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Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

Each day, I open my eyes with an awareness that life as I know it is gone or if it’s not it will be soon. Nothing lasts forever. . . . everything changes and evolves. That thought often leads to initial despondency, but ultimately I can’t stay in that place or I won’t be able to move my spirit and body to where it needs to go.

With each breath, I realize that moments of calm are fleeting. My once content loved ones may be wrestling with serious illness, broken hearts, or devastation over the course our country has taken. I am also be aware that the people I once felt loved by may have drifted away. Or perhaps the body that allowed me to run miles and miles can no longer move in quite the same way. Or maybe a practice that always helped me find calm isn’t working as it did.

 

img_2747And even with all of this knowledge and sometimes pain, I am impacted by the very real possibilities that waking up may open for me. Relationships may be salvaged. New friends may be found. A new love may enter my life. A beautiful moment may ignite my spirit. A solution may be found for something that once seemed impossible. Or perhaps, waking up that day will be enough.

While giving up and curling up into a cocoon may be exactly what my spirit craves, it usually only helps things for a brief time. Instead I endeavor to live each morning with intention. I visit the darkness only to push it aside (on most mornings) and then I stretch my limbs and allow gratitude to flow. I can move.  On a more hopeful morning, I embrace the words and melodies that fill my head. As the words and melodies fill my brokenness with what often becomes a burst of light.

I am alive. I am thriving. I have made it to this time.

Onward with love, light, & blessings,

Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Living Out Loud. If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, AND if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

by William Stafford From Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. 
Graywolf Press (January 7, 2014).

As a little girl, my father would cup both of his hands over my ears and say, “Listen to the quiet.” Each and every time he did this a calmness washed over my spirit. While my father has been gone for 17.5 years, I have never forgotten that sensation or released my longing to ‘listen to the quiet’.

Over the last several years, I have become aware that I am navigating a life with many moving parts; I often find myself overwhelmed and struggling how to get my to do list done and show up for life in a healthy way. As a seeker, this has invited me to find options for how to best nurture my spirit and to literally practice being me.

100 Collection.2

Making Artist’s Cards is only one of my daily practices. 

The great news is that creating and doing practices comes naturally to me. While some of them could have been considered detrimental in my youth or for moments in time, today they tend to be quite beautiful and grounding. I am the person I am because I take significant time to ‘listen to the quiet’ and to honor my needs.

Making conscious choices for how I spend my time has truly made it possible for me to process the darkness that has been known to blanket my being. I feel deeply and love unabashedly. My heart has been shattered by those I should have been able to trust and by those that have loved me differently then I have wanted. I don’t tend to do well with a broken heart; my entire being seems to hold that feeling unable to emerge with ease.

While this truth is painful for me, the awareness has lead me to engage in healing practices. In the last eight months or so, I have found a new rhythm that includes new rituals or what I prefer to call daily practices. They have empowered me to move forward and to better embrace self-care. Yes, I feel the wounds of my broken heart and spirit, but they don’t devastate me. I am choosing to live within my truth. I am practicing being me!

I love how I walk through the world and how on a good day I radiate light. Yes there is sadness, but it is what it is. What matters is how I move forward and that I always choose to move forward. Creating practices has literally saved my life; it has given me tools to cope and made me stronger for living with all the moving parts of my life.

I am able to thrive because of what I do to take care of my body, my mind, and my soul. Here are some of my daily rituals/practices:

Morning Rituals:

  1. Make my bed
  2. Drink water:
    • two cups – usually room temperature
    • with apple cider vinegar
    • with fenugreek seeds
    • with spices (aryuvedic )
  3. Peel and eat 12 raw almonds with local honey (Peeling raw almonds that have been soaking in water is a real meditative treat.)

