Posts Tagged ‘Franz Kafka’

Sun rise New Zealand May 5 Jai-Jagdeesh

Photo Courtesy of Jai-Jagdeesh via Instagram: jaijagdeesh

This I believe:

Illness and wake-up calls come when you need to listen to your body, your mind, and your soul. So when I finally listened to what my body was saying a few weeks ago, I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with bronchitis.

But 10 days later, I realized that I was still in bad shape and getting worse, so I went back only to receive the same diagnosis and a change in medicine. AND this time I realized that what I needed more than anything else was to stop and really rest.

But then something in the report caught my eye.

Body Mass Index 30+ – Obesity; Bronchitis


As a past runner and someone who is totally conscious of my health, I am so aware that¬† something has to change; I’ve known this for a very long time. In fact, I started a serious health journey 45 days before my 45th birthday. That journey was amazing and changed my relationship with food. I took off nearly 65 lbs and I have kept nearly every pound off for over 6 years. But now I need to begin again and take the rest of my weight off.

As someone who is basically healthy, I strongly believe there is no excuse for “obesity”. This isn’t about looks (except that I HATE my double-chin); this is about becoming the healthiest that I can be. In fact this entire year has become about becoming the healthiest I can be.

Needing to have back surgery in early April was the first very loud message, but then there were others. So with that in mind, I am actively taking the words of my dear soul sister, Arlene Berger and the Torah, “Choose Life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). If I want to thrive and to be the healthiest that I can be, I have to consciously life into my realm. I love knowing that while Arlene and I live in different cities, we are on this journey together.

I have 123 days or 4 months between now and my 52nd birthday. And I have goals of what I want for my body, my mind, and my soul. I do believe that light is surrounding each and every step of this journey.

This health journey is not only about weight, although I do need to manage my weight better in order to be one step closer to better health. There is also such beautiful spiritual and emotional work that is calling my name.

I got this.

As I own my health journey, know that what is listed, is some of my current soul work and some new things based on my doctor’s notes and his feedback when we met this past summer. My goal is to be the healthiest I can be – body, mind, and soul. And while I am being transparent, I’d love to have your support, but I am conscious that too much good advice can be a bad thing. If I let you know that something I am choosing to do is a non-negotiable, please don’t try to convince me that I am wrong.

So, here is my list:

  1. Go dairy and meat free! I am considering whether or not I will continue eating eggs and fish. I think that I will be removing fish from my diet after tonight because we purchased salmon for tonight’s Shabbat dinner. (Note: I have been virtually meat free for many years so meat free is not a big deal. ūüôā AND I will be working with Weight Watchers guidelines.)
  2. Prepare three new vegan recipes a week. Take time to enjoy living a more healthy lifestyle.
  3. No added sugar to my diet. I will continue having fruit and sometimes fruit juices with no added sugar. I know this has sugar, but I am doing it anyway.
  4. Allow for more silence in my life. Breathe a little deeper.
  5. One of my favorite quotes by¬†Franz¬†Kafka is ‚ÄúWriting is¬†prayer.” With this in mind, I want to surround my life with more spirituality through my writing.
  6. Do more soul work! Hoping and praying that I can touch people’s lives with Door l’Door.¬†https://door-ldoor.blogspot.com/
  7. Exercise more – this includes walking 7-10 miles daily and/or finding a piece of equipment to do daily at home. I am thinking about an elliptical. Thoughts?
  8. Politically and spiritually, there is so much work that our world needs me/us to do. With this in mind, I want to listen to the wisdom of one of my favorite songs in the world, “Keep On Moving Forward” by Emma’s Revolution.¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtiXT5c5jBQ
  9. Live my truths without apology. Allow for my authenticity to shine.
  10. Chant, Drum, and Dance

By choosing to do this holy work, I am choosing to fuel my soul. I guess my soul sister can’t tell me I am ignoring her wisdom!

Time to get to work!


Read Full Post »

“From a certain point onward
is no longer any turning back.
That is the point that must be reached.”
Franz Kafka

This has been the year of trials and tribulations.  In so many ways 5775 has been a nightmare and in many more ways it has been the year that I will always remember for the many and very real blessings.

Sunrise ove the Boise River which flows through Treasure Valley Courtesy of Dianne Hoff

Sunrise ove the Boise River which flows through Treasure Valley
Courtesy of Dianne Hoff

Sunrise always came, despite the floods that seemed to leave me profoundly dark and sometimes fearing for how I would navigate life.

This was the year that I said to good-bye to so many chapters of my life. My marriage formally ended, I nearly lost my profession, and hope was nothing more than a dream. Loneliness became my friend, becoming destitute was nearly a reality, and I was forced to say good-bye to some of the most beloved souls within my life.

