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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Your energy introduces you. . . .Truth.

While I am far from perfect, I tend to walk into almost any new environment with warmth and love in my heart. I can’t help but smile at babies or any child, seniors, and animals. Beauty always brings tears to my eyes and authenticity jazzes my soul.

With each step, I remember that my energy is what people meet first.

I love that people are drawn to my energy. My only hope is that I wish I could be healthier, more vibrant, and even more inspirational. And yet, I also love that even if I am not all of these things, I still have the ability to make strangers smile, dogs wag their tails, and children play with me.

On a good day, I make new friends wherever I go and sometimes, I am blessed to connect with a new soul friend with barely a word spoken.

Beauty surrounds me.

On a bad day, I can become hyper-focused and forget that regardless of what is happening, life is not all about me or what I need to accomplish. My hope is that when I get like this, I can turn it off quickly. Sometimes I am lucky enough to do just that.

A few years ago, I visited one of my congregants post surgery. As she laid surrounded by loved ones in ICU, I walked into the room. With tears in my eyes, I was instantly transformed. I remembered another time and place when I had no words for my own family who painfully and awkwardly stood vigil for one of our loved ones. But within moments, I asked the family if I could pray with one of the most beautiful souls I knew. And when they said yes, I found myself chanting and praying with an intensity that felt right for that moment. Fortunately, this horrific chapter had a happy ending; my congregant was able to not only live, but thrive again.

Pain and memories are part of life.

For some reason, the above hospital visit touched me deeply. Walking into this congregant’s hospital room nearly paralyzed me. And yet, I quickly realized that there was no time for self-absorption; this was a time for unconditional love. In fact nearly every time I walk into a new environment, I find myself propelled towards warmth and love.

Over time, connections evolve and become grounded in a beautiful reality. But it is always my hope that when you meet me, you will meet a sweet energy that makes you want to get to know who is walking through the door.

 

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There are few coincidences in life.

This morning, I woke up with a spring in my step. It didn’t matter that I am sick, what mattered is that I am being greeted by My Morning Pages.

For the last month, I have been finding my voice through what Julia Cameron refers to as Morning Pages. Each and every morning (ok, nearly every morning), I have woken up to write 3-6 pages of stream of consciousness writing.  By writing first thing in the morning, I refrain from filtering my thoughts; instead I allow my thoughs to simply flow without editing each sentence before it hits the paper.

This morning felt a little different that previous mornings because I found myself literally celebrating the power of what my morning pages have done for me and how I have grown since I started writing them a month ago.

Here is the synopsis:

  1. One month ago, I started writing my morning pages – after many years away from this practice.
  2. Two weeks ago, I added the practice of ending my morning pages by asking myself questions about how I would move forward from whatever I was navigating during a specific day. And then I would pick a Hope card (from BoneSighArts.com) and an Angel Card. On most days, the card I pick allows me to soar while feeling more grounded.
  3. One week ago, I had the inner strength to let go of a friendship that had broken my spirit and shattered  my heart. Somehow I found the grace to release the bond that had been holding tight for way too long.
  4. Since the beginning of writing my Morning Pages, I have been really sick three times. Through finding my authentic voice, I am finally being able to purge the toxicity that has been festering inside my body.
  5. On at least three different occasions, I have asked friends for what I need. And wow, I have felt so loved and supported.
  6. I am healing in ways I didn’t even know I needed to heal.
  7. Each morning, I start my day by drinking a couple of glasses of water and sometimes a smoothie. I love that I am nourishing my body at the same time I am nurturing my soul.

So while I have navigated some really hard stuff, I have also found a healthier place to live.

With each passing morning, I have found that I am taking better care of myself in more ways that via my writing. I have been painting furniture, cooking good food, taking longer walks more frequently, and chanting.  I am also allowing myself to go inward more and accepting that I can’t talk to everyone, but I have been sending cards to my beloved friends.

Conscious reflection is adding so much more to my life. I am taking time to see the gifts and the challenges. And more often than not I am finding the gifts within the challenges.

There are many mornings, when I have started my Morning Pages with deep pain at the core of my being, but ended my writing time with a calm and peaceful heart. They are grounding me and allowing me to literally grow my roots and become spiritually stronger.

While it may seem that I am more raw or sick more often, in actuallity I am allowing myself to be more of what I am.

The chameleon in me has slowly stopped fitting in quite the same way; I have learned to say what I need and what I want. I have learned to share my deepest dreams, my hopes for the future, and my innermost thoughts.

Sometimes my thoughts and feelings are embraced and sometimes it is obvious that friends and community would rather I stop approaching the world with such an open heart. But what I have come to learn is that I am so much happier being transparent. I don’t have to walk alone and close my intensity off from the world.