Daily practices

  1. Journaling – My daily check in helps me negotiate whatever is weighing on my spirit. Only through journaling can I really find out what I think and what I feel, what I need and what will help me to better function.
  2. Reading books – Right now I am working on four:
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama
    • Practice Me  by Elena Brower (This inspired me to write this blog.)
    • Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, & Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford AND
    • Diana, An Allegory of Awakening Herself by Martha Beck (This book just arrived and will be started tonight.)
  3. Making Artists cards using watercolor and words of empowerment
  4. Keeping the kitchen sink clean and clear

Regular Practices (4-5 times/week)

  1. Walking 10,000 + steps
  2. Listening to AMAZING podcasts while I walk
  3. Chanting/Prayer
  4. Deep breathing exercises and/or meditation

Developing Practices (I am always trying to make healthy choices, but I haven’t quite mastered the following, but I am fairly consistent :). . .)

  1. Yoga in the morning – I made it through one week, but felt really sore. . .tomorrow I start again.
  2. Nutritious smoothie
  3. Eating vegetables with every meal
  4. No sweets and almost no sugar

When I picked up the book Practice Me last week, I was blown away by how well I am doing it. I am living as authentically and constantly working on the non-negotiables in my life. And I am learning, always learning about how I can show up and live life more fully.

What practices do you do that make you a healthier you?

Onward with love, light, & blessings,
Chava

PS – Keep your eyes open for later today or tomorrow when I share my practices for nurturing our world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ocean Sept 2014

Photo courtesy of my beloved friend, Shay Seaborne.

Awareness flows through me.

Regardless of how ridiculous I know a feeling may be, it doesn’t take the feeling away.  There are simply times when inner pain and loneliness settle into my soul. Those are the days that darkness is my closest friend and profound sadness has infiltrated my essence.

On those days, my broken heart has prevailed and the storms that sometimes lay dormant have overtaken my spirit. While these days can feel debilitating, they don’t overtake me for long. But while they are visiting, they leave me void of the strength to rise as high as I’d like to.

While today started off as one of the gloomiest in a long time, I remembered to breathe and pushed myself to keep moving. I even allowed myself to share my deep sadness with a couple of people that seem to love me regardless of the open wounds. Miraculously and unexpectedly, I emerged. I was able to reflect the love and kindness I was receiving back to wounded person that needed it most – me.

What I know without a doubt is that bad days happen, but even the worst moments can become a little easier with the help of breathing deeply, taking time to journal, and loving kindness from others mirrored back to me.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Over the past months, I have struggled to find balance and to quiet my spirit. Inside my soul, I could feel my body, my mind, and my soul wrestling. They were struggling with a broken heart, the feeling that I wasn’t enough in any area of my life, and with this deep seeded pain that I would always be a fat blob.  Yes my body image was in the gutter. There were hours of every day that I felt like I couldn’t take a deep breath or that my heart was shattering into too many pieces to count. Besides. . .who would even want to try counting the the pieces of my broken heart? Who would want to hold someone who has lost all roots and was crumbling to the ground?

This darkness lasted for a few very long months until I realized that slowly I was breathing a little deeper and sparks of light were finding a way into my heart. Tears stopped falling with intensity and eventually they stopped falling with any regularity at all. And then there were the mornings that I could look at myself in the mirror without cringing.

I am not sure if I can quite say what switched, but I opened my eyes a little wider, I listened to the noise around me and the quiet inside me with more awareness, and I took some time to just be where I was.

The process that I went through and that I am still navigating has become about honoring myself the best way I can by building a stronger foundation. In order to become stronger I had to process the pain and darkness that had settled inside of me.

What I have known with clarity is that there was not one thing that left me with such sadness. I feel all emotions with every fiber of my being. This means that on the days that I am unable to compartmentalize life’s many moving parts, I will drown in a sea of sorrows or simply in my own intensity.

Yes the last few months have sucked. . . completely sucked, but they also created the opportunity for me to look inward and the time to heal. Eventually the harsh realities didn’t feel so harsh and with that I began to see my roots take a firmer hold of the earth.

And that is when the real work began. . . .

