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Posts Tagged ‘Glennon Doyle’

pathway-after-monsoon-john-judin-june-2016If you can see your path laid out in front of YOU 
step by step you know it’s not your path.
Your own path you make with every step you take.
That’s why it’s your path.”
~Joseph Campbell

 

The good news is that while I may not know exactly what turns will get me to where I am going. I do know that thriving can only when I nourish my soul. Only through breathing deeply, moving my body, and being creative can I fuel my essence into being. It takes intense work, but I am up for the holy work that comes with choosing life.

 

I am not sure if I saw myself as a creative before the last few years. In fact, I think I may have seen myself as a wallflower or perhaps even a little insignificant. I surrounded myself with people that were dreamers, artists, musicians, activists, and so much more. While I was a loving soul, a passionate writer, and a giving human being. I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t smart enough, creative enough, or beautiful enough.

 

Looking back, I know that was a bullshit story I told myself.

 

Today I feel much differently. I have found my rhythm. I trust that I am enough. I have a way of staying grounded while soaring. At the same time, my open heart invites others to do the same. I am inspired by humanity even as I struggle with parts of what I see. I show up, I strive to do the next right thing, and I take time to live authentically as a mother, a friend, an activist, and a creative. I embrace the magical world and allow it to guide me with each step.

 

My happy place is anywhere that I am being creative. Over the years I have moved from being ‘just” a writer to becoming a creative in so many different areas of my life. I love to watercolor and to weave, but I also love to play with sand or food or really anything. As an educator, I seek ways to inspire kids and their teachers to simply play. My hope is to empower people to leave their boundaries behind and allow themselves to explore new horizons. None of us need to stay in a box that was often chosen for us.

 

There is nothing self indulgent about navigating the world as I do with an open heart, mind, and spirit. In fact, my entire being has not only the right, but the responsibility to show up fully in my own life. And what I know today is that I can only do this if I listen to my inner voice that so clearly nudges me (ok shoves me) towards creative endeavors.

 

Over the last couple of years, I have been blown away by the many messages that keep showing up while reminding me that I need to do the same thing in every area of my life.

 

  • Working with an incredible rabbi and community that invite me to show authentically.
  • Elle Luna’s book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion and amazing podcasts inspired by her book.
  • SARK’s teachings – Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy’s mentoring focuses on giving her students tools so they could begin Making More Alive Choices.
  • The following creatives continue to fuel my work including Chase Jarvis, Glennon Doyle, Indie Arie, Jennifer Pastiloff, Brené Brown, Seth Godin, Elizabeth Gilbert, P!NK, Mary Oliver (z’l), Indigo Girls, Katy Perry, Neshama Carlebach, Shoshana Jedwab, Tracy Chapman, too many scholars to mention, and so many more
  • Watching how “This Is Me” unfolded and ultimately touched so many lives in “The Greatest Showman”. As I viewed this scene, tears rolled down my face as I processed my own journey towards finding inner courage and bravery to stand strong as the woman I am. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLFEvHWD_NE

 

As someone who has been battered and bruised, I literally lost it when I first heard Keala Settle sing:

 

I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

 

As a THRIVER, no one would want to see the darkness that I have seen. I am blessed because today I have emerged into the beautiful and strong woman than I am. My writing and my art have become my roar. And I would have never been able to do it without guides and beloveds that have come with me on my journey.

 

Life continually calls to me in new ways. With each word I hear or read, I am carried to somewhere I have never been. I am learning, stretching, and evolving on a daily basis. I am literally moving in directions that I have never seen before.

My path is not obvious. I seem to have to do a lot of weeding along the way. And yet, I am finding the path that was meant just for me.

 

Hineini, Here I am! I am alive; I am thriving; and I have made it to this time!

 

Onward with love, light, & peace,
Chava

 

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Living Out Loud: A Thriver’s Journey. If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, AND if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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Life is really messy.

Around every corner there are ups and downs. Moments when you are soaring and moments when you are flopping around like a fish out of water. And if you are intense like me, it may feel like your life is bouncing around as quickly as some people can flip a coin.

Sometimes I wonder if I walk the world this way because my childhood didn’t teach me many tools for coping with life’s grit. And as a young adult and later a young mother, I learned to live as a chameleon. I buried many of my emotions and did what was expected of me. And for the most part I pulled it off fairly well. Or at least I think I did. Of course, what do I really know about how I was received by others.

