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Posts Tagged ‘blessed’

Prologue: I wrote this for a Sisterhood Friday Service at my Temple a few weeks ago. With each word came a deep awareness. Life is hard and yet as long as I can see the possibilities, I can navigate life’s many moving parts. AND I am blessed with both beautiful days and challenging days that lead to better days.   While sad moments crush my spirit, those moments pass allowing me to embrace blessings, light, and love.

~ ~ ~

Hiking Boots

Moving Forward. . . .Always

Awakening

Opening my eyes I found:
my spirit soaring.
my heart beating strongly.
my entire being at peace.

The universe has been waiting for me.

With the patience of a beloved (lover), she kept calling me from the distance and waiting. . . always waiting.
Beckoning me to breathe a little more deeply
Inspiring me to honor my own rhythm
Asking me to listen to the silence
Empowering me to release what no longer serves me

And I listened. Now I am ready to show up.

Hineini, Here I am!

What does it mean to be here? Right here?

The answer is simple and yet not simple. I am called to show up with a full heart and a full spirit. I am called to serve the best way I know how.

What does it mean for me to say Hineini, I am here? It means that I do what I can to make this world a beautiful place. I try to be authentic and loving. I try to put a smile on my face even when my heart is breaking.

It also means I hold the door open for the stranger. And I give all that I can to someone who is in need. Sometimes it means that I stand up strong for what I believe in and sometimes I remain silent because it isn’t the right time to speak my truth or share my thoughts.

Hineini, I am here. My job is to love humanity and to do my best to add a little light to our world.

Will you join me on this journey? What will you do to make this world just a little better for someone else, maybe a stranger, maybe a beloved?

Hineini, I am here. Are you?

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Feb 2015  Walking from behind

I don’t think I am alone when I say there are so many things I used to fear and that there are many things that I still fear. . .

I used to fear being destitute with all that that would mean. But bankruptcy in the 1990s and a significant job loss in 2014 didn’t destroy my spirit. While both experiences were anxiety inducing, I found ways to change the tide and become grounded again. I learned to live better within my means and to trust the universe a bit more. Things are still not easy, but for the most part life financially work s (except when it doesn’t). My family really has what it needs.

I used to fear losing my husband and being alone to raise my sons.  Divorce after a long separation ended up empowering me to live a more authentic life and provided me with wings to fly.

I used to fear being traumatized by violence, but I not only survived serious childhood abuse, but I survived rape. Some may even say I found a way to not only thrive but to to help others navigate to a safer place whenever possible.

I used to fear loss, but since I live life as fully as I do. I find myself loving intensely and losing those I love sometimes through death, sometimes through abandonment, and sometimes through the realities of time and space. With each loss, I take the good memories and create new ways of living life more fully in the wake of those losses.  And I know that while the deep sadness may always inhabit a part of my heart, the ‘dance of life’ continues.

I have always feared for my children’s lives. After nine miscarriages and devastating illnesses, I still do. AND that doesn’t mean I allow the fear to infiltrate the way I live. Instead I open up my arms and reach for life with the many moving parts that that entails. And I (mostly) trust that my sons will take their own journeys.

As Émile Zola said, If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud!”

I know that I am blessed. Regardless of what has transpired in my life, I find the inner strength  to emerge as the woman I am. On more than one occasion my friends have referred to me a warrior. While I love that term, the term spiritual warrior resonates more deeply for me. All that I do, I do because of love.

Now for honesty, I have always emerged from fear. Always. BUT that doesn’t mean that I do not live in fear.

This past week, I have faced being stalked and feeling threatened by three neighbors. I have been forced to explore what I think about guns, how to handle the myriad of views about what is happening to me, and how to move forward.

Over the last week, I have had people tell me that I have asked for the violent energy by living my life as I do and I have had to wonder if maybe there was truth to what was being said. In the end, I am furious with those that think I should silence the way I live. That is not the world I live in; that is not the world I want to live in.

