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Posts Tagged ‘Believe’

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

Yesterday, I spoke about trusting and listening to the inner voice that guides you.  As challenging as that can be, it is also so very necessary if you want to live life to the fullest. http://t.co/gIyfSxKvSh

Today, I want to take that one step further. While we can all choose to listen or not to listen to the messages in our head and/or in front of us, we truly have to be able to put ourselves out there, to trust that we matter.

As a young girl, my life didn’t matter; my opinions weren’t important to anyone in my daily life. But somewhere a long the way, there were people in my life that heard me.  They guided me towards seeing myself as special or worthy in some small way. http://wp.me/pthnB-xA I am not sure if I would have found my voice without them; I probably would have never felt like I mattered without them letting me know that I did.

At the same time, I had to learn how to take a step forward, to become ‘safe’ within my being. I had to find a way to take care of myself and to connect with the world around me. And the good news is that I did!

I became a writer, a teacher, a friend, and someone who made a difference to others.  I learned to step outside of my little cocoon, to leave the wounds behind, to live with a smile on my face, and to feel contentment deep inside my heart.

So while listening to that voice inside matters, it isn’t enough. For me, I had to be willing to take one step and then another. I had to learn to trust myself and believe that I was capable of taking care of myself and others in the world. I am so grateful that I did.

“Hold Out Your Hand”

Let’s forget the world for a while
fall back and back
into the hush and holy
of now

are you listening? This breath
invites you
to write the first word
of your new story

your new story begins with this:
You matter

you are needed—empty
and naked
willing to say yes
and yes and yes

Do you see
the sun shines, day after day
whether you have faith
or not
the sparrows continue
to sing their song
even when you forget to sing
yours

stop asking: Am I good enough?
Ask only
Am I showing up
with love?

Life is not a straight line
it’s a downpour of gifts, please—
hold out your hand
Written by: Julia Fehrenbacher

Thank you for joining me on My Journey Towards Wholeness.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Look what I found on my journal page as I was writing this morning. :) Every moment can be the start of something great!

Look what I found on my journal page as I was writing this morning. 🙂 Every moment can be the start of something great!

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking,
what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.
What I want and what I fear.

~Joan Didion~

Writing is the way I come to understand the deepest part of me.

My son Dovi often looks at me when I am cranky and asks have I written lately.  Usually when he asks, the answer is ‘no’, hence the reason for my crankiness.

Lately, I haven’t been writing nearly enough.  Life’s challenges have been overwhelming and I haven’t wanted to note it in any way; I wanted to hide my thoughts from myself.  The good news is that this time, my lack of writing was not a sign of darkness; I was simply trusting the silence and allowing myself a little space from knowing navigating the intensity of my soul.

After flirting (in my head) with some new realizations about life and friends last night, I woke up ready to journal for the first time in over two weeks.  While I have been blogging and editing some of my writing for what will be a future book, I wasn’t journaling.  For me journaling is the most intimate form of self-expression that I can experience. In my journals, I have shared thoughts and feelings that I would rarely (if ever) say out-loud.  I use my stream of consciousness writing to unlock pain, process happiness, hope without judgement, and believe in endless possibilities.

In my journal, I reach for the stars and navigate pain; I allow myself to feel deeply.

This morning’s journaling practice woke up my spirit and calmed my sense of overwhelm.

While I often feel like I am treading water or peddling backwards, today I realized that I am always moving! I NEVER give up!!!  As long as I keep moving, I am doing the holy work of living!

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Anxious and Humbled
How can that be?
Really?!?!
That’s me

What's beyond this bend?  Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman  Jamaica

What’s beyond this bend?
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman
Jamaica

 

Transition has been happening since last December when my full time job went to half-time without benefits.  And then again in June when my half-time position went to unemployment.  Along the way, I keep moving forward, finding part time gigs and navigating in the only way I know how.  The good news is that I am navigating.

The moment anxiety starts to rear it’s ugliness to me, a friend or an acquaintance show up and offer me tangible help, a way to move forward.  On the moments, that I have felt most afraid this year, a door has been opened for me.  Sometimes it happens in the way of a job, a call, or a gift.  I seem to be surrounded by people that are trying to make my life easier for not only me, but my sons too.  Most recently, some of my closest friends got together and convinced me to start a Go Fund Me drive gofund.me/g8o220; never in my wildest dreams did I think people would reach out to help me.  But they did.  Friends and strangers alike are trying to help my family move back to the East Coast.  I am feeling surrounded by those that are propelling me to a better place.

