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Posts Tagged ‘journaling’

waking up this morning, the universe has felt totally aligned for me.

my body moved as I needed it to move. my heart felt and still feels whole. by 5 AM, I was on my ayurvedic journey. i had done my loving-kindness meditation, drank a cup of fenugreek tea, and now I am drinking holy basil tea.

it’s only 6:22 AM and I feel ALIVE, beautiful, and centered. everything feels balanced. WOW!

i have already journaled, and now I am writing a short blog.

sure there are bills that I am struggling to pay, weight that I need to lose for my health/back, and family challenges. there are also amazing and inspiring friends, a snoring pup at my feet, and a job that I can’t wait to get to today.

there are also paint brushes that need to be used, books that are being read, and a world to explore.

music-of-her-soul

courtesey of terri st. cloud of bone sigh arts at: http://bit.ly/2tzcBxD

perhaps best of all was opening up my morning email from terri st. cloud of bone sigh arts to see this amazing prose and picture. I love terri’s work, it always shows up at the perfect time!

each and every word here speaks of my soul; my entire being is reverberating with a rhythm that reminds me that:

I am alive.

I am thriving.

I have arrived to this exquisite time.

synchronicity abounds.

 

ps: confirmation that I really am a writer came when someone ‘liked’ a blog and then became a follower. when I went to the specific blog (http://bit.ly/2uSVhry) that was ‘liked’, I found that it resonated with me too. and then WordPress asked me for feedback about their blog platform. I am not sure if they will respond to my feedback, but I hope so. I so want to grow THIS blog!

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Lori took of Ren crossing the bridge

Photo Courtesy of Lori Fortang taking a beautiful photo of her beloved Ren crossing the bridge.

The world is feeling a little dark lately.

Am I unique in this journey? Nope. . .I am really not. I am surrounded by friends that are grappling in very similar ways; they are actively engaging as seekers who simply want to make the world a better place.

In fact a couple of days ago, I asked my friends via Facebook, “Does anyone else feel like they are ‘on a narrow bridge’?” Twenty-eight people responded with the emoticons (like, love,  sad) and about thirteen people had more to say. The good news and the bad news is that I have now confirmed that I am not alone.

With every fiber of my being I struggle with the harsh realities that continue to permeate our world, the world of those I love, and even my own personal life. Devastation and destruction can be found everywhere. The world’s climate is struggling at every turn. And people I love are in their own depths of despair. Life is hard.

Here is a taste of what is filling my soul:

  • Our political climate is a disaster.
  • How could our Trump have been elected to be our next President?
  • Finances are tight, but we are navigating.
  • How could prejudice and hatred have so much momentum?
  • The Middle East is a disaster and Africa isn’t much better.
  • The Standing Rock Protests in North Dakota Pipeline are breaking my heart. I want to stand with our brothers and sisters. I want to physically support them with my presence.
  • Sometimes I can’t make a difference in the lives of those I love.
  • I am struggling to stay connected with all of life’s moving parts.
  • I could use help cleaning my house.

When I allow the painful rhythm of the world to carry my spirit, I can find myself lost with a sense of unrelenting helplessness. The beauty is that the moments don’t last, but they seem to be surfacing a little too often these days.

This rawness can easily control my spirit if I allow it to.What I have learned over time is that I have to allow the deep sadness to visit, but I also have to do the work to mitigate it. So that is what I am doing by:

  • Surrounding myself with people that nurture my spirit and share my core values.
  • Letting go of “anything or anyone that that does not bring you alive.” David Whyte
  • Embracing the many truths that are part of my life and becoming transparent with each step.
  • Eating better and doing more self care. over a month with nearly no sugar!!! 🙂
  • Standing up for what I believe in!
  • Donating money to causes that move my soul – not a lot, but what I can.
  • Painting and writing, journaling and doodling

With every step, I am actively engaged in the journey of life. Living life fully is not optional; there is too much work to be done. Still some days, I have to listen to the quiet voice that is talking to me and allow for myself to hear the messages of my soul.

Traveling the very narrow bridge means I am moving forward. . . and wow how beautiful is it that I am not alone!

Onward towards the light,
Chava

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HIDING
is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves
until we are ready to come into the light.

