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Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

“It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude,
of breathing and stretching one’s arms again.”

~Mark Rothko

I am not sure that I was ever an artist, although that is the way I think of myself.

Today my canvas is any blank journal, my blog, and any word document. My writing makes me an artist with words. But when I was much younger, I loved my opportunities to express myself through the visual arts. Drawing, painting and crafts were part of my daily life.

Now the closest I get to the visual arts is that I doodle in my journal and sometimes on small rectangular canvases that will make up a piece of art work that I am calling the ‘Dance of Emergence’.  It is the gift I am currently making for myself to be unveiled for  my 50th birthday in February.  I have yet to decide if the artwork will be ongoing, but my guess is that it will.

And of course, I have an easel holding two blank canvases waiting for me in my office. Every day I walk into my office and feel like I am neglecting my  forlorn lover. And yet, I feel like I have nothing to give. I wake up with images that I want to paint or illustrate, but I don’t because I fear that I will neglect another piece that is calling to me. Another part of this painting relationship that leads me to no where is that I am afraid of doing it poorly.  What if I am really not the artist I remember?

With the above thoughts racing through my head, I often find it difficult to walk into an art museum or a fabulous gallery.  If I allowed my intense mind the room to be totally present, I would probably simply crumble to the ground in a heap of tears.  If you are wondering why that is, it is simple. As I look at amazing works of art, I feel like I missed something. I never learned about the different artists or artist expressions as I would have liked AND I’ve never done anything with my art.  (Note: I know that blogging is my medium and I definitely share that with the world, but still I haven’t nurtured my other love affair, the one that is waiting for me in the corner of my office.)

The good news for art patrons is that I simply put one foot in front of the other and when I love an exhibit, I allow myself to feel and to get lost in the works of art.

Chava looking at large canvas 3

Photo Courtesy of David J. Cooper

On Thursday, I may have finally been transformed when I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and saw the Rothko Exhibit. As I walked through the exhibit, I realized that I AM an artist; I am unique; I AM ME!

The moment of transformation came when I noticed how Mark Rothko’s paintings evolved over time especially after he suffered and aneurysm in 1968 which caused him to switch to less toxic paints and smaller canvases. This moment helped me realize that I have also evolved from the person I thought I would be to the person I am. While this realization is so simple, it is also so very profound to me.

For me, I can’t help but focus on the beauty of his creations and the hope I have from the little time I had enjoying each piece. I was mesmerized, totally enchanted. I can’t wait to go back in the next week or two.

Following the Rothko exhibit, I went to my new favorite creative space. I went to the Rothko Chapel which is also set in the beautiful Museum District of Houston. This tranquil space is quite possibly the most sacred environment that I have experienced in Houston. (More on that in my next blog. . . )

Mark Rothko’s work warmed my heart and gave me hope. I am not sure how that will impact me in the long run. Perhaps the two canvases sitting on my easel will be given the love that they deserve. Perhaps, my writing will continue to nourish my artistic soul. Anything is possible. The bottom-line is that Mark Rothko’s artistic gifts have ultimately inspired me to become more grounded and breathe more deeply .

I will embrace my new found knowledge; I am an artist. 🙂

 

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Listen to the Silence

When I was around five years old, my father used to gently place his hands over my ears and lovingly squeeze my ears/head. As he did that, he would say, ‘listen to the silence’. As he did a flood of warmth and a feeling of calmness washed over me. This loving act continued into my teen years and beyond; I think he found a way to slip it into each meeting even after I moved away from home.

After I had sons, my father continued this tradition by gently holding his grandsons head the same way – sometimes to calm them and sometimes just to make them calm.  Once I saw my father do it to his grandsons, I followed the lead and also held Aryeh and Dovi the same way.  Each and every time I did, my children’s faces would light up with a smile that could melt whoever was looking at them.

Over the last few days, I have found myself craving that sensation, not only the physical touch, but the silence that followed it.  There is so much noise occurring within me, around me, and everywhere in the world.  At the moment, there seems to be a shortage of quiet.

