Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gifts and challenges’

A Letter to a Friend:

On several occasions you have questioned whether Facebook friends are really listening or whether you are being heard at all. You seemed to be wondering out loud whether Facebook is some sort of alternate reality.

You are not alone in wondering about the power or purpose of Facebook. Since joining Facebook in 2009, I have watched myself evolve in how I connect with the world in large part due to my interactions on this form of social media. We seem to be asking similar questions and perhaps coming to different assumptions.

fb

On a personal level, I have grown to love it!!! At nearly anytime Рday or night, I am surrounded by people that jazz my soul, inspire me to be a better person, nurture me when I am down, and/or support me when I need a kick in the tuchus (tush). And sometimes there is little or no real interaction; sometimes friends are just on the ride of life with me. The more direct I am, the more substantial  the help can be. Help has come in the form of information, resources, and/or supportive listening. My response to these interactions have helped me navigate into more healthy connections and out of friendships or connections that no longer serve me.
Facebook is not some sort of alternate reality. It is full of life (gifts and challenges), experiences, politics, information (true and false). People share what they are comfortable with sharing; this is no different than life in any other social realm. People share what they want you to hear and some are more authentic than others. This seems to be the reality whether on the phone with friends, at work, in synagogue or any house of prayer, at the park, or even the local grocery store.
When tough times hit, people can’t always help and don’t know what to say. The same can be said for all interactions.
Finding personal support for me seems to come mostly when I share what is going on and what I am doing about it. When I have been down for too long (which I have), the responses stop showing up with frequency. It doesn’t necessarily feel good, but each of us only have so much time in our lives to deal with our own crap let alone every one else’s crap. Sigh.
Politically, I have had to face that my strong opinions make people uncomfortable. And if someone is a really close friend, we learn to refrain from commenting on political posts or we accept the explosions that follow a ‘confrontation’. AND I have been known to end friendships or lose friendships when passions run deep. I love knowing where I stand with people even when it means that saying good-bye feels like the only option. I don’t have time to hang with people whose values I find troublesome.

I use Facebook to share all of the moving parts of how I walk in the world. I share poetry, sayings, politics, pain, joy, gratitude, and sometimes hell.

For me, Facebook has opened many doors to opportunities for learning, stretching, and connecting. While I love this tool, it is also one tool of many that I use in my life.

With love and light,
Chava

PS – Some examples of how Facebook has added to my life:

  1. Politically now, I have more information at my fingertips.
  2. Advice is always available for the asking!! And sometimes when not asked. ūüôā
  3. When I needed a job, opportunities surfaced.
  4. After I lost my job, friends from all parts of my life showed up to help; I am not sure how I would have survived if people didn’t come out of the woodwork.
  5. If I am sad or lonely, depressed or scared, there is always someone who shows up to comfort me.
  6. While many people have profoundly different views from me, there is always someone there to give me a different way of seeing things.
  7. Whenever I post a link to my blog, it gets read. ūüôā
  8. Whether I need a place to eat in Houston, a place to stay in Washington DC or a good book to read – Ask and I will end up with a ton of answers.
  9. I have found the best sayings just by lurking on Facebook. Did you know probably have over 70 pages of quotes that I have saved?
  10. AND so much more!!!!!!!

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Truth

Life is full of dichotomies.

How is that the same person we love with such intensity is also the person that can push us over the edge emotionally and/or spiritually?  While the question is very real, the answer is not.

Opening my eyes this morning, I realized how profoundly affected ¬†I am by ¬†life’s dichotomies.

  • The National Parks celebrated their 100th anniversary this summer. Growing up not far from the Appalachian¬†Trail, or the AT as I refer to it, helped define how I see beauty. While some people dream of luxurious vacations to cosmopolitan cities, I can’t wait to sit quietly in the Redwood Forests next summer.
  • Angels have surrounded me during so many harsh times of my life. When my son was critically sick, old and new friends helped support us in a variety of very tangible ways. When unemployment/underemployment left me penniless, both strangers and friends alike made certain my sons and I would thrive. And yet, poverty surrounds me on every street corner and many children go without the necessary food to survive.
  • The color of someone’s skin is unimportmant to me, but this week, we ordered a Black Lives Matter sign for our front yard. ¬†Living in a world that often subjugates many in the human-race deeply¬†troubles me.
  • Theoretically, we live in a time were the government has checks and balances which allow for all people to be treated equal, yet we have a presidential nominee that incites a population to violence and is not being held accountable for it.
  • Climate change is a huge challenge seen in increasing numbers of intense rainfall events and the rising of ¬†global temperatures. Yet there are many political leaders that are denying the very real reality.
  • My love for Israel runs deep, but I question the integrity of a country that has a poor track record for how she treats Palestinians and others. AND yet, when a natural disaster occurs, Israel is one of the first countries to set up a field hospital and to help a traumatized people.
  • Children are absolutely precious and treasured in the world that I live, yet there are so many children that are violated, abused, and essentially treated horrifically.
  • In Houston a few months ago, a man was shot up while¬†trying to stop¬†a man on a killing spree. In the end, the innocent bystander¬†ended up in critical condition and a suspect.

