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Posts Tagged ‘creating’

Over the last several years, I have learned that creating a practice for myself is spiritually nurturing and enables me to navigate life with more ease.  A few of my daily practices that have nourished me include:

  • not eating gluten or sugar
  • writing morning pages or journaling
  • writing love notes to my IWS (inner wise soul)
  • chanting
  • drumming
  • writing affirmations
  • creating daily mandalas
  • making my bed in the morning
  • drinking water with apple cider vinegar every morning
  • thanking the universe for special moments before closing my eyes at night.
  • and so much more . . .

Creating these daily practices has helped me to become more grounded in living. Just in the last month or so, I have added walking 5 miles in the morning while listening to inspiring podcasts and eating much better than I have in years. With these actions, I can see my overall health improving; I am thriving in so many ways!!!

I am not sure when I found podcasts, but this fairly recent phenomena brings me immense joy and even balance. I know that I feel deeply and process life’s journeys a little longer than maybe I should. The good news is that when I listen to some of the better podcasts, I realize that I am not alone in how I walk in the world. AWESOME podcasts jazz the deep and sometimes dark crevices of my soul while inviting me to stretch, to grow, and to evolve as a human being.

IntroOne of the recent podcasts I tripped over was with Chase Jarvis interviewing Elle Luna who co-wrote the book, Your Story is Your Power. During this interview I realized that I had actually read Elle’s first book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. No wonder some of the teachings and ideas sounded familiar. After listening to Chase interview Elle for her latest book, I had to listen to an earlier interview with these two exquisite visionaries. If you want to listen to either of the two podcasts that helped birth the #The100DayProject here are the links.

You could also explore it via Dr. Google, there is great information that can be found on the internet. Here is one of the better pieces with links and information/ideas.  https://thegreatdiscontent.com/interview/elle-luna-100-day-project

My hope is to inspire some of you to do this project with me. I am still figuring out the process, but here are my “rules/non-rules”. Basically you do what you want and have fun, but if you want to join me here are some guidelines that you can use:

  1. The only premise is that participants have to do the same action every day for 100 days, and for those of you that want to share the process and have accountability, you can document it on Facebook and/or Instagram. Feel free to tag me or to add your photo onto my comments of either social media platform.
  2. My start day is Sunday, August 12/1 Elul through Tuesday, November 20/12 Kislev . The Hebrew start date comes from the Jewish calendar and is meaningful to me because it is a time of reflection within the Jewish calendar. This is not meant to exclude anyone, it is just that I am making note of it for myself.
  3. While #The100DayProject is an opportunity to be part of a larger group, it can be as solitary of an activity as you would like.
  4. I will be sharing my journey on Facebook (@Chava Gal-Or) and Instagram (@NeshamaWriter) using two hashtags #The100DayProject which is a hashtag that all of us can do and for my personal project, I will use #ActivistCardsByChava. My suggestion is that you make a hashtag for your project if you plan on sharing it via social media.
  5. Finally, if you choose to keep this project private, consider documenting it for yourself. AND besides, if you would like to share with me, I’d really love to see what you’re up to.

My Project:
#ActivistCardsByChava are cards that I will be creating to motivate  people (or perhaps just me) in the journey of making the world a better place. There are a lot of moving parts that go into making a difference. Simple smiles, rallying for human rights/dignity, making phone calls, writing letters/articles/social media posts, quotes, and self care are all possibilities of what will be included in the Activist Cards. I have been thinking of doing this project for a few months and now I have the opportunity to make it happen. Ultimately, I hope that these cards are full of inspiration. (Note: I am open to suggestions if you have another suggestion of what to call these cards.)

I am so excited about pushing myself differently than I ever have. While I love to write and doodle, I have rarely shared my doodles with others. I am using the #The100DayProject to play and see how and if this evolves in any way. Regardless of how this project works for me, I am so excited to be stretching in a new way.

As an activist, I have decided to add one more part to my project. While I am being transparent, I have no expectation that anyone has to join me in this. At the same time, feel free to do so. I will be making colorful pictures with simple designs with sweet sayings in Spanish that I can ultimately pass on to DMRS, Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services. HUGS is a creative heart initiative for sending loving notes to 300 kids, 0 to 17 at four detention centers in Texas. If your card contains images only, like you art and/or loving drawings you can send directly to:

DMRS
2400A Yandell Drive
El Paso, Texas 79903.