Reveling in setting the foundation, the framework, the intentions.
Connecting with understanding, compassion, balance, strength and awareness.
Honoring the journey.

Reflection by: Sue Dorfman

Path by Sue Dorfman

Courtesy of photographer Sue Dorfman

Sometimes the perfect words or the perfect picture show up exactly when you need them. As I was waking up, I was looking for what I needed to do so that I could become a little stronger.

This new journey that I am on is not simple.  With a long path ahead of me, I realized that I needed to set up some boundaries for myself. This meant deep reflection:

  • What was missing from my life?
  • Does writing guide my every step? If it doesn’t, it needs to.
  • Am I doing enough to nourish and nurture my spirit?
  • Have I been creative enough?
  • Do I take time to play?
  • Am I moving in a way that feels good for my body?
  • Am I moving enough?
  • How am I choosing to fuel my body and my brain?
  • Can I do more to make this world a better place? Or what do I have to do differently so that my impact in this world is more positive?
  • Is stretching, reaching, and growing an active part of my day?

If I am really going to be the healthiest that I can be, I need to be guided by deep seeded accountability multiple times every day.

  • Am I living authentically?
  • Am I choosing to hide behind a mask that others decorate?
  • Am I being the chameleon that fits into the world as I believe others want me to?

Over the last few weeks, I began to see that I was living behind a shadow of my own making. This realization means that it is time for me to actively return to strengthening my foundation with clear intentions while using this clarity to build the body, mind, and soul I want.

The work is daunting and yet it is also profoundly rewarding too. Each day I am gaining ground and celebrating more and more successes. I am also taking responsibility for navigating my life with intention as I actively engage in putting together the puzzle pieces of my body, mind, and soul. Only through that journey will I be able to soar and better become the woman I want to be.

Join me over the coming weeks as I unveil some of the moving parts that I am navigating and myriad of ways I hope to stretch, to grow, and ultimately to heal. My hope is that as I share some of my story, I may inspire you in some small way.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

(Note: If you read to the end and if you like what I have to share, I’d love it if you would let me know by liking or commenting on my post.)

 

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Moon May 2015Prologue: What does a writer do when she wakes up hours before dawn? 🙂 She writes and then writes some more.

~ ~ ~

Spinning a cocoon of darkness can be beautiful. In that darkness, awareness comes, skeletons are recognized, and insight is found.

Darkness isn’t necessarily filled with only sweet memories and reflections.

I will never forget the all night vigils of the summer of 2001. For several nights in one week, I was told that my father’s death was imminent and that I should stay by his bedside. The night skies and the dark halls that enveloped me also filled me with sadness. I was saying good-bye to my father and I felt all alone. I was all alone. And yet there are some beautiful memories and angels that showed up when my spirit was in need.

Years later, as my son Aryeh struggled for life, I also grew to despise the darkness. There were no words of comfort only the hours of watching my child suffer an enduring pain. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to help was devastating. The good news is that my son ultimately made it through and is one of the most amazing thrivers I know.

And then there are the realizations that come from sitting in the quiet of the darkness. It is in those moments, that I often come to grips with what I know, how I feel, and how to move forward with all of life’s moving parts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When I was a little girl, my father would gently place his hands over my ears and whisper, “Listen to the quiet.”  I guess I always needed the quiet. Today, it is the darkness that often offers my soul the quiet that I yearn for.  Funny how that works.

Darkness always provides me with a cocoon of protection to be truly where I am.

(Note: Sometimes I have to look deeply into the darkness before sparks of light can emerge.)

 

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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 . . . .]

blue_boat_house_door

Sometimes closing the door is not enough;
sometimes the door must be locked AND barricaded too!
~Quote by Chava

My Journey Towards Wholeness has been profound. With each passing day, I am encountering more and more awareness regarding how to best navigate my life in the healthiest of ways.

