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Posts Tagged ‘cycles’

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
― Vincent Van Gogh

Have you ever been paralyzed by taking your first step in something that you really wanted to do? Of course you have, we all have!

Tonight as I was talking to my dear friend Sami (not her real name) when I intuitively felt drawn to share with her that it is time for her to get out of her own way. I strongly suggested that she choose to do‘4 ACTIONS IN 4 DAYS’.

The goal is simple. I suggested that my friend stop allowing herself to get stuck in the ruts. In fact, I specifically told her to stop hugging the ruts. We all do this sometimes; I am no different. For me, my challenge is staying in loving relationships with men that are beautiful, but not available for me on a soul level. This realization has been with me for a while, but it is only over the last several weeks that I have finally found my voice, realized what I had to do, and become empowered to release and heal from my previous cycles.

Creatively, I have also had a few ruts. Some of these ruts include:

  • Fear of painting and sharing my work. For that I started #The100DayProject after listening to the most amazing podcast, The Chase Jarvis Live Show, in which he interviewed Elle Luna. The two interviews that Chase did with Elle Luna lead me to do my own #ActivistCardsByChava. You can google it if you want to see a few examples. Needless to say that this 100 Day Project stayed with me for well over 100 Days AND it has opened several new doors for me.
  • Sharing my writing was really difficult for me at first.  After hearing a professor of a graduate level writing class tell me that I was a horrible writer and that I should give it up, that is exactly what I chose to do in early twenties. And then after over a decade of refusing to write, I started writing again after my second son was born when a few magazines wanted to publish his story. BUT I wasn’t writing with any regularity. That all changed in March 2009 when I started this blog.
  • Choosing to take care of myself has often been one of the hardest ruts I have had to navigate. Today, I openly share my weight journey, track my steps, and reach out to friends so that I can ask for creative solutions for moving forward. Success has come as I have actively embraced my health journey by eating better, moving more, and losing about 85 lbs. I am literally growing into a healthier person.

In my conversation, I suggest that she simply move forward tomorrow by deciding what 4 actions she’d like to do over the next 4 days. For me, I can say that while I may have been thinking about each of these possible transformations for a long while. Once I realized it was time, I didn’t look back. The plans came to me in moments and I simply started taking one step and then other.  I literally opened my eyes and my heart and without looking back I found my way.

The most valuable lesson can be summed up by the wisdom found when Chase Charvis  interviewed his friend mountaineer and philanthropist Melissa Arnot Reid:

Day 15 - Walk up hills slowlsyStanding still will not propel any of us forward. I am so hoping that Sami can find the inner strength to take one step and then another. May my friend and all of us find the actions we need in order to transform ourselves in a way that helps us become more grounded while soaring as human beings.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Life is full of cycles. As it says in both Ecclesiastes and Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season):

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Written by Pete Seeger • Copyright © T.R.O. Inc.
 ~ ~ ~
Today is my father’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death; Morry Bloomberg died 15 years ago today. I remember that time as if it is an open wound that feels like it will never heal. And yet, the good news is that it did heal. Moving forward became my reality.
 
While the loss of my father sometimes looms larger than life, the devastation is mostly held at bay. I miss him deeply, but his presence is always within arm’s reach.
 
I loved my father and all the moving parts that made him both beautiful and challenging. My father was not always good at taking care of me, but his love was profound and pure. I never ever doubted his love, only his ability to keep me safe. (BUT, that is not the story I want to share now.)
 
In the last few days, I have found myself navigating some beautiful light and profound darkness. This is what happens to me around the time of my father’s yahrzeit. This is the time when I recall the multiple dichotomies of not only my father, but of other people and other times in my life. Somehow this is one of the times of year that inner reflection is inevitable.
 
Very few things in life are simple. We love intensely and then we lose our hearts with deep veracity. We create beautiful masterpieces and then destroy them with a fierceness that only an artist can understand. We do our best to change the world for good and then one day our spirit needs a break; it can no longer make a difference so we give up.
 
And then we find ourselves loving again, creating again, and doing our part to change the world again. The cycle begins – again.
 
Navigating the world as I do means that I have to honor the cycles that nurture both profound light and profound dark within me. I have to do what my father would have called, “listening to the silence”. So. . .that is exactly what I do this time of year and many others too. I “listen to the silence”: I take some very deep breaths and I allow myself to reflect inward.
Ocean Sept 2014

Photo courtesy of my someone who really knows how to listen to the silence, Shay Seaborne.

My desire to listen to the silence always coincides with the anniversary of my father’s passing.
 
There is no surprise that my father used to have a loving way that  he would hold my ears and say, ‘listen to the silence’. Love and calmness would permeate my entire being in those sweet moments.
 
So, today, on my father’s yahrzeit, I am consciously taking the time to ‘listen to the silence’, to remember my father, and to honor my spirit that is craving a little more quiet in my world.
 
May my father’s memory always remind me to go inward and to listen to the still quiet voice that is always illuminating my way.
 
May I always honor the cycles that move my spirit.
 