I am a writer, a protester, and an activist; I am a woman, an educator, and a dreamer. There is so much work to be done and I can not do it by walking in silence.

The man who now sits in the White House and surrounds himself with darkness needs to be held accountable for the way he walks in the world and the trauma he is causing humankind. So, while I am afraid of my neighbors, I have work to do.

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red yahrzeit candle26 years ago, I buried my mother. I remember one relative telling me she didn’t understand why I was so sad, but I was. As tough as my relationship with my mother was, I knew that once I buried her, I would never be able to make it better.

Over the last 26 years, I have faced some of the horrific memories and found ways to heal. The work is relentless, but the benefits are great. I am blessed to have found ways to navigate the darkness and friends that will listen to me on the rare days when the weight of my pain is too heavy to carry. The good news is that those days are few and far between.

For me, I have found that healing has happened on so many levels. I no longer feel deep anger or sadness on a regular basis. Time has been good to me. Sharing my story has helped me detach and move forward. I can now go months without thinking of the impact of her choices or feeling a physical reaction to my memories of her.

Through her actions, my mother taught me how to be a loving soul and a good mother. I knew I never wanted to mother like her or to lose control of myself to addiction. While I am not perfect, I am good enough and sometimes I am even good!

Changing my name so many years ago was the beginning of my healing journey. Writing, chanting, and drumming helped me dig deeper. Healing from domestic violence does not happen without taking many deep breaths, releasing the tears, and even allowing the nightmares to visit each night.  You have to go through the pain in order to find a softer landing, a better place.

Tonight I am missing the possibilities that were lost upon my mother’s death, but I am also feeling immense gratitude that I am exactly where I am. I may be sad in this moment, but it is the sadness that comes each yahrzeit (anniversary of a death) and each Mother’s Day.

The tears are cleansing. My heart is no longer broken. And I am breathing deeply.

Sadness happens. Healing happens too.

 

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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 . . . .]

Honoring My Bruised and Fragile Heart

Picture by Chava

Picture by ME

Life is good. Really good. My sons are growing into awesome men. My dog still loves to herd. Over the last year, I have been held and supported at each and every step I have taken.  I have a job that I love now. . .one that I am hoping to continue in some capacity as time moves forward. And in less than two weeks, my sons and I are moving to Houston so I can begin an amazing new position.

So. . .while my world is blessed and full, I also have some shadows that keep me stretching and growing. As someone who honors the intensity that is within me, I have to acknowledge that there is so much on my mind at any given point.  I grapple with past hurt, deep feelings, and the state of our world. I struggle with wanting to me wiser, healthier, more beautiful, and most importantly impactful to the world I live. I wonder if I will ever be enough, do enough, and learn to articulate my thoughts better than I do now. Sometimes I simply feel bruised.

We all have so much to learn. I am certain that I am not the only person out there that wants to become a better version of myself. After a lifetime of struggles, there are parts of me that are wounded. So not only do I manage my body, my mind, and my soul, I also navigate the fear of the unknown. Will I have what I need in the coming months? home/food, health insurance, necessities, a way to help my kids with their education.

The beautiful part of my life is that I ALWAYS land on my feet – ALWAYS! But the years of challenges don’t go away just because things have ultimately worked. There are moments that I feel the pain of my heart being stomped on, remember seeing my child in ICU multiple times, or felt the wrath of someone’s anger. There are arguments and challenges that I remember clearly and moments when I felt silenced even though my voice should have mattered.

Part of my ability to live in a place of joy and inner peace is that I also recognize the dark moments. I allow myself to remember, to feel, to cry, and to mourn. I also celebrate that whatever happened to me didn’t permanently hurt my spirit. All that I went through fertilized my foundation so that I could become the person I am.

Each and every one of us have done a lot of work to grow into the people we are.  How beautiful is that?!?!

Today, is one of those days that I value who I am and how I got here, but in this moment, I am remembering and mourning some of the losses that got me here.

May we be blessed to live a life that leaves us celebrating the gifts even as we sometimes feel fragile.

