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Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Judelsohn’

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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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 . . . .]

Seeking Balance

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

Over the last year, I have become aware that many feel the need to enlighten me in some way. Friends feel inclined to judge my politics, my ideas, and/or my values. And if I am going to be totally honest, the feeling is mutual.

I am grappling with how people communicate or disagree with one another. In all honesty, there are so many real issues that are causing internal struggles for those that care.  The question I am asking myself is where do I draw the line between what I deem to be a view which is different from mine versus a view that is fueled by what may be perceived as prejudice or baseless hatred.

With each breath, I am seeking the balance to see clearly and to trust the integrity of those in my world.

The key seems to be trusting that those I call friend always start from good intentions even if I don’t agree with them. I really am blessed to find good people in my life that openly care and remind me that make me think.

May I always surround myself with people that inspire me to think and who value my ability to make them think.

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 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:  Giving and Receiving with a full heart

Throughout life, I am someone who loves to give and be present for others, but who also struggles when it comes to receiving what my friends and loved ones want to offer.  Yet sometimes I reach out like I did when I recently decided to post the following status line on Facebook:

Sundays are never easy these days. While I smile and choose not to sit in darkness, I still find it difficult to wrap up what originally brought me to Tucson. Two weeks from today, I will be doing my final wrap-ups and leaving what I had believed would be a great experience when I initially moved here two years ago. May the transition for Temple be a good one and may I land on my feet so that I can take care of my family and love what I am doing too!!

After recieving 41 likes and 32 comments of support, I was blown away by the love and care that was flowing and continues to flow.  Every comment was filled with loving advice, hope, and encouragement.  So even though I am trying to navigate the darkness that I feel around my upcoming job transition; I am also feeling incredibly supported as well as hopeful that the right door will open.

I am also acutely aware that as a human being it is my responsibility to not only receive support, but give it as well.  My hope and prayer is that I am as giving as my friends. Sometimes help comes by listening as people navigate their lives, by doing what needs to be done when people need a hand, and sometimes I can pray or vision for people’s needs to be met.

A great illustration can be found in the artistic version of the tzadi, the Hebrew letter; When you look at my friend Jennifer Judelsohn’s work, you get get a sense that in order to be balanced, you should give and receive from your full heart.

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

 

In her book Songs of Creation: meditations on the sacred hebrew alphabet, Jennifer Judelsohn reminds those reflecting over her words and artwork that:

Tzadi commands us to open our hearts in service to others.

At the same time she also invites us to explore how we receive the gifts that come our way.

May we all be blessed to give and to receive with a full heart.

With light and blessings, Chava

PS- For more information on Jennifer Judelsohn’s book and her amazing work, please check out – http://www.soulworksstudio.com/Store.en.html#Songs_of_Creation

 

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Last night we counted Day 28 of the Omer, which is 4 weeks of the counting. Today is referred to as Malkhut sheh b’Netzach, shekhinah within endurance.  Shekhinah is a way of looking at Malkhut (meaning kingdom).  When God or godliness dwells in one central location, you have a kingdom.

Netzach Image - Reaching for all that is within life. Courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her Sefirot collection of paintings.

Netzach Image                               Reaching for all that is within life.
Courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her Sefirot collection of paintings.

Wrestling with life is what I do.  I seek answers to questions that lack responses and I often feel alone as I navigate the current realities of life.  Throughout each step of the journey,  there is always a choice about how I navigate wherever I am going.  When I walk gently, the shekhinah can be felt within the struggles, within the questions, and even within the answers.  All of this ultimately is my personal endurance.

With each and every reality, I openly endure what is and for the most part I have found gifts within the challenges.  As a seeker, I am constantly exploring the questions and answers within life.  I am moving forward. I am reaching for clarity, for understanding.

Malkhut sheh b’Netzach, shekhinah within endurance.

Counting the Omer has become a powerful way to personally guide how I walk through the world with the daily and weekly teachings.  As long as Godliness is part of my journey, the shekhinah will ultimately prevail within life’s interactions, within the malkhut.   

My hope is that I am one of many who are on this journey.  To create Malkhut sheh b’Netzach, shekhinah within endurance, we need to be actively engaged in making the world a better place.  And when and where this occurs, we will find the shekhinah in our midst, within our kingdom.

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