Onward with love,
Chava

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Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in the like kind. What we sow is what we reap.~ Deepak Chopra

Being healthy is not an option for me.  Health is a mindset and I need to be the healthiest person that I can be.  Regardless of my starting point, my physical limitations, or my emotional being, I need to move forward from where I am at any given moment.

Last year, I began my health journey (stage 1) 45 days before my 45th birthday.  I guess now would be a good time to share that I was off in my counting and it was actually 46 days.  🙂  In stage 1 of my journey, I stopped eating sugar, caffeine, and soda.  The process helped me to lose initially 63 or so lbs although I sometimes find myself struggling with an extra 3-5 lbs.  The good news is that I don’t let that reality get me down, but I look forward to breaking that cycle as I move into the next phase of this journey.

With each phase of my health journey, I have been aware that I need to make lifestyle changes so that becoming healthier is natural and sustainable over time.  So far, I have done that with my eating and my spiritual journeys.  Now it is time for me to do it in terms of movement/exercise.

Today I is Day 1 of my 60 Day Health Journey. My goal is to continue from stage 1 and now add simple and daily movement.  My routine will incorporate sit-ups, push-ups, light weights, leg lifts, yoga poses, etc.  I am thinking about getting an exercise ball, but I haven’t made a decision yet.  I will also continue walking and biking; although the cold weather might not make for frequent biking.  My long term goal is to one day jog again; I’d really love to do a half-marathon, but I think it might end up being a 5 K or possibly a 10 K instead.  In truth, what matters is that I can become the healthiest me that I can.

Today is only the beginning, but isn’t each day a new beginning open to new possibilities.

Thanks for joining me as I take on the next stage of my Health Journey.  All simple ideas are welcome!!

With blessing and light,

Chava

 

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Everyone that is born will ultimately die.  No one knows the exact moment; yet it is a known reality.

My beloved friend lost her life partner; unfortunately, I had yet to meet him.  Schedules and distance made getting together a challenge; we were hoping to meet this month.  The good news is that my friend experienced a love that nourished her soul; the sad news is that they didn’t grow old together.  Their connection on this earth ended too soon.

Experiencing her partner through my friend’s eyes was a real blessing for me.  I learned about how I can be a better person; I learned about how I can make a difference in the world around me.  Each time a person dies, they leave a legacy for survivors to notice.  Sometimes the memories are not such a gift, but even the challenging memories give all of us something to note so that we can learn from the person who has died.

What did I learn from my friend’s fiancé?  I learned so much that I am not certain I can do it justice, but I will try.

  • Working with your hands fills you with satisfaction and benefits both your pocket and your disposition.
  • Keeping a promise is a way of showing someone they really matter.
  • Simple acts of kindness touch people deeply and have a lasting impact.
  • If you can make a difference in someone’s life, take the time.
  • No matter what happened in the past, you don’t have to continue doing what didn’t work for you or for those you have loved.
  • No one is a stranger.
  • Take time to touch people’s lives by going the extra mile when possible.
  • Treasure what you have; every moment counts.
  • Love deeply.
  • If you want something enough, be willing to work hard of for it.
  • Live with integrity through being the most honest you can be.
  • Mending fences takes work, but it is worth the work.
  • Life is short; treasure the moments that you have.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring; everyone dies.  The challenge is living your life fully and consciously.  Living is a gift, but living fully has the potential to impact not only your life, but also the lives of those you love and those you will love.

What will you be known for when your time comes?  How are you choosing to live your life today?  May each and everyone of us find at least one attribute that touches others and ultimately benefits ourselves too.

May we be blessed to live a physically and spiritually healthy life. May our lives ultimately be a memory for good!

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Living life is what I love to do.  Smiling and laughing are part of my natural state of being.  Writing and chanting, loving and breathing deeply are guiding tools for me to live.  I am truly blessed.

Yesterday, I celebrated my life! I don’t remember ever having a birthday that felt surrounded by so much love.  Every moment of my birthday was a treasure.  For a woman that suffered intense darkness as a child and had to recover as an adult, that is no small feat.

With tears in my eyes, I can’t help but reflect how each of every moment from the days leading up to my birthday through the day after my birthday were empowering and beyond my wildest expectations.  Only once have I had an expectation for my birthday, and that never came to pass.  Don’t get me wrong, not all of my birthdays were dark and many of them had lightness, but yesterday’s was truly the best.

I did not receive any “traditional” gifts per se and yet I received a plethora of gifts at every moment.  So many of my loved ones celebrated my life or reminded me that I am cherished and/or loved. Both old friends and new friends connected with me in very real ways. I don’t remember ever feeling this much warmth and joy on my birthday.

The amazing thing for me was the realization that the technical world was used for so much good!!!  Over the last couple of days, I have had text messages, emails, facebook notes,  and even an old fashioned card.  Even the phone rang a few times!!!! Wow, those birthday wishes were some of the sweetest wishes I have ever heard.  People from all parts of my life acknowledged me and helped me remember that I am worthy of that warmth.  WOW…what a gift each person gave me.

