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Posts Tagged ‘change’

Each day, I open my eyes with an awareness that life as I know it is gone or if it’s not it will be soon. Nothing lasts forever. . . . everything changes and evolves. That thought often leads to initial despondency, but ultimately I can’t stay in that place or I won’t be able to move my spirit and body to where it needs to go.

With each breath, I realize that moments of calm are fleeting. My once content loved ones may be wrestling with serious illness, broken hearts, or devastation over the course our country has taken. I am also be aware that the people I once felt loved by may have drifted away. Or perhaps the body that allowed me to run miles and miles can no longer move in quite the same way. Or maybe a practice that always helped me find calm isn’t working as it did.

 

img_2747And even with all of this knowledge and sometimes pain, I am impacted by the very real possibilities that waking up may open for me. Relationships may be salvaged. New friends may be found. A new love may enter my life. A beautiful moment may ignite my spirit. A solution may be found for something that once seemed impossible. Or perhaps, waking up that day will be enough.

While giving up and curling up into a cocoon may be exactly what my spirit craves, it usually only helps things for a brief time. Instead I endeavor to live each morning with intention. I visit the darkness only to push it aside (on most mornings) and then I stretch my limbs and allow gratitude to flow. I can move.  On a more hopeful morning, I embrace the words and melodies that fill my head. As the words and melodies fill my brokenness with what often becomes a burst of light.

I am alive. I am thriving. I have made it to this time.

Onward with love, light, & blessings,

Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Living Out Loud. If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, AND if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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Mountain WomanLoving people can make your heart soar; losing people can shatter your entire foundation.

Over the years I have learned love isn’t the panacea for navigating the pain that I have endured, am enduring, and will endure throughout my life. Love isn’t enough to sustain me through dark moments or crushing disappointments. Love isn’t enough to help me navigate hard conversations or devastating realities. And yet, I, like most of us, still choose to connect and to love others.

And I do love deeply and with an open heart. I actually love with my entire being. Which means over my lifetime, I have experienced a lot of heart-ache as well as hurt a few people too.

When one of my dear friends recently said that “I disappoint no matter what I do”, I found myself taking a deep cleansing breath.  His words really struck a chord with me.

Suddenly I was aware that I have spent my entire life breaking hearts and struggling with what it means to exist the many dichotomies of life while honoring my spirit. In truth, I have found the rocky terrain to be crippling at times.

Standing between a rock and hard place means that my work is to do the next right thing day in and day out by:Heartbreak is Inevitable September 2019

  • loving fiercely
  • breathing deeply
  • speaking truth
  • honoring my soul
  • living authentically
  • remaining kind
  • walking gently

I wish living wasn’t so hard; I wish relationships could be easier. And sometimes they are easy. But when you love someone long enough, heartbreak happens. As I have learned to live my many truths, I have also experienced an evolution to some of my beautiful relationships. Connections have changed because we, as humans, are static.  As our hearts and souls change, so do the paths of our relationships. And since my personal motto comes from the words of Émile Zola:

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world,
I, an artist,

will answer you:
I am here to live out loud.”

I learned heartbreak for the first time from my father. I have no doubt that I was loved by my father. I felt that love with every fiber of my being, but he didn’t really do what it took to make sure I was safe. In fact, he let me stay in harm’s way.  As I got older my heart was shattered again and again by family members, lovers, and even a few friends. They were people who I thought would be in my life forever and who I believe loved me deeply, only when push came to shove they left me hanging.

And then there were those that I hurt because I needed to step back or say things that were painful to hear. My entire childhood was filled with tsunamis at every turn. It took me a long time to reel in my ability to create emotional tsunamis in my head. It took me a long time to know how to navigate hard conversations. Sometimes I still struggle because I am pretty damn sensitive.

Over time, I’ve come to understand that very few people will be in my life forever. Love changes. Relationships change. People change. Heck I have changed a ton over the years. If we are lucky, those we love deeply will stay in our lives even as relationships take on a different hue. This is something I have tried to do with old lovers, beloved friends, and even a few family members. Sometimes it works and sometimes my heart get’s broken. Relationships are so complicated.

I still feel devastated when I look back on my two beloved best friends who left my life when I moved to Tucson. It was a coincidence since one them lived in Ohio and the other in New York.  I still miss both of them and pine for those connections that are etched in my memory. Both were people that I could share my heart and soul with and both are completely out of my life today. It was a total coincidence that both friends left around the same time and for very different reasons, but the effect still squeezes my heart from time to time.

In my dreams, I believe in forever. AND in truth, I have some amazing friends that have been part of my life since my teen years and early professional years.  For my friends  Lisa, Linda and Louis, I don’t understand how they still love me and put up with me after decades. Since I tend to live out loud, they have seen me move around a lot, take a few different religious journeys, navigate my childhood memories, cope with serious illnesses for my children, divorce Michael, and so much more.

My closest friends know that I am not an angel and they love me anyway. They hold space for me to screw up, fall apart, and sometimes soar. I do the same for them. Recently, I emailed one of my soul sisters and let her know that I may not be able to make it to her daughter’s wedding because I am having a hard time coping with life in the present.  I expected her to be furious with me because my friend had been awesome to me over the years. While her initial response was short, it wasn’t unkind. Later she followed up and perhaps realized that I was really not in a good place. Isn’t that what beautiful connections are supposed to be.

Life isn’t easy. When we love deeply, we tend t say exactly what we are thinking and feeling; this often leads to dark moments in even the most solid relationships.  And then there are times when we grow and evolve from what we were when we first met. I have so many friends that have become grounded differently then I would have ever expected. My guess is that my friends would be saying the same about me. For those of us that are seekers and explorers, our world evolves whenever we learn new information from spiritual to more tangible. If you had asked me 30 years ago if I would be chanting and drumming as part of my spiritual practice, I would have giggled.  If you had told me that my political beliefs would put a wedge between me and others, I wouldn’t have believed it.

A broken heart though, that comes from having everything you believe to be true turned upside down. But what I know after years of broken hearts is that sometimes relationships can heal and new connections can be forged. And sometimes all we can do is say good-bye.

For me all sudden loss breaks my heart more than anything in the world. A friend who shuts the door on your relationship feels no different to having a friend die suddenly without warning. In truth, each time this happens, I have a harder and harder time forging new connections. I’m really not sure how any of us heal from a broken heart, but as I get older it is harder and harder to do so.

AND yet, I keep showing up at the table – again and again. Most of us do.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,

Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Once I figure out my thoughts around those I love and what I believe, I tend to hold them deep within my spirit for what feels like eternity. The only challenge is that relationships change and so do the issues. Over time everything evolves and people or things that once seemed unimportant become more prominent in our lives. And what once seemed unimaginable becomes the image that invades your thoughts. Politics has continuously reinforced that last thought.

Transformation happens.

“To transform the world,
we must begin with ourselves.

~J. Krishnamurti

As an activist, as a woman, as a friend, and as a mother, I have had to learn to release my desire to hold fast to my ideas. Time and again, I have become enlightened by new information. Feelings change, circumstances change, and it’s my job to ride the waves and do the work of transformation.

As hard as it is for me, I have watched myself change so much over the years. While I have always been Jewish, the denominations I have connected to have varied from time to time; today I am much more grounded in a more ecstatic Judaism. Once I was married, now I am not. My sons have taught me since birth to honor where they are and  we all know that children are always changing; today my sons are on their own journeys as adults. And I have lost lovers and friends, but I have also gained some precious new ones.

The political environment in the US and in Israel have given me many moments of pause. While I was once silent and completely uninformed, now I am far from it. Most of my life I didn’t consider labor practices or the realities of climate change, now I can’t get them out of my mind. I never thought that I would feel compelled to become an ally for LGBTQ or a witness to such blatant racism within our society. And the devastating conditions that refugees are forced to endure at the hands of our government is appalling.

Day 14 - OnwardToday, I have to keep showing up to whatever is in front of me. Moving forward is not an option. If someone needs me or an issue is calling to my attention, I have to find out what I can do to make this world a better place.

My job is to live life fully and out loud. It is to remain empowered “to do the next right thing” (Glennon Doyle) even as I live in the “marvelous messy middle” (SARK). Yes life is not as easy as I’d like, but I am so blessed to be always be moving forward.

How about you? How are you moving forward in your life?

Onward with love, light, & creativity,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

 

 

 

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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 . . . .]

shop conciously

For me, Counting the Omer, means being reflective on how I count and how I move through this period of time.

Life is a holy journey, so I need to consider how I want to live, what I want from life, and how I want to make the biggest impact.  And since I am part of a larger community, country, and universe, I need to actively consider not only myself, but the larger world too.

Since I am currently looking at ways to develop a stronger sense of wholeness within myself, I am considering all the different ways that I can grow as a human being and to celebrate the changes that have already been made.

The first decision my family made as conscious consumers was to only buy fair-trade chocolate. At first it felt daunting, but then it felt so right. The cocoa beans industry is known for their use of child slave labor. As soon as we learned that, chocolate became bitter unless it was fair-trade.

One of the most important questions is how can I be the most thoughtful consumer and honor the workers in the best possible way?  This may appear like a choice to many, but to me it is a given. Below are some core ways that each of us can become a good or better consumer.

  1. Get educated – For me, it all boils down to what companies are following ethical practices for their workers and the workers that create/grow the products they are selling.

    Part of being educated is checking the facts – Just because you read something from one source doesn’t mean it’s true. Check the facts by doing your research and by following up with the company themselves. I have seen time and again how common rhetoric may not actually be true.

  2. Hold companies accountable – The more you learn about the companies, the more you are obligated to make your opinions known and/or refrain from purchasing from unethical stores/businesses.  Companies will not know what you think unless you tell them. And the more folks that tell them, the more possible it becomes to impact a company’s business practices.
  3. Shop locally – By shopping locally, you are supporting your community and lessening your carbon footprint.
  4. Shop second-hand – Buying second hand is great for recycling, carbon footprint, and often for your wallet.
  5. Share what you know – We are all partners in taking care of the universe. Period. If you want to impact the world for good, you can start by making good decisions and then you look for ways to inform others the information you are learning and the values you are choosing to live by.

While I am sharing some ways to grow into a more positive consumer, it starts with one step and then another one. You don’t have to become the perfect consumer overnight.

Personally, my goal is to continue my progress to be a really thoughtful consumer and an overall ethical human being. There is always so much to learn AND companies are constantly evolving. Some businesses that once made ethical choices, may change their ways over time and the reverse is also true. With that in mind, I need to stay on my toes.

May we each be a conscious consumer with every purchase we make.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

Life is a challenge to be embraced!

Hineyni (Here I am)

Elul is a month of reflection; for one month prior to the High Holy Days, Jews take time and prepare for the upcoming year.  On Rosh HaShanah, we celebrate the New Year and on Yom Kippur, we pray that we will be written in the book of life or at least that we will be able to fully experience life in the upcoming year.  For me, this year will be the year of change; it will be my year to shape my future and to reach towards the next chapters of my life.  There is no option to reaching and moving forward, not for me.

For now, I won’t focus on all that I am navigating, but I will share that there are moments when I live in fear of where my life is now and how I will get to the place that will sustain me.  The good news is that for the most part, I believe that I will ultimately land on my feet and in a far greater place than I am now.

Know that this isn’t easy; it isn’t easy to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of the soul by looking back at the previous year. Who wants to look at their mistakes or ways they could have operated on a full cylinder?  On the other hand, by looking deeply inside, we are granted the gift of perspective.

Accountings make me happy.  When I make accountings, it means I am working towards emerging from where I am currently standing.

Over the next 29 days, I will begin prepare for Rosh HaShanah and all that the new year will bring.  Here is how:

  1. Wash my fingers/hands by using a special cup – This is a way to spiritual prepare for the day by cleansing my fingers before actively engaging in the day’s Elul Journey.
  2. Blow the shofar – The sound of the ram’s horn will waken my spirit and remind me to take a moment to reflect about where I am and where I want to go.
  3. 30-Day Plank Challenge – In the plank challenge, the goal is to build core strength. I love having another reminder to take care of my core and to build a stronger me. (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/409616528582078793/?fb_ref=285275095054683292%3A7AUoGBLL1Gafopel2Fzr)
  4. Chant Psalm 27 daily (actually 2 times) – This chant is a tool that reminds us that while we can hope for God to emerge, but we must do everything we can to strengthen ourselves so that we can become the best we can and live our days with God or with Godliness.
  5. Chant/Meditate each day for 10-30 minutes. On Shabbat, I will try to embrace this practice for at least an hour.
  6. Blogging – Each day, I will share a poem/prose that moves me forward through my Elul Journey. During some of those days, I might also do a fuller check-in on how all the other parts of this daily journey are going.

Taking my Elul Journey in such a public way is exciting and challenging.  With each breath, each action, and each word, I am making a choice to emerge from wherever I am to a place that is not fully known to me yet.  As the journey unfolds, may the seeds of vulnerability blossom into beauty and a place of strength.

May 5775 be full of blessings and beauty at every turn!

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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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Leap of Faith

It takes a leap of faith to get things going
It takes a leap of faith you gotta show some guts
It takes a leap of faith to get things going
In your heart you must trust.

~Bruce Springsteen

The world is wide open.  Opportunities exist at every turn.  While stability is a gift, sometimes you just have to take a ‘leap of faith’ and then hang on for the ride. 🙂

Honoring your soul can be scary if it means you have to leave the norm you have known.  My personal philosophy isn’t easy for most, but it is the only way that I can walk in the world. Believe that doors will open and they will; breathe deeply and know that each breath leads where you need to go.

Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

 One week ago, I took a leap of faith by deciding to “officially” make some professional changes; I found the strength to listen to the inner voice that resides inside my soul.  The risk is huge, but sometimes you have to listen to that silent voice inside yourself.  Regardless of the fear, you have to take one step in front of the other and create the path that will honor who you are.

The challenge is that honoring yourself has a cost; sometimes you have to disappoint those you love and respect.  In the midst of reality, take a big breath and realize that loving yourself has to trump all.  With one life to live, soaring is the option that will propel you forward.

May each of us be blessed to walk gently within our world.

May we have the courage to love ourselves and honor that which we need.

May kindness always be a guiding force for good.

Some days are full of questions; some days are full of answers.  My hope is that I find balance with both and do the right thing for all who I touch, including myself.

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