To be transparent, my life has probably always been far from normal. As a young newly married woman, I faced nine miscarriages, several failed adoption attempts, an adoption, buried my parents, navigated serious illnesses for my children, employment struggles for the family breadwinner, and so much more.

Nonetheless, I engaged in living and doing whatever needed to be done to propel my family forward, support my community, and keep a smile on my face. I simply plugged away at living. I am not sure that I found it easy because interspersed with some really tough moments, but I had dinner on the table every night. We welcomed people into our home nearly every Shabbat. I cooked meals for those who were ill and organized our community to help families in the midst of health crisises. I even kept my home  clean, laundry done, and always held down a part time job.

I had an I can do ANYTHING spirit, only inside that is not how I felt. I used to wonder why everyone in the world could keep their houses clean, nurture their children, and have a full life.  Everyone seemed to do it with an ease that ALWAYS escaped me. It is only since I started following social media closely that I realized that I was never alone. All of us have our own personal struggles.

Fortunately social media, Oprah, and podcasts have helped me realize that I am so not alone in this very real struggle. Only over the last five or so years have I  been introduced to the wisdom of three people that rock my world as creatives because of how honestly they shared their struggles of living in the messy middle. They inspire people to:

  • Live in the “marvelous messy middle”. ~ SARK
  • “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

And to understand:

  • “Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.” ~Glennon Doyle

Each of these amazing women choose to share their personal journeys of living in the midst of life’s sometimes very challenging realities while being aware that moving forward doesn’t always present us with easy solutions for living according to what society deems “normal”. They continually inspired me (and still do) to show up in my world as authentically as possible.

Hiking BootsI feel blessed to now walk with ease in my own messy middle and the outer banks too. While it took me over fifty years to emerge fully as myself. I ultimately found my voice through writing, chanting, drumming, and only in the last year through painting little cards.  I am the woman I am because how I have chosen to navigate my own rocky paths.  I am so grateful that I learned to live out loud by sharing my life experiences without apology, accepting that I don’t fit into any box, and loving myself for who I am.

I have also done some really hard stuff including leaving the traditional Jewish community, moving cross country with my sons, divorcing my husband, and publicly changing my name when I realized my parents lost their right to name me.  I wanted a name that honored who I am today, so I gave myself one.  I am Chava Gal-Or. Chava means life because I am a woman who thrives regardless of what sh*t crosses her path and I become empowered by whatever life tosses in my direction. Gal-Or means wave of light; this is my reminder not only to be light, but to find the light in whoever and whatever crosses my path. Perhaps the hardest thing I am doing right now is sharing my life stories via my writing; I am not holding back, I am diving deep and navigating some really harsh realities that have lead me to rise as the woman I am.

Yes, I live in the messy middle. I feel deeply. I struggle to breathe when life overwhelms me. I often believe I don’t do enough to make our world a better place. I wonder if I love enough and do enough for my family, my work, my beloved friends, etc. I struggle with believing that I am worthy and yet I understand that the Inner Demon speaks loudly to me and it is my job to show up and keep showing up. On a good day, I quiet that voice and stretch my arms wide open to life. On a bad day, the demon wins, but I push forward anyway. I am learning.

Living in the messy middle has become a norm for me and I am OK with that. I am “perfectly imperfect” as Anne Lamott would say.  Hineini, Here I am!

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Once I figure out my thoughts around those I love and what I believe, I tend to hold them deep within my spirit for what feels like eternity. The only challenge is that relationships change and so do the issues. Over time everything evolves and people or things that once seemed unimportant become more prominent in our lives. And what once seemed unimaginable becomes the image that invades your thoughts. Politics has continuously reinforced that last thought.

Transformation happens.

“To transform the world,
we must begin with ourselves.

~J. Krishnamurti

As an activist, as a woman, as a friend, and as a mother, I have had to learn to release my desire to hold fast to my ideas. Time and again, I have become enlightened by new information. Feelings change, circumstances change, and it’s my job to ride the waves and do the work of transformation.

As hard as it is for me, I have watched myself change so much over the years. While I have always been Jewish, the denominations I have connected to have varied from time to time; today I am much more grounded in a more ecstatic Judaism. Once I was married, now I am not. My sons have taught me since birth to honor where they are and  we all know that children are always changing; today my sons are on their own journeys as adults. And I have lost lovers and friends, but I have also gained some precious new ones.

The political environment in the US and in Israel have given me many moments of pause. While I was once silent and completely uninformed, now I am far from it. Most of my life I didn’t consider labor practices or the realities of climate change, now I can’t get them out of my mind. I never thought that I would feel compelled to become an ally for LGBTQ or a witness to such blatant racism within our society. And the devastating conditions that refugees are forced to endure at the hands of our government is appalling.

