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Posts Tagged ‘caregiving’

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 . . . .]

If You Want to Be Happy Be 2

Quote by Leo Tolstoy

I believe that happiness is a choice. Nearly every day, I wake up and decide that today I will be happy. That doesn’t mean I am happy every  day or that I am happy when life challenges feel daunting, but it does mean that as a rule I choose happiness.

During the many months and years of my son’s illness and his long recovery, I learned to find the sweet moments that happened at every turn. Amazing friends, some fabulous doctors, and even the weather could give me moments of joy when all seemed impossible.

Walking through the world this way means that I will always find moments of joy even when life feels overwhelmingly hard.

The last 15 months have been full of challenges. Yet nearly every step of the way I have believed that all would be ok and for the most part it was. There were days and weeks that I found myself struggling with the finances of life and taking care of myself physically when my schedule was too grueling. The beautiful news was that:

  • My friends made it possible for me to stay afloat; they supported me at every step of the way. Some friends gave me work, others gave me money, and two gave my family their home.  All of our friends provided emotional support in their own unique ways.
  • I fell in love with care-giving and treasured the relationships that grew from my initial place of desperation. I learned to take care of people during the most vulnerable times of their lives.
  • Strangers walked into our family’s life and made a difference for good; and this is still true for today.
  • We learned new ways to live consciously.
  • Playing board games brought us hours of enjoyment.
  • My writing improved.
  • My dreams became more vibrant.
  • I made decisions about what was important to me and learned to trust myself more.
  • I found blessings wherever I turned.

Being whole means navigating life the best ways that we can. For me, it also means finding joy in the small stuff and seeking happiness with each step of life’s journey.

While I am always seeking happiness, not every day is as good as today has been.

Today, I am totally humbled and awed by the love and warmth I feel. To each of you that are celebrating my new position and my spirit – thank you! I would not have made it without you in my life.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

(PS – Over the last couple of months, I have been thrilled to work with Lev Shalem Institute and hope to continue that work in some capacity of the coming months/years. And today, I am excited to share that as of July, I will be the Director of Congregational Learning for Temple Sinai in Houston. I feel like I may be going home.) 🙂

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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 8 Elul or 22 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!

~ ~ ~

“Forget your perfect offering,
and ring the bells that still can ring.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
~ Leonard Cohen

I am who I am.  I am someone who has lived life with all the gifts and challenges that are part of that journey.  And the best part of being me is that I can find sparks of light within even the darkest moments of living.

Perfection is not possible for me and if I were “perfect”, I believe that too would be imperfect.  As long as we are on journey called life with all of the normal interactions with people and our environment, flaws will remain a part of our existence.

Have you ever noticed that once something breaks it is never the same way once it has been “fixed”?  And yet, that which was once broken can be beautiful and precious; sometimes it is even better than it was before it was “fixed”.

Anyone that has lived fully has been broken at one point or another.

Since January, I have worked as a caregiver for people that are experiencing some harsh realities of life.  Some are simply aging; some have been plagued by health challenges; and others are preparing to die.  Life has a way of throwing punches and wearing people out.  Yet, each and every person I have worked with has been full of beauty.  Their journeys are part of what has made them into the human beings they are.  To be fair, I did not know any of these people previously, but I do see them now — each and every one of them is full of beauty.

Personally, it is great knowing that I always have something to learn.  With each mistake, I grow and evolve to become a better person.  Light really does trickle into each and every crack allowing the light to spread and radiate wherever it reaches.

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Middah (character trait) focus: Honoring our elders – Ki-bud ze-kei-nim

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.

My parents never made it to old age; until January, I had rarely experienced being with someone who was growing older and needing some assistance in order to navigate life.  In fact, it has only been very recent that I have noticed that I have some close friends that are experiencing things that I thought only happened to older people.  In the last few months, I have had close friends have cataract surgery, knee replacement, hip replacement among other things.  Don’t these things only happen to people that are getting older?  I wouldn’t know, of course, because I am not really aging – am I?

Seriously though, since my ‘professional’ position went from full-time, to half-time, to jobless, I have had the opportunity to help people that are aging.  For some, aging happens slowly; for others, it happens more quickly. Every person ages on their own trajectory.  Bottom-line, people that are aging need support; sometimes they need help with basic skills and other times just with some harder tasks that were once a norm.  Honoring our elders, all of our elders is simply everyone’s responsibility.

Recently, I had the experience of watching a system that is supposed to care for their residents, fail.  The good news is that I believe this was not a norm for this location, but it wasn’t nice for the period of time that things were going wrong.  If you have your loved ones in a facility, make sure you are checking in and that you really know what is going on with your loved ones.  Unfortunately, some seniors, like children, do not have the words or the ability to protect themselves.  Protecting our loved ones and friends should be second nature; make sure you make no assumptions and that you stay alert.

What I know now is that caring for older loved ones or anyone that is older takes patience and kindness.  Each and every person deserves respect regardless of whether or not they can understand everything going on.  When you see a parent, a friend, or even someone shopping who seems older and perhaps frustrated, take a moment to find out if you can help in any way.  And remember to always treat not only older folks, but all folks, as human beings.

May I be blessed with the discernment that allows me to take care of those that need my love and care; may I always have an open door to really see what I need to do in order to care for those that I work with.

Honoring my elders and all human beings is not optional.

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