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Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Don’t be afraid to tread when you can’t really swim
Dance in the rain and find the rainbows when darkness prevails
Find the good in every challenge that crosses your path
And always soar and reach for your best.
(Excerpt: Sometimes Life Gives Us No Tomorrows
written by Chava Gal-Or)

Have you ever had those moments when your were furious about something only to find that you may be looking at the whatever is happening the wrong way?

One of the most significant practices of my life is to try to find light in the midst of life’s challenges.  I even changed my last name to honor the way I hope to walk in the world.  My last name Gal-Or means wave a light. Years ago I decided to acknowledge that I have mostly been able to find light in darkness or within troubling moments AND I wanted to remind myself to continue to walk the world in this way.  Having said that, I also realize that I am human, there are times when I have to take a moment and reflect.

Over the last few days I found myself reflecting that I really do need to pay attention and to take a deep breathe before allowing frustration to penetrate my heart and mind. As conscious as I am, I am taking a few minutes to openly share exactly how I find the good in the following scenarios.

  1. Accidents happen.  Often times I count my blessings when I am stuck in traffic; I find myself feeling relieved that somehow I was blessed to be running late and missing my potential role in the traffic accident which is just ahead of where I am.  At the same time, I pray for all that are involved in the accident; I never take spiritual or physical health for granted.
  2. Recently, I lost my position at Temple Emanu-El, a local congregation, because of their financial challenges.  For the most part I have chosen not to share the impact of that loss too fully; it wouldn’t serve me well. What I will say is that it hurt my spirit very deeply.  And yet out of the pain, I have come to grips with some spiritual and emotional needs  that I may not have faced so directly if I had not received my walking papers. Living consciously is a powerful gift that I am giving myself.
  3. A few nights ago, my son left all the lights on in the house.  Sigh.  I am so sensitive to light and it ultimately woke me up; I needed to wake up fully so I could turn off all the lights. 😦  To say that I was thoroughly annoyed is an understatement.  So, in order to distract myself and manage some of my agitation I went on Facebook to check out was going on in the world.  And what I found was a friend that was in serious crisis and needed me.  Two hours later, I was profoundly grateful that I could be there for my friend and to help her manage some intense darkness.  If it weren’t for my son’s mistake of leaving the light on, I wouldn’t have been there to listen and to offer some potential ways to navigate all that she needed to cope with.
  4. How many times have you been at a doctor’s office only to be stuck waiting an extra 30 minutes or maybe even an hour?  Well for nearly five years, we were blessed with doctors that didn’t rush my then teenage son through their office visit because they had other patients.  We also had doctors that created a slot for our son because he was too sick to wait.  After such a positive experience with so many medical practitioners, no longer do I get agitated when I have to wait.  Having a doctor that is compassionate and present when we most need him/her makes a world of difference to me.  Ultimately my son emerged healthy and vibrant, but the journey to get there was full of loving souls that really took the time needed to care of my son when he needed it most.
  5. While initially, I may feel frustrated when I get stuck in the Car Repair place or anywhere, but over the years I have come to appreciate the ‘accidental’ gift of time which allows me time to walk over to the coffee shop and take some time to write and people watch.  To me there is nothing better than having time to sit quietly and write and/or people watch.

We never do know what is on our horizons; life happens and so does death.  My job is to try to make the best of every moment.  Sometime the moment is all we have. . . .

Oct 20 - sunrise Pantano WashMay we all be blessed to find the light shining in the horizons.

