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Today is Day 12 of My Selfie Challenge. This is my time to look at how I walk in the world and to shake loose from some of the very things that bind my spirit.  And if I am going to be really truthful, it is my hope that as I take each photo, I will learn to be just a little happier with the person that I am. As a seeker, it is my time to find the beauty that is me.

This I believe: Everything is temporary.

Today is Ash Wednesday.
We are reminded that we are mere mortals.

Today 17 people left there homes expecting to return home after school/work.
Over the coming days, 17 family units and countless students will bury their loved ones and friends.

Today, I woke up feeling more alive and full of life than I have felt in weeks.
Tonight I am aware that I need to hold that feeling in my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Day 12Tomorrow is not a given. This I have learned time and time again. After seeing what was probably a fatal accident years ago I wrote Sometimes There Are No Tomorrows –  https://wp.me/pthnB-5i

This means I have to live life with two eyes wide open, my arms stretching out to the universe, and my spirit ready for all that will come my way.

Sometimes there really are no tomorrows. . . .so today I have to live the best way I can.

Sending 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 . . . .]

Namaste – Part 2

Namaste

Yesterday, I shared a little about my Namaste Journeyhttp://wp.me/pthnB-Mt. On Day 31 of the counting of the Omer, it is my hope to share how I am finding myself missing the mark in terms of fully being present with remembering that the spirit in me honors the spirit in all life forces, Namaste.

In the last few weeks, I have been on the road a lot.  Ten days ago, I drove from Louisa, Virginia to Woodstock, NY. During the first two hours of my trek, I noticed over 20 dead animals. For the first dozen or so, I earnestly found myself sad for each creature’s spirit. How horrible for any spirit to die with a crash and a squeal of tires. My heart really breaks when I allow myself to reflect about this.

After the first dozen animals, I slowly noticed that I had lost the sensitivity that I had always prided myself on. Eventually, the beautiful spirits began to blend together and I stopped feeling compelled to honor each spirit.

I am a work in progress. How disappointing that I wasn’t stopped being as conscious as I like to be. With that in mind, I am wondering how to remain caring when I am surrounded by life’s challenges for those I love, those in my life, and all life forces that surround me.

Each and every day, our news reminds of the mounting tragedies in our world. Global warming, race riots, murder, natural disasters, homelessness, illness. . . .the list goes on and on.

I love life – all of life!

With this in mind, I have decided to share my challenges in hope of making myself more accountable. In sharing what I perceive as my shortcomings, I know that I am striving to improve. At the same time, I am hoping that I inspire others to consider all the life forces that surround you.

May we all strive to not only notice the world around us, but to pray for the spirits of all life forces as we make a difference for good.

With love, light, and blessings,

Chava

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Note to Seeing the Door series:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Have you ever noticed how many different types of doors exist in the world?  Nearly each and every door leads to an opportunity.  Some doors are physical; other doors are metaphoric.  All doors lead to opportunity.

With the Rosh Chodesh Av (the first day of Av, the new Jewish month) beginning tonight, I have been processing how I can find meaning as we journey towards Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av?  On Tisha B’Av, we mourn the destruction of the both the First and Second Temples as well as many other horrible atrocities that were done to the Jews on this date.  Historically, this day is the saddest day in all of the Jewish calendar; on the 9th of Av, we remember, we mourn, and for some of us, we look for ways to make sense of this time.

How can you create an opening or doorway that will allow for new insight when darkness prevails?   For me, that means being reflective and finding lessons from the shattered remnants.

While many outdoor spaces offer me the most potent of spiritual places I have ever been, the most spiritual sanctuary and community has easily been Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland.  There I found peace, spirituality, and community; it was and still is quite beautiful.  So when I consider what a Temple could be to in modern terms, I return to Adat Shalom.  That doesn’t take away what the First and Second Temples mean to the Jewish people, but it does help me find meaning in what the Temples could have meant to those that treasured them and all they stood for.  Adat Shalom’s beauty quite literally takes my breathe away.

AdatShalomSanctuary

Over the coming days, I will be openly reflecting on what we can learn from the Destruction of the Temples.  One way that I gain a little empathy for a time that is somewhat beyond my comprehension is that I want to explore how my body is like a Temple both physically and metaphorically.  As sacred beings, we create sacred Temples/sacred spaces by how we choose to walk in the world.  Here is a working list of different ways each of us might be like a Temple.

  1. Spirituality doesn’t happen without a practice.
  2. In order to grow, I need to take care of myself, my community, and the world.
  3. Nourishing my body with good ingredients will ultimately lead me to be the best I can be.
  4. Surrounding myself with positive energy will create a healthy environment.
  5. My carbon footprint matters.
  6. Knowledge leads to wisdom.
  7. Choosing to live with integrity is a way of honoring my essence.
  8. Sometimes what appears to be lifeless, stagnant, or even dead, is actually within a time of rebirth, re-visioning and ultimate growth.
  9. Gaining insight often comes from trusting that the silence will us to the answers.
  10. Taking care of yourself physically leads people to appreciate and take note of your beauty.  Similar to the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah.
  11. Taking care of myself leads me and those that work with me to be part of the holy work.nd with this list comes a responsibility to take care of our bodies so we can do the holy work.

All that we do for our bodies makes a difference and ultimately leads to a better makom, a sacred space.  And yet it is important to remember that nothing is permanent; impermanence is a reality for all even that which is remembered in our collective memory.  While both a sacred being and a sacred place create an imprint and potential impact the world in which they exist, it doesn’t mean that it has a permanent place within that existence.  Yet each still has the possibility of being impact-ful during and exceeding their time.  How each walks in the world matters.

Much beauty exists around the exploration of how are body can be like a Temple.  One of my most empowering teachers, Lauren Rader, had her students create an art project that responded to that very question.  Here is the link to the amazing insight that was created by Lauren’s students. https://www.facebook.com/LaurenRadrArt/media_set?set=a.412319202480.182023.692372480&type=3

May the sacred beauty we develop within and around ourselves be parallel to how we see the Temple or any of the sacred places in our lives.

Coming soon: Part 2 if ‘How is My Body like a Temple?’ will explore how can gain insight through Jewish Texts and prayers.

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