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Posts Tagged ‘blessing’

If you do not change direction,
you may end up where you are heading.

~Lao Tzu

While I tend to always land on my feet regardless of what is happening in my world. In the last several years I have discovered something very surprising about my personality.  I love continuity! Knowing I have close friends nearby; trusting the love of an old friend; hosting Shabbat meals, holiday celebrations, and gatherings of all sorts with people that love me and know me for who I am.

With that in mind, I am struggling with limbo. I am getting ready to work in an awesome community where I will make new friends and new memories. I’ve never had trouble connecting with people.  For that I am grateful. And yet, in this very moment, I am mourning the loss of connections and the beauty of old friendships. The blessing is that most of the friendships are still with me, just not close enough to touch.

My ‘wandering Jew’ days are not what they once were.

As I sit in my new home in Houston, I realize how empty I am feeling in this moment. I have no real doubt that I will find myfooting and that new friends will bring life into my home or that I will connect with people that one day will love my quirkiness, my sense of humor, and my rhythm, but in this moment I realize that that time is just out of my reach.

I want to be a friend as intensely as I want to be held in friendship. I simply love life and the beautiful connections that emerge.  I also know that without a doubt that my time in Houston will include actively engaging in my passions as both a Jewish Educator and an activist. I will make a difference for good and impact those that I interact with.  It just takes time. . .I have to trust that reality.

For this moment, I am grieving the many losses I have felt and acknowledging the vulnerability that comes with loneliness. I am in a state I never thought I would live in and I have no one to call, no one to reach out to, no one that would come to sit with me if I needed them. OK-this is a good moment to laugh at myself.  Of course I have people, just not any of my besties.

I will never forget the friends that surrounded me a few years ago when I needed to have surgery. At one point, after being taken to my hospital room, I was miserable and physically alone. At that point, my dear friend came into my room and sat with me when I couldn’t stop puking. At one point, I looked up to her beautiful eyes and asked her how she could sit there and wipe me up in all of my disgust.  She just smiled and said she’s a mother. . . .her love simply flowed.  And then there was another friend who took a few days of work to be with me regardless of my mood. I was such a horrid patient, but that friend is still one of my closest friends and the person I can call when darkness looms.

In every city, I have ever lived, I have found beloved friends that fuel my soul and appreciate the person I am. I just have to trust the universe that coming to Houston will be no different.

After last week’s doldrums, I will forever treasure the words that flowed from Stephanie Fink, one of my closest Tucson friends,

“You are tired in many ways as your inner butterfly prepares to emerge from this cocoon.
You will fly free and dance among sunlit blossoms that have been
awaiting the touch of your vibrant wings.”

After only two years of friendship, my friend knows me and loves my spirit! With that I know that I wings are ready to take flight and all will be good. My experiences in Houston will be awesome!

Remember . . . Let It Go Courtesy of Karen Judin

Courtesy of Karen Judin

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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 . . . .]

Loving Nature

Life can be totally overwhelming, yet I know that I have to take time to notice the world around me. Whenever I do, I am generally floored by what I am seeing.

Today was one of those days when I fell thoroughly in love with nearly everything I saw.

Everywhere I turned, nature called to me. The moment, I woke up, my dog Maddie started wagging her tail and showing how happy she was; the day before she had been so sick that I found myself afraid that she wasn’t going to be ok.. And then when I was on my way to an appointment, I saw a turkey vulture on a fence post. On my way home from my appointment, I had to swerve from hitting a turtle who was crossing the road.  Each of these moments brought me immense joy! I love when I notice nature as clearly as I did today.

And then on my way home from the store this evening, Dovi and I watched the lightening which felt like it was engulfing the roads around Louisa, Virginia. Even now, as I type this, the thunder is probably waking up anyone who is trying to sleep. The sounds are quite magnificent.

The bottom-line is that I always feel so much more whole when I am connecting with nature. I am thrilled to be part of a people that openly acknowledges the special moments in nature and in life.

The silence of the skies is profoundly telling; learning how to listen is the key.

The silence of the skies is profoundly telling; learning how to listen is the key.

“ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם עושה מעשה בראשית”
Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe maker of the works of Creation.

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 . . . .]

Allowing for transition in all relationships takes a tremendous amount of courage.  Nine days ago, I shared that “Sometimes closing the door is not enough; sometimes the door must be locked AND barricaded too!” http://wp.me/pthnB-LD While that is absolutely true, that is not the case all the time.

Relationships can often be fluid, they evolve over time; sometimes they seem closer and sometimes farther away.

For me, the struggle is loving people in the intense way that I do when they have decided to ease out of our shared connection. Sometimes I just don’t want to let go of the close connection that ‘was’. When I am not ready or expecting a change, I often find myself mourning the loss instead of just moving forward. Outwardly I may appear to be allowing the relationship to end or to ebb and flow, but inwardly I am crushed. (I do realize that this is remnant from my childhood.)

