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Posts Tagged ‘door’

Your energy introduces you. . . .Truth.

While I am far from perfect, I tend to walk into almost any new environment with warmth and love in my heart. I can’t help but smile at babies or any child, seniors, and animals. Beauty always brings tears to my eyes and authenticity jazzes my soul.

With each step, I remember that my energy is what people meet first.

I love that people are drawn to my energy. My only hope is that I wish I could be healthier, more vibrant, and even more inspirational. And yet, I also love that even if I am not all of these things, I still have the ability to make strangers smile, dogs wag their tails, and children play with me.

On a good day, I make new friends wherever I go and sometimes, I am blessed to connect with a new soul friend with barely a word spoken.

Beauty surrounds me.

On a bad day, I can become hyper-focused and forget that regardless of what is happening, life is not all about me or what I need to accomplish. My hope is that when I get like this, I can turn it off quickly. Sometimes I am lucky enough to do just that.

A few years ago, I visited one of my congregants post surgery. As she laid surrounded by loved ones in ICU, I walked into the room. With tears in my eyes, I was instantly transformed. I remembered another time and place when I had no words for my own family who painfully and awkwardly stood vigil for one of our loved ones. But within moments, I asked the family if I could pray with one of the most beautiful souls I knew. And when they said yes, I found myself chanting and praying with an intensity that felt right for that moment. Fortunately, this horrific chapter had a happy ending; my congregant was able to not only live, but thrive again.

Pain and memories are part of life.

For some reason, the above hospital visit touched me deeply. Walking into this congregant’s hospital room nearly paralyzed me. And yet, I quickly realized that there was no time for self-absorption; this was a time for unconditional love. In fact nearly every time I walk into a new environment, I find myself propelled towards warmth and love.

Over time, connections evolve and become grounded in a beautiful reality. But it is always my hope that when you meet me, you will meet a sweet energy that makes you want to get to know who is walking through the door.

 

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Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself come from, and where you will go.” Written by Rebecca Solnit, in A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Walking into a total darkness over different terrains is the epitome of sweetness. The darkness soothes my battered spirit, invigorates my entire being, and allows me to go quiet, to get real, allowing me to eventually to emerge a bit more whole.

Only when I go through the ‘open doors’ and into the darkness do I find the light that I am so often seeking.

Chava's Shadow 17January2016

The seeker in me knows that finding the right doors can often be a challenge. I need to find the space that allows for the freedom to move, to think, and to curl up into a ball so that I can simply be. There has to be enough softness to hold my shedding soul or to cushion whatever is being birthed. I am always birthing a feeling, a thought, a belief, and sometimes a new reality.

Only when I allow myself to face the darkness can I find the light. As Leonard Cohen said so beautifully, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

As I get older, I have begun to realize that I am more fragile than I once believed. The skeletons in my closet are at times overwhelmingly heavy. And happiness is an elusive emotion that is always just beyond my reach. Although I can smile broadly and feel momentary exhilaration, I am filled with a deep intensity that often leads me feeling alone in a crowd even when I am surrounded by my closest friends.

Life isn’t easy. All relationships have their challenges. This is reality.

Have you notice how complicated love can be? Over time, I have learned that love is not necessarily everlasting. All relationships evolve and sometimes we are blessed to evolve in ways that work for everyone and often we are not.  This is true for lovers and friends, family members and colleagues. I love as intensely as I live life; that means that there is no protection for my heart. There are times when it will shatter or break. And yet, I love connecting with people even as I understand that all relationships develop in their own unique ways and differently than I think they will.

Butterflies have always excited me. Perhaps this is because they emerge only after they have had their time in a cocoon. Burrowing in the dark allows me to face my deepest, darkest truths; it allows me to face the realities without interruption.

For the most part, I have found that sweetness abounds. Darkness may be part of some of life’s interactions, but not all. My life is full of beautiful connections. Surrounding me are so many beloveds who are doing the holy work of making this world a better place. (Sadly, I lost two friends in the last 14 months; both were engaged in the holy work of living consciously; both lost their lives tragically cut short way too soon.) There are also children that shine their light and give delicious hugs; and there are animals that embody unconditional love. All of this and more make a difference for good.

I am so profoundly aware of the many blessings that surround me at every turn. Inner contentment is often a very real feeling in the core of my being. I love the world I have made for myself and I do not take that for granted.The world I live in is full of beauty; I have learned to treasure that which is worthy. So while I may not be ‘happy’ in the traditional sense, light does fill my world.