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 . . . .]

TyeDye6

Honoring Our Many Moving Parts

Being a mother has been the most amazing gift in my life. And yet Mother’s Day feels arbitrary in every way. Being a mother is part of my entire being and so is being a woman, a Jew, a writer. . . .I don’t need to be celebrated on any day, my soul needs to be loved every day.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by love – not only from my sons, but from so many in my world. I am a blessed person!

Besides being a mother, a woman, a Jew, and a writer, I am also a teacher, a friend, a sister; and I am a student, a dreamer, and an activist.  And. . . . The list goes on and on; all of us have many roles in our lives. I am far from unique.

I’d like all of us to be appreciated for the whole people that we are. And for me, I want to be accepted for the intense, passionate, goofy human being that I can be. I want those in my life to smile when they think of the person I am, laughing at my Chava-isms or my love of tie dye is fine too.

May we all of us feel loved and supported – ALWAYS.  May we nurture one another’s spirits.

Today is double chai (double life). Somehow that seems totally appropriate as a day to honor the people that each of us are!

Sending 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 . . . .]

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

Sometimes when you listen to that quiet voice inside,
the one that is speaking so softly, you can hear the truth.
Q
uote by Chava Gal-Or

Over the last several years, I have been listening to the quiet voices in my head.  The voice that doesn’t always allow me to follow what is expected of me by others.  That is a choice that I have made.

The journey wasn’t easy at first, but now, it is – mostly. I live with integrity and I trust my inner wisdom.  Life can’t get much better than that. But in the midst of some of the greatest challenges, I found myself questioning my values and questioning what I believed.  As someone who wanted to be liked, it was painful to see that some people didn’t like the transparent me. Learning to honor myself hasn’t been easy, but in the end it has become a non-negotiable.

Over the next few weeks, I will be able to share some of what has been happening since I have grown as I have.  Much good has come my way since I have chosen to listen to my inner voices.

Living authentically has given me wings to fly and a spirit to soar. I am blessed to feel free within my being. The best gift of all is now I surround myself with people that see me as I truly am.

Facebook message that greeted me this morning: "This is for you. May you always hear the music and the Still Small Voice within it."

Facebook message that greeted me this morning: “This is for you. May you always hear the music and the Still Small Voice within it.”

Receiving this message is confirmation of how far I have come in the last few years.

May we all have the ability to listen to the voices inside our heads.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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rawness

Tree Pose180778_10150097427331448_648766447_6518118_7676053_s

feeling the rhythm of life
deeply loving the beautiful connections
surrounding me with each step
my amazing sons, my loving friends
I am blessed

loving the cardinals, the blue jays, the robins
their energy helps my spirit to soar
the frozen earth and icy winds
keep me grounded with each step
I am blessed

writing, working, thriving
breathing deeply, believing all is good
finding balance, reaching for the stars
my transparent soul is alive
I am blessed

moving forward, towards the unknown
taking one step, then another
trusting the universe
living with the rawness of me
I am blessed

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Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I would be staying awake all night so that I could care for someone other than family or friends.  Nor did I ever expect that I would lose half of my income and my health insurance for any reason at all.  I have always been blessed with fulfilling work that compensates me.   So it goes. . . .

Twists and turns can often accompany life’s journeys.

Today, I am working nearly full-time as a care-giver and another 20 hours a week as a Director of Education at a temple. I am doing what I need to do to care for my family.  And through it all, I love how I can touch someone’s life and make a difference for good.  All it take is just a gentle touch, a helpful hand, or a listening ear.  It really is that simple.

caregiving480-blogSpan
While I could choose to be resentful that I moved to Tucson for a position that now does not sustain my family, I am working on navigating away from that kind of energy; it doesn’t serve me well.  I have a soul to protect, two sons to support, and lots of holy work to do.  I am blessed even as I struggle.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog, Hineini – Here I Am,  http://wp.me/pthnB-2a.  Acknowledging that I am now here to serve others and to be more present in this world was important to me at the time.  Even now, I find myself excited that I am on this earth to make a difference for others either as a Jewish educator or a care-giver,  as a mother or a friend or as a human being.  Hineini.

