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Posts Tagged ‘carbon footprint’

Dear Sleep,

The time has come for us to have a serious conversation. While I understand that you are indeed in hiding, I would welcome the opportunity to visit with you. Now that it is 4:33 AM, I am not certain that the visit will be as long as I desire, but you know I have learned to take what I can get.

Though we don’t seem to know one another well, there are a few things that I’d like you to know about me so that we can build on our relationship.

  1. After a painful period of time and back surgery, I am taking really good care of myself. So. . .you’d be settling with someone who is strong and fit.
  2. I am open to a long term relationship. Snuggling up with you would be a gift.
  3. There is no need for jealousy. While I am blessed to have a fabulous group of friends, I don’t want to sleep with them.¬†At the moment, there is no one else that will compete with our relationship. . . so it will just be the two of us. Wouldn’t that be special!?!?
  4. Do you believe in keeping me from all sweetness or are you upset that I sometimes indulge in different forms of sweetness. If that’s a problem, I will stop partaking in sweet products. I truly don’t want you to be feel like too much sweetness is a good thing.

    tea latte in favorite mug

    Kosi R’vayah-My Cup Runs Over (Psalm 23:5)

  5. Just for the record, I don’t have a drinking problem. ūüôā Did you know that a shot of whisky does not help you sleep, so instead I drink chamomile tea.
  6. Do you think exercise before bed will interfere with sleep? Tonight, I did my new stretches per instructions from my new Physical Therapist. . . .Wondering if that is what kept me awake.
  7. At 51, I seem to be struggling with my internal thermostat. Hoping that you don’t mind that I sometime violently kick off the covers in my sleep. If this is a problem, I can re-think how I address the whole carbon footprint reality. You do know that #45 doesn’t believe in climate change, so he maybe he is correct and I can keep the air conditioning as cool as possible.
  8. You don’t have to go “changing, to try to please me, I love you just the way you are.”

I am so excited to hopping into bed with you tonight My Beloved Sleep. May this be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.

With love & light,
Chava

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yesterday was one of the most surreal days in a long time.
the day started with excitement permeating the core of my being. i was stretching and looking for ways that i would move mountains. and for a few hours i believed that it was actually possible. i knew i could make the world a better place.
earlier steps were greeted with sweet successes. both of my sons met their own personal milestones. i found manageable tools to lessen my carbon footprint. my voice was heard and valued. i doodled, i wrote, and i dreamed.
the day progressed. . . .
as the afternoon raged on, pain oozed into my body. still i pushed because that is the gift i always have. i can always push forward. for the most part, i have been¬†blessed with the ability to ignore physical and emotional strife….so I did.
late afternoon turned dark so very quickly. i couldn’t close my eyes to what was rumbling in my gut. beautiful activists were attacked as they nonviolently tried to make a difference. my son and i hit a wall that seems to be impenetrable. ¬†and as the day wore on, the pain forced me to meet my shadow.
the day progressed. . . .
yet somehow things emerged in surprising ways. in spite of a bunch of comedy of errors, a challenging appointment worked two hours late. despite feeling disconnected from those i wanted to join, twitter made sure i wasn’t alone. twitter also helped keep my fear at bay while making sure i didn’t feel like a water logged island.
returning home, pain inched through my body and i started wondering if a water logged island would be easier than the crippling energies of people that attack by accusing those that believe differently. ¬†all the while my gut was screaming that something is so wrong. . .i just didn’t and still don’t know what.
the day progressed. . . .
with each breath, i struggled as the lasso got tighter and tighter. spiritually a new set of realizations struck an unsuspecting chord. my spirit emerged to new realities. harsh and discerning words awakened me to some new and deep reflections. and just as i found a moment of reconciliation a sharp realization shattered my unsuspecting lungs.
each breath lead to new realities making sleep an impossibility. perhaps a new life force will lift my spirit at daybreak, but for now i will remain present with tears rolling down my face.
feeling silenced in nearly every aspect of life¬†enables the hot tears to scorch my skin and help me forget that breathing isn’t optional.
waiting for the the sun to rise and a new day to remind me that one hard day can never destroy my spirit. i am alive and i will thrive. thriving is not optional either.
Oct 20 - sunrise Pantano Wash

Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

 

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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 . . . .]

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-mindfulness-Quotes-Walk-as-if-you-are-kissing-the-Earth-with-your-feet

Every step we take matters.