The last three years have been full of intense loss. My heart has been shattered again and again – sometimes expectantly, but mostly not. The losses are intensely private and mostly held close. There is little reason to share my losses with others. Initially, I navigate in the best ways that I know how and when I am ready I wipe my tears and move forward. Always.

Picture by Chava

Picture by Chava

Friendships unfold or transition in their own unique way.  My goal is always to find a way to do what I have to do and move forward privately. There really is little time for a broken heart. This is my work – perhaps it always will be. The blessing is that I do have some beautiful connections in my life and most of them are quite strong.

In my journey towards wholeness, I am striving to find the inner strength to let go of that which does not serve me. Only through developing some inner strength is there hope to ease more naturally into navigating all relationships in the healthiest of ways.

In the meantime, I am grateful to those within my inner circle that allow me to enter our connection fully as I am.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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If you do not breathe through writing,
if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing,
then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
~A
nais Nin

I am a writer. In the core of my being, I am most comfortable expressing myself through the written word.

Recently, I have been astounded by people questioning the transparency of my writing.  Is there any other way? I think not.

My teacher (who has no idea who I am) is Anne Lamott; she has taught me to write with complete integrity, to share fully, and to not be ashamed of my thoughts and feelings.  One of my favorite teachings that can be found in her book, Bird by Bird, and also in her CD titled, Word by Word, is that I have a right to share my story.  If people didn’t want me to talk bad about them, they should have never done the things they did.  So while, I generally refrain from giving a ton of the darker details of my life, I do have Anne’s voice as my guide.  And her voice resonates-always. Each of her books (and now Facebook status lines) is an example of someone who speaks what she feels from her kishkes (guts). Lamott shares the good, the challenging, the ugly; Anne is a beautiful work in progress. I aspire to have her voice as my guide whenever I am sharing my voice, my thoughts, my writing.

Each and every one of my  written (and spoken) words come from my heart and are part of my essence.  If I write them to you personally, imagine that I am giving you the gift of my heart and soul. Imagine that you are worthy of my truest love.

And for the reader that reads my blog. . . I am sharing with you my purest being. In the moment that I am sharing my thoughts, know that they are coming from the deepest part of me.

Writing,
the song of my heart;
the meaning of my mind;
the feeling of my soul;
Is what makes me One

I am a writer. My words matter and have the power to impact.  My hope is to touch people in ways that make a difference in their lives; simultaneously I feel a positive energy with each and every letter and space that is part of my writing.  The rhythm of my soul is out there for anyone to treasure or to toss out.  Why would I want it any other way?

When I write, I am giving you, the reader, a part of my me.  With each word, I am weaving a personal idea, a thought, a dream; I am sharing the deepest part of the person that I have become.  And yet, what I write one moment, may evolve in another moment; I never stop thinking or growing.

With each breath, I have experienced the fullness that life has had to offer – sometimes with beauty, sometimes with pain, always finding sparks of light.  I am the person I am because of the life I have lived.  Life has blessed me with the ability to look inwards and to evolve as the trek emerges.  With each step, I write as a way to process all that was, is and will be. Capturing the many moving parts of my heart, my soul, and my mind is what I do.  Through writing, I allow the words to flow onto the page and to cleanse my being.  And sometimes, if luck will have it, my words can do something magical for someone else too.

My transparency is a gift.  I welcome you to experience a world that is mine.  Is it rational? Not always.  Is it precious? To me.  Are the moments when my emotions are intense? Of course.

May my words continue to be real –  now and always.
May my words help me stay balanced in a world that often feels off balance.
May my words inspire people in small and large ways.

May I always have the character to ‘say what I need to say’.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Morning Pages Binder

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Life has been hard. Very hard. And yet. . . .

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin Did you notice the butterfly? :)

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin
Did you notice the butterfly? 🙂

I am blessed that there are so few moments when darkness doesn’t allow me to see clearly.

Today I feel warmth from the amazing sparks that could easily burst into a flame.  There are so many gifts that surround me at any given moment.  And yes, there is also deep pain that is part of my life and part of the lives of so many people that I love.  But for now, I want to focus on the gifts.

My sons:

  • Today Aryeh and Dovi went biking together for the first time in forever!!!! Now that may seem silly because they are 21 and 17 years old; yet for so many reasons, it really is quite amazing.
  • AND Dovi has asked for shorts so that he can be more comfortable biking; he hasn’t worn shorts in nearly 10 years.  Now this is a shehecheyanu moment (a blessing that is recited when you do something for the first time in a long time or ever).
  • Dovi decided to excel in math and that is exactly what he is doing!
  • This week, we have had some incredibly sweet moments as a family.
  • Aryeh continues to amaze me in the way he takes care of everyone in the family; he is truly growing into a man! Wow.