My mind has never been one for shutting down. For some reason, I am always thinking. Whether it is about myself, my family, the world, Israel, human rights, human trafficking, my loved one’s challenges, or  the never-ending list of possibilities.  My thoughts are part of who I am and yet, I know I need to find a way to stop and listen to the silence.

Many years ago, I read the space between the notes is as important as the notes themselves.  The same can be said for the space between the words.  The time has come for me to allow for a little more space in my life.  My body and my mind is craving silence, down time, and time to myself.

What does silence look like for me? I think it means taking time for me to go inward.  Listening to my physical and emotional needs and then doing things which nurture and nourish those needs. With that in mind, I am actively going to be making time for me to write more, work on some art/craft projects, chant, and drum.

I got this!

Lately, I have noticed that I am engaging less on social media and choosing to ‘pick my battles’ when I do. I am doing my best to live consciously and to consider the myriad of challenges that face the world, but I am not hyper focusing – I am  remaining aware and allowing for the quiet to go where it needs to go.  While I want to be ‘the change I wish to see in the world’, I am taking Gandhi’s wisdom down a notch so that I can go a little more insular for now.  My guess is that something huge will emerge when the time is right.  I can’t wait to see what that will be – only time will tell.

What I do know is that I need to take time to listen to the silence.  I need to go inward and explore my heart, my mind, and my soul. I need to allow my rhythm to take me where I need to go.

My father may not be here to hold me or to squeeze my ears, but what he gave me all those years ago was the awareness, that sometimes the sweetest silence comes from being held close. . .the only difference is that I need to do it all by myself.

Writing

Drawing

Thinking

Dreaming

Painting

Moving

Praying

Drumming

Creating

Chanting

Being

Today, I know that I need to hold myself and trust that when I do, I will be loving myself and keeping me safe.  My father, of blessed memory, gave me the most important gift in the world; he taught me how to listen to the silence.

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 . . . .]

Nurturing My Create Soul

what is creativity

Writing takes guts. Drawing takes guts. Letting yourself go in creative way takes guts.

AND. . . .

For many of us, we don’t have a choice. Being creative is in our blood. For me, if I stopped being creative, a part of me would die. Metaphorically, I would become dead inside.

Many years ago, I had a painful episode with my writing.  Unfortunately, my younger son Dovi walked in me having a melt down and destroying my writing. It really was a sad state of affairs brought on when I found out that my writing had read by someone who had no right. With deep sadness, I destroyed my writing and silenced myself for many months.

Being an intuitive, Dovi knew that if I wasn’t writing that something was terribly wrong. Each and every day for the weeks and months that followed, Dovi would curl up on my lap and plead for me to write. I couldn’t do it. The pain of being invaded was too great. And yet, not writing caused an even deeper wound. It was both beautiful and profoundly sad to see the sensitivity that was embedded in my precious son.

While a part of my soul was dying as I mourned my inability to write, Dovi’s persistence forced me to work my way back to the writing life. I’ll never forget the first day he saw me sitting at my computer and writing, he sat down next to me, stunned and quiet. He asked me with all the sincerity of a seven year old if I was better now. I wasn’t and I think he knew it, but he supported me in my journey back to my happy place.

Since that episode in my life, Dovi has checked in with me each and every time I am dark or quiet for too long. He has this beautiful way of reminding me that I may need to have a writer’s date. He also loves to sit quietly watching me write. In fact, even though Dovi is often in his own world, he will ALWAYS ask me what I need to drink and eat while I am writing. He loves nothing more than to nurture my spirit by making me my favorite drink, a mint tea latte; he is clear that writing is sacred time for me and he doesn’t want me to lose my train of thought by getting up from my writing.

There are days when I don’t know how to pull my thoughts together. There are days when my writing is so poor that I am surprised if any of the words I have strung together make sense. And there are days, when my writing cleanses my heart and fuels my tears.

On other days, my words flow seamlessly and my heart beats faster and faster with each written word. Every part of my body is soaring with inner peace and contentment as the words come together to weave inspiring thoughts together.

Regardless of whether I am content, challenged, or joyful, writing is the only way that I find inner balance and connect with the world around me. If I am not writing, there is no way that I am ok.