Living in the world means that we need to take responsibility for how our lives affect the larger universe.  Good choices can create positive outcomes.

To me, there is no question about this.

Years ago a friend tried to convince me that our choices didn’t really make a difference to the larger world. ¬†At the time I didn’t quite know what to say. ¬†As a scientist or an engineer, I know that he knew what he was talking about. Or at least, he understood the realities better than I. While his views never resonated with me, I learned to be silent or to simply ask for clarification.

Today, I understand that each decision we make has the power to make a positive difference. Collective empowerment and collective responsibility counts. . .a group has more power than an individual. But without that one person that inspires us to think and make healthy choices, we may never be able to succeed in making this world a better place.

My job is to make the best choices I can make.

With this in mind, I really consider the ways that I can be more conscious of how I walk in the world by considering my carbon footprint with each action.

  1. How much water am I using when I do the dishes or the laundry, shower, and/or brush my teeth?
  2. How far do I have to travel by car? If I have to go the distance, can I combine errands so that I don’t have to make that trek twice or three times in a short proximity? Can I walk or ride my bike?
  3. How much trash and recycling am I creating? Can I use more whole foods so that I use less packaging or better yet no packaging?
  4. Do I turn off lights? air conditioning? heat? Do I put on extra layers of clothing instead of turning on the heat? Do I take off as much clothing as possible instead of putting on the air conditioning?
  5. Have you ever considered hanging your laundry to dry instead of using a dryer.

There is always so much to consider.  The above list is only a beginning of what we can consider to lessen our carbon footprint.

In Judaism, it is incumbent for us to do our to preserve human life, pikuach nefesh (Hebrew: ◊§◊ô◊ß◊ē◊ó ◊†◊§◊©) in the best ways we can.

Hineini, here I am. Will you join me in doing the best you can?

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS – In the coming months, I will be moving to Houston. ¬†ūüôā So, at one point, yesterday, someone who was asked to help me find a house assumed that if I wanted to live within walking distance to the congregation I will be working for that I must be Orthodox. ¬†Once I realized this. . .I started to giggle. ¬†While that would have once been true, I sure have evolved a ton over the past years. ¬†Today’s focus is minimizing my carbon footprint.

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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 . . . .]

Western Minnesota Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller           Location: Western Minnesota

The only journey is the one within.
Quote by Rainer Maria Rilke

For the last several years, I have been seriously impacted by the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke. ¬†His words touch me deeply and inspire me to reflect inwardly¬†while trusting¬†the¬†insight that will come over time. Rilke’s¬†wisdom seems to be telling me how to walk in the world. ¬†To be fair, most of what I have read has been in his book, Letters to a Young Poet, which can often be found next to me or in my computer case when I travel. ¬†(Note to myself: This year I will take time to read more of his works and perhaps his¬†biography too.)

Within me a storm is constantly blowing. As someone who never stops thinking and feeling the rhythm of the world that surrounds me, I often think or wrestle with what is happening around me.  And as I grapple, I sometimes have trouble silencing my mind so that I may be able to relax or shut down.

In this moment alone, I am thinking about the 150 murdered Kenyan students and their loved ones, the fatal shooting of another African-American teenager, Justus Howell, by a Illinois Police officer on Saturday, how the water crisis in California will affect so many people, the bi-partisan reaction to Iran deal, and how to make chickpeas without leaving too much of a carbon footprint.  And then there is my work, my future work, and my sons to consider.  And finally, I am pondering about my writing РWhat shape do I want my upcoming blogs to take? Should I take the time to work on my book this week? The bottom-line is that these thoughts have been racing through my brain over the last several hours or maybe the last 10 minutes.

If I am totally transparent, I am also struggling with Facebook conversations. How I personally relate to people who see Israeli politics so much differently than I do? What do I do with the “friend” that referred to¬†those that like Obama as morons. (I did delete his message and wrote him a gentle note back.)¬†How can I make the last days of Passover meaningful? And finally, hoping to remember to send cards to the couple of friends who lost love ones over the last week.

What I am thinking about doesn’t end there. I am also deliberating on how to best make a positive difference for the slaves within the chocolate industry. (That came up during our 2nd night Seder) And I am also wondering whether¬†J Street would be interested in letting me create a cabinet or focus community of educators. And then there is a personal issue tugging at my heart. Sigh.

