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Posts Tagged ‘Elul Journey’

Creating daily practices has helped me to become more grounded in living. I love that my day includes lots of self-care along with political activism and a job that I love.

One way that I do self-care is by walking five miles a day and listening to podcasts with each step. One of the recent podcasts I tripped over was with Chase Jarvis interviewing Elle Luna who co-wrote the book, Your Story is Your Power. During this interview I realized that I had actually read Elle’s first book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. No wonder some of the teachings and ideas sounded familiar. After listening to Chase interview Elle for her latest book, I had to listen to an earlier interview with these two exquisite visionaries. And that is where I came up with the idea to start my own version of  #The100DayProject which was totally inspired by Elle Luna’s project by the same name. (You can find the introduction to my project at https://wp.me/pthnB-3cw)

By the time I go to sleep  for tonight, Day 1 of #ActivistCardsByChava will be complete. Here are my “rules/non-rules”. Basically you do what you want and have fun, but if you want to join me here are some guidelines that you can use:

  1. The only premise is that participants have to do the same action every day for 100 days, and for those of you that want to share the process and have accountability, you can document it on Facebook and/or Instagram. Feel free to tag me or to add your photo onto my comments of either social media platform.
  2. My start day is Sunday, August 12/1 Elul through Tuesday, November 20/12 Kislev . The Hebrew start date comes from the Jewish calendar and is meaningful to me because it is a time of reflection within the Jewish calendar. This is not meant to exclude anyone, it is just that I am making note of it for myself.
  3. While #The100DayProject is an opportunity to be part of a larger group, it can be as solitary of an activity as you would like.
  4. I will be sharing my journey on Facebook (@Chava Gal-Or) and Instagram (@NeshamaWriter) using two hashtags #The100DayProject which is a hashtag that all of us can do and for my personal project, I will use #ActivistCardsByChava. My suggestion is that you make a hashtag for your project if you plan on sharing it via social media.
  5. Finally, if you choose to keep this project private, consider documenting it for yourself. AND besides, if you would like to share with me, I’d really love to see what you’re up to.

My Project:
#ActivistCardsByChava are cards that I will be creating to motivate  people (or perhaps just me) in the journey of making the world a better place. There are a lot of moving parts that go into making a difference. Simple smiles, rallying for human rights/dignity, making phone calls, writing letters/articles/social media posts, quotes, and self care are all possibilities of what will be included in the Activist Cards.

Day 1’s Activist Card was motivated by this beautiful video I found on Facebook.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRf6wAR-eEY

Onward with love, light, and creativity,

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Sacred Vessel

“it was when she dipped deep inside,
and scooped out her very essence –
and then stretched her arms outwards
with her hands full of stars –
it was when those stars passed thru
her fingers and out to the world –
it was then she understood she was a sacred vessel.
that we are all sacred vessels –
with the entire universe flowing thru us –
and all we need to do is open and be.”

© Terri St. Cloud

Elul
The treasured time between now and the new year.
Days, hours, minutes, pass. . . .each moment brings me closer to Rosh HaShana.
This is my last chance to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of my soul.

I will never experience this passage of time again. While I am in awe of how I emerged with the love and devotion of many this year; I am also aware of how much I was forced to renegotiate life as I knew it. Thriving is a non-negotiable, yet I am navigating loss and mourning what was lost; I am also celebrating how the tides turn and  the many ripples soothe my core.

Now comes the holy work of grounding myself. Finding a new rhythm, processing the experiences of the last year, and creating a new spiritual space in Houston and more importantly within my nefesh, my soul.  The work is a little overwhelming, but incredibly sacred too.

Over the last year, I have felt like I was standing in quicksand on more than one occasion. And yet, I never went down. While the trek taught me a ton, it is not one that I wish on anyone else. And yet, I stretched and I grew. . . how beautiful is that.

I love that I always find good within the challenges; I love that I find beauty in nearly every chapter of life. And yet, there is a cost.  I have decided that Elul is the perfect time to go inward, to reflect, and to allow for healing.