5775 was a nightmare, it was a dark tunnel.  AND within the dark tunnel, I found some of the most amazing sparks of light.

Financial Challenges

My position as a Jewish educator ended abruptly, leaving me void of income and the finances to move forward. Yet doors opened up and my family never starved.

Whenever I feared that I would be destitute, jobs came out of nowhere.  Jobs emerged because my friends found positions for me. When my career went half-time and then ended, care-giving allowed me to care for people that were sometimes at the end of their lives, but always challenged by life circumstances. Physical pain was part of their every move; emotional challenges were inevitable. My kindness, my gentleness, and my strength allowed some beautiful souls to live with as much dignity as possible; I made a difference.

And when care-giving couldn’t sustain me any longer, so many friends afforded me the possibility to survive and ultimately thrive. While I feared survival, I never really had to a reason to worry. Everything I needed to survive was available to my family. A friend gave me a home to live in for six months, beloved friends and family gave us what we needed to move and survive until I could start working, at every turn positions allowed our family to have exactly what we needed.  And just as I was getting ready to sustain myself on hourly wages, and another friend nudged me to apply for the position that lead me to be exactly where I am supposed to be at this time. As tears run down my face, I can’t believe how fortunate I am to be in Houston with an amazing community including co-workers that fill my life with joy.

I love forever. 

And this year couldn’t protect me from the pain of loss. I did have to say good-bye or let go of what could no longer be part of my life.

After years of separation, my marriage formally ended. For now, I can share that when I married nearly 26 years ago, I didn’t believe that my marriage could end in any way other than death. It did end and while I have had years to get used to what that ending meant, it is still profoundly sad.

When I was forced to say good-bye to our beloved Shachar, my sweet puppy. I was comforted by the belief that my family gave her enormous love in the year that we had her. Her abused spirit ended too early, but for one year she was treated with the love that was part of our every interaction, even the ending of her life. And as I was struggling for our family’s loss and some very physical pain, Jennifer and David showed up. They didn’t hesitate to come to Aryeh and I who were buckets of tears and pain. They just held us metaphorically and helped us move forward.

Finally, I had to let go of my best friend, a person who I thought would be in my life forever. For reasons that are somewhat beyond my grasp. . .there are no tomorrows. Sometimes all you can say is good-bye. I only wish I had the grace to say good-bye without sharing the deep loss that was a part of me; my heart quite literally shattered as my entire being yearned to understand.  This was the year I was forced to simply let go; I was given no choice.

With each and every step, I was never alone; I was surrounded by love. My friends always showed up in some very profound ways.

This has also been the year when I faced my inability to be present for those I love. I can send love letters, I can pray and send healing energy.  But I have so many friends who are facing very real physical pain.  Their pain is deep and all I want to do is wrap my arms around them and I can’t and I may never again.  The reality that sometimes there are no tomorrows cuts like a knife. While my life has been full in all the right ways, today I don’t have the means to be more present.  And there are people that I love as deeply as I love my family, they are my family of choice. Realizing that I can not be there breaks my heart.

As I get older, I have learned that life ends, accidents happen, physical pain hurts. . .with and without warning.  When my dear friend Helen died a few years ago, I was crushed that I couldn’t be there for her family, but I couldn’t.  At the same time, I have learned the most valuable lesson possible. I have learned to love completely and to treasure what is.  Even when you lose a beloved friend or lover, what you had lives on.  That love is what made you what you are.

The World
And the world, can we talk about Israel, Black Lives Matter, Our Nation, Refugees, Climate Change. . . .the list goes on and on; my mind never shuts off.  The world is struggling and I am struggling with her. Beauty comes as I stand with so many other individuals that care. I am not alone. Regardless of what language we give to each of the issues, I am surrounded by passionate people who care and want to make a difference for good.

While I can never do enough; I am doing what I can and that has to be enough for this moment.

Moving forward means acknowledging the pain, but willingly deciding that life is worthy of swimming upstream.  Thriving is not optional. The world is precious and full of so many beautiful souls. While tomorrow is not a given, this moment is here. So to quote my ‘virtual’ friend Jeff Keni Pulver, “Live, Life, Now!”

Every morning the sun rises. Life may sometimes have painful moments, but I know that I am always surrounded by light.

5776 – Hineini, Here I am!

Onward with love,

PS – To each and every one of my friends that have been there for me – thank you! I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

Read Full Post »

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 ‚Äď 5775 ¬†http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is  9 Elul or 21 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!

~ ~ ~

“Writing is a form of prayer.”
Franz Kafka


With every ounce of my being, I am most centered when I am writing.  Writing is the tool that keeps me grounded in life and allows me the room to be truly present in my body.