The beautiful reality of the storms that happen within my head and my heart is that I am consciously intertwined¬†with the world. I¬†find joy in walking outside, spending time¬†with loved ones and friends, and chanting or drumming by myself.¬†With every ounce of my being, I am alive and thriving in the world I live. ūüôā

May each of us find peace within the storms of life and within all that fills our minds.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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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 ‚Äď 5775 ¬†http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 26 Elul or 4 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!

~ ~ ~

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of ¬†difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall
Primatologist, Anthropologist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace

~ ~ ~

(Note: Before you read this blog entry, know that I am fairly hard on myself.  I believe that everything I do in life can impact the world for good and for bad.  Every interaction I have with people or the environment can make a difference.  So I try to walk in the world knowing that I need to be mindful at all times.  And since I am being brutally honest, I try to surround myself with people that embody conscious living as they walk in the world.  I want to connect with people that believe in their power and actively want to make a difference for good.)

Everything we do matters.

AND we cannot sustain equal intensity in all areas of our lives.  Sometimes we have to decide what focuses we will have.  My hope is that each of us decide on 3-5 actions that can impact the world in positive ways.   And while I am at it, let me throw out the idea that living positively needs to begin at home.

Each of us will define home according to our own uniqueness.  For some of us, it is simply our own little family unit; for others, it could be their spiritual community; and for others, it could be their neighborhood, their community, their spiritual community, their ethnic group.. . .the list can go on and on.

Take a moment and consider what you can do in your life to make the world a little bit healthier than it currently is. ¬†Below I will share a few things on my family’s list.

  1. Take a moment to smile or have a sweet verbal exchange with nearly everyone I meet.
  2. Make time for the people and things that jazz you.
  3. Always consider your carbon footprint.
  4. Conscious eating and shopping – organics, local, human rights, fair-trade
  5. Adopt rescue animals
  6. Recycle, Reuse – Try to obtain and pass on as much as we can at thrift shops, free cycle, Craig’s List, friends, etc.
  7. Share your views/listen to others’ views
  8. Listen to music that inspires living positively
  9. Connect with people who share our beliefs/values –¬†interest groups (political, environmental, social, spiritual, human rights, etc.)
  10. Spread light

In truth, I am in the midst of thinking what I need to focus on so that I can make a positive impact in our world.  I am fortunate that I can do a ton, but I do believe it is time to focus a little more heavily in one area of my life.  I will let you know once I decide.

How about you?¬†“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of ¬†difference you want to make.”

With blessings & light,
Chava

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The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. Author Unknown

Everything we do matters….

Reflection time. . . . ¬†Over the last few days I have had moments for pause. ¬†With the High Holy Day upon us, I have asked myself so many questions about how I walk in the world and have been honest about myself about I feel about the different interactions I have with not only those I know personally, but the world around me too. ¬†Facing life head on takes courage; it isn’t easy. ¬†But in order to be authentic with my own self, I need to openly reflect and seek understanding for what is, who I am, and who I am becoming.

Human Connections

I love people; I love interacting with nearly each and every person.  I am also sensitive about the interactions with those I adore and much less sensitive with those that matter less as a friend or loved one.  In the last few years, I have come to accept that my spirit can be crushed by the ending or a dark turn in a friendship.  Today, I also embrace the fluttering of my heart when someone walks into my life who I feel has always been there whether the connection is part of my life for an hour or a decade.  I am learning to accept what is.  Reflection. . . .

All of us have to reflect sometime. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Rockland

All of us need to reflect sometime.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Rockland

The first half of my life, I was blessed with some great people at times and many sweet interactions, but I haven’t always experienced deep connections with people. ¬†While loving people deeply has added a beautiful layer within my life experiences, it can hurt too. ¬†Sometimes I miss the life I lived before I felt or cared intensely. ¬†I am not sure why some people touch me deeply and others less so. ¬†The bottom-line is that I am learning to accept that relationships can be complicated and that has to be OK. ¬†I am learning.

What I have learned is that people matter; they always matter.  Finding the beauty in each interaction is the gift I give myself.  Yes some touch me a little more,, but each and every one touches me.

Life Forces

We are surrounded by beauty, by trees, animals, cactus.  The earth is below me; the skies hover above me.  Life surrounds me.  And I am responsible to do my best with the world around me.  I believe that each of us needs to walk gently with the earth at all possible times.  When we have a choice, we should always be live consciously and thoughtfully.  The earth and the skies will be here long after we are gone; we need to remember our role in making that happen.