What does a true Elul Journey look like? I seem to be in a quieter place allowing for the silence to penetrate my being. Taking time to connect with people that want to see my soul; reading writings that touch my core; and writing from the deepest parts of my heart.

My body, my mind, and my soul is reaching for the stars, clearing the fog, and striving to settle into a new rhythm.

Emerging
Thriving, reaching, living
Becoming the woman I was always meant to be.
I am making it!

Inside and out – I am trusting each step as I reflect where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going.

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This year’s gifts have exceeded anything that I could have thought possible.  To say that I was humbled by the love is an understatement. Now that I am moving to a healing place for both my body and my soul, it is time to reflect inwardly and do the holy work of grounding myself.

Today I realized how the shofar calls to me in a way I never thought of before; it feels like a healing instrument with each sound bringing clarity and strength to my core being.

Below is the symbolism of the Shofar as I relate to it. This is inspired, but not necessarily derived from the Jewish tradition,

  1. Tekiah ― one long, straight blast.
    Meaning: Remember that I am part of a larger universe.  With that knowledge, I need to do the Godly work of tikkun olam, repairing the world; this isn’t a choice, this is a calling.
  2. Shevarim ― three medium, wailing sounds
    Meaning: “When we think about the year gone by, we know deep down that we’ve failed to live up to our full potential. In the coming year, we yearn not to waste that opportunity ever again. The Kabbalists say that Shevarim ― three medium, wailing blasts ― is the sobbing cry of a Jewish heart ― yearning to connect, to grow, to achieve.”* May I connect, grow, and evolve to do the holy work that is part of my calling.
  3. T’ruah ― 9 quick blasts in short succession
    Meaning: We “need to wake up and be honest and objective about our lives: Who we are, where we’ve been, and which direction we’re headed. The T’ruah sound ― 9 quick blasts in short succession ― resembles an alarm clock, arousing us from our spiritual slumber. The shofar brings clarity, alertness, and focus.”*

Chava with Shofar Elul 5775

Another more personal way to look at the each breath into the shofar:

Tekiah
The Universe is calling to me; I have so much to do! It is time to be more present.

Shevarim
Sometimes I can’t hold back my sense of desolation:
the plight of abused children,
poverty,
climate change/global warming,
human rights.

So much is calling my name; I have yet to do enough. Can I ever do enough?

T’ruah 
Step by step, I will continue to do what I must do. And while there is much to do, I can only do what I can do. Maybe I can inspire others to do the same. And perhaps that can be enough.

Finding a new rhythm as I create new spiritual space in Houston and continue to serve the larger world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The sounds of the shofar inspire me to wake up and live more consciously. Over this coming year, may I make a difference for good and impact the universe that I am blessed to call home.

*   From http://www.aish.com/h/hh/rh/shofar/Shofar_Symbolism.html

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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 29 Elul or less than 1 day 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!

~ ~ ~

“If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you:
I came to live out loud.”
Quote by Emile Zola

~ ~ ~

Throughout life, I have learned that there are so many different ways to engage within life.  I have also learned that nothing moves forward without actively engaging in the holy work of making a difference for good.

While I choose to be transparent through my writing, others choose to do it through their voices, while still others may create visual masterpieces.  There are so many ways to make an impact on people and to inspire them too.

We don’t all have it in ourselves to be leaders, some of us will go through life doing working in our own little space; what a beautiful gift that people are doing what that can.  At the end of the day (metaphorically speaking), our actions do make a difference.  Every step we take has the ability to change the world, one action at a time.

As 5774 comes to a close, consider what it means to be more impactful within your life.  Silent people never move our world to a better place.

‘Live Out Loud!’

l’Shana Tova u’Metukah (Have a happy and sweet New Year),
With light & blessings,
Chava

(PS – In the coming months, I look forward to sharing some of the ways that I will be making a difference; I really want to do my part to make this world an even better place.)

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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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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 27 Elul or 3 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!

~ ~ ~

“And tears came before he could stop them, boiling hot then instantly freezing on his face, and what was the point in wiping them off? Or pretending? He let them fall.”
Quote by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

~ ~ ~

Smiling comes easy to me; laughing out loud is quite the norm for me; sharing my heart and soul through writing and schmoozing is how I walk through life.

