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Posts Tagged ‘foundation’

“You are more powerful than you know;
you 
are beautiful just as you are.”
~ Melissa Etheridge

Reflection Time Selfie

Growing up, I was often referred to as fat or retarded. The insults were absolutely soul crushing; my spirit was a punching bag that was beaten down at home by my own mother and sometimes by the neighborhood kids. For the first third of my life, my self-esteem was quite literally pulverized.

Over the next third of my life, I learned to accept who I was and to trust the journey that I was living.  I made a choice to thrive and to accept where I was standing. I never wanted to look in the mirror, get on a scale, or have my picture taken.  I didn’t really believe in myself, but I learned to reach out of myself and make better choices. I pushed myself academically and physically; I made and kept amazing friends.  During this time, I faced life and death at regular intervals. I absorbed  tremendous loss while also getting a glimpse into the person I was capable of being. I grew up a lot, had two beautiful sons, and started to find my voice.

The last third of my life, to date, has been profound. I have recovered horrid memories, loved and lost, found my voice, and discovered my many hopes and dreams. (A bucket list is being created as I type.) I have embraced change and accepted the woman I am. And at every turn, I have grown to love who I am and to see the many truths that make up who I am today. I have made tremendous mistakes, faced some deep sadness, experienced ecstatic joy and daily contentment.

With each breath, I am becoming the best me that I can be. I have chosen to live life fully, to reach for my dreams, and to honor the beautiful person that I am. Most importantly, I have accepted that I am a work in progress and that is ok.

On most days, I can look at myself in the mirror and I don’t cringe when I see myself in a photograph. And on better days, I may even love a photo with me in it. Dark days are few and far between. My family of choice reminds me that I am loved while my children, my brother, and my sister-in-law treasure me for the person I am. I am loved. And some people even see me as beautiful. As for me, I am mostly content with the person I am in this moment. I love writing, chanting, drumming, and pushing myself to grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Approaching my 50th birthday is profoundly freeing. I am willing to reach for what I want knowing that my best laid plans may evolve as I do the work. In front of me is a door that is wide open and waiting for me to step across the threshold. I am both afraid and excited to be taking this trek. I no longer fear being alone, but I’d welcome true love again. Mostly, I am striving to take care of myself, honor who I am, and to make a difference in the both my community and my world. I want to have a positive impact as a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a writer and an activist.

In preparation for my 50th birthday this coming February, I am choosing to share my journey towards living more fully.  My guess is that I may have moments of stumbling with this format and the process, but in the end I will land on my two feet – I always do.

I feel blessed. Every moment I have lived has helped to create my foundation as a woman and human being. Today there are many doors wide open and paths calling my name. With a full heart,I am embracing journey towards 50 years old and beyond.

In closing, I want to share a prayer written by Alden Solovy that resonated deeply and helped me prepare to openly journal my journey towards 50.

Regarding Old Wounds
Daughter of man,
Son of woman,
Children of compassion and sacred secrets:
Your wounds are deep,
Your losses crushing,
Knife on flesh,
Hammer on bone,
Burning your heart and searing your eyes.
Why do you invite them back
To chastise your days
And torture your nights?
Why do you love these old wounds,
Holding them so dear?

Son of celebration,
Daughter of ecstasy:
Cast off your doubts,
Banish your fears,
Exile the pain of time beyond your reach.
There is beauty in your past,
Wonder in your future,
And holiness in each new moment of life.

Come you children of G-d,
You witnesses of suffering and grace,
Lift your heads from your hands,
Raise your voices in song,
Lift your lives in service,
And rekindle the light of compassion and love.
Then, your lives will become a blessing,
A well of hope,
A river of consolation,
A fountain of peace.

Blessed are You, G-d of forgiveness,
You renew our lives with purpose.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Thanks for walking through the door way with me. . . . .the best is yet to come. 🙂

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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 . . . .]

Honoring My Bruised and Fragile Heart

Picture by Chava

Picture by ME

Life is good. Really good. My sons are growing into awesome men. My dog still loves to herd. Over the last year, I have been held and supported at each and every step I have taken.  I have a job that I love now. . .one that I am hoping to continue in some capacity as time moves forward. And in less than two weeks, my sons and I are moving to Houston so I can begin an amazing new position.

So. . .while my world is blessed and full, I also have some shadows that keep me stretching and growing. As someone who honors the intensity that is within me, I have to acknowledge that there is so much on my mind at any given point.  I grapple with past hurt, deep feelings, and the state of our world. I struggle with wanting to me wiser, healthier, more beautiful, and most importantly impactful to the world I live. I wonder if I will ever be enough, do enough, and learn to articulate my thoughts better than I do now. Sometimes I simply feel bruised.

