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Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

I have a problem. I am an addict!!! I just can’t get enough of that white powdery substance. . . .SUGAR.

With this in mind I decided to begin a new health journey  and ask for support from my friends. I did this once before and it lasted for over six years ago; the great news is that I have kept 65 lbs. off, but now I need to go back to the choices I made back then.

The good news is that all of those healthy changes made a difference and now it is time for me to begin again.

Hineini, Here I am!!

Today I started prepping for my latest health journey. Instead of counting 45 days until my 45th birthday, I am counting 21 days of healthier eating, aka no sugar. My hope is that at the end of 21 days, I will start another health journey while remaining steadfast on refraining from sugar too.

Over and over again, I have heard that it takes 21 days to create new habits. So here is the first habit I will be working to change – NO SUGAR!

Making 21 Countdown chartIn preparation for today, I made a fun little check off chart. I did this for two reasons. One, I needed to create a ritual/visualization around checking off the days. Two, I wanted a prop to share my thinking about this journey.

As a sugar addict, I need to own that part of my personality and look for ways to make better choices.

AND here is the ask, please celebrate my successes and support me through my challenges. If this isn’t comfortable for you, simply ignore me. ūüôā

Transformation needs to happen. Being healthy is literally a non-negotiable.  So tonight at sundown, I will officially begin my 21 day countdown.  I will share my journey via Facebook and my blog.

Don’t hesitate to ask me how I am doing. Your mentioning it won’t sabotage the work; in fact, it will probably help me remember that I am not alone!

l’Chayim, to life,

Chava

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Inca trail to Macchu Piccu -Credit Lauren Rader's Art and Releasing the Creative Powers Within Classes

Inca Trail to Macchu Piccu; Photo Credit: Lauren Rader

A year ago I was in a very different place. Even though I was able to do what I needed to do, I was despondent and not sure how I would muster the strength each day to not only sustain my family, but to create that which would jazz my soul. ¬†I was struggling with all of life’s moving parts.

With a baggage of regret and deep sadness, I began a trek that would lead me to dig deeply in hopes of finding a better direction for my life. With the help of friends, I packed up a storage space with most of my belongings in Tucson and my family moved to a friend’s house between no-where and no-where else in Louisa, Virginia.

Over a tough period of time, I navigated so much loss Рjob, friendships, and a sense of belonging.  I also questioned whether or not it was time to leave a profession I loved. Today I can look at most of the losses a little differently than I did at first. The best things about closed doors is that you know EXACTLY where you stand.

Each and every step of the way, gifts emerged when I least expected it. When I couldn‚Äôt afford groceries, provisions and/or money showed up; other times friends showed up in unexpected ways. Even part time jobs found their way into my life, I, quite literally, had what I needed to care for my sons ‚Äď ALWAYS. And when the sink busted at my friends house, a neighbor saved the day. And when the toilet busted. . . I saved the day! I really did learn what it meant both¬†ask for help and to rely on myself.

Throughout the journey my sons, Aryeh and Dovi, grew and evolved. It isn’t my place to tell their stories, but I am so proud of the young men that they became. Both of the guys navigated the best way they knew how. And we did it as a family!

Funny how looking back is hard now and yet it was nearly impossible to look forward when but when life was the toughest.

If I am completely honest with myself, my struggles began nearly three years ago when I realized my move to Tucson was professionally not a good move. In retrospect, it was a great decision because that move probably got me to where I am today. I believe that all that happens in life makes up where we are in this moment. If so, Tucson’s toxic work environment made me stronger and more clear in what I wanted for my life. It also gave me some amazing connections and allowed me to more clearly see the many beloveds in my life.  Wow!!

I don’t know how to thank each person/family that gave me money to sustain myself or those that enabled me to find rewarding work along the way. Many guardian angels gave their love, their time, their skills, their money, and their prayers or positive energy. When my computers died, a refurbished one showed up. When I needed enlightenment, an inspiring book showed up. When my car died (many times), people helped. When my tears were falling, music propelled me to new heights. All of this happened because of the graciousness of those that believed in me. Even as I write this, tears are welling in my eyes. I may still be struggling, but life is AWEsome. Because of so many, I am blessed and thriving (and my sons are too)!