Excerpted from CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
2015 © David Whyte
Spruce Knob, WV. Mark H Schneider!- Shai's cousin

Photo Courtesy: Mark H Schneider Spruce Knob, WV

This is Blog #500. Wow.

AND yesterday I hit 40,000 views of my blog! Another wow!!!

For me, writing is as important as my heartbeat or my breathing. If I am not writing, I am probably doing my own version of dying. What a gift that I am very much living!!!

For me, writing is the way I share myself fully, it is how I share my soul.  If I have taken the time to write, know that the words spoken were written from the fullness of my being in THAT moment. Writing is how I feel most comfortable in my skin.

~ ~ ~

When most people ask how any of us are, they are looking for simple responses. “Good” or “Fine” are the best answers for small talk. A quick and easy reply is what is expected.

Years ago, I determined that small talk doesn’t serve me well. Professionally and among strangers, I do what is expected; over time though, I have found ways to remain more authentic whenever possible. I have found friends and loved ones that inspire my true self to shine and for transparency.

There is a passion that runs deep within me. While people often describe me as warm and fun-loving, those that know me well know that I am much more complex than I appear at face value.  A simple description defies the essence of who I truly am.  In fact, it may be better to describe me as an similar to an onion; there are so many layers to who I am as a person.

When I connect with a soul friend, I’d rather be silent than share small talk. There is always so much going on inside my head and my heart. Life is full of ‘many moving parts’; my mind rarely quiets down.  At any given moment, I am contemplating my inner thoughts. At any given moment, I could be thinking about what is going on in my life or the lives of those I love; I may be thinking about my students, my community, or the world.  My soul friends tend to understand that my silence does not mean disinterest; it means I can’t wait until we have time to truly share.

Reality is that there are days I feel alone.  I know that my intensity is too much for my soul friends to absorb with regularity. I realize that it is through writing that I release my thoughts and I also realize that as I grow writing is not always enough; sometimes I have a deep sense of longing to share myself not only through my writing. Again, this is the gift of personal growth. There is a time for writing, a time for conversation, and a time for silence. This is called balance.

The rawness that is part of my every breath stopped being held by the container called my body. But I have learned to shed that container by allowing my passion to flow, sometimes through my tears, sometimes through my connections with others, and mostly through my fingers/hands. It is through my writing, journaling, and doodling that I find balance and that the triteness of my soul flows out into the universe. I love that I am not bound by any one way of living and communicating.

The game ‘Hide and Seek’ has empowered me to stretch and grow, to heal and thrive.  Going inward when I need to collect my thoughts, but not needing to stay there; my voice matters. . .I don’t have to hide any longer.  I still have to choose the right time to be fully present with other, to write from my heart, or to go inwards until the right forms of expression emerge.

Thanks for reading. . . .can’t wait to see what will be in the next 10, 20, 30, 50, or 500 blogs.

 

 

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L I V I N G is holy work.
 
Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

 
Life is so profoundly full
My body craves less
My mind would love some emptiness
My heart desires just a little more.
 
Dance is the hidden language of the soul. (Martha Graham)
Stretching my entire being
Reaching for the stars
Allowing my body to sway to my own rhythm
 
Losing what I don’t need
Addictions, loved ones, and inner turmoil
Body weight, too much stuff, and lots of old stories
Wanting to celebrate what was
while letting go of what is no longer needed
 
Craving what I need:
Writing time
Creative experiences
and spiritual moments
 
Chanting
Drumming
Journaling
Moving
 
My body
My mind
My soul
Needs so much less and so much more
 
Each time I reach inward, I find more that I want
He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. (Nietzsche)
My soul yearns to make a difference
My body and mind yearn to see the world through a different lens.
 
Let go of the old, make room for the possibilities
 
In front of me is a bridge
Only once I shed what I don’t need
Release what no longer serves me
Take one step and then another
Only then, will I be able to cross the bridge
 
L I V I N G is holy work
So I will do ALL that I have to do.
Hineini
Here I Am
Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

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“We are all here for some special reason.
Stop being a prisoner of your past.
Become the architect of your future.”
R
obin Sharma, Author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Each year during the Jewish month of Elul (usually in August) through Rosh HaShana, we take the time to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an inventory of our soul.  For me that means taking the time to reflect deeply about the gifts and challenges of the last year, but this is also simply a kinetic time of year. As a Jewish professional, I am working to prepare the community for new beginnings which include the High Holy Days, school, and new programming.  As a mother, I am helping my now mostly grown sons begin their next chapters.  And in the midst of all this, I am usually feeling the need to write and look inward.