As much as I am comfortable sharing through the use of words, I struggle to openly share my tears.   Yet I am learning that those that love me want to hold me through my tears and through my pain; they also love to hold me when I am smiling, laughing, and happy.  My friends love me for who I am – always.  (Moment of truth: My friends may not always like EVERYTHING about me, but they put up with me because they are truly my friends.)

This past few months have been humbling for me.  I have shedded more than a few tears as I cope with my current reality.  Losing my job and struggling to make ends meet has been a painful experience for me.  Knowing that I am not giving my children what they need at times is also rough.  Yet, I am doing alright, I am navigating life in the best ways that I know how.  Even though I know this, there are still moments when tears fall uncontrollably.

Last week, I hung up on a friend when the tears became a little too out of control.  Did I have to? ABSOLUTELY not. . . .but I did.  And then I had the audacity to worry about whether or not I offended my friend and whether she would ever talk to me again.  STUPID.  Of course she would talk to me; she felt horrible that I was struggling as I was.  Another friend called me within a day of that and reminded me that I am allowed to call anytime, not only when I am calm, cool, and collected.

So, as this year comes to a close and next year opens, I am going to try to be a little more authentic with my tears by not holding them back from those that are my soul friends.  I love that I have people in my world that truly love all of me.  Crying allows me to release some of the deep pain that sometimes penetrates my being; those tears are a beautiful release.  My goal for the rest of my life is to realize that I really don’t have to go it alone.

May we are be blessed to feel openly with ourselves and those we love.

With blessings & light,
Chava

PS- When I was a young girl in the 1970s, Free To Be was a hit record.  One of my favorite songs from the album was “It’s All Right to Cry” – Music and Lyrics by Carol Hall, Performed by Rosey Grier.  Somehow the words always resonated with me even if it wasn’t so easy for me to cry; they still do.

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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 26 Elul or 4 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!

~ ~ ~

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of  difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall
Primatologist, Anthropologist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace

~ ~ ~

(Note: Before you read this blog entry, know that I am fairly hard on myself.  I believe that everything I do in life can impact the world for good and for bad.  Every interaction I have with people or the environment can make a difference.  So I try to walk in the world knowing that I need to be mindful at all times.  And since I am being brutally honest, I try to surround myself with people that embody conscious living as they walk in the world.  I want to connect with people that believe in their power and actively want to make a difference for good.)

Everything we do matters.

AND we cannot sustain equal intensity in all areas of our lives.  Sometimes we have to decide what focuses we will have.  My hope is that each of us decide on 3-5 actions that can impact the world in positive ways.   And while I am at it, let me throw out the idea that living positively needs to begin at home.

Each of us will define home according to our own uniqueness.  For some of us, it is simply our own little family unit; for others, it could be their spiritual community; and for others, it could be their neighborhood, their community, their spiritual community, their ethnic group.. . .the list can go on and on.

Take a moment and consider what you can do in your life to make the world a little bit healthier than it currently is.  Below I will share a few things on my family’s list.

  1. Take a moment to smile or have a sweet verbal exchange with nearly everyone I meet.
  2. Make time for the people and things that jazz you.
  3. Always consider your carbon footprint.
  4. Conscious eating and shopping – organics, local, human rights, fair-trade
  5. Adopt rescue animals
  6. Recycle, Reuse – Try to obtain and pass on as much as we can at thrift shops, free cycle, Craig’s List, friends, etc.
  7. Share your views/listen to others’ views
  8. Listen to music that inspires living positively
  9. Connect with people who share our beliefs/values – interest groups (political, environmental, social, spiritual, human rights, etc.)
  10. Spread light

In truth, I am in the midst of thinking what I need to focus on so that I can make a positive impact in our world.  I am fortunate that I can do a ton, but I do believe it is time to focus a little more heavily in one area of my life.  I will let you know once I decide.

How about you? “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of  difference you want to make.”

With blessings & light,
Chava

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