A few times this week, friends gave me the gift of a great meal. The best meal was at a fabulous restaurant in Bethesda, good food and great company! I love to eat good food with good friends/family!!

Every person I met smiled; every person I saw seemed to be celebrating life with me.  Even if they didn’t know it was my birthday, each person I met seemed to be delivering me joy in the most beautiful of packages.

A few years ago, I fell in love with the symbolism of light.  Both the sun and the moon guide me.  The colors orange, yellow, and sometimes even red energize me.  Browns and earth tones of all colors support me.  I love the celebrating the cycles of the day, the months, the seasons, and the year.

When I got dressed yesterday morning, I put on a brown turtleneck, brown pants, and a beautiful orange, yellow and red scarf.  The scarf has become my sunlight when I feel dark and it has kept me surrounded in light because I love it so much.  One of my favorite people gave me the scarf and I have treasured it when I needed warmth and when I just want to feel it’s positive energy.  The scarf is close to me so often when I chant, drum, or pray.  It seems to keep me spiritually safe.  On my head, I wore a beautiful Mayan Works kippah that is filled with orange, black and yellow. When I wear that kippah, I so often find myself spiritually grounded. I love how color can have such a positive impact on my day!

Going to shul yesterday, I found myself in a Minyan where each person brought their spiritual energy and their beauty.  Being at shul felt centering in every way.  I loved sitting with people that I don’t normally daven (pray) with and feeling their energy emerge as the service continued.  Each moment was unique because of what each person brought to the service.

After services, I went to visit a friend who I have not had any time with in for what seems like forever.  Being with her and later her family was so special.  There are so many people I am blessed to love and have no time for, but yesterday, I carved out some time for one special person and in the end really enjoyed the time we had as well as seeing her beautiful family too!

Before going home, I had one last stop.  I returned to shul to chant.  The chants and the chant energy were beautiful.  The group was small, but wrapping up my Shabbat with the sweet chants that each held such power for me…..that helped me find my center.  Each and every time I chant, I find myself being anchored to the earth and the heavens all at once.  My prayer is that the healing power of the chants helped guide each of the participants to a healthier place than when they started.  I know the chanting made me feel physically and spiritually great!

Coming home was the biggest gift of all!  Michael and the boys had the table set with my favorite orange, red, yellow, and white tablecloth!  They made me my favorite meal of salmon, broccoli and potatoes; they topped the meal off with my favorite dessert – cheesecake!  Walking into the warmth of my home, surrounded by my family, the dinner, the banner they made (of course with shades of orange and yellow) and the love was the most powerful ending to the most special birthday.

As we lit the Havdalah candle, I realized that the light of Shabbat and my birthday had been part of the warmest days of my life.  To each of every person that is part of my life, thank you for being there.  To each and every person that reminded me life was a gift, thank you.  My memories of my 44th birthday will add light to my life for so many days to come.

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Those that know me well know that I hear rhythms in my head most every moment of the day.  The rhythms guide me as I move forward and as I attempt to navigate the spaces that surround me.  In all honesty, it is sometimes a struggle to focus on that which I need to do because I’d rather follow my prana, my derech, my way.

When I am lucky the rhythms include some beautiful music with words attached to it.  At some point in time, I heard that the silence between the beats is as important as the music itself.  I love how music can help my spirit to soar or allow me the space to cry if need be.

Today I was in the midst of listening to myself with each and every step.  For some reason, I made some very good choices and was able to both celebrate life and comfort some mourners.  Looking outside at the moon tonight, I realize that life is full of different cycles.

Tonight the luminous moon is full, bright, beautiful, and comforting; today is the 15th of Tammuz. We have 2.5 months until will celebrate Rosh HaShana.  The moon always reminds me that life continues even as our lives feel stagnant or overwhelming busy.  Cycles continue with each birth and end with each death.

I am grateful for my life and for the cycles that embrace my steps. Sometimes, I am able to articulate my gratitude on a regular basis and sometimes my mind is too cluttered.

This afternoon, I was driving into the city for an opportunity to learn about a new curriculum that we will be using this coming year for our high school students.  With each mile, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the frenetic pace of my life.  At the same time, I know that life has evolved to a quieter space over the past year, so I am really not complaining too much.

When I got into the car I found myself humming a new chant that I learned from my teacher Rabbi Shefa Gold.  The words go to the chant are:

L’takayn Olam B’malchut Shaddai
To heal the world within God’s kingdom

After chanting for about 15 minutes, I decided to listen to an oldies station for a bit.  Just as I started getting into my new rhythm, I saw a car start to pull into my lane.  For a moment, I was really concerned which caused me to react in such a way that I didn’t get into an accident.  The sight wasn’t pretty and my guess is that I was being kept safe by the shechina (God’s presence).  As my car’s breaks caused me to swerve the radio station switched from radio to CD player.  With that, the chant returned to my radio.

The message was loud and clear; it really is my job to do the best I can to heal our world/God’s kingdom.

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