Posts Tagged ‘derekh’

Today is Day 10 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. This is my time for me to really see myself!

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens. 
~ Carl Jung 

Sometimes we find the perfect words in the perfect moment. Today was one of those days. First I received my first birthday wish; it was a day early and it totally warmed my heart. And then there was the quote above.

As a steady seeker, I have learned to look inside myself. It is this work that keeps me grounded and focused on staying on a derekh, a path, that will ultimately or continuously jazz my soul. I really do honor where I am.  While I can’t always speak from my heart, I am getting better and better at living authentically.

The more “real” I am, the more awake I become. Holy living is my goal. With every breath, I hope to become more and more true to my spirit. For me this means that sometimes I have to reach outward and share the fullness of who I am, sometimes I need to go inward and allow for the silence, and sometimes I have to be ok with simply not trying so hard.

Day 10Today was one of those days, I needed the day off, but somehow that didn’t happen and it won’t tomorrow either. Still I found pockets of time to go inward, to laugh out loud, and to do what I had to do.

And while I am wiped out, I am also feeling very much alive. I think taking the time to learn with my Monday Morning Torah Study group and time to play with Magic (my new pup) and Maddie, M & M for short. Life is good, but this year, I really do need to learn to rest and play better. That is my work!!

Sending love, light, and blessings. . . .

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Chava's Shadow 17January2016


“. . . have patience towards everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms or like books that are written in a remote foreign language. Do not search now for answers that cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And everything has to be lived. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually live your way, without noticing, into the answer some day.  Perhaps indeed you have the capacity to educate and develop others as an especially happy and pure way of life; train yourself for this – but accept what comes in great trust, and as long as it comes from your will or from some innermost need, take it on yourself and hate nothing. ”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Today, I am 50. I know more about myself than I knew a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, five years ago, and so on.  I know that I do not have all the answers, but I wish I did.

Life’s journey has not been easy and yet my life is really quite beautiful. I often get in the way of myself; my intensity leads me into some challenging shadows, but the light that often follows is worth it.  Life’s wounds have healed and loved ones have helped and continue to help me emerge even if I have to do most of the work.

In so many ways, I have chosen to walk a very different path than my friends and family.  My choices have not always been good ones, but they have lead me where I am today. In spite of some of my decisions, my sons are amazing young men that are following their own derekh, path.  I trust most of how they choose to walk in the world; as a ima, mother, it is my job to wonder, reflect, and hope that things go as good as they can and that they make the ‘right’ decisions for themselves.

I have traveled many miles, both in distance and spiritually. With each step, I find my footing, but sometimes I slip and hurt myself (and others) along the way. That doesn’t always mean I have taken a wrong turn and yet the truth is that I often have a lousy sense of direction. Sigh.  Yet, the good news is that I climb mountains that some find insurmountable, but I do it! And each mountain leads to new insight and a stronger me.

There is so much more  work that I need to do in this world. My gut is telling me that I will make a difference for good! I just have to remember to do the work and nurture my body, mind, and soul so that I can do the holy work.  I wish I knew how I could make the most positive impact, but that answer seems to elude me at this time. So I am following Rilke’s advice (above) and living into the answers.

As I take the time to treasure where I am, I also feel the need to look at what more I need to do for me so that it is possible for me to be the healthiest I can be.

My body needs some serious revamping. I have no choice, but to listen to the messages that are speaking so clearly to me. It is time to sleep more, exercise, eat better, and allow for the quiet to nudge me to where I need to go.

I also need to make more time to read great books, go to fabulous museums, hike new pathways and sit in cafés; one of my favorite things to do in this world is to sit in cafés while drinking my tea latte, people watching, and writing.

Stretching means that I need to leave my comfort zone a little bit more often and reach for new heights and become more open to hearing that which makes little sense to me.

My soul aches for the quiet as much as it aches for meaningful interactions. For whatever time I have left on this earth, may I allow for the quiet while navigating towards meaningful relationships and spiritual work.

I seem to always be seeking balance.

My spiritual work is inspired by climbing both real and metaphoric mountains so that I can create a sanctuary wherever I am.  May my energy and light spread out into the world while still warming my very own heart and soul.

Happy 50th to me!