Today I am working in a community in Houston that warms my heart and inspires me to stretch; together with so many others, I am working to create an amazing learning environment for all.  I am also starting to plan how to birth my nonprofit, My Second Foundation, which will create retreats for adult survivors of childhood trauma. And I am finally taking steps to make a difference in the world. Human rights for all has always been a driving force, so now I am actively engaging in actions that I believe will make a difference. At least, I am able to show up for all of life.

In my free time, I am doing so much to nurture my spirit. I am working with a beloved friend Rabbi Jill Zimmerman who has created Hineni: The Mindful Heart Community. (Check out http://www.ravjill.com/hineni-the-mindful-heart-community/ and consider joining this group, it is simply empowering.) I am also writing, drumming, chanting, and connecting with the earth. I am endeavoring to honor the person I am by allowing my energy to flow. I am also becoming more authentic with each step I take.

So while the last years have caused me to reflect and to climb many mountains, they have also enabled me to shine and to emerge as the woman I am.  I am finding balance and hopefully allowing my spirit to better shine.

Loving the universe. Feeling the blessings. Treasuring what is.

May I always find the AWEsomeness in life’s gifts and challenges. May I always see my guardian angels.

O N W A R D!!!!
Chava

(Note: My hope and my prayer is that I am as loving a soul as so many have been to me and my family.)

 

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“there is no map.
you gotta write your own.
you gotta carve your own.
you gotta sweat, cry, grieve,
laugh, and love your own.
and when you’re all done,
that’s all that will have mattered.”
© Terri St. Cloud

Life has been filled with amazing gifts and undeniably difficult journeys. Yet, I have been blessed with the ability to ALWAYS find ways to navigate. In my younger years, I often felt alone; over the last half of my life, I have felt held and loved with every step.

As I move towards my 50th birthday, I am intrigued by how far I have come. But lest you think it is about the specifics of my life, it isn’t. Each and every one of us are unique. While we may have those that guide us in our journeys, there is no one like me (or you) out there. We can learn from others, but they can’t make the trek for us.

Tonight, as I was talking to a friend. I realized that I could tell her how I would move through a challenging situation, but then I stopped myself. Sharing my intuition or my insight is one thing, but I am not qualified to do more than share. My friend has to make her own decisions.

Light and blessings surround me at every turn. Dark moments happen, but enlightening sparks are never far behind. I have always emerged from sadness, pain, violence, and challenges. That has been my choice. . .it is what I do. Not only do I emerge, but I soar. I find the gifts within the challenges, the light within the darkness.

I love that my map is guided by my spirit; I am one of the luckiest people I know.

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 . . . .]

Sometimes You Simply Have to
Howl at the Moon

Today was hard, really hard.

Many days have passed since I slept well.  Some of this is because I am struggling with the death of someone that was once in my family. At the same time, I am trying to figure out how I will make the move to Houston.. And through it all, I have holy work to do.

At dawn, after sleeping only a couple hours, I woke up to a really sick dog. My beloved Maddie wouldn’t eat, couldn’t drink, and was lethargic. In my worried state, I kept saying that all of us have moments we don’t feel good. Fortunately, she perked up, started eating ice cubes, and ¬†eventually ate some dog treats, chicken and rice. And more good came when I had an awesome conversation with someone I needed to connect with via work. But then. . .

Tonight grew hard again when the exhaustion seeped into my bones yet I had to drive for over two hours so that I could try to navigate a potential challenge. Ugh! I had to go to the Staples in Charlottesville so that I could try to uncover my credit report; for some reason it is in hiding. The good news was that I was able to spend some time connecting with friends. And through it all, I also had to be present for someone in serious emotional distress.

Coming home, I was greeted at the door with a late dinner, a few minutes with my sons, a hot cup of chamomile tea, and a hungry, but happy dog. At the same time, I am feeling profoundly grateful to my new communities support in Houston!

Regardless of what type of day and evening I had, I realized that while the day had really hard moments, it also had amazing blessings too. And in the end of it all, the full moon was calling my name.  The moon was waiting for me to howl at it. So I did!

Moon May 2015

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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

How many times have you felt like you were sinking in quick sand? ¬†Or perhaps you felt like you were simply treading water and getting absolutely no where? Hard times happen. ¬†Deep sadness breaks our hearts. Health challenges take the vitality and sometimes the lives¬†of those we love. ¬†And there are days, weeks, months, years, when our own lives are feeling challenged physically or emotionally. ¬†Life isn’t easy – at least not all the time.