With love, light, & blessings,
Chava

 

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Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

“The Bridge”
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Bernie Taupin

I’ve seen the bridge and the bridge is long
And they built it high and they built it strong
Strong enough to hold the weight of time
Long enough to leave some of us behind

[chorus:]
And every one of us has to face that day
Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away
And every one of us that ever came to play
Has to cross the bridge or fade away

Standing on the bridge looking at the waves
Seen so many jump, never seen one saved
On a distant beach your song can die
On a bitter wind, on a cruel tide

[repeat chorus]

And the bridge it shines
Oh cold hard iron
Saying come and risk it all
Or die trying

[repeat chorus]

I am a profoundly fortunate soul.  While I have faced enormous challenges throughout my life, I am blessed to continually find the bridges I need to cross over so that I can emerge from life’s tough spots.   Since this past June, I have been facing some intense fear even as I was moving towards resolving the stark realities of feeding my family.  I am someone who rarely gives up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of fear or darkness.
Over the last weeks, I have been feeling held by so many beautiful friends that are nudging me forward and offering complete support with each step.  With each passing day, I realize that a new chapter is being written sometimes by yours truly and sometimes by yours truly’s beloved friends.  My friends haven’t let me down as they have worked and advocated for my success.  My sons and I are not alone, we are surrounded by people that are willing to help us in a myriad of ways.  Light seems to always brighten my life when I need it most and today that is no different.  The light is illuminating our family even as we navigate these tumultuous times.

Every day, new possibilities surface just as I am entertaining self-doubt. And with each step I find myself feeling hopeful, anxious, excited, & alive.  My head and heart are bursting with gratitude as I embrace crossing the bridge.  I am consciously aware that I want to walk gently and remain cognizant of the power of each step.  It may ok for me to slip, but I really don’t want to lose my footing.  While faltering for moments in time is sometimes a reality, success is not optional.

To say I feel humbled by the love and care that my sons and I are continuously receiving is an understatement.  Each moment of love, sweet gifts, financial support, and kindness  is like a loving embrace.  I can’t  believe how held I am feeling  Perhaps for the first time in life I am not feeling alone; a village is not only surrounding us, but carrying us across the bridge.

With love, light, & gratitude,
Chava

 

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Life has been hard. Very hard. And yet. . . .

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

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

I am blessed that there are so few moments when darkness doesn’t allow me to see clearly.

Today I feel warmth from the amazing sparks that could easily burst into a flame.  There are so many gifts that surround me at any given moment.  And yes, there is also deep pain that is part of my life and part of the lives of so many people that I love.  But for now, I want to focus on the gifts.

My sons:

  • Today Aryeh and Dovi went biking together for the first time in forever!!!! Now that may seem silly because they are 21 and 17 years old; yet for so many reasons, it really is quite amazing.
  • AND Dovi has asked for shorts so that he can be more comfortable biking; he hasn’t worn shorts in nearly 10 years.  Now this is a shehecheyanu moment (a blessing that is recited when you do something for the first time in a long time or ever).
  • Dovi decided to excel in math and that is exactly what he is doing!
  • This week, we have had some incredibly sweet moments as a family.
  • Aryeh continues to amaze me in the way he takes care of everyone in the family; he is truly growing into a man! Wow.

Friends:

  • I love how my friends reach out and are totally present for me.  As I type, one group of friends is trying to find ways to help me thrive emotionally; they are working towards creating options for me to make it through a challenging period of time.
  • A few different friends have found ways for me to support myself after losing my livelihood. Yay!
  • One friend just embroidered a bath-sheet with my name on it!!!! She even used my favorite colors.  I can’t wait to see it and use it!  (If you are curious, I love sage and lavender. . . but in truth all shades of purple are awesome.)
  • A couple of friends have given me great gifts when I wasn’t sure how I would move forward.
  • I am held by some profoundly loving souls.

Taking care of me:

  • I found a care-giving position that is giving me more normal hours so that I don’t have to work all-nighters.
  • I am on Day 8 of not drinking any sodas!!!!!
  • I am getting more hours of sleep than I had been getting previously; this week I have gone to sleep by 10 PM nearly every night.
  • I am taking time to write.
  • My blog reached 30,000 viewers today.  Sometimes I even hear that my writing is inspiring those that take time to read my writings. YAY!  I so love sharing my inner thoughts through writing.
  • I spoke with one of my closest friends this week after a too long hiatus.