What’s astounding is that so many folks have stepped forward and are nudging me to a place of healing; financially and spiritually I am being supported.  People from my past and my present gave; People that I love dearly and people that I don’t know gave.  My friends are reaching out to their friends and sharing my story. Sometimes though, the anxiety wells up in front of me and I can’t believe believe both how far I have come and still how far I have to go; it can be daunting.  And yet, I am not alone, I have beautiful friends that are trying to making it possible for me to move forward.  I am breathing deeply and praying that I can hang on for the ride.

A warmth spreads over me when I reflect on the myriad of ways that I am receiving loving treasures.  So many have given and offered their sweetness. Some have given without being asked over the past many months.  Some are calling me and reminding me that I am loved.  One friend send me a box of amazing food goodies and another friend send me awesome fair-trade chocolate from London.  My soul is being nourished in all ways that count.  My hope, my prayer is that I am truly worthy of the trust and love I am receiving.

On Thursday, I was feeling overwhelmingly vulnerable.  And within moments of being completely overwhelmed, a friend called from Oregon just to let me know he was thinking of me and then another friend wrote and shared this poem to me.

Keep on truckin’, Mama.
Know that you are loved
by sooo many
by the Moon
and Sun and Stars
by the Universe
by God

You are light
a special spark
let it burn low for a little while
let life feed the fire for you gently
follow the wind east
pace yourself
breathe

you who give so much
receive
and be peaceful.

Written by Melissa Schaffer

What’s beautiful about my life is that somehow it works out.  Somehow the sun always rises in the east in the same way that somehow I always land on my feet and discover a better place.  So while I am not sure how moving back to the East Coast will work, I have to believe it will.  I have to do the best I can and tread beyond the bend.  Wondering what beauty I will find as I emerge?

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Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 19 Elul or 11 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

~ ~ ~

“Find beauty and gifts in simple moments, but acknowledge the entire picture too.”
Quote by Me

~ ~ ~

All of us have default responses that show how we walk through the world.  As someone who has been been beaten in a multitude of ways both violently and emotionally, I choose to see the world as beautiful and to celebrate life at every given opportunity.  Life is hard, but amazing moments happen with each passing day.

Reality is what it is and I am choosing to be transparent about what we are currently experiencing.  At the same time, please know that many blessings surround my family.  Yes, times are painfully difficult, but drowning is not an option.  My sons and I have chosen to thrive by diving into the water, swimming as best we can, and sometimes treading so that we can stay afloat.  There is no question, we will make it to shore.

Reality first:

  1. On December 16th, my youngest son’s 17th birthday, I was told that my job would go to half-time and that I would lose all benefits unless I could afford COBRA.  I couldn’t, so not only did I lose half of my salary, I lost health insurance and the ability to take care of my nearly adult children or myself.
  2. In June, after I had learned to manage on half-salary by supplementing my income, I lost my half-time position.
  3. June is too late to find a professional position in my field; now I need to wait until next winter if I choose to stay in my field.
  4. I struggle to afford even the most basic needs and sometimes I can’t even afford them.
  5. My Temple (as well as many spiritual communities) did not pay into unemployment insurance, so I have no benefits that are often available to those that have lost their jobs.  (Note: If you are a leader or a member of a spiritual community, be part of helping the community navigate good and ethical decision making.  Unemployment should be a given-not a loop hole.)
  6. I am a single mother who is barely supporting my sons on whatever I make.
  7. My family moved to Tucson and left many of our closest friends for a job that left us stranded.  Jewish professionals do not make enough to easily save the kind of money that would allow us to move back east.

I am sorry that the congregation I worked for is struggling; I am also tremendously sorry that I live in fear of homelessness because of their choices.

Life is hard, really hard. And the good news is that I get to decide how I will walk through this journey.  And during this weekend alone, I found so many awesome gifts:

  1. Aryeh found my dog playing with my thumb drive; I thought some important documents had been lost forever.  Now I have some back-ups to do.  Can anyone help me create a cloud that can contain all my computer documents?  Unfortunately I do have some significant limitiations. :/
  2. Loved when my friends shared with me what was good about their week before Shabbat when I asked; Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with so many folks in our lives.
  3. The boys and I had a simple salad for Shabbat dinner; we loved just being together.
  4. After dinner, Aryeh and I taught Dovi to play backgammon!!! And he actually won one game.
  5. Saturday morning, I visited my 98 year old friend and took her to the DeGrazia Museum in the Sun. While it wasn’t a total success, I did get my friend out for awhile.  AND I can’t wait to go back by myself later this week.
  6. The DeGrazia Museum is a hidden free treasure for all visiting or living in Tucson; go when you can and be sure to leave a donation.
  7. Aryeh and I had an amazing time at our friends house; we swam, ate good food; and laughed a lot!
  8. Had an hour conversation with one of my closest friends in Tucson.  (Wow, Tucson really has given me some close friends.)
  9. Another friend found me a great High Holiday position in NY, but it ended up not making sense to take it.  But when the offer came in, it brought tears to my eyes and made me feel a little more worthy than I have been feeling.