Louisa - late winter 2015

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~Lao Tzu

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“Friendship is one soul dwelling in two bodies.” ~Aristotle

Loving my friends is part of my being, just as my blood flows; my breath sustains me; and my heart beats, etc.   It is what it is.   And sometimes friendships end.  Death and personal choices sometime sever a connection forever.  With each ending a heart shatters and sadness penetrates one’s being.  Losing someone we love literally takes our breath away.

We have all experienced loss yet with each loss, I am never certain how I will heal from my loss.  How can one survive the pain?  Loneliness quite literally shatters my being; darkness shadows my essence.

This year has been full of loss.  I have lost people that I love.  I have had to say good-bye and to move forward and find my sunny disposition while darkness shattered my essence.

In Hebrew, the word for neshama is often translated as soul and sometimes translated as breath.   With each loss of a soul friend, I literally lose my breath.

I see my closest friends as puzzle pieces that make me feel so much more whole as a human being when when we are connected.  Yet sometimes we lose those that we feel most completely connected to.  A knife can enter us and drain us of our derekh (path) for a period of time.  Again, it is what it is.  Somehow we find the power within ourselves to heal, to move forward.

While the pain feels insurmountable, I am blessed with one realization that will sustain me until the end of time.

Don’t cry because it is over.   Smile because it happened.

~Dr. Seuss

May we all find the blessings in our beloved friends even when they are no more a part of our lives.

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Saying by-Lisa Villa Prosen; Photo-Tre Le

Today on Facebook, I saw this photo posted on My Renewed Mind’s status line.  The moment I saw it, my mind soared.  Life’s journey has not always been easy for me; there has been intense loss, dramatic pain, and deep sadness.  In truth, none of these realities have ever overtaken me for long.  I have always found a way to surpass the challenges.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t suffered, it means that I have had to do a lot of work in order to become the healthy person that I am.

Many of the challenges that I have faced have been out of my control; I was forced to survive and even thrive in difficult conditions.  An example is when my son was critically sick; I had to spend days, weeks, months, and even years taking care of him in all sorts of settings that were not necessarily of my choosing.  Our children are never meant to suffer, but sometimes they do.  During that time, I had to honor the reality that we were facing and I had travel a path that kept my son alive and yet took away every ounce of freedom I had.  During the years of his illness, I couldn’t write, take walks, or explore the world around me.  The gift is that at the end of his journey, I was able celebrate his life with him.

Each one of us faces challenges in our lives.  Sometimes we can maneuver ourselves through the situations for a while and sometimes we are stuck.  It would be great to have choices, but reality doesn’t always allow it and sometimes it takes a little time to work situations out.  When I was a little girl, I had to grow up before I could leave home and become safe as an adult.  When I have had struggles in my work, I have had to try to work through the scenarios before moving forward.  Working through challenging relationships takes work, as does moving forward when those relationships are over.  Work, friendships, family dynamics are all part of life; honoring yourself in the midst of them is about deciding what makes you soar.  What do you need to thrive as a person?

For me, taking chances and letting my creative soul live is how I can be the happiest person, how I can be free.  Yes, I am part of a beautiful family as well as loving friends.   But in order for me to thrive with those I love, I must thrive within my own being.  Writing is how this becomes possible.

In this moment, boxes surround me.  I have been pushing hard since making a decision to leave Washington DC for Tucson a little more than a month ago.  And I have missed taking time to write in my own space and at a moment that writing calls to me.  I am doing taking the time now.


the song of my heart;

the feeling of my soul;

the meaning of my mind;

Is what makes me One.

These words were written when I was a young girl going through hell that none of us should ever know.  And today they touch me as much today as they did when I wrote them at 14 years old.  These words encompass the essence of my being.

Over the coming weeks, I will be continuing a 12 part series called “Seeking My Own Path to Simchah (Happiness): My Own Personal Happiness Project” This was inspired by book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  This series will explore the ways I have learned and continue to evolve as someone who seeks simchah, happiness.  The first two installments that were started before I moved to the southwest can be found:

May each of us move forward as individuals who strive to find our best selves; may we be free to explore our dreams and then follow our own dereckh, path to our own personal simchah, happiness.