One of the best parts of this transformation is that I am not sure that I need anyone’s approval now. Maybe I am only able to say that because I really do have several different pockets of friends that value me for the person I am. With that reality, I have come to a better place and I am having an easier time.

Oct 20 - sunrise Pantano Wash
I love where I am now – professionally, spiritually, and personally. And I am a work in progress; I am a seeker. So I am constantly stretching, growing, and navigating new paths. And with each new path, I am surrounded by beloveds.

My Morning Pages journey has helped me to find  more calmness and inner peace with who I am. I am living by the values that I so strongly believe. Confirmation came to me when I found  these two wonderful saying in the last few days:

To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin
to love yourself,value yourself. And that’s
political, in the most profound way.
June Jordan

~ ~ ~

and the universe listened. 
Terri St. Cloud

There is a huge shift taking hold;. I am AWAKENING in every way.

Politically, I speak my mind.
Spiritually, I share my soul.
Consciously, I live my life.

I have found my voice and I now live in a world that I can be me – totally me.
How awesome is that?!?!?!

Onward!
Now & Always,
Chava

Note: OK, I do bite my tongue when I find out someone likes Donald Trump or Binyamim Netanyahu because I have decided, for the most part, that anything I say would not penetrate their skull. If you like either of these two characters, chances are you are probably not part of my inner circle. So, why spend too much time trying to enlighten you. I don’t need to talk just to hear myself heard.

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“May Shekinah’s radiant and abiding love and brachas
shine upon your faces, children, women and men of Paris
May the Compassionate one grant wisdom, compassionate action
and wise guidance for the ones that implement the laws and just action.
You are loved by unending love, and know you are not
alone. We stand, sit, sing with you in prayer, sisterhood
and brotherhood, deep love and life.”
Words of love by Lori Wynters

small chai

Devastation.
Destruction.
Terrorism.
Hatred

and

Prayer
Action
Love
Peace

and

Visioning
Believing
Dreaming
Hoping

There is no option
Moving forward
Reaching for the stars
Creating light

We have our hands, we have our hearts. If we want to find peace, we have to create it. And for those who are despondent, may I be a person who creates the light to lead the way until they can do it for themselves.

May my prayers reach God and my heart reach humankind.
May actions and love speak louder than words.
May I make a difference in all the right ways.

You and I, we both have a village that we cherish; we live in a world that is yearning for peace. My prayer, my hope, my belief is that together our villages can stop hatred from spreading and inspire love of humankind to spread.

ופרש עלינו סכת שלומך
Ufros Aleynu Sukkat Shlomecha
Spread over us a shelter of your peace

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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 . . . .]

Vision Your Journey
Create Your Future

The only journey is the one within.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Life is a journey.

With that in mind, I have to be willing to take My Journey Towards Wholeness with a full heart and a willing spirit. Instant gratification will probably be a wish and not a reality.

On April 1, 2010 – I had to face surgery to end debilitating pain and also to hopeful keep me from becoming a statistic. The surgery worked with flying colors and my life has evolved substantially since that time. Reflecting back, I believe that that journey propelled me to new places and opened my mind to new possibilities.  I also love that when I look at the goals I had just 12 days post surgery, I am blessed to be able to say that my vision for myself then is pretty much where I am today.

Today, I am in a much healthier and spiritually stronger place as I continue to grow as a person while honoring what I believe.

With that in mind, I am sharing my writing from this time and hoping that some of you become inspired by The Chava Project.

Sending love and healing thoughts to all!
Chava

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Originally this post was written April 12, 2010 following what could have been serious surgery. The good news is that all went well and healing went well.

The Power of the Chava Project

Vision Board for Chava Created March 31, 2010

Vision Board for Chava
Created March 31, 2010

Approximately a month ago, my friend Jennifer Judelsohn suggested that we create the Chava Project http://journeycircles.blogspot.com/2010/03/chava-project.html by having people send a word to her post office box.  The word would represent a prayer, a hope, or a vision you had for me.  We probably had about two-dozen words mailed via snail mail and then another two-dozen words emailed to us.  Each word was mounted on a painted canvas that was meant to become my vision board and to inspire me as I journeyed towards a stronger physical and spiritual essence.

The beauty of each and every word,  the embellishments,  and the intentions was that they were transmitted to me in a very core way.  With every fiber of my being, I felt the love and warmth that surrounded my healing and my growing journey.  I couldn’t believe that so many people cared enough to take the time to let me know their word for my evolution.

In my life I have had times that I felt completely alone, but not any longer.  I feel loved, cherished, and cared for.  Today, I know that many people are my soul friends.  They celebrate my journey towards physical and spiritual health.  And nearly all of my beloved friends would help me in any way if I let them know my needs.