Continuously Reflection and gratitude:

  1. I have had some amazing time to think about my values and what I want to accomplish during the second half of my life.  What do I really want to do? Where do I really want to be? Who do I want in my life? I want a life that includes thoughtful people doing things that jazz their soul; I want to be that person too.
  2. A good friend helped me sustain myself by giving me a job; another one helped me find more work when the first job stopped producing enough hours for me.
  3. There are many friends that keep calling, sending notes, and believing in me.  They support me when I am feeling good, when I am devastated, and when I am just ok.  My most beautiful friends see me as I am, positive (for the most part) and navigating tough times; they support me by being there and letting me know that they are!
  4. Since December, I have been a caregiver to those that are aging, in medical crisis, and/or dying.  Helping each individual and sometimes their families as they navigate some of life’s hardest times has been an amazing experience for me; I believe that I am making people’s lives a little easier when I am their caregiver.
  5. When we really needed help, financial help has shown up on three different occasions since December.  Still every month since December has been terrifying.
  6. AND last week a dear friend offered me her house in Charlottesville, VA; I am seriously thinking about trying to get there.  I am wondering how to afford getting there and/or the storage costs of that transition.
  7. Two friends offered to drive a U-Haul truck cross country so that I wouldn’t have to pay movers.
  8. Countless friends have offered me real solutions so that homelessness wouldn’t happen; one challenge to many of the solutions is that we have two dogs that for now we are choosing to keep.  They have already been homeless in their lives; I don’t want them to experience that fate again.  (Besides when our newest pup became a problem this summer, we couldn’t find a home for her. Sigh.)
  9. A fabulous congregation in Boulder offered me a position that I’d love to take, but it is half-time.  After the holidays, perhaps I can find another half-time position to compliment the first position.  They have a temp Director of Education there for the next couple of months.

What can you do to help?

  1. Visualize we are good and pray for us to find the sustenance that will help us thrive.
  2. Give me a job.  I am good with people in all sorts of settings.
  3. If you hear of a job that you think would be good for my soul. Let me know.  I am looking for either a career position in Jewish Education or Social Action work AND I am also open to doing a job in a great environment that is a 35-40 hour week job that will allow me the time to write and do Social Action when I am not working.
  4. If you are a doctor or dentist living in Tucson and you are willing to be there for our family for lower or no costs, let me know.
  5. Keep your eyes open. . . .I am considering asking for concrete help that will allow us to go to the east coast.
  6. Light a candle and visualize us spreading light and being full of light.

The good news is that I believe all will be ok.  I am patient and hopeful; the right door is emerging as I type :).  Today’s text response to a local friend that had asked me how I am was –“up & down. . . .but mostly navigating with a positive outlook.”  This is how I walk through life.  I believe that blessings surround me and I pray that all of us will remain healthy (medical emergencies are not an option).  I am actively engaged in living positively as we also play the waiting game for a good job/position that will help sustain my family.

May light surround our family and flow through our family now and always; may that light help make the world a better place.

With blessings & light,
Chava

 

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Build a Healthy Foundation

Yoga gives me many of the tools I need to create a stronger and healthier yesod (foundation).

Yoga gives me many of the tools I need to create a stronger and healthier yesod (foundation).

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.

During much of my life, I wanted to be fortified by people that could comfort me and protect me; I wanted to be surrounded by a cocoon of  beloveds.

Today as I was reflecting on the what it means to build a healthy foundation, I realized that each individual needs to independently build their own strong yesod, foundation; only by nurturing yourself can you have the power to go from slavery to freedom ultimately as a means to sustain and help one to become their highest self.  While each of us can gain support from those that surround us, we need to do some incredible work ourselves.

Building a healthy foundation means:

Breathe deeply, move frequently.
Nurture your soul, fuel your body.
Believe in yourself, reach for your dreams.
Do your part to repair the world and do it with all your heart.
Give yourself space to feel and to be.

Surround yourself with people that accept who you are.
Laugh and cry as you are called to do.
Listen to the words and the space between the words.
Love and be loved.
Trust in the universe and in the Godliness that is.

Inspiration for this blog came from Alden Solovy, a writer, a liturgist, a poet, and a Facebook friend.  Here is a link to his blog in which he honors Day 37 of the Omer http://tobendlight.com/2012/04/15/ethics/.