With blessings  & light,


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The Journey Song

Lyrics by Debbie Friedman z”l and Tamara Ruth Cohen; music by Debbie Friedman

Where does the journey begin?
Where will we go?
Hours pass, the answers might change
As we keep moving along.

Each Friday night, I light my Shabbat Candles and then recite the blessings to the niggun (tune) of the above song.  I think it is my way of acknowledging that life is always a journey.  With each Shabbat, I can look back to the journey of the past week and celebrate so much of what has been and is.

Like my sister, Miriam, before me, I am doing the dance across the sea.  Instead of timbrels in my hand, I hold my drum and I move with all my heart and soul.

Every day of my life is a journey towards the living.  I am blessed with my ability to breath deeply and with the beat of my heart.  I am also blessed to be a work in progress that is transitioning towards being a sounder and healthier me. I am truly a woman who is filled with so much joy even when I navigate some dark moments.  My life is a gift.

Today I celebrate my 45th birthday.  Grappling with life’s questions and allowing time to answer the questions of my soul is what I do.

The celebration of my life is intense this year; I am not certain why.  It could be that I have just completed counting 45 days towards building an even better foundation for myself.  In truth, while intellectually I know it is huge deal, it ended up being easy to live with the choices I have made.

Forty-seven days ago, I went to the doctor and he told me that due to some health challenges that I had to take myself off of all caffeine and soda. I knew he was correct in his wisdom, plus I decided to take myself off of all added sweeteners (fake and real) with the exception of honey.  Sweeteners are trigger foods for me and they feed into addiction.  Since I have always struggled with weight and food addiction, I decided it was time to take the ‘bull by the horns’ and actively seek a healthy me.

What has happened is that I dropped over 30 lbs; I feel better; and I have more visions for my future.  My mind is so much less foggy and my drive and intuition seems to be soaring.  I am feeling grounded and joyful in ways that I have rarely felt.  While losing the weight is awesome, what I am valuing most is my ability to find my derekh, my prana, my path with much more clarity.

And what I found most profound about this part of my journey is that I had a fairly tough time for only a couple of days.  Days three and four of weaning myself off of highly addictive foods was tough, but then it was really easy.  My body has adapted to these food changes easily; it is as if I should have been this way all along!!  My body is responding exactly as if I am giving it what it needs and it is appreciating my new choices.

With each passing year I am learning to do more things to honor myself.  That doesn’t always come easy, but it is now an integral part of my life.  In order to love myself fully, I have to take care of myself and allow myself wings to fly.

My world is wide open.  While it is still unclear exactly how I will evolve, I am thriving in so many ways and it is my hope that this year will be filled with fabulous physical health.  My body needs to start becoming a sacred vessel in the same way I take care of my spiritual self.  The soul work that I have been doing now needs to make room for a healthier and more conscious physical being.  I am alive.  I want my inner being to be filled with incredible light, spiritual energy, and physical strength.  Only through loving my body, my mind, and my soul will I become that light.

My amazing journey continues. . . .

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Being Present: Possible?

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.’

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Lately, I have been considering how I move through life.  There is so much to manage in my daily life; I also feel passionate about making conscious decisions, taking time to write, and remembering to remain present in all that I do.  I am filled with expectations of myself and I also feel the need to be fully present for those I love.  My creative juices are pulsating through my body without enough time to flourish into a source of joy in any way, shape, or form.

The key to remaining healthy in every way is to listen to the rhythms of my being as I walk in the world.  Lately I have been astonished by so much of what I am sensing.  I am feeling the vibrations of so many people that need to stop, including me.  I am sensing that my most beloved friends are thriving creatively and yet lacking what they need to follow through with their creative process.  I put myself in that category.

Many seem to be working his or her way through some very trying realities.  Sometimes it is a matter of living in an overwhelmed state, but still others are moving through challenging health situations (emotional and/or physical).  Life is really full for everyone and yet I admire how everyone moves forward.  All of us seem to doing what we need to be accomplished, but yet there is a cost.  We seem to be struggling to find personal equilibrium.