There are many people who empowered me and continue to support me as I move through my journey.  Both family and friends from all over as well as those that are specifically part of  my CAJE friends and my Kol Zimra/Jewish Renewal friends, you know who you are.  I’ve been blessed to be surrounded world-wide with people that illuminate my world and the world that they live in too. Through my friends, I have been granted the space to explore the roads that I currently travel.

Many voices are in my head at any given time.  Most of the thoughts begin with the overarching wisdom of Theodore Herzl, “Im tirtzu, ein zo agadah. If you will it, it is no dream.”  There is so much that I want in my life and most of it is within my reach if I admit my feelings and do that which needs to be done in order to make things happen.  Only through action and consistent discipline will I attain that which I desire to have a more fulfilling life.

My life is somewhat complicated and also quite simple too.  I love life and I consistently strive to reach for the different goals that are continually emerging.  There is much to strive for-always.  Mountains to climb; valleys to descend. With each step, there is a plethora of new options that come into view.

Each step leads to beauty.  Sometimes I see myself as the young girl looking out to the ocean of a Dali painting I love.  The vastness of the water or the life potentials surrounding me is endless; all I need to do is to make a decision on what step or stroke needs to be my next.  As simple as that sounds, limiting the options that surround me is not an easy task.  I want to do it all; I want to feel the rhythm of each and every desire, but I can’t do it all.

Nearly two weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy.  It wasn’t traumatic in any way; it needed to be done, so I did it.  The beauty of the hysterectomy is what happened before and after the actual surgery.  Initially, my friends and some strangers supported me by sending me a word/prayer/hope to put on my vision board.  The artwork sits with me as a reminder of the work that I have left to do in this world.  There are so many things I want to accomplish.  At the moment though, the goal is to be healthy!!!!!! And while it is taking more time than I would like; it is happening nonetheless.  And other friends offered me prayers and meditations, chanting and drumming; one friend mailed me a self-guided visualization to prepare for the big day.  And since coming home, a couple of friends stayed in the house to help, other friends have been as present as I would like them to be.  Two friends came out of the way to sit with me in the hospital the day of surgery as I was fairly sick and less than fun to be around.  And since coming home, I have received, cards, emails, Facebook notes, calls, and plants/flowers.  Wow. . . I feel loved.

And through each and every step of my healing, my boys have been taking care of me.  Whether it is about being with me as I heal or supporting me as I make decisions and work towards all my many goals.  It is amazing to live in a family that honor where each and every one of us is.  My children know that Michael, their father, and I are trying to explore how work will evolve for both of us and how my creative and intellectual pursuits will be nourished.

Creating a list of 100 things I’d like to do before I die is not difficult, my top pursuits include:
1.    teaching from my soul.
2.    writing about my life journeys.
3.    creating a series of Jewish retreats for survivors of childhood trauma and their loved ones.
4.    becoming a rabbi.
5.    physically thriving.
6.    growing my hair just a little longer ☺.
7.    kayaking and hiking throughout the spring and summer.
8.    finding my own path for doing Tikun Olam (repairing the world).
9.    living consciously and with integrity.

Waking up from anesthesia, I said the words that I say upon waking up in the morning “Modah ani lifanecha. . . I thank You, living and eternal Spirit, for restoring my soul. What an awesome responsibility I now have to choose to live life in a healthier way while honoring my spirit as well as the spirit of the world around me.

The vision board with all her words is a reminder that I am striving towards honoring myself and working towards incredible growth.

With love 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 29 Elul or less than 1 day 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!

~ ~ ~

“If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you:
I came to live out loud.”
Quote by Emile Zola

~ ~ ~

Throughout life, I have learned that there are so many different ways to engage within life.  I have also learned that nothing moves forward without actively engaging in the holy work of making a difference for good.

While I choose to be transparent through my writing, others choose to do it through their voices, while still others may create visual masterpieces.  There are so many ways to make an impact on people and to inspire them too.

We don’t all have it in ourselves to be leaders, some of us will go through life doing working in our own little space; what a beautiful gift that people are doing what that can.  At the end of the day (metaphorically speaking), our actions do make a difference.  Every step we take has the ability to change the world, one action at a time.

As 5774 comes to a close, consider what it means to be more impactful within your life.  Silent people never move our world to a better place.

‘Live Out Loud!’

l’Shana Tova u’Metukah (Have a happy and sweet New Year),
With light & blessings,
Chava

(PS – In the coming months, I look forward to sharing some of the ways that I will be making a difference; I really want to do my part to make this world an even better place.)

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Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

 

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 Introduction http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

This is what it takes to create a spiritual home wherever you go.

This is what it takes to create a spiritual home wherever you go.