 

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

Middah (character trait) focus: Believe

 

Sometimes we need a reminder that we have what it takes to move forward. . .so I made my simple memento :)

Sometimes we need a reminder that we have what it takes to move forward. . .so I made my simple memento 🙂

Sometimes life gives you more than you think you can handle.  As an optimist, I often find the gifts in the challenges, but lately it is a little easier said than done.  I have blocks of time when the struggle feels a little more scary than I can handle.  And knowledge that the bills are barely getting paid is overwhelming.  Yet I am also lucky, my dark moods rarely stay that way for too long.  Mostly I believe that the sun will come out soon and life will get easier.  Seeing reminders that foster positive feelings can definitely be a good thing.

Last spring was a little rough.  Ironically at the the time, I did not know that things would get even more difficult – in retrospect that was probably a good thing.  Anyway one day during that time period, a friend of mine called and asked me what do I need as I walk through all that is going on.  My response was courage, strength, and hope; and just like that the words appeared.  So I used a postcard from my favorite cafe/bar, Cafe Passe, and I made a little memento as a reminder of what I need to walk through life.

May I always have the courage to do what I need to do, the strength to move forward, and hope as I navigate this journey.  With each step I take may I believe in myself and the universe; may this be true for you and your journey too!

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Sometimes life can feel brutal with all the relentless curve balls.

My life has been a little too full of darkness; it is a reality.  Yet, I have always chosen to find a way to find sparks of light as I have dealt with the trials and tribulations (even the earth-shattering ones).  The bottom-line is that I have never let the darkness or hard times shut me down for long, instead I use many different tools that have helped me to navigate since childhood – here are a few:

  1. Smile – Smiling helps me feel more centered and it calms my spirit too.  Smiles also make those around you feel more at ease which ultimately helps you.  While a smile can’t erase the challenges/pain you may be feeling, it can ease some of the sting.
  2. Notice the angels that come your way – When you least expect it people show up in your lives to offer a moment of comfort.  Sitting in ICU is always rough; losing relationships makes us sad; and moving cross country only to become unemployed isn’t ok.  Find the sparks of light in each painful moment.  I will never forget the friends that made sure we had food even though one of Aryeh’s hospitals was over 1.5 or more hours from where our friends lived.  Or the friend that shared with me a song he wrote to help heal my breaking heart.  And of course, as I am facing unemployment now, my friends are rallying to help me land on my feet.  There are always angels that show up to help you navigate even if they are only there for a moment in time.
  3. Inch by inch – When the to do list overwhelms you, just do one little thing at a time. Try not to get lost in looking at the big picture and all that you have to do to move forward.  Always remember to keep moving forward.
  4. Allow yourself the space to mourn or to feel sadness – Just because I move through life with a smile on my face, doesn’t mean I don’t take time to cry or to scream. . . I just try to give myself the space to do what I need to do.  And then as much as possible, I allow myself to find small sparks of light that will ultimately help me through the darkness.
  5. Quiet time is a good thing, but don’t shut the world out for too long – Most of us need to be surrounded by silence at some point in time, but remember that ‘it really does take a village’ to navigate life.   Let the right people impact your world for good when you are ready to come out of your cave.
  6. Don’t allow those around you to bring you down unintentionally – When Aryeh, my son, was critically ill for a few years, I had two amazing friends that tried to connect with me every day, the only problem was that the connection was not always good for me.  They wanted to know the play by play happenings, but they didn’t come to see us; they supported us with their love and even financial support, but it didn’t help me to share what was going on each and every day.  I also grew weary of hearing about life outside our world.  I just didn’t know if our lives would ever be happy and healthy again.  So at some point, I let go of the daily connections again until they worked for me.  And the good news is that not only did Aryeh heal, but our friendships survived too.
  7. Say what you need to say – Ask for what you need and set the parameters of how human interactions work.  When we are in crisis, we have the fundamental right to set the environment that works for us.  Hopefully our loved ones can honor that.
  8. Take time to write/journal – Writing is the way I come to understand what is truly on my mind and in my heart; writing helps me process the world around me.
  9. Sleep – You can’t take care of yourself if you don’t find the time to sleep.  If you need help, ask; there are medical and natural remedies that can make a difference.
  10. Believe that all will work out in some way – In the midst of a crisis, we don’t always think that things will get easier or work out.  And sometimes they don’t work out as we want them too, but in time new norms evolve and healing begins.  While we don’t always heal from the pain, we do often find new ways to thrive.

These tools allow me to walk through the world as I do, my hope is that one of these ideas impacts your life for good.  Let me know what helps you maneuver life’s challenges?

Remember, if you look real hard, you might be able to find the light in nearly every dark moment.

December 24

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