Reality is full of gifts and challenges. The world’s complexities wreak havoc on those of us that are unable to shut off the troubling stories¬†that impact our world at any given moment.

Moving forward in the world is not easy, this means we need to do so with open eyes and a willingness to do our part to improve the world we live in.

May we all find our voices as we decide how we will impact the world for good.

Onward with love & light,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Middah¬†(character trait) focus:¬†Learn to make mistakes; learn to say I’m sorry.

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.

This year has perhaps been one of the most humbling years of my life.  I have learned to navigate mistaken assumptions and to apologize for misinterpretations.  I have had to learn new skills and cope with learning from my mistakes.  And I have been challenged by the evolution of altered connections with important people in my life.

The beauty of each and every journey is that while I may feel a little unsteady as I walk along the way, I am learning to navigate new twists and turns within my life.  And throughout it all, I am surrounded by loving friends that hear me when I say I am sorry or pick me up when I feel dejected.  New experiences lead to mistakes; new friendships lead to gifts and challenges that come from getting to know a new person.  Just remember that new realities can be like learning how to dance, you stumble until you get the hang of the new dance.

Stumbling is a part of beginnings, the key is whether or not you act graceful when you trip.

May we all be blessed to have the character which allows us to get up when we fall.

May we each reach to find the beauty that surrounds us.

May we each always keep moving forward.

Read Full Post »

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..

Middah (character trait) focus: Perseverance

Life happens.

Each and every day we wake up and we get to decide how we can walk through the world.  For me, regardless of what is happening in my world, I am someone who chooses to move through life with a smile on my face and a positive disposition.  While I am far from perfect, being grumpy just doesn’t work for me.

As part of the living, each of us experience trials and tribulations, gifts and challenges, joy and heartache.  When we push through the tough stuff, we open ourselves to the possibility of making it through what is and maybe even finding sparks of light along the way.

Living in the desert has opened up my mind to how perseverance can appear; one such example is a cactus that rarely receives water, yet still has the ability to flower.

Cactus Flower

May each of us find the tools that allow us to perservere when we are faced with adversity in whatever form it takes.

With love and light . . . . Chava

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

From beginning to end, yesterday was challenging and full of gifts too.  Sigh and yay!!!

The only thing that got me through was drumming and chanting niguunim (melodies).  As my heart was hyperventilating, I took time to release the energy through drumming and chanting.  With each beat of the drum, I released the tension in my soul; with each deep breath followed by my chanting, I felt my sadness leave me.

6730685121_996af44d65

The drum of my dreams. . . .

What affected me the most deeply was the deep sadness that surrounded me at nearly every turn.  So many folks were struggling with real darkness and others were just creating challenges through their actions.  For those that were struggling with their own darkness or perhaps their own demons, I found myself wishing I could share with them this beautiful rendition of Katy Perry’s Roar by Olivia Wise who is currently suffering from brain cancer.  http:/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_An8xNwupo

Olivia’s rendition of Perry‚Äôs Roar brought tears to my eyes and deep pain to my heart. ¬†Imagining what Olivia and her family are facing hurts; I can relate and yet I can’t. ¬†After years of the deep pain that accompanied Aryeh‚Äôs illness and to the pain that has at times accompanied my life, I couldn‚Äôt stop crying.¬† Life is such a gift and some people can‚Äôt find the gifts that are in front them. ¬†Olivia made this video so that those who love her will always hear her ‘Roar”. ¬†How beautiful is that?!?!?!

As I write, Olivia is more unconscious than conscious; her wakeful moments are few and far between.  What her family is telling the world is that Liv woke each day seeking light and finding light too.  While none of us can do that all the time, I wish more folks would go out of their way to find light and make things work with each step.

If I could make a difference for even a moment, I would shatter the illusion that there is no way around pain.

For nearly four years, I watched my son struggle for life and yet I almost never gave in to the darkness.  I always, always, always reached for life and light even as I accepted what could have been inevitable.

With every ounce of my being, I wish that the people around me could find the gifts in the challenges instead of reaching for the darkness and letting that darkness be their guide.

Choose life.

The rhetoric of the anti-abortion world and the teaching of Deuteronomy is perfect for this moment.  While I am far from the anti-abortion world, I do choose life.  Every day, I choose to wake up and find the light within the challenges.  Darkness rarely encompasses my heart and soul.

Choosing life is what I do.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire

‚ÄėCause I am a champion and you‚Äôre gonna hear me roar

Louder, louder than a lion

‚ÄėCause I am a champion and you‚Äôre gonna hear me roar.‚Äô

Katy Perry’s Roar

My son Aryeh is alive.  How ironic it is that Aryeh’s name means lion.  He is alive. In spite of a fatal diagnosis at times, he has always decided to be a thriver that is very much alive.  We are all alive; each and every one in my family is alive and thriving and yes, even roaring.

