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Posts Tagged ‘cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul)’

Sacred Vessel

“it was when she dipped deep inside,
and scooped out her very essence –
and then stretched her arms outwards
with her hands full of stars –
it was when those stars passed thru
her fingers and out to the world –
it was then she understood she was a sacred vessel.
that we are all sacred vessels –
with the entire universe flowing thru us –
and all we need to do is open and be.”
© Terri St. Cloudfrom https://www.bonesigharts.com/store/sacred-vessel

https://www.bonesigharts.com/store/sacred-vessel

Rewritten to honor where I am at this moment. A week off is leading to some empowering realizations and growth:

Moving Forward:
The treasured time between now and later.
Days, hours, minutes, pass. . . .each moment brings me closer to finding balance.
This is my opportunity to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of my soul.

I will never experience this passage of time again. While I am in awe of how I emerged with the love and devotion of many throughout every step of my life; I am also aware of how much I have learned to renegotiate life whenever needed. Thriving is a non-negotiable, yet I am, like each of us, navigating the gifts and challenges that have been part of my life; I am also celebrating how the tides turn and  the many ripples soothe my core at any given moment.

Now comes the holy work of grounding myself. Finding a new rhythm, processing the experiences of the last years. I am creating a my spiritual space in Houston and more importantly within my nefesh, my soul.  The work can be a little overwhelming, but incredibly sacred too.

Over the last year, I have felt like I was standing in quicksand on more than one occasion. And yet, I never went down. While the trek taught me a ton, it has also been hard at times. And yet, I stretched and I grew. . . how beautiful is that!

I love that I always find good within the challenges; I love that I find beauty in nearly every chapter of life. And yet, there is a cost.  As someone who is profoundly intense, I struggle to shut down and simply free my mind of all thoughts. Instead I actively engage in life by consciously going inward, reflecting, and healing; I also do what I can to make the world a better place by caring and loving others.

What does Moving Forward look like? I seem to be in a quieter place allowing for the silence to penetrate my being. Taking time to connect with people that want to see my soul; reading writings that touch my core; and writing from the deepest parts of my heart.

My body, my mind, and my soul is reaching for the stars, clearing the fog, and striving to settle into a new rhythm.

Emerging
Thriving, reaching, living
Becoming the woman I was always meant to be.
I am making it!

Inside and out – I am trusting each step as I reflect where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going.

Onward – now & always,
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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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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