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Posts Tagged ‘holy’

Prologue:
Over the coming period of time, I will share how I use writing to quiet my mind, to navigate darkness, to center my spirit, and to propel myself forward.  As Joan Didion says:

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking,
what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.
What I want and what I fear.”

For various reasons, I often feel silenced. This is not working for me any longer. People have every right to interpret my words in any way they want. Take what touches you and move forward as you wish. But here is one thing that you, the reader, should know – Once I release my words into the universe, they have come to do what they were meant to do.

While I share my writing unapologetically, I also write because I have no choice, it is how I am best able to walk in the world.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Toe in Water February 2018
The only journey is the one within. 

~ Rainer Maria Rilke 

I feel with my entire being.

Every fiber of my body navigates wherever I am in any given moment. My mind, my heart, and my soul are interconnected.

In this moment, I am grappling with loss, darkness, and transformation. I am navigating with an open spirit and with the realization that I am doing exactly what I need to do.

This journey called life is full of moving parts. I don’t think I am alone when I say we maneuver as we need to, we find center, and then we find a sinkhole (sometimes). If we are blessed, we resume the cycle again and again. And if we are really fortunate, the sinkhole doesn’t always have to be so dramatic. Sometimes the sinkhole may feel overwhelming under our feet, but in reality it simply includes peaks and valleys over the course of life.

This past week, I realized that more than anything in my life right now, I crave the feel of holy or sacred ground under my feet. I know this is lofty, but I don’t have time for anything less. My heart is too full and my spirit is too aware. So when reality hits and holy ground is nowhere to be found, I am profoundly aware that I have to believe that what I am doing involves sacred connections or simply working towards doing tikkun olam, repairing the world, with the most godliness of intentions.

Join me as I actively dip my toes into water and open the window to my soul.

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 . . . .]

shop conciously

For me, Counting the Omer, means being reflective on how I count and how I move through this period of time.

Life is a holy journey, so I need to consider how I want to live, what I want from life, and how I want to make the biggest impact.  And since I am part of a larger community, country, and universe, I need to actively consider not only myself, but the larger world too.

Since I am currently looking at ways to develop a stronger sense of wholeness within myself, I am considering all the different ways that I can grow as a human being and to celebrate the changes that have already been made.

The first decision my family made as conscious consumers was to only buy fair-trade chocolate. At first it felt daunting, but then it felt so right. The cocoa beans industry is known for their use of child slave labor. As soon as we learned that, chocolate became bitter unless it was fair-trade.

One of the most important questions is how can I be the most thoughtful consumer and honor the workers in the best possible way?  This may appear like a choice to many, but to me it is a given. Below are some core ways that each of us can become a good or better consumer.

  1. Get educated – For me, it all boils down to what companies are following ethical practices for their workers and the workers that create/grow the products they are selling.

    Part of being educated is checking the facts – Just because you read something from one source doesn’t mean it’s true. Check the facts by doing your research and by following up with the company themselves. I have seen time and again how common rhetoric may not actually be true.

  2. Hold companies accountable – The more you learn about the companies, the more you are obligated to make your opinions known and/or refrain from purchasing from unethical stores/businesses.  Companies will not know what you think unless you tell them. And the more folks that tell them, the more possible it becomes to impact a company’s business practices.
  3. Shop locally – By shopping locally, you are supporting your community and lessening your carbon footprint.
  4. Shop second-hand – Buying second hand is great for recycling, carbon footprint, and often for your wallet.
  5. Share what you know – We are all partners in taking care of the universe. Period. If you want to impact the world for good, you can start by making good decisions and then you look for ways to inform others the information you are learning and the values you are choosing to live by.

While I am sharing some ways to grow into a more positive consumer, it starts with one step and then another one. You don’t have to become the perfect consumer overnight.

Personally, my goal is to continue my progress to be a really thoughtful consumer and an overall ethical human being. There is always so much to learn AND companies are constantly evolving. Some businesses that once made ethical choices, may change their ways over time and the reverse is also true. With that in mind, I need to stay on my toes.

May we each be a conscious consumer with every purchase we make.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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“Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.
Quote by: Wendell Berry

(Prologue: I have grown to love life and tire of people wondering if I am for real.  I am. I am human, but I am a thriver. Regardless of what is tossed my way, I will be ok. Always. I have a choice on how to move forward and I choose . . .)

Life happens.

With every breath, I get to decide how I will emerge and how I will face the holy world that I have and will continue to experience.

Struggles have been a part of my life – never by choice. In response, I have made a conscious decision to NEVER allow them to define who I am.  The trouble is that there are some people see my life as really hard and need to focus on just that. I see my life quite differently – full and blessed. The gifts have come in all shapes and sizes. Each passing moment has lead to new adventures – some simply divine, others challenging, and still others painful.  Yet, regardless of what has transpired in my life, I have come to find the treasures that have made me the person I am.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a work in progress.  I have had days that leave my heart broken with endless tears falling. But those days have been far and few in between.  When I look back at the trials and tribulations that I have endured, I choose to see the beauty that is often a consequence of life’s difficulties.

Life happens.

During some of the segments of my life, I have faced a few too many arduous junctures.  Ultimately, each has led me to find inner peace, phenomenal opportunities, and many open doors.  I am who I am because I have always found light, maybe not instantly, but eventually.