We all have so much to learn. I am certain that I am not the only person out there that wants to become a better version of myself. After a lifetime of struggles, there are parts of me that are wounded. So not only do I manage my body, my mind, and my soul, I also navigate the fear of the unknown. Will I have what I need in the coming months? home/food, health insurance, necessities, a way to help my kids with their education.

The beautiful part of my life is that I ALWAYS land on my feet – ALWAYS! But the years of challenges don’t go away just because things have ultimately worked. There are moments that I feel the pain of my heart being stomped on, remember seeing my child in ICU multiple times, or felt the wrath of someone’s anger. There are arguments and challenges that I remember clearly and moments when I felt silenced even though my voice should have mattered.

Part of my ability to live in a place of joy and inner peace is that I also recognize the dark moments. I allow myself to remember, to feel, to cry, and to mourn. I also celebrate that whatever happened to me didn’t permanently hurt my spirit. All that I went through fertilized my foundation so that I could become the person I am.

Each and every one of us have done a lot of work to grow into the people we are.  How beautiful is that?!?!

Today, is one of those days that I value who I am and how I got here, but in this moment, I am remembering and mourning some of the losses that got me here.

May we be blessed to live a life that leaves us celebrating the gifts even as we sometimes feel fragile.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Ann Cameron Siegal Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows                                                  Photo Courtesy of Ann Cameron Siegal

So many paths are guiding me to new horizons.
As one chapter ends, it is leading to many new chapter beginnings.

A part of me broke as my move to Tucson came to be.
I lost a part of my heart; I lost a part of my soul.
And with each passing day another piece of me chipped away and is still at times peeling.
My spirit lost one friend, then another, and looking back. . . .
I lost the only home I ever knew.

Tucson was a chance, a chance to grow, to evolve, and to find a new home.
Instead for a time, it was the place that I became lost.
Friends were gone; community no longer existed except via Twitter, Facebook, and phone.
For a time my sons and I had only each other.

With each loss, I found the strength to keep moving, even with the gaping hole in my heart.
I began reminding myself to breathe deeply, as deeply as I could.
And I believed that one day I would be OK.
In truth just being Ok has never been enough; what I really have always needed was to thrive.

I am ultimately stronger now than I was when I first arrived in Tucson.
There are moments when my life feels overwhelming, when drama takes hold.
But more moments fill me with blessings as I honor the human being I am becoming.
So many dichotomies, so much adversity, and yet. . .
I breathe in devastation and I breathe out wholeness.

I am becoming whole, always building and rebuilding my foundation, my yesod.
The Tucson mountains remind me to reach higher,
The desert provides warmth for my soul.
The monsoons wash away the losses and devastation as the storms lull my pain to sleep.

Being in Tucson has given me the opportunity to explore where I really want to be and who I want to be. When I came to Tucson, I believed in possibilities. Two years since arriving and I am now believing in different possibilities. My job is gone, some of my friends are gone, and new connections have emerged.

The journey. . . .
Today I am looking deeply inside my soul.
What do I want for my life, my family?
Where do I want to be?
What do I want to keep with me?
Who nurtures my life? Who needs more boundaries?
How much solitude do I crave?
What do I need to do to be heathy?
Do I have what it takes to create the next chapter of my life?

The world is full of open doors.
Now is my chance to choose which doors to go through.
Only after going through new doors will I soar to new heights.

Going
Moving
Leaping
Flying
Soaring . . . .

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Middah (character trait) focus: Build a Healthy Foundation

Yoga gives me many of the tools I need to create a stronger and healthier yesod (foundation).

Yoga gives me many of the tools I need to create a stronger and healthier yesod (foundation).

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.

During much of my life, I wanted to be fortified by people that could comfort me and protect me; I wanted to be surrounded by a cocoon of  beloveds.

Today as I was reflecting on the what it means to build a healthy foundation, I realized that each individual needs to independently build their own strong yesod, foundation; only by nurturing yourself can you have the power to go from slavery to freedom ultimately as a means to sustain and help one to become their highest self.  While each of us can gain support from those that surround us, we need to do some incredible work ourselves.

Building a healthy foundation means:

Breathe deeply, move frequently.
Nurture your soul, fuel your body.
Believe in yourself, reach for your dreams.
Do your part to repair the world and do it with all your heart.
Give yourself space to feel and to be.

Surround yourself with people that accept who you are.
Laugh and cry as you are called to do.
Listen to the words and the space between the words.
Love and be loved.
Trust in the universe and in the Godliness that is.

Inspiration for this blog came from Alden Solovy, a writer, a liturgist, a poet, and a Facebook friend.  Here is a link to his blog in which he honors Day 37 of the Omer http://tobendlight.com/2012/04/15/ethics/.