Over the course of my life, I have faced some really horrible moments, seriously ill children, financial difficulties, a broken heart (or two), and more.  And quite honestly, I have always sought to stay clear of devastation. Even when each of my children suffered serious illness at different points in time, I quietly told them to go if they needed to go. . .I let them know that I would always love them and that I would somehow be ok if I lost them. I am not sure if I was being truthful, but each time I said that, I believed what I was saying.

Moving forward is the only I way I know to persevere through the hard times.  We have to take one step and then another; we have to cross the bridge or bridges the best way we know how.  I am not suggesting that this happens instantaneously, sometimes it takes a while to figure out how we will survive or thrive the roads we are being forced to endure.

I live in a place of gratitude. I am grateful for what have, when I have it. ¬†And while it sometimes takes a while, I usually find the beauty in what was –even the things or loved ones I have lost. ¬†Although, I do love those that have been in my life and struggle to let go. ¬†That is my holy work, because relationships often don’t last forever. Some end; others ebb and flow.

And as I am getting older, I realize that health is not a given. Emotionally and physically, people go through their challenges.  My own children did and countless friends have been faced hell. I have had my own ill health, but I have always chosen to seek the best route possible.When illness strikes, it is my job to pray, actively life to the fullest and help others to do the same.

I love that I have experienced working with both children and seniors that have endured emotional, physical, and mental disabilities. The individuals and their loved ones have taught me that thriving is a non-negotiable.

Moving forward is the only I way I know to persevere through the hard times.  We have to take one step and then another; we have to cross the bridge or bridges the best way we know how.  I am not suggesting that this happens instantaneously, sometimes it takes a while to figure out how we will survive or thrive the road we are being forced to endure.

Photo Courtesy of Lori Fortang taking a beautiful photo of her beloved Ren crossing the bridge. Each of us find our own ways to cross the bridges of life.

Photo Courtesy of Lori Fortang РLori captured Ren, her beloved, crossing this stunning and secluded bridge.
Note: Each of us find our own unique ways to cross the bridges of life.

May each of find the strength to take one step and then another until we can cross the bridges that need to be cross.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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“We are all here for some special reason.
Stop being a prisoner of your past.
Become the architect of your future.”
R
obin Sharma, Author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Each year during the Jewish month of Elul (usually in August) through Rosh HaShana, we take the time to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an inventory of our soul.  For me that means taking the time to reflect deeply about the gifts and challenges of the last year, but this is also simply a kinetic time of year. As a Jewish professional, I am working to prepare the community for new beginnings which include the High Holy Days, school, and new programming.  As a mother, I am helping my now mostly grown sons begin their next chapters.  And in the midst of all this, I am usually feeling the need to write and look inward.

The holidays themselves are not easy for me because it is challenging to stay in a spiritual space when you are in charge of so many logistics. Yet the moment Tashlich occurs, I realize that I need to take time to go onward and allow for reflection.  Tashlich is a ritual which usually takes place on first day of Rosh Hashanah in the late afternoon.  During this time the participants symbolically cast off their sins by gathering along the banks of a river, stream, or the like and reciting prayers of repentance.  While many people choose to do this ritual in community, I love to do it alone.

And this year, I have decided to create Tashlich moments again and again. ¬†This is a year of letting go, of saying good-bye to what was and embracing the beauty that is. In the last several months, I have been blessed to rethink my career path, my relationships, and much of my life. ¬†None of this is easy, but it has been made easier because of my private journaling, my very public blogging, and some very beautiful friends. ¬†I haven’t been alone and yet I have needed to spend a lot of time alone as a way of giving myself the room to gaze deeply into my soul.

On a good day, the journaling strikes chord after chord, but this doesn’t happen all the time or even most of the time. ¬†More often than not, I am left with a rhythm that isn’t quite working for me. ¬†I am a work in progress. At times the¬†work has been bitter sweet; sometimes it is actually heart wrenching; and once the puzzle pieces come together, it can be beautiful. ¬†Soul-searching is an art form¬†and I am learning with each breath I take.

Writing ¬†is the most profound tool that helps me find center, but that isn’t my only means to finding balance. ¬†My world is full of chanting, drumming and physically moving (sometimes dance and sometimes hiking).¬†¬†In the midst of all the soul work, my sons keep me grounded and remind me that while I have a lot of work to do, I am actually doing well! ¬†My world is in fact quite amazing; I have all that I need and much of what I want.