Day 14 - OnwardToday, I have to keep showing up to whatever is in front of me. Moving forward is not an option. If someone needs me or an issue is calling to my attention, I have to find out what I can do to make this world a better place.

My job is to live life fully and out loud. It is to remain empowered “to do the next right thing” (Glennon Doyle) even as I live in the “marvelous messy middle” (SARK). Yes life is not as easy as I’d like, but I am so blessed to be always be moving forward.

How about you? How are you moving forward in your life?

Onward with love, light, & creativity,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

 

 

 

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

“When the world feels evil, we must be good. When the world feels terrifying, we must be brave. This is why love is a revolution. Because it’s not easy. Because choosing love in the face of danger is an act of will”. – Glennon Doyle 

Day 9 - Love DeeplyLoving intensely is what I do. I love my family, my friends, all children, most everyone I know. I don’t take love lightly. In fact, I take love very deeply.  And if you are one of my beloveds, I would do anything for you. Really.

The challenge is that sometimes love hurts. Beloveds let you down. You realize that your love is misunderstood or simply not reciprocated and you feel alone. With awareness, you take one step and then another.  Love may be less than perfect, but that doesn’t matter; it is our job to love anyway.

A couple of years ago, I had the great honor of meeting Glennon Doyle. I found her Momastery blog, her Facebook posts, podcasts/interviews, and of course her books. While I never met her face to face, I feel like I have.  In all of her teachings, Glennon reminds us to show up with an open heart and to love through the ugly, the challenging, and the darkness.

Life is messy, let’s choose to love through whatever we face. Love has a way of making even the toughest moments a little brighter. With love between us, we have a chance of making our world even more awesome than it is!

Hineini/Here I am!

Onward with love, light, and creativity,
Chava

 

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Elul Reflections: Coming soon

December 2016 - looking out into water

I BELIEVE IN LIVING CONSCIOUSLY AND ALWAYS BEING REAL. This isn’t easy. You see, like all of us, I have many roles in my life. I am a mother, a sister, a friend; I am an educator, a community leader, and an activist; I am a woman, a thriver, and an intuitive. AND I am also a writer, a chanter, and a drummer; I embrace life with open arms and a passionate neshama, soul.  My creative and spiritual essence craves the freedom to share the fullness of who I am in all that I do.

According to Glennon Doyle, being real means getting ‘naked and unashamed’. While this leaves me vulnerable, it also gives me the wings I need to fly higher than I have ever flown before. Am I scared to unveil my core as a way to touch those that trip over my writings? ABSOLUTELY! My friend Diane Foushée (z’l) inspired me to reach deeply into my soul and share the fullness of my thoughts with my friends and readers. Until a couple months before her sudden death, I had no idea that she looked forward to the two times a year that I shared my journey as a seeker. During those times, I write a daily blog as I take the time to actively self-reflect and unveil my deepest thoughts.

Last year, I was too sad to write my daily Elul Reflections; although I did write a couple. Without Diane, I didn’t want to write.  I also didn’t know if my writing impacted anyone.  This feeling has changed. Over the last month, I have been blessed to have friends tell me how I have impacted their lives in a positive way.  Those friends have given me the courage to dive into sharing from my heart. As we move into Elul, the time of reflection just before the Jewish New Year, I will return to my writing practice that provided the sacred space to become more aligned as the woman I am. I will embrace the world with an open heart and a willingness to reach to a healthier and more balanced place in all that I navigate. I will share the rawness of my spirit with the gifts and challenges that are part of my reality.

As a ‘TRUTH TELLER’ and a writer, I want to weave my words and share my soul.  Join me.

Elul Reflections: Sharing My Inner Soul – Will begin Tuesday evening, August 22nd.

(Note: I have been impacted by some amazing writers and thinkers over the past couple of years. Glennon Doyle coined ‘truth teller’ and helped me through her podcasts to better understand what it means to be ‘naked and unashamed’. I am here!!! Hineini!

Other writers include Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, SARK, Sheryl Sandberg (all from the Bay area – WOW!) and Elizabeth Gilbert, Brené Brown, Danielle LaPorte, Martha Beck, among so many more. I read their books, listen to their podcasts and strive to embody their wisdom. If I ever say something and do not honor them by annotating their work, please forgive me. Over time I have realized that so much of how they think has entered into my subconscious.)

 

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