Writing is the one love of my life that has been with me since I was a young child. It has supported me and kept my spirit at nearly every moment in my life. While I may have lost my writing for moments of my life, it was always within my grasp. Almost nothing makes me happier than writing.

May each of us remember to allow our creativity to flourish and develop for all the days of our lives.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Middah (character trait) focus: Courage to create

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.

“Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse 

Before Passover, I had an idea.  I wanted to write my Omer Reflections exactly as I am doing and I wanted to include one of my own drawings to emphasize each middah (character trait).  While the idea was vivid in my head and I had already drawn a few simple illustration, I just didn’t have the courage to follow through with creating my drawings as part of my Omer Reflections practice.  I simply lost the courage.  Sharing my little drawings made me feel vulenrable, almost like I would be standing unclothed in front of an audience.  I couldn’t do that; I couldn’t leave myself wide open in that way.

As a regular blogger, a teacher/community leader, and an occasional storyteller, I am often in front of people with a goal of presenting an idea or a story.  I love to share my words, but I am beginning to realize that I have done a disservice to myself by not pushing myself to be creative in a way that might entail going a little outside of my comfort zone.

May I have a little more faith in my abilities to step outside my comfort zone, create, and then share my creations.

Drawing by: Chava Gal-Or

Drawing by: Chava Gal-Or

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(Creating the Toolbox for Healing and Transformations will be a series of blog entries to introduce tools that I have utilized in my healing journey as well as tools I hope to utilize with My Second Foundation,  a non-profit organization for healing and transformation using retreat settings.)

“Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”–J. Willard Marriott

Intense pain. Abandonment. Loneliness. Violence. At those moments, breathing hurts. And then comes the blessing. . .

Healing.

Inner peace. Survival. Transformation. Thriving. At these moments, I surge with gratitude. My world didn’t collapse in despair.

Sometimes the collision between memories and healing takes my breath away; sometimes I want to weep intensely and acknowledge the tortuous darkness. And sometimes I want to forget. And still other times, I want to soar and scream out from the mountains that I am a live. I am pure and full of life. No one shattered my spirit; no one drop-kicked me down into the valley, succeeding in my demise. I am a vibrant being.

When the memories bubble up, I struggle. How could I not? Reaching into my soul I have to find the strength to keep moving forward and more importantly to thrive. What I have come to know over the years is that once I acknowledge the very real feelings and sensations around my childhood memories, I can move through them much easier. When I hold them in I sink into a sadness that penetrates the deepest part of my soul.

Last month, I faced some new demons. The person who teased me relentlessly about coffee had no idea initially how crippling his words were; he probably still has no real idea. When I allow myself the room to remember, I can still smell how my mother tormented with coffee grinds among other things.

The beautiful reality is that the memory has now stayed with me for a few weeks, but it hasn’t devastated me. When you are a victim of both domestic violence and other violence, the realizations might return sometimes frequently and sometimes very infrequently. What I have come to learn is that I can decide how I will meet the memory at the door. Mostly, I embrace the memory and try to get to know it and then I release it out of my life. To move through the difficult memories I write, I draw, work with my hands, I cry, I walk, I chant, and sometimes I share my stories. The key to moving forward is consciously choosing to walk through the pain and into the beauty that surrounds me today.

What kind of toolbox works for you?

 

This year, I am birthing a non-profit organization called, My Second Foundation. My Second Foundation will utilize alternative and traditional forms of healing and transformation for adults that have experienced childhood trauma. With the help of many professionals, participants will create their own toolbox for healing and transformation. My plan is to launch this organization over the summer with my first mini-retreat.

For me, life has been a gift, but this realization would not be possible if it weren’t for utilizing writing, drawing, movement, chanting, etc. in my toolbox for healing and transformation. Walking through the many journeys of life is what I do. May we all be blessed to create a toolbox that can accompany this very long trek. These tools are good for living; all of us can emerge from challenging moments by building our own toolbox.

Shadows are possible because of the light that surrounds an area where there is an obstruction. So the goal that I have for myself as I walk is to remember to stay out of my way as I walk into the light. May the same be true for all of us!

With blessings and light,

 

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