Reflection

Over the past 4 days, since Rosh Hodesh Elul (the beginning of the Jewish month of Elul), I have been actively preparing for Rosh HaShana and loving every moment of it.  And then suddenly this morning as I sang some of the verses from Psalm 27*, I felt a bit bereft because for the first time in my life, I do not feel like I have a spiritual home.  As a professional Jew, I have previously had communities that were easier for me to be a part of spiritually, but I have rarely felt uncomfortable in a community I have worked.  Only one time, I heard a rabbi give a sermon on Yom Kippur in which he said that Tisha B’Av should be disregarded.  It was the one and only time I almost walked out of High Holy Day services with my family.

Judaism is a part of my essence.  I love how it fits into my life, pushes me to think, and creates a cocoon where I can live.

I am a God-Wrestler.  I question, I pray, I hope, I vision and I wrestle.  And on the days that I don’t quite know how God fits into my practice of Judaism, I let go and trust the universe.  And throughout it all, I try to live a life of Godliness.  Every place I walk is a sanctuary, so why in this moment should I feel like I have no spiritual home.  The mountains and the desert are seriously my sanctuary.  I love the earth; I love so many special spaces that exude God-like energy.  I used to have a yoga studio that felt like God’s sanctuary.  Today, there is no space that is calling me for the Rosh HaShanah, yet I have to take my kids to services for the High Holy Days.

And did I say, I literally have no money for the holidays or for much? What a concept for me.  The good news is that my old ‘congregation’ of employment wouldn’t turn me a way and I believe other congregations would open their doors too, but still it is sad for me.  I believe that if I weren’t a mother, I would choose to create a spiritual space by myself or with a few others.  I love Judaism and I love living it!

So as I take each day of Elul to create a stronger physical and spiritual core, I am grappling with feeling like I have no place to go.  And yet, in reality, I know that my sons and I will feel comfortable wherever we go.  Tucson is full of loving synagogue communities.  Can’t wait to hear the shofar blown as I sit within community.

Feeling blessed even as I struggle with some challenging realities.  The sun and moon always shine brightly in the desert.

With blessings & light,
Chava

*From Rosh Hodesh Elul through Simchat Torah, it is part of the Jewish tradition to say Psalm 27 two times a day.  Here is a link to the Psalm in Hebrew and English. http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2627.htm

 

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Yesterday, I was asked a great question during a job interview, “What is your favorite movie was and why?” For just a split second, I hesitated on how I should respond. If I was very wise, I could have responded by saying Milk, I was truly inspired by the Harvey Milk story, but that isn’t what I responded. I responded with the truth; my favorite movie is Flashdance.

My goal in each and every job interview is to be as authentic as I can be. So as I blurted out the name of a major chic-flick, I was mortified. Yet ever since I originally saw the movie in 1983, one line in the movie has been a grounding force for me.

“When you give up your dream, you die.”

That one sentence has contributed to me becoming the person I am today.  It sits in my toolbox at all times reminding me to thrive as a human being as I continuously strive to reach for the stars even as I am grounded where I am.  It was this saying that has kept me company at each and every crossroad of my life; in fact it is this saying that has moved me forward even when I should have fallen flat on my face.

Since the moment, I heard these words in the movie Flashdance, I have been making  dreams happen.  Giving up has never been an option.

Here are the five core dreams that have stood inside my soul for the last several decades.

  1. Writing: From the moment I could create stories in my head I have wanted to be a writer. Weaving words together has been a constant in my life since I can remember.   Today I realize that my words really can impact people, so I often share them via my blog.  At the same time, I am also actively pursuing my dream of publishing a book in the coming years.  🙂
  2. Raising my sons with love and compassion: My sons have taught me how to truly live and to be the mother I am.  Still it has been my job to nurture them so that they may emerge into phenomenal beings who are full of love and compassion for themselves and the world around them.  As they reach towards adulthood, I am blessed to see that this dream is happening as I type.
  3. Living Consciously/Walking Gently: Every aspect of the world matters and if I don’t do my part to walk gently and to make a difference for good then I am not honoring the universe and her many gifts. May gratitude course through my veins as I do the holy work of living consciously.
  4. Creating a healthier Israel: I love Israel and struggle with the many destructive actions of her government. My hope and my prayer is that I can work with others so that we see a truly democratic state that can live side by side with her Palestinian neighbors.
  5. Being a warm and positive Jewish presence: Living actively as a Jew is part of who I am.  May I be a person who helps keep Jewish people engaged in their faith and a positive Jewish connection for others.  Sharing my  love for Judaism and the Jewish people is a driving force for me.

Allowing myself to love life as I do happens because I actively engage in making my dreams  come true.  If I didn’t actively engage in making my dreams happen, I would not be where I am today.

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