The last few years have had a few challenges. I recovered from the nightmares that plagued me once my son recovered from years of serious illness, I navigated professional challenges that left me jobless, and I treaded life’s waters as a single mother. Regardless, none of it destroyed any part of me. In response, I have found that I have special friends, people that will help me in countless ways. Struggling alone has never happened for me. My amazing friends have nurtured not only me, but my precious sons too.  Whether I needed emotional support, financial help, or a hand, my friends have been there for me.

Through it all, there is a inner joy that sustains me and allows me to thrive.  When I smile, my entire body feels the reverberations; no wonder, I am drawn to feel happy. I want to share my excitement with every one I meet and sometimes I am lucky enough to do so.  I am not certain where I found the inner joy that sustains me even as I navigate tough realities, but I have.  Yay!

Creatively, I am becoming the person I want to be.  My writing soothes my soul and confronts life’s storms.  Over time, I seem to have impacted others with my words. Wow. . . how sweet is that?  And I have also taken up drawing and painting (just a little); I even have a new piece of artwork that I have been creating.  None of this would be what it is if I hadn’t experienced life in the ways I have.

Educationally, I have learned to trust myself as an educator and to push myself to make more of a difference to those that I mentor and teach.  Only once I believed in myself fully was it possible for me to create and then share my creations with others.

And spiritually, I have found my voice.  Whether I am drumming, chanting, praying, or hiking, I find that I am becoming connected with the earth in profound ways.  I have grown to love how I walk within the world.  Sometimes I find myself dancing, and moving in ways that I have never done before.  I am alive, fully alive.

Nothing has ever destroyed my spirit. Even when I have had moments that I felt broken, I emerged stronger with tools that allowed for healing of my heart, my mind, and my soul.

A long time ago, I learned that while the world is sometimes dark, my spirit is full of light.  I always have the ability to choose to see the light and if I am really honoring who I am, I can be the light.

Only when I live in the light will joy exist within me.  So, I guess I need to choose light; there is no option.

Sunset near Pupukea Hawaii; Photo coutesy of  Kathleen Kendle

Sunset near Pupukea Hawaii; Photo coutesy of Kathleen Kendle

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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 15 Elul or 15 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!

~ ~ ~

Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.
~ Quote by Holly Shere

~  ~  ~

Being awkward is not a norm for me.  Connecting with the world around me and being in silence are equally positive states for me.  And yet there exists a gap in this equation.

My struggle stems from finding balance between silence and sound.  In a perfect world, balance should be easy.  Right?!?!? Intense thinkers, however, don’t exist in a perfect paradigm; they think and rethink conversations that most would find mundane.

Holiness comes from both the sound and the silence and all the spaces in between. Life has taught me that words always matter as does the silence between the words.

When words are spoken, we need to do more than just hear them, we need to fully listen so that we absorb what is being spoken.  In order to honor the holiness of the sound, we need be totally present within the different interactions.  On the flip side, we don’t always need to fill in the moments of silence with sound or words.

Silence can also be emotionally liberating.  I often find silence to be precious beyond words.  🙂  Pauses or lulls in conversations can be powerful tools in creating a holy environment. By giving people time to process what is being said.  There is also beauty in the silence that comes when you allow yourself to sit still with your breath.

Breathing Exercise: Try sitting silently in a comfortable position.  Notice how you are feeling and then adjust yourself so that you are more comfortable.  At this point take a deep breath, taking the air all the way down to your belly and even your limbs is you can.  Try to breathe out or exale more slowly than you inhaled.  Once you are comfortable with that do 5 to 10 counts of:

  1. Inhaling or breathing in light – Imagine light filling your entire body and radiating out.
  2. Exhaling or breathing out darkness – Imagine any discomfort, pain, or sadness leaving you and then. . . 
  3. Allow room for the light to enter at the next inhalation.

In my chanting practice, I have learned the power of the words, the melody, the silence, and the breath.  Empowering moments happen when I take the time to fully weave all of these layers into my chanting.

In many ways modern technology and life make honoring the sound and the  silence a little more difficult.  Most of us want instant responses and it is hard to give wait time when you are on the phone.  Try taking a little extra time on the phone to allow for the silence in the midst of all the words – can you have a phone conversation that doesn’t feel quite so rushed? Give it a try and see how it feels to honor the real energy of a conversation.

May we all be blessed to treasure words as much as we treasure the silence.

With blessings & light,
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 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:  Listening

“Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.” ~Holly Shere

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with both the spoken and unspoken words, music and silence between the notes.  Both sound and silence have impacted my world for good and for bad.

As a little girl, I was not blessed to hear like most other children.  while I don’t remember the details of my hearing journey, I do recall the first time I really heard sound.  The overwhelming emotion and pain was too much; I didn’t like the harshness that entered by quiet world at around 6 years old.  After that experience, I don’t believe it took me too long to learn to love music or the spoken word; I did struggle to handle some of the anger that was spoken in loud, infuriated voices.

Growing up, I learned to gauge how my day would move forward just by listening to what was going on around me.  Sound and silence both have enormous power to heal and to hurt you, to calm you or to trouble you.  One of the most important lessons I learned in life and that I am still learning today is that I don’t have to fill the space between the words or music with sound; silence can have it’s own innate beauty.

When I was a young girl, my father used to hold my ears between his hands; I loved the pressure and the warmth of those moments.  When my own children were young, my father would often hold them the same way and say, “Listen to the quiet.” As soon as, my father touched my children’s head, they would instantly smile and relax.  Perhaps we should all take time to ‘listen to the quiet’.

May each of us find holiness in both the silence and the sounds that surround us.

Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.

Holy is the silence; holy is the sound. ~Holly Shere

 

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