Posts Tagged ‘doorway’

Middah (character trait) focus: Keep returning home

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.

As I was flying home from Boulder  to my sons this week, I was overcome with ambivalence. I found myself wondering, what makes a place home?

At this moment in time, I am in an incredibly expansive space; I am open to any and all opportunities.  I am happy to continue in the field that I have loved for almost three decades and I am excited that an entirely new doorway may call to me.  My physical home may continue to exist in Tucson or perhaps I will end up somewhere completely different.  The world is wide open to me and possibilities abound.

In some ways it is so simple to say that I am going home.  Home is where my family lives, my dogs await my return, or where my ‘stuff’ is.  And yet when you are navigating a possible transition to a new locale, a physical home feels more like limbo.

And then the idea of home came again on Saturday morning when I went to the Temple I used to work.  I was quite surprised that I felt comfortable there in spite of my losing my position due to financial challenges within the community.  I am still feeling lots of mixed emotions as I struggle to make ends meet.  Even so, I do have very warm feelings towards the community; I am not sure why I am shocked, but I am.  One friend let me know that she hopes that I still find Temple to be my home community.  While I don’t have the answer, I realized that the mentioning of Temple as my home left me again wondering.  Where is home?

And then this morning, the answer came to me loud and clear when I listened to the brilliant TEDTalks of Elizabeth Gilbert.  When she said, “I am not going to quit (writing), I’m going home”, I realized then Gilbert eloquently expressed what I know to be true.  For me, going home means that I am writing and that I am in a writing place.  Writing makes me feel at peace, it makes me whole.

For me, I feel balanced and complete when I am writing; it really does make any place feel like home sweet home..  Where is your safe place? When do you feel most at peace? Where is your home?

May we all keep returning home to the whatever jazzes our soul, makes us feel centered, and nurtures who we are.

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


Honoring myself would be returning to this beautiful spot and realzing wherever I am is the 'congested area'.

Being alone is sometimes the gift we give ourselves.


Middah (character trait) focus:  honoring myself


“anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”
~ David Whyte (excerpt from Sweet Darkness)
from The House of Belonging

This has been a painful few years; I have lost beloved friends because one or both of us has decided that our connection isn’t healthy for one another.  Sometimes the sadness is overwhelming, but the reality is that life is too precious for doing that which doesn’t bring us to the place we want to be.

When I consider what a middah (character trait) is, I consider the attributes of what makes me a more whole person.  As long as I am honoring myself by surrounding myself with people that jazz my soul then life is good.  And while I may be sad to lose those I love, it is ok in the end.  The journey might hurt, but in truth why should we be with people that don’t jazz our soul and lift us to a better place.

May we all be blessed to find the people in our world that nurture our spirits and allow us to nurture their spirits too.  And remember sometimes being alone with ourselves is the doorway to honoring oneself.

With 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.

On Facebook, my friend Deborah Grayson  Reigel posted a fantastic Coaching question of the day, she asked “What’s absolutely perfect about your life right now (no matter how small)?”

What a great question!!!  There were many answers from the simple to the more complex; each one thoughtful and each one unique.  The one response that left me in a quandary was, “Does anything else matter if you and your loved ones are healthy?”  I love when people challenge me; I love when people make me think.

Well my initial response was that good health is not enough.  So many people have good health but are crumbling inside.  I have seen ‘healthy’ people hurt.  I have had friends who seemed to have it all choose to leave EVERYTHING behind.  One of my favorite people committed suicide.  So, if I think that way, good health is not enough.

Upon further reflection I realized that in Judaism, we often pray for the healing of body and the healing of soul.  So now I am much less conflicted.  There are a lot of ways to look at being healthy.  Different doorways lead to better understanding; I am really glad I took a few minutes to ruminate on what being healthy means.

In case your curious, my answer to Deborah’s coaching question was, “Writing is a beautiful part of my daily life and sometimes my writing even touches people.”

May we all be blessed with a healthy spirit and a healthy body.

reneal body-spirit 2

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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.

A Broken Heart:

Most of us have had a broken heart, an intense loss that cripples our soul.  Sometimes we heal and sometimes we just move forward; we really don’t have a choice.

broken heart
My heart, for one, has been shattered more times than I’d like to remember.  I have lost lovers and friends, family members and loved ones.  I have suffered incredible pain at the hands of people that should have loved me differently.  And other losses happened because love evolved or death occurred.  With each broken heart, I have found a way to mend even though the memories run deep.