Insights for the week

  • Omm backwards is Moo. (Thanks Dietz Family)
  • My intuition keeps getting stronger and stronger; I love that I am learning to actively listen and respond to my gut.
  • Finding answers to questions is not always so simple. . . .Never ask your friends what is better a Vitamix vs. Blendtec OR Nutri-Bullet vs. Ninja. 🙂 Can you tell my blender is dying and I am into making green smoothies?
  • Everyone has a different perspective about the practices of the High Holy Days.  I am thinking next year I may create my own practice and share with those that are interested.
  • Words have meaning and attitude; just when you think something makes sense, you learn it doesn’t.

I love that I can always find light even when I am walking down a dark alley.  Hoping the same for you too!

With love, light, & blessings
Chava

 

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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 21 Elul or 9 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!

~ ~ ~

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Quote by Fred Rogers

~ ~ ~

Sometimes life is hard.  Murders.  Tsunamis.  Job loss. Terrorism.  Genocide. Domestic violence. Homelessness. Unanswered prayers.

And yet, with each loss and with the drama that can sometimes be part of life, there are angels that make a difference for good.  There are people that will drop what they are doing in order to make the handling of a disaster a little less painful.  There are people that are in the midst of suffering that will still try to help others.  Some of us show that we care by offering money, a smile, a hand; some of us do nothing, but many of us do what we can.

Throughout my life, I have been supported and loved by strangers as well as loved ones.  My life wouldn’t be what it is today if people hadn’t helped me along the way.  Even today, I am feeling myself held as I need to navigate some difficult struggles.  And even today and throughout every stage of my life, I have done and continue to do what I can for others.  It really is an amazing gift to be on either side of this scenario.

At some point in our lives, we may need someone to help us navigate life’s harsh realities, may we be blessed to have that person appear with a large enough net.  And may each of us make a difference for good when someone needs us.

With blessings and light,
Chava

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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 12 Elul or 18 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!

~ ~ ~

Every step I take in light is mine forever.
Quote by Swami Vivekananda

~ ~ ~

Light is always full of power; only when I trust that light, will I soar and be the best person that I can be.

I am a work in progress; all of us are.  Still, I try to remember my simple mission in life.  My job is to radiate light wherever I go and to absorb the sparks that light the world around me.  Only by doing these things can I serve all that is in the universe and make a difference for good.

Always remember that even in the darkest situations, light can emerge.

Nearly 10 years ago, I changed my last name to Gal-Or which means wave of light.  Without a doubt, I believe that light has the power to guide me through life and to sustain me throughout my journeys.  Time and again, light has helped me navigate life’s challenges and gifts too.

May today and every day be full of light for you and those you love!

With blessings and light,
Chava

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13 years later. . . . .

Let’s get one reality out of the way.  My father was a deeply flawed human being that made significant mistakes over the course of his lifetime especially when it came to raising and protecting his little girl, me.  Yet, I am blessed that I can celebrate another side to a man I love deeply.  A long time ago, I chose to let go of the pain, to move forward, and to spend a lot more time remembering the extraordinary parts of my father.  And regardless of some of the challenges, he was an amazing Zaydie to his grandchildren and a loving soul to those that crossed his path.

Everyone that knew my father loved him.  Everyone.

While he struggled with my mother and the challenges that she posed, he was able to leave most of those feelings behind once he walked out our kitchen door.  Morry loved the world and much of what it had to offer.  He was a passionate reader, a lover of music, and a kind soul.

I am who I am because Morry Bloomberg was my father; he raised me to love people, stories, and music.  A day has not gone by without me thinking about my father and the many legacies he left behind.

My father guided me to walk in the world with a deep appreciation for each and every person in the human race while sharing brief words, stories, or jokes with all.  To this day, I feel guilty if I don’t want to interact with a cashier or someone holding the door.  My father taught me to be better than that, he taught me to acknowledge each and every person that I made eye contact with.

Sharing Stories and Jokes

I loved how my father had a story or joke to share with each and every person he met each day; he never hesitated to talk to any person that crossed his path; he always had a small offering to share. I was especially struck by his knowledge of everything going on in the news and how he would share information from all that he was reading at any given moment.  He was always reading.