If you are writing words or letters, feel free to reach out to my friend Dana at danablechman@yahoo.com or make sure that you have another Spanish speaker check your translation.   If you are interested in joining me in this second part of the #The100DayProject, here is some information:

  • Do not use on-line/computer translation. If you do not speak Spanish fluently or know someone who does, Dana has offered to help.
  • Suggested size is 1/4 page on cardstock
  • Keep cards non-political
  • Make the card as creative or as simple as you’d like
  • Remember that there is a wide range of ages who will be receiving these cards.

In any case, feel free to join me in the #The100DayProject. Just the thought of having you join me makes me really happy.

Onward with love, light, and creativity,

Chava

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Listen to the Silence

When I was around five years old, my father used to gently place his hands over my ears and lovingly squeeze my ears/head. As he did that, he would say, ‘listen to the silence’. As he did a flood of warmth and a feeling of calmness washed over me. This loving act continued into my teen years and beyond; I think he found a way to slip it into each meeting even after I moved away from home.

After I had sons, my father continued this tradition by gently holding his grandsons head the same way – sometimes to calm them and sometimes just to make them calm.  Once I saw my father do it to his grandsons, I followed the lead and also held Aryeh and Dovi the same way.  Each and every time I did, my children’s faces would light up with a smile that could melt whoever was looking at them.

Over the last few days, I have found myself craving that sensation, not only the physical touch, but the silence that followed it.  There is so much noise occurring within me, around me, and everywhere in the world.  At the moment, there seems to be a shortage of quiet.

My mind has never been one for shutting down. For some reason, I am always thinking. Whether it is about myself, my family, the world, Israel, human rights, human trafficking, my loved one’s challenges, or  the never-ending list of possibilities.  My thoughts are part of who I am and yet, I know I need to find a way to stop and listen to the silence.

Many years ago, I read the space between the notes is as important as the notes themselves.  The same can be said for the space between the words.  The time has come for me to allow for a little more space in my life.  My body and my mind is craving silence, down time, and time to myself.

What does silence look like for me? I think it means taking time for me to go inward.  Listening to my physical and emotional needs and then doing things which nurture and nourish those needs. With that in mind, I am actively going to be making time for me to write more, work on some art/craft projects, chant, and drum.

I got this!

Lately, I have noticed that I am engaging less on social media and choosing to ‘pick my battles’ when I do. I am doing my best to live consciously and to consider the myriad of challenges that face the world, but I am not hyper focusing – I am  remaining aware and allowing for the quiet to go where it needs to go.  While I want to be ‘the change I wish to see in the world’, I am taking Gandhi’s wisdom down a notch so that I can go a little more insular for now.  My guess is that something huge will emerge when the time is right.  I can’t wait to see what that will be – only time will tell.

What I do know is that I need to take time to listen to the silence.  I need to go inward and explore my heart, my mind, and my soul. I need to allow my rhythm to take me where I need to go.

My father may not be here to hold me or to squeeze my ears, but what he gave me all those years ago was the awareness, that sometimes the sweetest silence comes from being held close. . .the only difference is that I need to do it all by myself.

Writing

Drawing

Thinking

Dreaming

Painting

Moving

Praying

Drumming

Creating

Chanting

Being

Today, I know that I need to hold myself and trust that when I do, I will be loving myself and keeping me safe.  My father, of blessed memory, gave me the most important gift in the world; he taught me how to listen to the silence.

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 . . . .]

Choose Life

In Judaism, the number 18 represents life. So, on Day 18 for the Counting of the Omer, I find it ironic that a beloved friend of mine reached out to ask her friends to chant Choose Life for a loved one who is struggling with a serious health crisis.

Life can be really hard. Really hard. . . . And sometimes the most amazing gifts show up just when you need them to.

Just over a month ago, my teacher Rabbi Shefa Gold created Choose Life and shared it with her students. http://www.rabbishefagold.com/choose-life-uvacharta/ The moment, I heard this chant, I felt drawn to it. As a result, I have been chanting it every day since first hearing it. Choosing Life is an empowering decision.  For me, it means striving to live life fully and with positive energy.

