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“If you ask me what I came into this life to do,
I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”
Quote by Émile Zola

Twenty years ago, this saying became an unspoken mantra. A part of me believes that finding this quote empowered me find my voice as woman,  a mother, a friend, a teacher, and mostly as a creative soul that needed to be heard.

Before that time, silence seemed to permeate the core of my being.  And then one day, I woke up and I found a little more of my voice. I learned to write after a very long and painful hiatus. A local magazine wanted to publish the story of our son Dovi’s miraculous adoption. Somehow I found the courage to speak up and let the publisher/editor know that I was the one who needed to write this story; she loved the idea and with that I found my first and most gentle editor. Eventually that story was picked up by a couple of other magazines.

Finding my voice was a long but beautiful journey. With each step, I felt like a butterfly opening to the world with a sense of awe. I literally fluttered from flower to flower. Each flower gave me just a little more nectar to fuel the journey towards self.

And then in 2002, I took a giant leap of faith and left the cocoon of the Orthodox world that I had lived for nearly fifteen years. The journey was lonely and overwhelming. I lost close friends in that transition or should I say transformation? But I did it!!! I listened to the voice that nudged me to create a new life for myself (and eventually my family) and to find a new home for my spirit to rest. It didn’t go far; I found a home in a progressive Jewish community that nurtured my spirit and grounded me in tradition while allowing my creative energy to flourish.

As time progressed, I started to stretch in other ways too. I started thriving as an educator, a blogger, an artist, a chanter, a storyteller, a drummer, a mother, and today as an activist or maybe just a human being. The more I grow the more my spirit yearns to expand my roots as I also reach into the universe that surrounds me.

Now that I have my voice, I embrace all of life with more passion. When I am happy I sing out loud regardless of who is close by; when I feel the need to write, I stop what I am doing and I write; when a picture comes into my head I doodle it. The more doors open, the more ready I am to receive the gifts that continue to flow through me.

A raw intensity has taken over the quiet person that once lived in my body.  My soul gravitates towards life. I am alive and I crave this aliveness that emanates from all life forces.

Sun rise New Zealand May 5 Jai-Jagdeesh

Photo Courtesy of Jai-Jagdeesh via Instagram: jaijagdeesh

This New Zealand sunrise by my “social media friend” left me with tears in my eyes. I found Jai-Jagdeesh through her music, but today I have fallen love with her words, her wisdom, her photos. My hope is that one day have the opportunity to experience Kundalini Yoga with her as my teacher. (Of course, I may have to wait until I complete my healing journey from back surgery.) When I hear her, I feel a fire igniting me towards  self-care and tikun olam (repairing the world).

Meanwhile a heartfelt hug reminds me that the void of love I experienced as a child is no longer with me. When any of my nieces or nephews say “I love you” even though I haven’t seen the since they were little. . .I melt inside, but feel immense gratitude that my beloved brother and sister-in-law have kept me alive in their eyes.

Nothing in my world is taken for granted.

The more authentic and grounded I become, the I am able to “live out loud” and to love.

Always Healing

Picture by Chava

Today, I openly love with ever fiber of my being.  I often wonder if I take in the world on a cellular level. When I allow myself to breathe deeply, I find myself connecting with all that I see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. All of my senses are more alive than I could have once imagined.

While love may sometimes change, I love deeply; I love forever. . . My intensity overflows each and every time I see those I adore.

And I have learned to always speak from the deepest part of my soul just in case a door closes suddenly. ….because doors do close suddenly and without warning.

May I be blessed to always “live out loud” with an authenticity that rooted in grace.

Namaste (May the spirit in me honor the spirit in you),
Chava

Note: This entire blog was inspired by:

Love Openly. . .you never know

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Sometimes I feel invisible…..my guess is that I am not the only one.
Facebook status line from March 19, 2016

Over the last couple of years, I have blessed to accept my many moving parts. I am intense, driven, conscious, and profoundly contemplative. I rarely stop processing the world around me or how I feel about what I see.  And with this intensity, comes moments when I feel completely invisible.

How can I let people into a world that is constantly navigating my intuitions, my feelings, and my many insights? I realize that the way I walk can be a little daunting. This reality leaves me in my own little world at times. Not everyone can or wants to hear the many voices in my head.

And yet, I am lucky. For the most part, I have found ways to be heard. As a writer and blogger, I create platforms to make myself heard. As an educator, I am able to share what I have gleaned from others and through my own studies. As a mother and a friend, my family and friends are intertwined with my many dances; my thoughts/opinions matter. And as a human being, I reach out to make a difference for good. And yet, there is always a shadow; sometimes I feel the need to refrain from sharing so that I can stop exhausting my confidants and overwhelming others in my life.

Labyrinth Shadow

Simply put, being in my mind can be overwhelming for everyone. With that, comes the need for silence which also leads me to feeling invisible. If I am not sharing my writing, my facebook posts, the way that I navigate in the world. . .will I be missed? Will my friends notice?