Last week, I had a conversation with someone who was perplexed why I didn’t want to make the trek with others up to Phoenix for a short meeting. ¬†The ¬†reason was simple to me, but not to this person. ¬†One of many reasons I gave was because it made little sense to drive 4 hours for a 2-3 hour gathering. ¬†His response was that the little things don’t matter, it is the big picture how we live our life. ¬†I didn’t agree; I don’t agree. ¬†Every step we take matters. ¬†Does that mean I am perfect? ¬†Not at all, but I am working on being the best I can be.

This morning, I read the status line that one friend expressed after having a car-free Sunday; this attitude makes sense to me.  May we all have car-free days!

Everything we do matters.

Eating

I am back on my health journey. ¬†With each passing day, I make good eating choices and less than good eating choices. ¬†When I make good choices, I feel great and my weight is easing down. ¬†When I make less than good eating choices, my weight inches up and I don’t feel too good.

I am also becoming more conscious of the different considerations possible for each and every item I purchase. ¬†While I don’t have the money to do everything I want, I do have the ability to make choices and to grow in a specific directions. ¬†My considerations include, buy are not limited to:

  • organics vs. conventional foods
  • whole foods vs. processed foods
  • packaging
  • animal by-products vs. non-animal by-products
  • carbon footprint (local vs. distance)
  • fair-trade vs. slave labor/poor employment practices
  • cost
  • etc.

With each choice comes many layers of complexity worthy of consideration.  My job as a human being is to consider what goes into eating and to make the best choices as I move forward.  Over time, my hope is that I will better align my values with my food choices.

Reality

Yesterday, I drove an hour each way to be with a community that I adore that was having a traditional ‘memorial service’ that takes place during this time of year. ¬†I joined the community to honor both those that have passed and those that are alive and thriving. ¬†Did I have to drive over two hours? No, but sometimes I need to make choices that have many implications. ¬†In this case, I did what was right!

When we live consciously, we make choices every day.   And every choice we make has an impact on the world we live.  And each choice comes with a cost to our health, our environment, our world.

May we all do our best as we walk in the world.  Everything we do matters.

Here is a small list of what I have been doing over the past weeks.  What are you doing that makes a difference for others in some way?

  1. After reading one of my blogs, a reader took the time to tell me how my writing touched her. ¬†While that doesn’t happen often, the fact that it keeps happening keeps me inspired and writing.
  2. A couple of months ago I reached out to a man who might have single-handedly saved my life.   Approximately 33 years ago, I worked with a counselor who gave me some well needed to tools for taking care of myself.  While many of my friends were experiencing normal junior high trials and tribulations, I was struggling to survive a traumatic childhood and using mind altering substances to help me on this journey.  With the help of this one special man, I was able to make different decisions and while the next years were far from good, I made it!!!!Last month, I found him and told him.  The timing was great and in the end, I was able to touch his life when he needed it! I am so happy that I reached out.
  3. Every time I go to the grocery store, I smile at the cashiers, the baggers, the stockers РI love making them smile.  And when I go to the check-out stand, my phone always goes away so that I can interact with those around me.
  4. So often I notice trash on the ground and then I pick it up.  Why not?
  5. A friend called to tell me that they now by fair-trade chocolate because of our family.
  6. I have donated boxes and boxes of good items/books to those in need and to organizations that run thrift shops that benefit organizations that are doing good work.  As I simplify, I am hoping that others can benefit.
  7. Gave money to a friend who nearly ran out out of gas and asked her to pay it forward when the time was right.
  8. Saved a rabbit from a coyote!!!! ūüôā

Everything we do matters.

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(Disclaimer: Long-winded diatribe)

Life has many moving parts and it is our job to navigate each and every one of them.  Even when the journey is challenging, we really have no option.

Those of you that know me well,  know that I use writing as a means of working out all that goes on in my brain.  It is what I do.  If I am not writing, it usually means something is seriously wrong; only rarely does a busy schedule keep me from what I love second only after mothering. This is one of those times that I am working towards figuring out what I really think, so here it goes. . . .  So here is the quiet voice that sometimes goes unspoken. . . .

Loving life comes naturally to me.  I love animal-kind, the earth, and all that surrounds our world.  Yet I struggle on a very deep level; I struggle because so many people make choices to live their lives in ways that I find questionable.  And while I am not perfect; I openly grapple and when I do get thoughtless, I have my sons who remind me to follow by beliefs.