As I move through Elul and towards 5775, I know that I must nurture the writer within me.  I need to turn off my inner-filter and trust the flow of my words.

When I was 14 years old, I experienced one of the most devastating moments of my life; my mother tried to stab me with a butcher knife.  To this day, I am not certain how I was able to keep myself safe or how I was able to move forward, but I did both.  While that night was full of darkness, it was that night that I wrote the poem that continues to transform me into the person I am today.

the song of my heart;
the meaning of my mind;
the feeling of my soul;
Is what makes me One.

These words have helped me navigate the world and to find ‘peace within the storms’ of life. ¬†Only through writing can I soar as a human being and reach for the best that is in me;¬†writing truly makes my heart sing and jazzes my soul.

What jazzes your soul? What makes you feel the most whole within your body?  May this be the year that allows you the space to nurture that which you love.

With blessings & light,

Read Full Post »

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.

This week I started reading Martin Buber’s,¬†I and Thou. ¬†While I have tried a couple of times and probably read excerpts over the years, this is the first time that I am determined to read the book in it’s entirety.

Buber I & Thou

At this point, you might be wondering why I am sharing about a book I am reading.  In truth, I am not sure exactly why I am sharing, yet I know  that the time has come to share a little more of my soul.

Each and every one of us has gifts and limitations, fears and dreams.  The key to moving forward in life is to accept who you are as you strive to be everything you want to be through work and perseverance.  So with that in mind, I want to share a little bit more about myself than I have yet to share.

While I love books and read them frequently, I have stayed away from books that force me to focus, to read/reread passages, and to feel limited. ¬†Over the last couple of months, I have actively engaged in changing my default mode. ¬†I am reading articles about the authors and thinkers I want to explore. ¬†I am pushing myself to read excerpts from those that have previously been unreachable to me. ¬†And a couple of days ago, I started reading Martin Buber’s I and Thou¬†all by myself knowing that I will have a group of friends that will explore this work with me when I am done.

Reflecting Back In Time

Most of my life, I did great in school.  I was able to keep up with all of my studies and excel too!  But inwardly, I have always felt a little limited.  I surrounded myself with really smart people and benefited from the wind in their sails.    But inside, I always struggled with whether or not I was really smart; I also believed I was inarticulate.  At this point, people that know me might be rolling their eyes because I did do great in school and I am usually able to speak out in a class or a lecture.  I have also been known to teach some good adult education classes along with children too.  But still there is a quiet voice inside of me that challenges my right to teach, to speak up, or even to write.

Over the past 16 years, I have learned to push through my fear of writing and sharing my writing. ¬†Writing sustains me as it strengthens my core being. ¬†I remember the precise moment that I realized I could write again. ¬†Weeks after my second son, Dovi, was adopted, a magazine wanted to do an article on our amazing adoption. ¬†My initial response was “sure”. ¬†And then I realized that I had to be the one to write our story. ¬†I had to bury the skeleton that had kept me from writing for over a decade.

A decade earlier, a professor had told me that I should give up writing because I was really “quite horrible”. ¬†Until that moment, becoming a writer had been a secret dream of mine. ¬†I wrote in daily journals and looked for ways to share my writing as often as possible. ¬†And in just a brief moment, I walked out of my upper level writing class and left it all behind. ¬†I was crushed. ¬†During that period of time, I believe the only thing I wrote was a shopping list.

Today I write. ¬†I write nearly every day and I am getting ready to begin writing a book. ¬†At this moment the details don’t matter, but I am hoping that this book will lead to more open doors and to my sharing some of what I know with others in workshop formats. ¬†I am writer. ¬†Yay!!! I overcame my inadequate feelings by working my way through the writing journey, word by word.

Jumping Ahead to Today

And now I am doing the same with reading Martin Buber.  I am reading each word out loud.  I am asking questions as I go, reading books and articles to help me understand one of the greatest philosophers and scholars of all time.  Word by word, I am reading his work.  After I finish Buber, I will read the works of Franz Kafka, Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav in Hebrew, and Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan.

The time has come for me to stretch myself and to trust that while I feel limited at times, I am human.  I have a brain that needs to be stretched and a voice that can be part of the conversations that will help not only myself understand what I am reading, but others too.

And now that I am feeling comfortable enough with myself to be transparent, I can say that I love that I am not alone in struggling to grasp Martin Buber.  Many readers struggle to understand this brilliant man.  Perhaps, I am really not too intellectually limited. . . . perhaps?

In this moment, I am happy that I am beginning to silence the quiet voice that kept me from writing for over a decade and kept me from exploring amazing scholars for much longer.

Reality check:  I am really not so limited after all!

Read Full Post »