Morry loved all people. Cashiers and family/friends were on equal footing; the doctor and the guys that took care of our yard were each human beings.  No one was better than anyone else.  And if anyone needed his help, he would do whatever he could to help.

Each and every person that I have met over the years believed that they were close friends with my dad.  He always had time for the person that was in front of him.  One of the reasons, I never use a cell phone in front of a cashier is because I believe he would quite literally have a cow if I every ignored a human being that was in front of me.  I can almost hear him expressing his dissatisfaction if I had chosen to disregard any person in front of me.  My moods didn’t count; I believe he taught me that I was here to serve, to bring joy into people’s lives for just a moment.  A kind word, a sweet story, or a smile makes a difference.

Turn Table and record (vinyl) - Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman

Turn Table and record (vinyl) – Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman (who never stopped loving music or vinyl)

Music and Records

Another one of my favorite things about my father was his love for music.  He shared that love with everyone.  All of my friends loved that he knew more about vinyl and shared what he had with anyone that wanted.  But for me, I treasured how we used to take rides to any of his record stores and spend the entire time singing together.  On the rare occasion, that he could keep me out of my house for days on end, we would sing, share stories, and connect in ways that I will miss forever.  With him, I could find peace for as long as we were together.

Dad took me to my first concerts sometimes with my friends and often times with just the two of us.  He even took my friend Elizabeth and I to a KISS concert; he couldn’t hear for a week after that.  (And for the rest of his life, he never let me forget what he did for Elizabeth and I.) Our seats were center and close to the stage; I think he was as excited as we were to provide this opportunity for us.

My father introduced me to all music and many people in the music business.  I met musicians, sound men (they were all men back then), managers, producers.  I heard and learned about rock, country, bluegrass, pop, classical (although not much), and whatever was popular at any given moment.  My father taught me love of all music. Not only did he teach me, but he introduced music to everyone.  He was particularly kind and loving towards my friends and our neighbors on Pikeswood Drive outside Baltimore where I grew up.  Sharing music made my father feel happy and whole.

Today and every day, I remember how my father walked in the world and I realize that the apple didn’t fall from the tree.  My hope and my prayer is that I am nearly as loving and kind as my father was.

I miss him, but feel grateful for the gifts he did give me.

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Middah (character trait) focus: Imperfection is reality

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.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” –  Salvador Dalí 

I have a challenge; I am hard on myself when I don’t complete tasks that I wish to in a way that I believe they should be done.  And yet, sometimes it has to be reality.

Finding the saying of Salvador Dali is a gift because it absolutely helps me keep perspective and reminds me that I will always keep growing.  Striving for improvement makes so much more sense than striving for perfection.

When I was a teenager, I used to paint as much as I could; I loved art, all art.  And  often I would find my self reflecting about Salvador Dali with each stroke of the paintbrush; he was my hero.  So many of the pieces of my younger years were inspired by him.  Years later when I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a good friend, I was again  reminded of the power of Dali’s work.  He touched me like no other artist has ever touched me before or since.  Again after seeing his exhibit, I tried to find my artistic place although that time it was and still is with writing.  Although, after meeting my hero’s work again, I did start to pick up markers and colored pencils so that I could try to doodle on my journal books.

While I was at Philadelphia Museum of Art, I purchased the a mounted poster of the below painting; it reminds me that I can navigate through time, I just have to keep pushing through, doing what I dream of, and believing that I will succeed.  Not everything happens when I want it to, as I hope it will, or even at all.  Sometimes I fail and sometimes I don’t.  I just need to remember to keep on moving forward and doing the best that i can do.

Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory  Courtesy of http://www.themost10.com/famous-salvador-dali-artworks/

Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory
Courtesy of http://www.themost10.com/famous-salvador-dali-artworks/

Imperfection will always be a reality, the question is will I find the gifts that are part of the journey?

 

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