The good thing about facing reality is that I am coming to understand that this pace isn’t working for me personally.   My body needs to take more time to breathe deeply; my mind needs to take time to contemplate my thoughts more fully; my heart needs to feel more intensely and to allow the feelings to resonate within my being.  My legs need to stretch out and walk through all sorts of terrain; my fingers need to type more, write more and doodle more; my voice needs to be more expressive through chanting and storytelling.  I need to soar differently then I am soaring now.

Today I allowed myself the day off; I did some tasks for my family, but I also allowed myself to move slower, talk to a couple of my beloved soul sisters, and to rest when my body was hurting.  For me, the day was glorious; I loved having time to move slower.  I was bummed that my back was in pain, but it will be fine. . .it always is.  I have come to appreciate when pain or illness slow me down.   Life experiences echo what I already know; my body is telling me to slow down.

Over the coming months, I am hoping to move slower, to write more, and to pause with the intention of just being.  When I listen to my body, I am clear that in order for me to feel truly alive, I need allow myself the time to exist without feeling the need to always produce.  I am not sure that I will ever be able to fully do nothing, but I will work towards doing a little less.  Mostly, I want to feel the cool grass between my toes as I do my own little dance with life.

Walking gently,


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What I Know About Me

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, and what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

~Joan Didion

The last ten years have been full.  I have learned to hear my voice and to listen to the wisdom that resides within me.  I have grown to both love and like myself for who I am and to also strive to become more of who I want to be.  I have allowed myself to feel pain as a means to finding a healthier place to stand.  The blessing is that many people embraced me over this period of time and allowed me the safe space to grow with them supporting me as need be.

In so many ways, I have grown to trust myself deeply and to trust that the universe will give me what I need so that I feel cocooned with love and inner warmth.  Or maybe it is as simple as trusting and visualizing that the angels Michael, Gavriel, Uriel, and Rafael will support me.  Each represents a source of comfort from an angel.  It is a reminder that God is within me (Michael); Strength/protection surrounds me (Gavriel); A light guides me (Uriel); while Rafael has my back or potentially heals me.   I am no longer alone and yet I am quite content being alone.

The verse, not the song from Simon and Garfunkel’s song, I am a rock, has always comforted me.

I am a rock; I am an island

While the song is filled with images that no longer represent who I am, the words in the chorus touch me differently.  I am strong and can thrive as I am.  While I love many people, I also love having solitude within each and every day; I also welcome my time alone to chant, to write, and to just be. I have learned that I need to create my own sacred space and nurture myself.  I have also learned to reach out for others when I need that support.  I am surrounded by what I prefer to call mayyim chayyim, the living water.  I am surrounded by LIFE!!!!


For full disclosure and honesty, please know that over the years I may not remember each and every conversation I have had or what I have shared, but I do know that many have impacted my life and made me see my essence more clearly.  Some of the things have caught me by surprise and hurt me more than I knew I could feel pain; other things have helped propel me forward on my life’s journey.    Each insight has helped me to evolve and make it possible to move forward.  Over the last 10 or so years, many people have touched me.  With that beautiful energy and my own inner strength, I have come to know that:

  • I am intense at the core of my being.
  • I am not dramatic; I am expressive.
  • I have an intuitive wisdom that allows me to see life deeply for both others and myself.
  • I feel abandoned in so many ways, but it never rules my life.
  • I love life completely.
  • Laughing out loud makes the whole world brighter, so I share my laughter whenever I can.
  • Living consciously is not a choice; it is what I do.
  • I dream and actively pursue each and every one of my dreams as I realize them.
  • The process of closing doors hurts, but once I do – I let go completely.
  • The gift that I bring to the world is that I am a chameleon; I find a way to make every situation work.
  • I love people.
  • Writing makes me happy; I am hoping to one day spend most of my day weaving words to tell stories.
  • I am not afraid of death only of leaving my kids if I am the one who dies.
  • Life is a gift I allow myself to live fully.

May I be blessed to have continued love of life, to reach for my dreams as I build my future, and to touch others with my actions and words.  I am so blessed to have a loving circle of family and friends that have been there for me as I have navigated my way through life’s journeys.   Thank you for loving me and helping me love and trust myself.

Being self absorbed isn’t what I am, but today it sure feels that way.    Life really isn’t all about me, or maybe it is.  🙂

With blessings and light,


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