Feb 2015  Walking from behind

Darkness and light are always being navigated. My work is to find the light in the darkness and the darkness in the light. Listening to the shadows that emerge may be the only way to make the world a better place.

May blessings keep us from getting stuck in the valleys and grace keep us from soaring too high from solid ground.

ONWARD
with love and light!

Chava

 

 

 

 

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My name is the gift I gave myself.  It nurtures my essence and reminds me of all I am and all I want to be.

I am alive. I dance to my own drummer and navigate the world in my own unique ways.

Photo Courtesy of Aryeh Grossman; Composition by Marty Johnson

Photo by Aryeh Grossman;                          Composition by Marty Johnson

i am Chava
lover of life
survivor of blackened skies
believer of the future

i am Chava
beaten but not destroyed
strangled but always breathing
blessed to be exactly who I am

a women who finds light in darkness
a dreamer who never stopped dreaming
a drummer who beats to her own rhythm
a writer who knows that her voice matters

i am a wave of light
who seeks light in the shadows of nightmares
who finds sparks in tunnels
who navigates the murky waters of life
and calls wherever I am – home.

Gal-Or
the moon calls to me
the sun warms my heart
both soothe my soul

i am alive
i am thriving
i am soaring
my world is simply precious beyond words.

I am not sure when I learned how to dance or to sing. I can’t remember when I found my voice or my rhythm. And yet, I have.  My world was not diminished by the demons that had moments of breaking my spirit.

My heart broke, so many times my entire being felt shattered.  The tears fell and welts swelled – sometimes physical and sometimes metaphorically. And yet, the clouds allowed splinters of light to stream around me and into me.

The bruises have healed and my heart is now intact.  The door has opened wide and has beckoned me through.  Feel my heartbeat, imagine how deeply I can now breathe, and watch my spirit soar.

I am Chava Gal-Or.

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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 . . . .]

Allowing for transition in all relationships takes a tremendous amount of courage.  Nine days ago, I shared that “Sometimes closing the door is not enough; sometimes the door must be locked AND barricaded too!” http://wp.me/pthnB-LD While that is absolutely true, that is not the case all the time.

Relationships can often be fluid, they evolve over time; sometimes they seem closer and sometimes farther away.

For me, the struggle is loving people in the intense way that I do when they have decided to ease out of our shared connection. Sometimes I just don’t want to let go of the close connection that ‘was’. When I am not ready or expecting a change, I often find myself mourning the loss instead of just moving forward. Outwardly I may appear to be allowing the relationship to end or to ebb and flow, but inwardly I am crushed. (I do realize that this is remnant from my childhood.)

The last three years have been full of intense loss. My heart has been shattered again and again – sometimes expectantly, but mostly not. The losses are intensely private and mostly held close. There is little reason to share my losses with others. Initially, I navigate in the best ways that I know how and when I am ready I wipe my tears and move forward. Always.

Picture by Chava

Picture by Chava

Friendships unfold or transition in their own unique way.  My goal is always to find a way to do what I have to do and move forward privately. There really is little time for a broken heart. This is my work – perhaps it always will be. The blessing is that I do have some beautiful connections in my life and most of them are quite strong.

In my journey towards wholeness, I am striving to find the inner strength to let go of that which does not serve me. Only through developing some inner strength is there hope to ease more naturally into navigating all relationships in the healthiest of ways.

In the meantime, I am grateful to those within my inner circle that allow me to enter our connection fully as I am.

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 . . . .]

blue_boat_house_door

Sometimes closing the door is not enough;
sometimes the door must be locked AND barricaded too!
~Quote by Chava

My Journey Towards Wholeness has been profound. With each passing day, I am encountering more and more awareness regarding how to best navigate my life in the healthiest of ways.

While this has been an exciting time for me, it has also been challenging to look at the many relationships that have been part of my life – some for weeks and months, others for years and decades.  And while I treasure what each connection has given me, I am also finding it advantageous to let go of the connections that no longer serve me. If nearly every interaction with someone causes discomfort, it is time to leave the connection behind.

Life is a gift. That means I need to treat it with love and thoughtfulness; I need to treasure what life offers and find peace when some of the relationships end.  Few things last forever.

With every ounce of my being, I am constantly working towards being as considerate and warm as I can be. Maybe I haven’t always been this way, but I have been doing the holy work of walking gently for a few years now.

The pain of closing the door from a once special person can feel overwhelming and yet I believe we are honoring ourselves when we do just that. . And with the really tough or toxic relationships, we need want to consider my friend Sabrina Sojourner’s wisdom, “Sometimes you need to change the door into a wall. Bookcases and shelving work great for that.”