On the day that I actually received Reb Shefa’s chant, I was running scared, struggling with darkness, and wondering how I would emerge.  At first, I didn’t open the email, instead I found myself trying to find a semblance of balance. And for the most part I was beginning to find my footing and to feel just a bit better. So when I opened the email the next day, I was already in a much better place, but the chant was still able to help me strengthen my footing so that it was much more firmly planted.

In reality though, darkness doesn’t leave so quickly.  It takes work, hard work. And work is exactly what I did and what I am continuing to do.  While I am so much happier than I was a month ago, I have used chanting as well as other tools to keep reaching towards a stronger and healthier place.

For me, choosing life means finding the tools that keep me thriving. For this journey, I have been:

  • Chanting Choose Life
  • Writing, blogging, creating
  • Walking and exercising
  • Sleeping more than usual (even napping on occasion)
  • Eating better
  • Spending more time with my sons and dog
  • Taking time to talk to and visit friends
  • Stopping to notice spring

I love that my transformation began literally moments before I heard Choose Life and I love that it became a tool for me to thrive even more. Starting tonight, I will also use it for my friend and her loved one.

Choosing Life has never been an option for me. I have always reached for the light even in the dark moments. Tonight, I will send that light to those in need. Will you join me?

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Welcome back to my journey towards Seeking My Own Path to Simchah (Happiness):  My Own Personal Happiness Project

Reflections Continued:

Since posting yesterday’s blog, I found myself contemplating what happiness means.   It Pirkei Avot, Ethics of Our Fathers, it says, “Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has.” (4:1)  When I think about happiness on that level, that means that I am happy, yet when I think of happiness on my own, I think there should be a moment or more of radical joy.  Simchah for me is about that moment when you want to scream out in delight.  Yet the joy of Pirkei Avot is a lot more sustainable.

Based on Pirkei Avot, I am feeling really positive.  I am someone who finds the blessings in the present moments, the realities of life, and with those that are part of my life.  At the same time, I will always look for the moments of ecstatic joy.

Over the next 12 days I will be sharing my own personal commandments to be utilized as I seek my own path towards Simchah (Happiness).  I see the commandments as tools that have the ability to propel me towards meeting my goal and building a stronger foundation in terms of the role that simchah can play in my life.

Commandment 1: Be myself

In order to be myself, I need to know myself.  That isn’t necessarily easy, but it is a necessity.  In truth, I do know myself very well, but the next step can sometimes be a little more tricky.  Being yourself means trusting that it is ok to be yourself.

How can I make this happen?

  • trust myself
  • live according to my values
  • take time to write daily
  • honor my writing spirit

Being myself is a work in progress.  While I actively engage in being real or being myself, I also love connecting with people where they are.  I am a chameleon who can often fit wherever I am in that moment.

Recently, I had to reach inside my heart and decide how to best honor my soul.  The decision was painful, but making that decision led me to inner clarity and the ability to move forward.  Yay.

Moving any journey forward means listening to the inner voice that is meant to guide us.  Sometimes it can be an easy thing to do, but sometimes it is really hard.  For those that know me, I am often seen as being ‘crunchy granola’ in a non-granola world.  These are the values that make me who I am today.

Another way in which I can best honor myself is to make certain that I am writing on a regular basis.  Years ago I wrote:

Writing,                                                                                                                                         the song of my heart;                                                                                                                   the meaning of my mind;                                                                                                           the feeling of my soul;                                                                                                                   Is what makes me One.

Writing soothes my being.  If I am writing on a regular basis, it must mean that I am reaching for new heights and actively engaged in life.  The more I write the more centered I am.

Commandment 1: Be myself – May I continue to strive to reach new heights as I continue to grow.   By honoring the soul that is within me I will soar as the person I am.  And the simchah or happiness of Pirkei Avot will continue to flourish and the happiness radical joy will occur more frequently too.

Can you think of a personal commandment that you could create in order to develop a stronger foundation of simchah within your life?  If you’d like to share, I’d love to know.

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