Friends:

  • I love how my friends reach out and are totally present for me.  As I type, one group of friends is trying to find ways to help me thrive emotionally; they are working towards creating options for me to make it through a challenging period of time.
  • A few different friends have found ways for me to support myself after losing my livelihood. Yay!
  • One friend just embroidered a bath-sheet with my name on it!!!! She even used my favorite colors.  I can’t wait to see it and use it!  (If you are curious, I love sage and lavender. . . but in truth all shades of purple are awesome.)
  • A couple of friends have given me great gifts when I wasn’t sure how I would move forward.
  • I am held by some profoundly loving souls.

Taking care of me:

  • I found a care-giving position that is giving me more normal hours so that I don’t have to work all-nighters.
  • I am on Day 8 of not drinking any sodas!!!!!
  • I am getting more hours of sleep than I had been getting previously; this week I have gone to sleep by 10 PM nearly every night.
  • I am taking time to write.
  • My blog reached 30,000 viewers today.  Sometimes I even hear that my writing is inspiring those that take time to read my writings. YAY!  I so love sharing my inner thoughts through writing.
  • I spoke with one of my closest friends this week after a too long hiatus.

Insights for the week

  • Omm backwards is Moo. (Thanks Dietz Family)
  • My intuition keeps getting stronger and stronger; I love that I am learning to actively listen and respond to my gut.
  • Finding answers to questions is not always so simple. . . .Never ask your friends what is better a Vitamix vs. Blendtec OR Nutri-Bullet vs. Ninja. 🙂 Can you tell my blender is dying and I am into making green smoothies?
  • Everyone has a different perspective about the practices of the High Holy Days.  I am thinking next year I may create my own practice and share with those that are interested.
  • Words have meaning and attitude; just when you think something makes sense, you learn it doesn’t.

I love that I can always find light even when I am walking down a dark alley.  Hoping the same for you too!

With love, light, & blessings
Chava

 

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Arms spread

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:  Grace

Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.  William Hazlitt

Job loss coupled a feeling of displacement has knocked me a little off kilter; in reality I can’t just settle for these feeling, I must listen to the messages that surround me.

Yesterday, I received two messages on one of my Facebook status lines; both were gifts.  While they appear to be similiar in nature, they also appear to be opposite.  The first one blessed me with grace and strength as I navigate my current challenges; the second one shared “that I have I have an amazing gift for grace and strength.”  What I heard in these two messages is that while I may sometimes have grace and strength, I still have to engage in the spiritual work that makes further developing and maintaining them possible.

This reminds me of the Talmudic teaching that everyone should have two pockets each containing a piece of paper.  One piece of paper should say that the world was created just for me; on the other piece of paper it should say that I am but dust and ashes.

As we walk in the world, may I remember that grace means to always put my best foot forward even when I navigate life’s challenges.

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NakedTreeWinterEastCoast

Most of life has been good to me, but there have been moments in my youth that have come back to haunt me….not once, not twice, but many times over the course of my lifetime.  Even though I have been blessed to heal and move forward, my memory has remained.

 

All of us have moments of intense loss, painful tragedies, or stories that feel better left unsaid.  Life happens.  For the most part we find a way to move forward, to take one step and then another and then another until we find a new norm.  That, my friend, is one of life’s gifts.

Every now and again, something triggers the pain the memory, the fear. . . emotions take over and we seem to relive the moment that literally took our breath away and forced us to deal with our feelings.  Tonight was such a night.

One moment, I was walking, humming to myself, and thinking about some people in my life that are in need of healing.  I was in my own beautiful world, feeling calm and peaceful.  I was visioning people I love and care for in a better state of health and then I heard the noises that left me in fear for my life.  Loud screams, horrible pain, and violent sounds.  In a moment, I was transformed into a very scared human being who was terrified because I didn’t know what the next moment would bring.  After a moment, I called the police and I came home as fast as I could.  And I was ok; I am still ok.  For now, I am just dealing with the skeletons in my closet; they will be gone by morning.

In the 10 minutes that I was stuck outside with the noises and my fear, I felt my entire body tighten with fear as the sweat rolled down my face, down my neck, down my back.  A moment can change everything; a moment did change everything.  The tranquility I felt is gone, but at least in this moment, I feel safe.

While I don’t know what went down, I do know that the vulnerability I felt until I made it home cut like a knife.  I am ok, but nothing  can ever prepare me for that moment that the memories come racing back and I feel like the little girl that experienced violence and pain.  The memories never really go away; they find a quiet space to rest until the peacefulness comes to a screeching halt with a trigger.

Violence happens, accidents occur, and we do move forward. . . . .

Tonight was just a moment.  My hope is that all is really ok; perhaps all I heard was a haunted memory.  I am so grateful that the moment that brought so much fear is over and that I am safe at home.  My labored breath of an hour ago is becoming easier.

Tomorrow will be a great day! No longer do I have to live in fear. . . .the moment is over.

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