Today I made the painful decision to barricade the door from someone who has been in my life for decades; perhaps I should have erected a wall instead. My heart and my soul are too precious to be continually stomped on.

With a heavy heart and a clear mind, I am taking care of me. I am letting go and finding balance.

While I believe that ‘when one door closes, another door opens’, I don’t want to hear that right now.  Instead I want to be spiritually held and allowed to grieve.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 28 Elul or 2 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

~ ~ ~

Breathe!

~ ~ ~

Regardless of how much I need to navigate, I am determined to take time to breathe-deeply.  Lately, I have been taking time each day to take three to five breaths; my hope is to feel the breath flow through me to every part of my body.  And for those few minutes that I am taking the time to breathe deeply, I feel myself grounding and feeling centered.

My life is busy, crazy busy.  Still I believe it is in my best interest to nurture my body, my mind, and my soul.  Breathing is just one tool I use; I also take time to stop and do things that inspire conscious breathing.  I:

  • watch the cycle of the moon
  • write
  • smell flowers
  • connect with friends
  • actively enjoy my sons
  • pet my dogs until they become mush in my hands
  • remain present with those that need me as a care-giver
  • take long walks
  • chant
  • hold the door open for strangers
  • see the beauty surrounding me
  • read spiritual and books poetry
  • etc

The bottom-line here is that while I am sometimes overwhelmed by the life I am leading, I am able to endure when I connect deeply to the earth and the things I love to do.  Only through breath, can I be fully connected to the world I live.  So. . . .I am learning to take more time to breathe.

With blessings & light,
Chava

pet-rock

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Middah (character trait) focus: Loving My Teens & All My Students For Who They Are

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 me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Over the years I have been transformed by the young people that have touched my life; each and every one of them added depth to my life.  Somehow they trusted me and as their trust grew so did my ability to connect with them.  What I love about all of the children and teens that I have known over the years is that as long as I was willing to listen, I could build relationships with them.  I am so humbled by the different connections I have experienced.

Back in 2002, when I started working at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, I had no idea how to work with preteen girls.  But I didn’t actually realize that I didn’t have the skills, I faked it and somehow with each success I grew.  I loved the girls that were to become my Rosh Hodesh Girls (a group that met during the first days of the new moon each month); my life was better because of the work I did with them for several years.  The work transformed me and made me more aware of what it means to be a teacher, a mentor, woman, and a friend.  I wish I could thank each and every one of the young women today, but I have lost contact over the years.  Sigh.

Why am I reflecting back to my Rosh Hodesh Girls now?

Loved my time with Lucy Heller, Karen Judin, Rachel Rheingold - shown with Chava Gal-Or (from left to right)

Loved my time with Lucy Heller, Karen Judin, and Rachel Rheingold – shown with Chava Gal-Or (from left to right)

Today, three amazing young women took me to lunch.  Two years ago, I met them when I began working at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson.  Two of them taught Israeli dance and one was a madricha, (a teaching assistant); all three of them were giving and wise with their students and their friends too.  Within a very short time of meeting these three teens, I grew to like them very much; they became people that I now consider to be friends.  While I have always treasured the relationships I have built with my students, it was my relationship with the now college students from Adat Shalom that opened me up to really building meaningful relationships with those that were once simply my students.

One of the things I treasured most about my time with the Temple Emanu-El teens today was when they told me how I impacted them.  What I know now is that I touched their lives because I respected them as individuals and as teens; I listened to them and appreciated whatever they brought to the table; I trusted them to be leaders.  The bottom-line is that I do not believe in coercive leadership; I believe in building partnerships.

So often I work with rabbis, teachers, and parents that feel the need to tell our teens and all of our children not only how to walk in the world. but how to use their minds.  I don’t feel this way.  I want to open a door or a window.  I want to share the tools I treasure and the knowledge that has guided me throughout life; I want to give those I work with the room to play and to experience Judaism in a way that is comfortable for them.  My goal is always to hear both what those I work with are saying and what they are not yet saying; I want all the children, teens, and adults that I work to be comfortable with me and the gifts I have to offer.  My door is open.

Today I realized that all three teens were not just my co-workers, but my friends.  May they always remember that my door will be open to them.  I have grown to love them not simply as I love all my students and families; I love them as the beautiful souls that they are; I love them as my friends.

I will always be grateful to the Adat Shalom girls and the families that trusted me so many years ago.  Without them, I would not be the person I am.

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