each and every one in my family is alive and thriving and yes, even roaring.

Yesterday as I sat in the midst of so much pain, watched some folks make troubling choices, and also experienced little things getting blown out of proportion, I wanted to help others find the light when only darkness seemed to persevere.

There are so many people like Olivia or Aryeh that choose life until no more breaths can be made.  There are so many folks that have chosen to thrive as opposed to bury their head in the sand.  May those folks be our role model.

May we all find our ‘Roar’.

PS – I forgot to mention, I saw some beautiful vibrant life yesterday.  I met people on the street that grapple with life and win.  From a distance, I watched my dear friend and his wife move towards the impending death of their father and father-in-law.  I also watched beautiful young minds embrace their own love of learning.  And finally, I had a delightful evening with my son.

While darkness surrounded me, it wasn’t part of me.  Still, may I and those that are part of my life always remember to ‘Roar’.

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The past few days have had moments of darkness, but not for long. . . .

With each deep breath, I have found myself amazed at the gifts that surround me.  I feel felt loved and valued; supported and cared for.  Dark moments have come and gone quickly, while the gifts remain embedded in my being.  Here are the ones that jumped out at me quite easily:

BoysPlaying Backgammon

The Biggest Gift of All!

  1. Aryeh completed two philosophy papers in spite of enormous self-doubt.
  2. Breakfast with a colleague who is fast becoming a friend!
  3. Saving over $10 at Bookman’s because I told the cashier about the concept of “Creative Paying It Forward” https://lightwavejourney.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/another-facebook-journey-2013-creative-pay-it-forward/
  4. A gift of 2 bottles of Hot Sauce from a new friend.  I am still wondering how she knew I haven’t found hot sauce since posting a question on FB.
  5. Dovi’s hands are healing
  6. Maddie
  7. Summit Hut
  8. Friends wanting to know about my upcoming birthday
  9. Night Skies
  10. Time
  11. Learning to let go and to accept new realities
  12. Hanging out at Bookmans
  13. Keep Smiling Cards http://www.thedailysmile.com/
  14. Text conversation that come at the perfect moment
  15. Aryeh’s idea: saving junk-mail for a month as a means of informing others
  16. Louis’ Reality Check card
  17. Finding New Music to jazz my soul
  18. Writing time
  19. Cafe Passe
  20. Watching my boys interact all night
  21. Perspective
  22. Unexpected voice messages
  23. Great books
  24. Facebook
  25. Beautiful weather
  26. Writing a New Chant
  27. Tough moments that are actually easier than expected
  28. Unexpected and positive conversations
  29. Drumming
  30. Looking forward to a day -off tomorrow
  31. Surrounding Mountains
  32. A Good Book
  33. Anticipation
  34. Laughter
  35. Sleep is around the corner
  36. Double-Chai (18×2 = Life x 2)

Over the past year, I have decided that I have the power to decide how I will walk through life’s journeys.  While some moments are tough to navigate, looking a little further has the ability to fill my soul with the fuel it needs.

While I am bone tired, I am feeling invigorated by the awareness that dark moods don’t have remain imbedded in my being.  Gifts really do surround me nearly at every corner.; all I have to do is notice them.

l’Chayim! To Life!

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best 2 helpersFB

Friday nights rock in our house; regardless of what’s been going on all week, we always make time to just chill and enjoy one another.  A couple of Fridays ago was no exception.

What started as a good meal with some great company ended as one of the most fun evenings of all time! At some point during the meal, our company asked if we had covered any of our trees in prep for the upcoming frost.  I laughed.  Why would anyone ever consider covering nature?  And then I thought about the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’.  While  thoughts of ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘letting nature do what nature does’ were in the back of mind, the stronger desire to refrain from wasting nature rang even louder.

So with laughter in our guts and a mission to save our oranges from the harsh desert environment, Dovi and Aryeh led the way while Maddie (our dog) and I followed.   We went outside and picked oranges for well over an hour.   We had a blast and ended up with three large containers of the most amazing oranges I have ever had!  Yummy!!!

Never a dull moment. . . Chava

 

 

 

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