Thankfully, there are some precious beloveds that I treasure with every ounce of my being. They have held my spirit when it felt too much and they have opened their arms to hold me when life became too heavy. Most have been with me during life’s most challenging moments-some in person and some metaphorically. Seriously, can you imagine being my confidant? Well let’s put it this way, if I overwhelm myself, do you think that I may overwhelm others? I do. I know I do.

Yesterday, was one of the moments, when I felt alone. Maybe it was as simple as one of my close friends is stepping back. And some others are going through life’s twists and turns. While I know that I am not really invisible for more than a few minutes, there are moments when I am less visible than I need. And that has to be ok. Standing in my power is also a good thing.

Writing about my feeling of invisibility on Facebook struck a chord for so many people. Most shared that they also feel invisible at times. Other friends wanted to comfort me and let me know that they see me. And still others gave me realistic and brazen tools to make certain that I wouldn’t feel unseen.

All of us have moments when we become unglued and we want someone to hold us and to hear what our hearts are navigating. I know that I am not alone. I do know that over time I have learned to self soothe my soul. Being surrounded by loved ones can’t always soften my footsteps. Sometimes I simply have to navigate alone.

Rabbi Leslie Schotz responded to my Facebook status line by reminding me, “It is good you speak up for so many. Empowering visibility.” Suddenly, I understood that not only did I let my friends know that they are not alone in feeling invisible sometimes, but that they could find ways to grow their visibility if that is what they crave. Looks like yesterday’s journey lead me to grasp that we can all choose to become visible or invisible.

By reaching out yesterday, I found myself realizing that even if I felt invisible I wasn’t, not really.

my feet at the museum

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

Without writing, my life would be empty and dark.  Ever since I can remember, writing gave me what I needed so that I could be grounded.  When no one is there to listen, my pen and paper have always been willing to sit back and listen to all I needed to say. Whether my emotions are overflowing or my intensity too difficult to absorb, my writing reminds me that what I feel is ok -always.

There have been times in my life that my writing was invaded by an unwanted reader and times that my written words were ignored by people that I needed to hear my that which was imprinted on my heart.  I am not sure that there is a difference; both scenarios caused me pain.  Yet today, it doesn’t matter whether my thoughts are explored or not by others.  I write because I have no choice; it is really that simple.

As a blogger, I have learned to share from my soul’s core. Frequently, I have no idea what will emerge when I sit down to blog.  But somehow I have learned to share my heart and to manage the intensity of each piece. Mostly, I have found a healthy balance that works. Every now and then I offend someone or make someone feel uncomfortable, but that is not what I aim to do.  My hope is to make people think and inspire them to find light or goodness in the world around them. Life happens.  My aim, as a blogger, is to weave with momentary sweetness or simple insight into all that I explore.  Creating light in the darkness of life or stresses of the moment, will always be my goal as a blogger.

Writing in general is how I gaze into the world and explore my feelings and my thoughts, my hopes and my dreams; blogging is how I find my place in the world that I feel compelled to explore.

Favorite Writing Quotes:

  1. “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
  2. Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
    and try to love the questions themselves.
    Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be
    given you because you would not be able
    to live them. And the point is to live everything.
    Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then
    gradually, without noticing it, live along some
    distant day into the answers.
    ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet
  3. I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.
    ~Isaac Asimov
  4. Writing and composing is like a black hole.
    ~Paul McCartney
  5. I could not think without writing.
    ~Jean Piaget
  6. Writing is a form of prayer.
    ~Frank Kafka
  7. Writing is a struggle against silence.
    ~Carlos Fuentes
  8. I must write it all out, at any cost.  Writing is thinking.  It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.
    ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  9. First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”
    ~C. S. Lewis
  10. 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.
    ~Anais Nin

May my writing always be part of my life’s journey.

Whether you are just reading this one blog or whether you have been follow my blog for any part of the last eight years – thank you.  Thank you for reading the ramblings of my heart!

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Morning Pages Open

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Courage to create

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.

“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse 

Before Passover, I had an idea.  I wanted to write my Omer Reflections exactly as I am doing and I wanted to include one of my own drawings to emphasize each middah (character trait).  While the idea was vivid in my head and I had already drawn a few simple illustration, I just didn’t have the courage to follow through with creating my drawings as part of my Omer Reflections practice.  I simply lost the courage.  Sharing my little drawings made me feel vulenrable, almost like I would be standing unclothed in front of an audience.  I couldn’t do that; I couldn’t leave myself wide open in that way.

As a regular blogger, a teacher/community leader, and an occasional storyteller, I am often in front of people with a goal of presenting an idea or a story.  I love to share my words, but I am beginning to realize that I have done a disservice to myself by not pushing myself to be creative in a way that might entail going a little outside of my comfort zone.

May I have a little more faith in my abilities to step outside my comfort zone, create, and then share my creations.

Drawing by: Chava Gal-Or

Drawing by: Chava Gal-Or

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