With each broken heart, I find a way to ride the waves and emerge a little stronger even if the pain stays with me.  Moving through the losses is a non-negotiable.  Only when tomorrows stop coming will I stop moving forward.  Moving forward is the gift I give myself.

Tonight, as I spoke to my nearly 20 year old, I told him that I felt horrible for a friend of mine going through a broken heart.  Without missing a beat, he asked if my friend would need heart surgery.  With laughter rippling through me and tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t stop laughing at how literal my precious son responded to my friend’s broken heart.  Wouldn’t it be amazing, if all of our broken hearts could mend so easily.  Reality doesn’t work that way.

The good news is that broken hearts lead to new realizations, infinite possibilities, sweet opportunities.  Life continues even after intense loss.  If you open your eyes, new horizons will light the morning and evening skies; it might take awhile, but it will happen.  One day you will step through the doorway and you will see the light.  While the light might be muted, it will still have the ability to usher you into a new horizon.

May each and every one of us find the sparks to move us through the doorways and towards the light.

With love, light, and blessings

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Tonight we counted Day 47 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and five days of the counting. Day 47 is referred to as Hod sheh b’Malkhut,  Expansiveness within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

Imagine opening your front door and peering out into your neighborhood, your community, your city.  And then imagine being to metaphorically open many doors as you walk into the larger world.


Each time we open a door or peer out a doorway, the world is wide open to us.  Knowing that gives us infinite possibilities to make a difference from where we stand.  All steps are important.  Baby steps count and when you are able to take bigger steps, they count too.


Doing tikun olam (repairing the world) and living consciously should be a given in life, may each of us find a way to embrace the expansiveness of our world, our kingdom, to make a difference for good!

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Tonight we counted Day 39 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and four days of the counting. Day 39 is referred to as Netzach sheh b’Yesod, Endurance within Foundation.

Living life is a full time job; you never get a day off for good behavior; it just doesn’t happen. The moving parts always keep moving and even that which seems like rest ultimately leads to movement.

Endurance is choosing to thrive while always developing the foundation that makes up your life.

May each step we take guide us towards open doorways leading to light.


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If you want to succeed, you have to open the door. ~Chava

For me is is profoundly clear that in order to move forward within life you have to open doors.

Over the last year, I have been drawn to the metaphor of the open door.  So much happens when you walk through a doorway.  Each step can lead to infinite opportunities and answers to questions both known and unknown.  Each step is also filled with gifts and challenges.  Sometimes you get to where you think you are going and other times you find a horizon you weren’t quite expecting.

The journey’s dichotomies reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books/songs.  Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it.  Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

With each step there is a child-like excitement and then a little trepidation as I realize that the only way to succeed is to go through the steps that will help you reach success.  And success isn’t always going through the doorway; sometimes success is the journey itself.  Either way, when you are taking any trek, you really do have to go through it!

Every day, I am faced with the decision on how to walk through the doorways of life.  While I tend to smile a lot and find humor when I can, I also struggle with finding balance.  Intensity courses through my veins as I struggle with my own perfectionist tendencies.  I embrace life journey’s but I also struggle with many of the steps I take.

The benefit of being aware is that  in this stage of life I can now take a deep breath before I allow the struggle for perfectionism to hurt me.  I haven’t always been that way and the consequences of my behavior will always be a thorn.  In my early twenties, I destroyed much of my writing and my paintings.  The realization that I was much less creative than I wanted to be hurt me to the core; I wondered if I had anything to offer the world (even my small world).  In response to the pain, I destroyed my work.

For me, I often find gifts within the struggles of realities.  So while I ultimately destroyed my works and in the process broke my own heart, I also learned from my actions.  I probably will never destroy my work in the same way again.  I also learned that I can handle loss and move forward to create again.  Loss is always profoundly painful.  Yet I know that if you allow yourself the time to heal and the space to do the work, healing is a strong possibility.

Walking through any door, metaphoric or real, takes not only courage but wisdom to discern what derekh, path, is best.  And the work doesn’t end there; with each step we need to keep reflecting honestly and tweaking how you move through each open door.

One of my core guiding principles is that I have to find light within each journey even the darkest ones; finding light is not optional.  The light, even when it is just a small ember, helps me to remember that there is something both within myself and outside of myself to keep my spirit alive and enlightened.

May we all find light and ways to grow with each and every step we take.

PS-Over the next few days, I will share some of the doors that I am moving through currently.  Life is a journey.

PPS – I would love it if one of my good friends would happen to have a good camera AND would like to go drive around Tucson and take photos of doors, tunnel entrances, bridges. . .photos that represent doorways.

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