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Posts Tagged ‘Hineini’

I have a problem. I am an addict!!! I just can’t get enough of that white powdery substance. . . .SUGAR.

With this in mind I decided to begin a new health journey  and ask for support from my friends. I did this once before and it lasted for over six years ago; the great news is that I have kept 65 lbs. off, but now I need to go back to the choices I made back then.

The good news is that all of those healthy changes made a difference and now it is time for me to begin again.

Hineini, Here I am!!

Today I started prepping for my latest health journey. Instead of counting 45 days until my 45th birthday, I am counting 21 days of healthier eating, aka no sugar. My hope is that at the end of 21 days, I will start another health journey while remaining steadfast on refraining from sugar too.

Over and over again, I have heard that it takes 21 days to create new habits. So here is the first habit I will be working to change – NO SUGAR!

Making 21 Countdown chartIn preparation for today, I made a fun little check off chart. I did this for two reasons. One, I needed to create a ritual/visualization around checking off the days. Two, I wanted a prop to share my thinking about this journey.

As a sugar addict, I need to own that part of my personality and look for ways to make better choices.

AND here is the ask, please celebrate my successes and support me through my challenges. If this isn’t comfortable for you, simply ignore me. 🙂

Transformation needs to happen. Being healthy is literally a non-negotiable.  So tonight at sundown, I will officially begin my 21 day countdown.  I will share my journey via Facebook and my blog.

Don’t hesitate to ask me how I am doing. Your mentioning it won’t sabotage the work; in fact, it will probably help me remember that I am not alone!

l’Chayim, to life,

Chava

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with
your one wild and precious life.”
– “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

July - sun 1

Reflection Time Selfie

Each morning, I wake up and ask myself how I will walk through my day.  And each and every day, the answer is pretty much the same. I want to be a light with every step I take.

Now this isn’t as easy as it sounds. What does it mean to be a light? And what do I have to do to get there?

The second question is easier to answer, so I will start with that. In order to be a light to anyone I have to be a light to myself. That means before I reach out to the world around me, I have to go inward and care for my body, my mind, and my soul.  If I don’t take care of me, how can I be authentic with others?

Writing, listening to the others’ wisdom, moving and eating right are key. On a really good day, I will chant, meditate, or drum.  And on a great day, I will do it all! Breathing deeply and living mindfully takes an open heart and a willing spirit.

In fact, most of what I try to do is to live consciously. My entire being craves a conscious life. I want to live with integrity and authenticity.  So for the most part, I do that. AND every day I am learning, stretching, and growing. I am working to be the best me I can be.

Only after I navigate inward can I take an excursion outward.

So to answer the first question:  What does it mean to be a light?

A ready smile greets nearly every person I meet. I have a drive to touch people’s lives in positive ways. This feeling has emanated so deeply that years ago I even changed my last name to Gal-Or, wave of light.

Life has taught me that some of my best plans and my most amazing intentions need to altered due to reality.

When my older son was a teenager, he was plagued with a life and death journey which took over our family’s entire lives for over three and a half years. This meant that everything in my world changed over night and stayed that way until one day I realized he was thriving again!

Shortly after that episode, I woke up to a joyous pitter-patter in my heart. With an overwhelming realization, I realized that I am alive and ready to serve others again. Hineini! I am here!!

While I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, I slowly began to realize that the years of hell inspired me to live a little more like there may be no tomorrow. With that came a new zest for life and a deep passion in my kishka, my guts. Over the coming days, months, and years, that passion has become part of my life force.

Returning back to the Mary Oliver quote above, I have grown to trust where my heart and soul take me. Living a conscious life means that I have work to do not only for myself, but for others.

With each step I take in the world, I really do it with the best intention. That doesn’t mean it is always received with open arms, but it does mean that I am standing in the integrity that is part of my core essence.

Sharing my thoughts and values is the only way I know to inspire change and to empower others. That doesn’t mean that I am always right or that I don’t frustrate or anger those who feel differently. Everyday, I am challenged to stand in the light even when it isn’t easy.

