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Posts Tagged ‘Being Present’

(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Day 28 - HineiniNearly every day, I take time to go inward through my journaling, meditation, and chanting practices, I often focus on remaining present. Breathing deeply, focusing inward, and ultimately figuring out where I am truly meant to be. This isn’t always easy because in truth I am also a bit scattered.

With Rosh HaShana on the horizon, this reflection seems more poignant than ever. Learning from those moments that I allow myself to go inward, I know that I need to navigate my life differently then I did this past year so . The goal is to ultimately show up for others as needed, but also honor my own needs.  It’s time for me to prioritize all the moving parts of my life while also creating boundaries around the things that I hold sacred.

May I always be present – not only for my family, my friends, and my world, but also for myself.

Hineini. Here I am. I am present. I am exactly where I should be.

Onward with love, light, & authenticity,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

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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 . . . .]

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

When I think of being whole, I keep wondering if it is time for me to eat more consciously.  What if I just started with three ideas?

  1. Saying blessings before and after each chow time.

    Blessings before eating: When we say traditional blessings before we eat, we are noting how each bit was provided for us.  Did it grow on a tree or in the ground? Was it a baked good or hardy drink? There are a few other blessings, but the key here is that we can take note of what we are eating and how it was created.

    Blessings after eating: These blessings are a way to give gratitude to the God, the universe, or perhaps you are simply taking a moment to acknowledge how fortunate you are to have food in this moment.

  2. Being fully present with each and every bite. Can you imagine putting your phone down, closing your computer, or not trying to multitask while eating? As someone who has a choking disorder, I am often aware that if I would focus on each bite and not on talking while eating, I would avoid seriously challenging moments.  But even without a choking disorder, most of us could enjoy the tastes, textures, and looks of the food so much more if we weren’t eating without being focused elsewhere.
  3. Eating foods that are better for your body. My goal here is to invite you to pay attention to the foods you are putting to your lips. Most of us know that there are foods that taste good, but aren’t good for our digestive systems or maybe our waistlines. Sometimes we eat foods that we love the taste of, but may cause us to feel bloated. Why eat things that are not good for our bodies? Just wondering out loud. (Over the coming days, I will become more specific with this.)

Let’s face it, food is a central part of our lives. Our lives can be healthier just for managing our eating choices better.  There is lots to consider before we eat. What we are eating? How we are eating? When we are eating?

May each of us find more meaningful ways to engage in eating.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Oranges anyone?

Oranges anyone?

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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 . . . .]

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

Honoring where I am as a human being is really important. With that in mind, My blog will invest the next block of time by looking at how I am trying to take care of my body more.  Since I only have one body and my intention is to spend the second half of my life doing more for my body (and spirit too). My hope is that you will be inspired to join me in this journey by joining me or creating your own plan.  (Note: I do not know exactly what each step will look like, so if you have an idea. . .share and perhaps I will follow. :))

As I was wrapping up last night’s Omer blog http://t.co/KdoCoP9WB3, I became keenly aware that while it fabulous to move forward and heal from the tough experiences of the past, it is probably more important to remember that I have a precious vessel that needs some tending too! Every one of us has a body that needs our love and care.

I know that I am not alone when I say that I have had a lot of false starts in caring for my body. I have worked towards making healthier life choices, moving more, eating better, and taking the time to breathe more deeply.  AND I have had long periods of time when I have been super at doing all that I need to do to be a healthier person; I have also had long periods of time when I have neglected my body (and my soul too).

On Saturday morning I wrote the following on Facebook, “Take time today & every day…..UNPLUG from the world & spend sometime with yourself!”

As soon as I posted that, I went outside and took an hour plus walk with the dog.  During that time, I chanted, I listened to the birds chirp, and felt the wind blow around the lake. Loveliness.  I unplugged and took time to move my body. Later I went for a long drive with my oldest son and spend the afternoon with my dear friends.  For those hours, I was essentially unplugged.  It felt nice, but I should have done a little better better at unplugging and being more present.

This morning when I took my morning walk, I left my phone behind.  I did bring my son’s phone with me just in case I needed to reach someone in the event of an emergency. By not having my phone, I didn’t have the usual distractions of my smart phone. Again. . .loveliness.  And this time, I pushed myself to walk a little farther and move a little faster.