The reality is that life is a finite amount of time.  Death is a given; we will all die at the end our journeys.  My hope is that at the end of my journey I will have made a difference for good.  With every ounce of my being, I pray that my words are always thoughtful, that my actions exhibit kindness for the world I live, and that I live a life with integrity.  I truly want to be the best human being I can be.  And whether I am alive or not, my hope is that my life has touched people and made a difference.

Climbing towards the beach -Topsail, NC  Photo courtesy of Wendy Harris Delson

Climbing towards the beach -Topsail, NC
Photo courtesy of Wendy Harris Delson

As someone who lives consciously that means I have to consider the world around me and the ramifications of my actions.  While there are many non-negotiable in my book, I also realize that I have a lot to learn and I can always be better.  I also believe that we are all a work in progress; it takes time to change.

Now to share how I really feel:

  1. When you shop for anything consider those that have done the work to bring the product to you. ¬†Are they treated fairly? Buying fair-trade makes sense; We should all do our best to shop at stores that pay their staff living wages. ¬†I do realize this isn’t always easy or economical, yet shouldn’t human beings be safe both physically and emotionally. ¬†Possible offenders of not treating the workers fairly include Walmart, world-wide sweatshops, the chocolate industry-to name a few. ¬†Know as much as you can about the products you purchase; know that child slave labor is still alive today.
  2. We aren’t doing our best to create an accessible world. ¬†We can have the best programs, but if our communities are not made in a way that is as accessible as can be that it doesn’t matter what we service or product we are offering. ¬†And as consumers, it is important for us ¬†to make it not-optional that all of us are responsible for making our environments work for as many as possible. ¬†One challenging example is clothing stores: ¬†Wheelchairs need to be able to me freely through the store. ¬†Another example is to provide ASL interpreters when requested for community events; community events should be opened to all. ¬†We need to create better mechanisms to be more inclusive to meet the needs of as many people as possible.
  3. All human beings should have been born to equality.  And it is human beings that are not always operating with that premise.  How sad! And yes, it frustrates me and even angers me too.  Marriage equality for all should be a given.  In terms of religious choices, I respect nearly all religions, but they need to be kept within their houses of prayer.  While some of our teachings do not accept homosexuality, our country should not be guided by religious principles. The Boy Scouts should be accepting leaders that are good human beings; the leaders should not be chosen by their gender preferences.  I love that so many of my Eagle Scout friends have made the choices that they have made; some are trying to change things from within and some have reversed their affiliation with the Boy Scouts.  Making conscious choices is a good thing.
  4. Our carbon footprints matters.  Why are we so wasteful?  I love how people say they recycle, but do they not realize that recycling takes energy.  We are literally wasting paper reams every day.  We are not considering all of the issues of product packaging and how the products come to us.  How far do the products have to travel to make it to us?  Can we go to the store once instead of going 10 times over the course of the week.  Can we walk or  bike to the places we need to get to.  We really can make a difference by learning about how our carbon footprint impacts the world around us.
  5. I love Israel; I do not like her government.¬† I despise when people think I hate Israel because I don’t like her actions. ¬†Wrong. ¬†I have a right to speak my mind and to make conscious choices in how I live with the knowledge I learn. ¬†I also have to hear what other sides of the story are saying. ¬†Human beings matter and I have the responsibility to care about all humans. ¬†Darfur, Bangladesh, China – I need to be caring about all human beings; if I know governments are making poor choices, I need to use my voice in order to make a¬†difference¬†for good. ¬†This is not just about Israel, this is about taking care of and sometimes supporting those who’s voices aren’t being heard.
  6. If you tell a story long enough, it becomes your truth (even if it is a lie). ¬†The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether or not the story we are telling is in fact the truth. ¬†I have watched how stories and lies have been woven to become truths; and for the first time in my life I am watching people’s positive reputations become altered because of partial stories being told for the purpose of destruction. ¬†I wish some of the adults I knew would get out the high school mentality and stop talking about people.

I am trying to walk gently as I share how I feel.  We are all a work in progress, but I wish that more people cared a little more than they already do.  The good news is that many people are doing amazing work to make our world a better place.

Silence speaks words; so don’t sit in silence. ¬†While we have to navigate the many moving parts of our lives, don’t forget about that we are responsible for making our world what it is. . ¬†Conscious living is a practice; it takes time to develop. ¬†Being thoughtful in our how we walk in the world, our consumption choices and in our activism will ultimately lead to a better world.

May we all choose to live consciously and consider the world that we live in with each and every step we take.

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