Posts Tagged ‘beginnings’

“We are all here for some special reason.
Stop being a prisoner of your past.
Become the architect of your future.”
obin Sharma, Author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Each year during the Jewish month of Elul (usually in August) through Rosh HaShana, we take the time to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an inventory of our soul.  For me that means taking the time to reflect deeply about the gifts and challenges of the last year, but this is also simply a kinetic time of year. As a Jewish professional, I am working to prepare the community for new beginnings which include the High Holy Days, school, and new programming.  As a mother, I am helping my now mostly grown sons begin their next chapters.  And in the midst of all this, I am usually feeling the need to write and look inward.

The holidays themselves are not easy for me because it is challenging to stay in a spiritual space when you are in charge of so many logistics. Yet the moment Tashlich occurs, I realize that I need to take time to go onward and allow for reflection.  Tashlich is a ritual which usually takes place on first day of Rosh Hashanah in the late afternoon.  During this time the participants symbolically cast off their sins by gathering along the banks of a river, stream, or the like and reciting prayers of repentance.  While many people choose to do this ritual in community, I love to do it alone.

And this year, I have decided to create Tashlich moments again and again.  This is a year of letting go, of saying good-bye to what was and embracing the beauty that is. In the last several months, I have been blessed to rethink my career path, my relationships, and much of my life.  None of this is easy, but it has been made easier because of my private journaling, my very public blogging, and some very beautiful friends.  I haven’t been alone and yet I have needed to spend a lot of time alone as a way of giving myself the room to gaze deeply into my soul.

On a good day, the journaling strikes chord after chord, but this doesn’t happen all the time or even most of the time.  More often than not, I am left with a rhythm that isn’t quite working for me.  I am a work in progress. At times the work has been bitter sweet; sometimes it is actually heart wrenching; and once the puzzle pieces come together, it can be beautiful.  Soul-searching is an art form and I am learning with each breath I take.

Writing  is the most profound tool that helps me find center, but that isn’t my only means to finding balance.  My world is full of chanting, drumming and physically moving (sometimes dance and sometimes hiking).  In the midst of all the soul work, my sons keep me grounded and remind me that while I have a lot of work to do, I am actually doing well!  My world is in fact quite amazing; I have all that I need and much of what I want.

As fortunate as I am, there is still work to be done. One way of moving forward is to create Tashlich moments by letting go of all that is holding me back.  Last night, it meant that it was time to get rid of a ton of clutter; I deleted thousands of emails from personal and professional relationships that no longer served me well.  In most cases, it was simply about not needing those particular emails; in other cases it was time to say good-bye to old connections. The delete button became a co-conspirator in propelling to close some doors as a way to open new doors. The goal is to make room for my next chapters and to celebrate what is.

As I woke up this morning, I was acutely aware that there was a shift within me.  The rays of sunlight were slowly warming me up and nudging me toward the many gifts that are very much a part of my life today. I am feeling (perhaps) like a butterfly as it begins to take flight.  Last night, I said good-bye to the cocoon that was binding in a myriad of ways.  With each passing moment, the bindings release and my wings are spreading; there is no turning back for me.

Support for my Tashlich moment when I opened up Facebook this morning to find the photo of  the Topsail Island beach where a group of my close friends are gathering this week.  While I am not with them physically, the photo reminded me that I am not alone.  Once I saw that photo, I realized that outside my front door is the space to create my own Tashlich moment.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,

Topsail, NC Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

Topsail, North Carolina – Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

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Traveling through Texas has been easier than each of us thought it would be.  Even through some of the boredom, we have found our time to be both enlightening and fun.  We are gaining insights and laughing as we explore and enjoy each others company too.  We are also exhausted to the core from traveling and would love to curl up into three balls today instead of hitting the road, but we need to keep moving, so we will. 🙂

The Texas terrain is absolutely majestic in places, yet we have also struggled through some of the obvious industrialization we have seen.  Fortunately the beauty is what sticks in our memories now.  Aryeh is surprised that he likes the landscape, but he still misses the green.

With each mile closer to Tucson, we are anxious about new beginnings.  Will I be able to serve Temple Emanu-El with the deep love that I feel for all Jewish communities? Will we all make friends and find our places in Tucson? Will we have what we need? We don’t know the answers, but we are hopeful and a little anxious too.

With the final leg of our trip expected to begin in a little less than hour. Here are some of the insights from yesterday’s excursion.

  1. On a road trip, Aryeh thinks it is OK to be a terrible person.  At one point, we bought some gas at an Exxon station (sigh) because the only other station was a Chevron (sigh).  We feel like we might have picked the lesser of two evils.  Still Aryeh and Dovi would not let me purchase a chocolate bar that was not fairtrade.  So, I guess we couldn’t be completely terrible poeple.
  2. We are absolutely out of element driving down the Texas highway in our Mazda 5.  A large pick up truck would be the only ‘real’ way to socially be comfortable as we drive on the Texas roads.  We might feel like we fit in a little more if we were driving a RV or an 18 wheeler :), although maybe not.
  3. Baird is a well kept dive with nothing but friendly people and tons of antique shops that were mostly closed.  We found ourselves wanting to remove an open flag when we parked at a cute store and it was closed.  We didn’t do it! 😉
  4. Also in Baird, we found an automotive parts store that also happened to be the town’s pawn shop, hardware store, cast iron cookware, gold and silver buyer, and finally real estate office.
  5. Aryeh’s loud burp startled Dovi and I; his burp was nearly worthy of causing an accident.
  6. In Texas, we found a lot more RV stores and less adult novelty stores being advertised along the roads.  We are wondering what that might mean.
  7. Ann Patchett obviously did not spend much time in Baltimore as the ending of the book Run demonstrates.
  8. Aryeh and Dovi were perplexed by waiting for four minutes behind a man who was buying expensive water and trying to choose which chewing tobacco to purchase.  Sounds a lot like people who purchase a chocolate bar to go with their diet soda.
  9. Rest stops are always worthy of rating.  Some are clean, some are artistic, and some are really gross.
  10. Hunger made us notice some things from fields growing food to Noodle Dome Road.
  11. We noted in our notes from yesterday that the signs that say Drive Friendly made us snicker, but as we are wrapping up our time in Texas, we want to acknowledge that Texans do, in fact, drive friendly even at a brisk 90 mph.   (The speed limit was 80 mph – wow.)
  12. Time changes are part of traveling.

Looking forward to seeing what today will bring.

With light and blessings,

Chava (and the boys)


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