None of this is simple, but I am figuring out how the next leg of my journey will look.  I now have a chance to reflect on what is important to me, what do I want to accomplish in the short and long run, and I get to assess how I feel at each step and then make decisions on how I will get where I want to go.

In the meantime, I am  care-giving in every way.  Senior citizens. Religious School community.  My family.  Life is the gift that keeps moving forward, so I will continue to do exactly I need to do.

Hanging on for  life’s roller coaster ride into the future. . . .wondering what the next twists and turns will bring my family.

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Tonight we counted Day 30 of the Omer, which is 4 weeks and two day of the counting. Today is referred to as Gevunrah sheh b’Hod, Strength or Discipline within Expansiveness.

Lately I have been struggling to maintain a strong foundation.  There are so many reasons for this and with each reason comes frustration.  Yet even with my frustrations, I am still awed by the land and the skies that surround me in Tucson.  The beauty often grounds me and reminds me of my place in this world.  Life is what it is, but in the whole scheme of things, my foot and knee will heal, my schedule will not remain this crazy forever, friends will become a more active part of my life, I will make time to exercise on a regular basis. . . the list goes on and on.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing nature.  Remembering to acknowledge the vast beauty brings me  down to earth and sustains me internally.  My challenges might feel overwhelming, but they are actually quite small.   I truly have what I need and I can create the world I want, I just have to do the work.  When I take time to engage in the world around me, I begin to return to a more solid foundation.

Today, I nurtured my spirit.  I found the discipline to step out of the darkness and to gain stronger footing.  Early in the morning, I went hiking with Aryeh, I had some sweet moments with Dovi, I chanted, I took time write (twice) and now I am listening to good music at my favorite writing place in the world.  Even with my knee swelling, I am feeling stronger today than I was yesterday.  Allowing myself to engage with life (all of life) is the gift I give myself.  I even saw a friend for tea and visited with friends at the local JCC and Federation.

SabinoApril

Today’s gift was allowing myself to step outside of myself and to engage in the beauty of nature, people, and writing.  Creating the space for the Gevurah (the discipline/strength) to thrive as my entire being stretched out from the darkness towards the light.

 

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Tonight we counted Day 21  of the Omer, which is 3 weeks of the counting of the Omer. Today is referred to as Malkhut sheh b’Tiferet or Shekhinah within truth.   Tiferet is not simply beauty, it encompasses so much more; when you see the complete picture of Tiferet, you also see balance, harmony, and ultimately truth.  And Shekhinah is a way of looking at Malkhut (meaning kingdom).  When God or godliness dwells in one central location, you have a kingdom.

Gan Yarok  Marin County Cemetery Califonria

Gan Yarok:  Marin County Cemetery in California
So much loss. . . .yet light can emerge.

As we mourn the tragedy of the Boston Marathon or the death of 25 people mostly women and children murdered in Syria yesterday, it is important for us to remember that when we pool our hearts and souls together, we can still create the presence of Shekhinah wherever we are.  Loss is not beautiful; none of us yearn to feel the depth of despair.  My prayer for those of us they feel the national or even personal tragedy is that we do are part to ease the pain just a little.  By easing the pain for others, we are finding the Shekhinah within the beauty  or the Tiferet that does exist.

Last night my sons and I went to the Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) Service at our local Jewish Community Center.  There was nothing easy about that experience, but I felt the Shekhinah during each and every moment that we remembering those soldiers lost in service to Israel.

Tiferet can be also be found when I chant with others, hang with friends, go to services, take an art class, learn Torah, and hang with those I love!  Wherever the Shekhinah dwells, Tiferet  remains.

Life is hard; I wish it weren’t. Even if with that, may we be blessed to stand with  Malkhut sheh b’Tiferet wherever we trael..

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