While this has been an exciting time for me, it has also been challenging to look at the many relationships that have been part of my life – some for weeks and months, others for years and decades.  And while I treasure what each connection has given me, I am also finding it advantageous to let go of the connections that no longer serve me. If nearly every interaction with someone causes discomfort, it is time to leave the connection behind.

Life is a gift. That means I need to treat it with love and thoughtfulness; I need to treasure what life offers and find peace when some of the relationships end.  Few things last forever.

With every ounce of my being, I am constantly working towards being as considerate and warm as I can be. Maybe I haven’t always been this way, but I have been doing the holy work of walking gently for a few years now.

The pain of closing the door from a once special person can feel overwhelming and yet I believe we are honoring ourselves when we do just that. . And with the really tough or toxic relationships, we need want to consider my friend Sabrina Sojourner’s wisdom, “Sometimes you need to change the door into a wall. Bookcases and shelving work great for that.”

Today I made the painful decision to barricade the door from someone who has been in my life for decades; perhaps I should have erected a wall instead. My heart and my soul are too precious to be continually stomped on.

With a heavy heart and a clear mind, I am taking care of me. I am letting go and finding balance.

While I believe that ‘when one door closes, another door opens’, I don’t want to hear that right now.  Instead I want to be spiritually held and allowed to grieve.

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 . . . .]

I was writing this during Day 3, but missed the window. . .

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
Quote by Kurt Vonnegut

Darkness and twilight always bring reflection.

Over the last several years, I have often struggled with the late night hours when the world is asleep and during the morning twilight, an hour or two before the sun comes up until the sun lights up the sky. I struggle because sleep doesn’t come easy.  I struggle because my mind is full of thoughts, ideas, and sometimes sadness.  I struggle because my body needs to rest even if my mind is actively engaged.

While many have the ability to let sleep take over, I do not.  That doesn’t mean that I have given up on the idea, it means that I am looking for ways to re-frame the narrative.  I have decided to openly work on improving how I see the most challenging time.  My goal. is simply to improve the energy by bringing holiness to those moments. This quandary has been on my mind for the last several weeks, but in the last 24 hours, two friends have shared thoughts which are moving me forward.

This morning, I woke up to a facebook friend, Alden Solovy* who wrote:

“In the darkest hours, when I wake and cannot find slumber, I pray myself back to sleep. One-by-one I think of the people dearest to me. I send my heart to them and my prayers to G-d. My daughters. My mom. My sisters. All the people dearest to me. You get it, right? The prayers come from the deepest, purest, sweetest voice inside of me. . . .”

For me, I needed to alter my energy and Alden gave me a plan to do just that.  By helping me redirect my quiet time, I am feeling a bit more ready for how the wee hours will go. I would also add, that I will take that time to send healing energy to those I love and those that I know that are hurting in some way. I love creating sacred time by sending my prayers to God as I share my heart with those on my mind.

Carolyn Riker**, another friend and poet, reminded me to breathe in the morning hours as I value the clarity that is coming to me.

“Early morning thoughts are often the clearest. I rise with the sun and enjoy seeing between the clouds. Stillness doesn’t want to be disturbed and yet there is a longing to belong to the new day. A heart padded soul, pitter-patters and purrs. I sip awareness.”

Finding the gift that comes with the clarity is probably the most treasured gift I can give myself. I love the metaphor of “sipping awareness”. Being present is really about being witness to what is happening at any given moment. As someone who values the way that I do that in most every interaction, why not do that in the quiet of the night?

Tonight as I go to sleep and as I arise in the morning, I will breathe in the sweet moments and treasure the life that is.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

*Alden Solovy’s wisdom can be found in his writing and teaching; his passion can be felt in all that he does. As a poet and liturgist, his work has been used by people of all faiths throughout the world, in private prayer and public ceremonies. Please check him out at http://tobendlight.com/.

**Carolyn Riker’s eloquent and touching poetry has a way of impacting me deeply.  She can be found at https://carolynra7.wordpress.com/. Read her words and let me know if you find her writing as beautiful as I do.

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