The holidays themselves are not easy for me because it is challenging to stay in a spiritual space when you are in charge of so many logistics. Yet the moment Tashlich occurs, I realize that I need to take time to go onward and allow for reflection.  Tashlich is a ritual which usually takes place on first day of Rosh Hashanah in the late afternoon.  During this time the participants symbolically cast off their sins by gathering along the banks of a river, stream, or the like and reciting prayers of repentance.  While many people choose to do this ritual in community, I love to do it alone.

And this year, I have decided to create Tashlich moments again and again.  This is a year of letting go, of saying good-bye to what was and embracing the beauty that is. In the last several months, I have been blessed to rethink my career path, my relationships, and much of my life.  None of this is easy, but it has been made easier because of my private journaling, my very public blogging, and some very beautiful friends.  I haven’t been alone and yet I have needed to spend a lot of time alone as a way of giving myself the room to gaze deeply into my soul.

On a good day, the journaling strikes chord after chord, but this doesn’t happen all the time or even most of the time.  More often than not, I am left with a rhythm that isn’t quite working for me.  I am a work in progress. At times the work has been bitter sweet; sometimes it is actually heart wrenching; and once the puzzle pieces come together, it can be beautiful.  Soul-searching is an art form and I am learning with each breath I take.

Writing  is the most profound tool that helps me find center, but that isn’t my only means to finding balance.  My world is full of chanting, drumming and physically moving (sometimes dance and sometimes hiking).  In the midst of all the soul work, my sons keep me grounded and remind me that while I have a lot of work to do, I am actually doing well!  My world is in fact quite amazing; I have all that I need and much of what I want.

As fortunate as I am, there is still work to be done. One way of moving forward is to create Tashlich moments by letting go of all that is holding me back.  Last night, it meant that it was time to get rid of a ton of clutter; I deleted thousands of emails from personal and professional relationships that no longer served me well.  In most cases, it was simply about not needing those particular emails; in other cases it was time to say good-bye to old connections. The delete button became a co-conspirator in propelling to close some doors as a way to open new doors. The goal is to make room for my next chapters and to celebrate what is.

As I woke up this morning, I was acutely aware that there was a shift within me.  The rays of sunlight were slowly warming me up and nudging me toward the many gifts that are very much a part of my life today. I am feeling (perhaps) like a butterfly as it begins to take flight.  Last night, I said good-bye to the cocoon that was binding in a myriad of ways.  With each passing moment, the bindings release and my wings are spreading; there is no turning back for me.

Support for my Tashlich moment when I opened up Facebook this morning to find the photo of  the Topsail Island beach where a group of my close friends are gathering this week.  While I am not with them physically, the photo reminded me that I am not alone.  Once I saw that photo, I realized that outside my front door is the space to create my own Tashlich moment.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Topsail, NC Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

Topsail, North Carolina – Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

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(Note: Recently, a very dear friend of mine questioned me about why my blog is important or why it was vital for me to share my writing. To say that the question felt like a violent blow to my soul may be an understatement.  I was profoundly stunned that someone close to me could wonder about the importance of writing and sharing my writing. This friend is really one of the best kinds of friends I have ever had, but time and distance has had an impact.  I wrote this because I wanted to respond the best way I knew how.)

Feb 12 Close UP

 

Hello Friend

I hope your day is going great in every way.

After we hung up today, I realized how many miles apart we really are.  We haven’t spent time together in years and it shows.

You really don’t know me or know what jazzes my soul.  You don’t listen to what my hopes and dreams are. You and I love one another because we have 22 years of history, but it has been over 12 years since connected for more than 24 hours and the one time we did for hours it was lovely.

Let me be clear with you. . . .I want you to know what nearly every other friend knows about me.  I live with a deep authenticity; I am happy in my own skin and with my own needs/desires.   And I know that my voice matters whether it is verbal or written.  There was a time in my life that I was silenced and today I am blessed that that is not the case!