As fortunate as I am, there is still work to be done. One way of moving forward is to create Tashlich moments by letting go of all that is holding me back.  Last night, it meant that it was time to get rid of a ton of clutter; I deleted thousands of emails from personal and professional relationships that no longer served me well.  In most cases, it was simply about not needing those particular emails; in other cases it was time to say good-bye to old connections. The delete button became a co-conspirator in propelling to close some doors as a way to open new doors. The goal is to make room for my next chapters and to celebrate what is.

As I woke up this morning, I was acutely aware that there was a shift within me.  The rays of sunlight were slowly warming me up and nudging me toward the many gifts that are very much a part of my life today. I am feeling (perhaps) like a butterfly as it begins to take flight.  Last night, I said good-bye to the cocoon that was binding in a myriad of ways.  With each passing moment, the bindings release and my wings are spreading; there is no turning back for me.

Support for my Tashlich moment when I opened up Facebook this morning to find the photo of  the Topsail Island beach where a group of my close friends are gathering this week.  While I am not with them physically, the photo reminded me that I am not alone.  Once I saw that photo, I realized that outside my front door is the space to create my own Tashlich moment.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Topsail, NC Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

Topsail, North Carolina – Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

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‚ÄúWriting is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well,¬†but the point is to do it no matter what.‚ÄĚ
~Julia Cameron,
The Right to Write: 
An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

December Sunset

LightWave Journey, my blog, was created as a tool for finding light with each step of life’s journey.

I love the power of weaving words together. ¬†Each word has the power to supply food for thought. ¬†I actively strive to be impactful. Sometimes I succeed; often I don’t quite make it. ¬†But the power of blogging is that I can go back and edit my thoughts and openly rethink my ideas. The bottom-line is that it is all about writing.

Mostly I don’t know who reads my blog; on a rare occasion, a post I have written gets 100 or even 200 hits. I am always touched when someone stops me and says that my writing has been inspirational. ¬†Or when someone stops me and shares a story that they just needed to share.

My fingers have always helped me to explore the wild web of my thoughts.  I am a seeker who aspires to find sparks within the world I live.  Challenging times happen; tragedy and pain emerge with and without warning. My hope is to always find sparks even if only in the briefest of moments.

I was a born writer. From my earliest days, I remember dreaming that I would touch people with my words. ¬†I used to think I would write children’s books, later I wanted to be a powerful journalist. Most of my life I have kept journals and today I dream of writing two books. ¬†One of the books is being rooted¬†from my blog and the other one is in the midst of being birthed;¬†I will share more when the time is right.

Today writing is a springboard for the holy work I hope to one do and perhaps that I have already begun to do. ¬†With every ounce of my being, I want my written voice to inspire¬†others that are on their own journey. Sometime in my ¬†teens, I figured out that¬†each of life’s storms gave me¬†kindle to ignite my words¬†which would ultimately become my strongest tool¬†towards¬†healing.

My earliest years were filled with destructive storms and impenetrable darkness; my adult years included blocks of health challenges for people I adored. Life is what it is.  The gift is that I have ALWAYS strived to find the gifts within the challenges.  That is how I walk through the world; may I always do so!

Being transparent about my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes, and my memories is what I do! My fingers are the tool that I use to dig down deep into my soul and allow my being to emerge.

Many years ago, my journals became compromised due the the act of someone close to me. ¬†The devastation left me unable to write again for many months; I just couldn’t do it. ¬†Until the day that Dovi, my then 9 year old looked at me with tears in his eyes and told me that I needed to write. ¬†My little boy knew that I would not emerge from my then darkness without taking my time to write.

For many months following that time, Dovi would check in with me daily to make certain that I was taking time to write.  As time moved on, he would ask me if I was writing whenever I had a moment of the grumps.  Forget when I was still having PMS, I had to spend my time acting like I was writing or my son would become crestfallen.  I love how Dovi intuitively knew that my writing had a core role in my mental health; both of my sons know that now.

The funny thing is that my kids have rarely ask me details about what I write. ¬†They trust that as long as I am taking time to write that I am balanced and feeling at peace. ¬†I know that Aryeh sometimes checks out my blog. ¬†And Dovi will sometimes ask me to share my short children’s stories or ask me what I am creating. ¬†Guess I will have to always continue to write if I want the guys to be ok. ūüôā

May writing, like breathing, always be an active part of my life.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

 

 

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