With views that are often off the beaten path or different from mainstream thinking, I have to negotiate the world with kindness. I also have to make sure that I am educated and thoughtful as I navigate conversations and writing. And sometimes, I have to receive the passion of others.

While passion isn’t always full of light, my work is be the light and always remember that I want every “wild and precious day” to live consciously and thoughtfully.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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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 . . . .]

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-mindfulness-Quotes-Walk-as-if-you-are-kissing-the-Earth-with-your-feet

Every step we take matters.

Living in the world means that we need to take responsibility for how our lives affect the larger universe.  Good choices can create positive outcomes.

To me, there is no question about this.

Years ago a friend tried to convince me that our choices didn’t really make a difference to the larger world.  At the time I didn’t quite know what to say.  As a scientist or an engineer, I know that he knew what he was talking about. Or at least, he understood the realities better than I. While his views never resonated with me, I learned to be silent or to simply ask for clarification.

Today, I understand that each decision we make has the power to make a positive difference. Collective empowerment and collective responsibility counts. . .a group has more power than an individual. But without that one person that inspires us to think and make healthy choices, we may never be able to succeed in making this world a better place.

My job is to make the best choices I can make.

With this in mind, I really consider the ways that I can be more conscious of how I walk in the world by considering my carbon footprint with each action.

  1. How much water am I using when I do the dishes or the laundry, shower, and/or brush my teeth?
  2. How far do I have to travel by car? If I have to go the distance, can I combine errands so that I don’t have to make that trek twice or three times in a short proximity? Can I walk or ride my bike?
  3. How much trash and recycling am I creating? Can I use more whole foods so that I use less packaging or better yet no packaging?
  4. Do I turn off lights? air conditioning? heat? Do I put on extra layers of clothing instead of turning on the heat? Do I take off as much clothing as possible instead of putting on the air conditioning?
  5. Have you ever considered hanging your laundry to dry instead of using a dryer.

There is always so much to consider.  The above list is only a beginning of what we can consider to lessen our carbon footprint.

In Judaism, it is incumbent for us to do our to preserve human life, pikuach nefesh (Hebrew: פיקוח נפש) in the best ways we can.

Hineini, here I am. Will you join me in doing the best you can?

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS – In the coming months, I will be moving to Houston.  🙂 So, at one point, yesterday, someone who was asked to help me find a house assumed that if I wanted to live within walking distance to the congregation I will be working for that I must be Orthodox.  Once I realized this. . .I started to giggle.  While that would have once been true, I sure have evolved a ton over the past years.  Today’s focus is minimizing my carbon footprint.

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Hineini – Here I Am

Hineini

Each of you has something in your lives that move you to the core.  I am not so bold to think that everyone follows one derekh (path), but you do follow your own path.  Maybe you are active in your family/friends, spirituality, social consciousness, reading/writing, learning, music, sports, etc. My hope is that something jazzes your soul.

On a personal level, I have been considering my differing roles as a mother, wife, friend, Jewish educator, spiritual being, and socially conscious person. Often I find myself asking what it means to be involved in the larger world, the world outside my body, outside of my immediate family, and outside my work.  Two questions come to my mind quite frequently:

1.    What do you want from me?

2.    How can I serve you?

When I say you, I am speaking to the larger universe outside of myself. And the answer that comes to mind always is HINEINI (Here I AM).  So much so that it January I ordered that single word to be on my license plate. (A good friend of mine, Melissa Schaffer wrote a chant with these two questions and the response Hineini. She should get credit creating a chant that I find myself utilizing quite frequently.)

We are all parts of many communities, our families, our work, our interests, our children’s schools and interests (if we have children).  Sometimes we take the sideline and let others take leadership roles, but someone has to take the leadership roles or the communities we are part of disintegrate over time.

Knowing that your voice is important can be empowering, but it can also add challenges.  Our lives our busy, but our communities can only thrive if you step up to the plate at some point and get involved.

As I go into the holiday Passover, I am wondering how I can best step up to the plate, but I know that whenever the opportunity arises, I will say:

Hineini, Here I am!

Where are you?

With love and light,

Chava

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