When I say that the act of writing and sharing my writing is a non-negotiable in my life, you don’t seem to grasp the power of my writing to me and to others.  For me, writing has kept me moving forward and grounded as a person.  For others, there seems to be beauty in how people connect with my experiences and the way that I think.  My writing impacts others deeply. The more I write, the more I am asked to write.  AND the more I write, the more I am driven to write. Whether I am writing about my personal journeys, the way that I walk in the world, or the way I see the world, I touch people’s lives; sometimes I even inspire people in some small ways.  And the bottom-line is that I love that my writing touches others, but I also simply write because it centers me and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Writing has always been part of my life.  This is a love affair that has nurtured my soul, given me hope, and held me when I was feeling a sense of loss.  This love affair has kept me close at times and also pushed me over the edge.  I have been forced to navigate deep emotions with this lover and to sometimes let go.  I have been writing to and about this lover since I can remember.  This is the only lover, I have fully trusted with my entire being.  At 14 years old, I wrote. . .

Writing,
t
he song of my heart;
t
he meaning of my mind;
t
he feeling of my soul;
I
s what makes me One.
(
Note: Today, I sometimes write Whole instead of One.)

Nothing has changed since I wrote these words nearly 35 years ago.

My writing is sacred.  I choose what to share and what not share, but I write every day of my life.  If I am not writing, you know that something is seriously wrong.  While you may not like my transparency, my nonfiction nature, or my writing style, I have many people that do.  And even if I didn’t, I love it and I love doing it!

Over time, I have begun to treasure the people that stop into my writing life.  I love that one friend periodically tells me that it is time to deepen my writing or watch my grammar.  I smile that I have about 4 or 5 religious leaders that follow my blog even though I am not from their tradition.  And then there is the distant friend, that let’s me know that one particular blog has transformed how they look at the challenges that they face.  Finally, I am touched that strangers and friends alike find the gifts in what I write.

Each and every day I grow as a writer.  I look back to what I have published over the years and I laugh.  How could anyone have ever published my articles? My writing is a work in progress. Each and every day I  continue to grow as a writer and pray that I do until my last breath.

Sharing my writing is the gift I give myself and the world (or those that choose to read).  🙂  The impact that my writing has on many others is humbling and beautiful.  So while you have no reason to see my writing as impactful, many do.

Taking a deep breath. . . . I was really stunned by your questioning my writing and your subsequent attitude.

No need to talk about this again. . . .Just wanted you to know.  There are two non-negotiables in my life. . .Loving my sons and my writing journey.

Hope we one day can spend time knowing each other better. . . it has been such a long time.

With love,
Chava

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Look what I found on my journal page as I was writing this morning. :) Every moment can be the start of something great!

Look what I found on my journal page as I was writing this morning. 🙂 Every moment can be the start of something great!

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.

~Joan Didion~

Writing is the way I come to understand the deepest part of me.

My son Dovi often looks at me when I am cranky and asks have I written lately.  Usually when he asks, the answer is ‘no’, hence the reason for my crankiness.

Lately, I haven’t been writing nearly enough.  Life’s challenges have been overwhelming and I haven’t wanted to note it in any way; I wanted to hide my thoughts from myself.  The good news is that this time, my lack of writing was not a sign of darkness; I was simply trusting the silence and allowing myself a little space from knowing navigating the intensity of my soul.

After flirting (in my head) with some new realizations about life and friends last night, I woke up ready to journal for the first time in over two weeks.  While I have been blogging and editing some of my writing for what will be a future book, I wasn’t journaling.  For me journaling is the most intimate form of self-expression that I can experience. In my journals, I have shared thoughts and feelings that I would rarely (if ever) say out-loud.  I use my stream of consciousness writing to unlock pain, process happiness, hope without judgement, and believe in endless possibilities.

In my journal, I reach for the stars and navigate pain; I allow myself to feel deeply.

This morning’s journaling practice woke up my spirit and calmed my sense of overwhelm.

While I often feel like I am treading water or peddling backwards, today I realized that I am always moving! I NEVER give up!!!  As long as I keep moving, I am doing the holy work of living!

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