 

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Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh,

Landing on my feet is not optional; life is a work in progress.  With each step, it is my job to continue the work of nurturing a strong foundation in the midst of life’s storms.  Storms happen. And I get to decide how I will walk through each storm.

Hiking Boots

So while I am in the midst of more transitions, know that I am striving to live authentically by walking gently in the world.  For my dear friends, I ask you to assist me in landing on my feet by helping me to navigate the world.  Believe with me that all will be good and that the best is yet to come.

Today, I was officially restructured out of my position and the reason I took the trek to the desert no longer exists.  Yet I am profoundly aware that there are many doorways offering amazing opportunities, but only after I find them and step over the threshold.  Help me find new doorways, new opportunities.

Remember – there is no option for landing on my feet.

With love and light, Chava

 

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In any given day, we have many decisions to make.  Decisions include choices in:

  • Clothing?
  • Food choices?
  • Exercise?
  • Making free time or not?
  • Books to read or not?
  • Schools?
  • Synagogues/Churches?
  • Causes to support with time or money?

Life is full of choices and so many of us abdicate making choices.  Often, we tread the water of life and stick to what we know without living consciously.  Life feels overwhelming; it is what it is.

Big Lake  Photo Courtesy of Libby Quinn

Big Lake
Photo Courtesy of Libby Quinn

Last month, I made a decision to actively engage in life as I am.  With my humor in tact, I decided to emerge from some of my struggles and decide to change my personal approach to reality.  I learned to take deep breaths and focus on each moment instead of life’s big picture.  And the beauty is that once I made that decision, my entire foundation felt stronger and little by little I was able to shed some of my intensity and unhappiness too.  Dealing with moments in time as opposed to the big picture all at once was fundamental in making life a lot more manageable.

As much as Intensity is part of my being, so is sharing my bubbly energy with others.   Both qualities are part of who I am, but for a brief time I was stuck trying to navigate my intensity instead of shining my light into the world.  Once I realized that I was doing this I had to figure out how end a vicious cycle of struggling with all that needed to get done or dealing with my thoughts about what I needed to process.  Every aspect of life didn’t need to be challenging.  Learning to honor my spirit became a key for re-establishing inner peace.  Realizing that I was not being authentic in how I walk in the world allowed me to act and react a little differently; I began to find balance.

Deciding how to walk in the world allowed everything else in my life flows with a little more ease.

Three mornings ago, I woke and was blown away by two realizations that I posted on Facebook.

  1. Isn’t it great to wake up in the morning & realize that something that has troubled you for a long time ceases to be so important?  Moving on….. Letting go…..
  2. Don’t you love when you realize if you stop, slow down, and ease into something – it goes so much better than when you force it.

And then yesterday, I woke up to realize that I had to cancel some of my activities for not only today, but this week.  I don’t want to constantly be moving against the tide; sometimes I want to be able to sit quietly and enjoy the tide without being in the middle of it.

I had been so busy struggling against the tide of life and how I walk in the world that life had become a struggle.  Little by little, over the last month, I found my footing or maybe my wings.  I stopped struggling and started doing each and every task as an individual exercise before moving onto the next task.  The act of moving a little more consciously and multi-tasking less has helped my spirit and allowed me to focus more and tread less in one place.

Feeling enormous gratitude for making a conscious decision to move a little differently and to finding my wings again.

And then today, I found this saying that seems to say everything in a much more concise way then I could.

“Do your thing.  Do it unapologetically.  Don’t be discouraged by criticism.  You probably already know what they’re going to say.  Pay no mind to the fear of failure.  It’s far more valuable than success.  Take ownership, take chances, and have fun.  And no matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing.” Asher Roth

l’Chayyim, to life!

 

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Tonight we counted Day 48 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and six days of the counting. Day 48 is referred to as Yesod sheh b’Malkhut,  Foundation 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.

There is absolutely no alternative for building a foundation or to continuously strengthening a foundation when you have a malkhut or kingdom.  Regardless of where you are your sanctuary needs to have the strongest foundation possible in order to thrive.  Twice this lesson was brought home to me today alone.  Once was when I experienced, quite possibly, my best yoga class ever.  The yoga instructor reinforced time and time again that without a strong foundation, you will hurt your body or any foundation that is part of your life.  The second example came from a list of 102 personal goals that I must have written for myself about 13-15 years ago when I lived in Atlanta.  So many of the goals have evolved to become the foundation that helped me become the person I am today.

Creating a foundation comes only when we live consciously, find balance, and engage in healthy choices.  Most everything we do has the ability to make a difference for good or for bad; making the choice to embrace the right choices is part of developing a strong foundation.  Living with the sensitivity that godliness matters can have a profound impact on life not only for us but for the world we live.

Foundations come with balance.

Foundations come with balance.

May each of us engage in the holy work of life by actively caring for ourselves and the world we live.

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