Saying that it is time for me to actively love my body and then doing the work is no joke. If I don’t push myself to move with purpose/intention, I won’t have the opportunity to work my heart a little harder and to care for myself a little better.  In order for me to have a healthy life, I have to exercise, eat right, sleep enough, develop lasting relationships and do whatever it takes to care for myself in the best way possible.  I am too awesome to lose sight of what I want in life.

I love life. I value the world around me. I adore my family and my friends. Taking care of me is a non-negotiable.

How about you? What are you doing to make sure that you are as healthy as possible? I’d love to hear.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Body Image

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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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Middah (character trait) focus: Hineini (Here I am)

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 me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Chava with her first fruits

When we first came to Tucson, we lived in an amazing house with one beautiful orange tree (and 6 stupid ornamental orange trees).  The night we realized that a freeze was coming our way, the boys and I picked all of the oranges we could reach and then gave them to friends, shelters, etc; we didn’t want to lose any of the oranges if we could help.  Our goal was to share with others and to save the oranges from a frozen life.  Our goal is always to share with others.  Hineini, here I am to serve you.  Our tradition teaches that lesson over and over again; on a subconscious level I seem to have embraced that philosophy in nearly ever area of my life. My joy comes from being present for others, the environment, and even that which I yet to understand.

Hineini (Here I am) – May each and every one of us find the way to impact the lives of others as we navigate through life.

best 2 helpersFB

Aryeh and Dovi

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Starting today: 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 me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Van Gogh

Through my writing/blogging practice, I will use the coming days to explore what it means to become  fully present in my life.  In no more than 180 words a day, I will weave together my personal insights about a series of middot, positive character traits. Each middah will become a tool towards my spiritual rebirth so that I may ultimately do “great things” and be a better person.

My teacher Rabbi Shefa Gold created a touching chant http://www.rabbishefagold.com/BuildingLove.html that reminds me to remain present as I journey through life remembering that all that I do is ultimately giving of myself for love of life, godliness, or G!d.

There I will give my love.  (Songs of Songs 7:13

With each step, may I have what it takes to become more present in the world.

 

 

 

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Shemati. . . .

 

I used to love the word Shemati, I hear you. . .I’ve heard you. . . I am with you. . .

Chava'sEar

Recently I fell out of love with the word that had once centered me and helped me feel like I was totally present in a conversation that needed no response.  And then came a day, when I really wanted to be heard. I needed my voice to be heard, to be felt and to be listened to.  My feelings mattered; my thoughts were important; and my wisdom was worthy of considering.  And somehow I felt too alone to believe the one word that had once been dear to my heart.

When I said “Shemati”, I was saying I hear you; I am listening.  I meant it with all my heart. . .Shemati.  And in truth, I believe that others meant it and probably still do mean it when they say the word after I have spoken.

Still I am realizing that  something changed. . .

The day came when my heart and my body yearned to be heard deeply.  I needed my tears to be heard; I needed my heart beat to be felt.  I needed to be heard in a way that needed more than the word Shemati.

I used to feel that whatever I was saying was being heard and felt deeply. When others said the word Shemati in response to my words, I felt heard.  And when I said that word as a response to listening to another soul, it meant that I was being fully present in the conversation.

Becoming challenged by the word Shemati probably did not happen overnight.  I believe the first time I struggled with the word was the day someone kept trying to prove a point they were making.  At first I listened and I understood what they were saying even if I didn’t agree.  Each time I said Shemati they became more irate.  The fact that I heard them did not mean I agreed to what they were saying; it meant that I was respectfully listening.

Following that conversation, I realized that I was a bit uncomfortable with a word that was once full of positive meaning.  😦 I loved connecting with people by saying “I have heard you” or I am listening.  I loved feeling the warmth of that connection regardless of what the conversation was.

And then there was a day that I felt painfully alone and I needed to be comforted.  The word Shemati somehow reinforced how alone I really was.

I have grown challenged by the word that had once resonated deeply for me.

Even as I struggle with the word Shemati; I know that it is my job to find the power behind that one word once again.

Listening to others and really hearing what they are saying is the gift we give not only the person who is sharing, but ourselves too.

Debarti – I have spoken

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