Yesterday as I sat in the midst of so much pain, watched some folks make troubling choices, and also experienced little things getting blown out of proportion, I wanted to help others find the light when only darkness seemed to persevere.

There are so many people like Olivia or Aryeh that choose life until no more breaths can be made.  There are so many folks that have chosen to thrive as opposed to bury their head in the sand.  May those folks be our role model.

May we all find our ‘Roar’.

PS РI forgot to mention, I saw some beautiful vibrant life yesterday.  I met people on the street that grapple with life and win.  From a distance, I watched my dear friend and his wife move towards the impending death of their father and father-in-law.  I also watched beautiful young minds embrace their own love of learning.  And finally, I had a delightful evening with my son.

While darkness surrounded me, it wasn’t part of me. ¬†Still, may I and those that are part of my life always remember to ‘Roar’.

Read Full Post »

Years ago, I learned that there is no option for walking through life with a positive disposition. ¬†This lesson has been handed to me again and again on a silver platter. ¬†I’ve chosen to find light in darkness and light when there was seemingly little or no hope. ¬†Early in my childhood, I strived to find something good in each and every challenge.

As someone who has been battered as a child, struggled with tremendous loss as an adult, watched her children struggle with health/life within their short lifetimes, and struggled with some hard challenges as an adult, I don’t believe in letting the tough times bring me too far down. ¬†I believe in always finding the gifts within the challenges! ¬†And I have received so many gifts over the years!!

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin Did you notice the butterfly? :)

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin
Did you notice the butterfly? ūüôā

I didn’t realize that I had the ability to find the gifts within the challenges until one day when one of my sons was in critical condition. ¬†He had been struggling with health for so long and I didn’t want him to suffer any longer. ¬†As sedation was enabling him to rest in his hospital room, I quietly told him that Imma (mommy) and Abba (daddy) would be OK if he needed to stop fighting for his life. ¬†With tears streaming down my face, I told my little one that we were the luckiest parents in the world to have him in our lives for as long as we did. ¬†I didn’t want to let go, but I knew that I might not have a choice; I didn’t want him to worry. ¬†Little did I know that I would have to say that again in my lifetime, but I truly believe that people are gifts for as long as they are in our lives. ¬†Today, I am profoundly grateful that my children are both vibrant and healthy individuals; I am grateful that both of them survived their health challenges and one doesn’t even remember them. ¬†I am also happy that I learned something positive about myself as I faced the years of darkness. ¬†There are always gifts within the challenges; sometimes they are more difficult to see at first, but over time they can be found.

My hope for you is that you shouldn’t be faced with the challenges that were once part of my life. ¬†In my case, I did make it through and you can too.

Many years have passed since I faced that kind of darkness, but the lessons have stayed with me.  There is truly no option for allowing darkness to control me.  Yes there are moments when I am angry or sad, lonely or unhappy; they are moments.  The key is that I have to trust that the moments will pass and all will be OK.

I always get to decide how I navigate the harshness that life sometimes brings.  Working within a large community, I face all sorts of people and all sorts of moods.  My job is to embrace those people where they are and to move us forward without allowing their sometimes bad mood to bring me down.  I have a choice; I always have a choice.  And the great news is that most of my interactions with the world around me are really quite beautiful; enjoying life as I do means finding the gifts at every turn.

For me, finding the blessings that surround me is really not an option.  Can you say the same thing? I hope so!

Read Full Post »

Each day is full of gifts and challenges; moments of joy and of sadness fill our beings.  Each day, we get to decide how to walk through our journeys.

For me struggling is absolutely a part of how I navigate the world. ¬†I seek answers to questions both known and unknown. ¬†I try to solve the world’s problems without a means of making a difference. ¬†I open my eyes and ask others to do the same. ¬†Living life is what I do. To live fully means that I have to grapple with both the pain and the beauty that exists with each step.

And the beauty does exist.  The mountains call to me wherever I walk.  I walk in peace.  Always.  I seek the beauty in each and every person that is part of my world whether for a moment or an hour or a year or a lifetime.  I have the ability to find the good even in those that are dark.  And each evening, the moon reminds me to stay grounded as I lay my head down to sleep.

People are inherently good and human too. ¬†With that comes reality. ¬†Over the years, I’ve come to believe even with the darkness that has sometimes surrounded me, I can find sparks of light. ¬†That’s my job and there is no alternative. ¬†While I have encountered dark people, I have been more blessed to find amazing people wherever I turn. ¬†I have also been blessed to be able to turn¬†darkness¬†into light. That’s what I do!

SunriseSummerTucson

Finding the light amongst the clouds

May each and every one of us find the sparks of life in both the gifts and the challenges.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »