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Posts Tagged ‘life cycle’

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

~From Paul Simon’s ‘I Am A Rock’ 
For most of my childhood and even my adult life, I grew to treasure Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock” as a mantra in my life. As soon as the song played, I would feel like this song was written just for me. My heart would begin racing quickly, my spirit would feel at peace and I would sing out the words, “I AM A ROCK; I AM ISLAND” as if I were greeting my best friend.
Subconsciously, I always understood that I needed to protect myself from being hurt by others. And this song reminded me that I had my armor; I was actually doing just fine. Of course, I wasn’t. . . I was alone and even if I wasn’t alone, I felt like I was.
And then I met Louis at my senior prom. I am sorry Shai. I went with one of my closest friends and met the person who would become my first real boyfriend. Louis was and still is one of the most amazing people I had ever met. He loved me deeply and accepted the brokenness that must have been a pain to deal with. Or maybe he didn’t see how broke I was because it took me nearly twenty years after meeting him before I understood the ramifications of my traumatic childhood.
Either way, Louis showed up and held me. He helped me find my voice and allowed me to be who I was. Of course what does any 18 year old really understand about who they are? Louis loved who I was and who I believed I was at that time.
When I say that Louis helped me find my voice, that is true in every way. He listened to me and helped melt away the years of ice that had wrapped my spirit. He wrote me beautiful poems that let me know how loved I was. And he invited me to sing with him and to him. He welcomed me into his world and loved me for who I was.
And later when our relationship ended because Louis came out, he always held a space for me in his life. I was shattered when he told me could no longer be my beloved boyfriend because he realized that that wasn’t who he was. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. And in truth, since the day we met, my life has never been without him. Louis was the first person outside of my family who really loved me forever.
Fifteen years later, when I brought my father to the hospital for what would become his last six weeks of life, Louis was the first person I called and he was the one person who sat with me as one of the worst nightmares of my life unfolded. I was saying good-bye to my father who I had always deeply adored and somehow forgiven for not being able to keep me safe, for not being the father he should have been. I was beyond devastated; and my sons, nieces, and nephews were losing the best Zaydie Morry, grandfather, in the world.
As I sat crumbling in the depths of despair, Louis held me and told me that everything would be OK. Only I didn’t believe him, but he was right, eventually a new norm unfolded and everything became OK once again. Louis has always been there for me.
Chava and Louis - Passover 2016

Louis and Chava – Passover 2016

I jokingly refer to myself as the wandering Jew; I will probably always feel that way. Regardless of where my family moved, Louis has stayed part of my life. When my family moved back Washington DC, he started coming to our Passover Seder every year and then when we again moved away, he still kept coming back every other year. He has been with me through every life cycle event and major life change since I met him. He has showed up even when I didn’t expect him to.

Meeting Louis also meant that I was blessed to connect to his beautiful family. His parents were really sweet to me and I grew to love one of his sisters nearly as much as I loved Lou!  And when we were in college, he introduced me to the most amazing women who while I don’t see them enough, I treasure beyond words.
While I still struggle with feeling alone at times and “shielding myself with armor”, it was Louis’ commitment to loving me that opened the door to me becoming the person I am.  I may sometimes feel like “a rock” or “an island”, but it is also the lie I tell myself as way of protecting my spirit.
May we all have at least one person who embraces us for who we are.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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Three Deaths in Two Weeks

The gift is often the challenge.

Professionally, I have always worked within community.  For the most part, I have been blessed to work in the synagogue world.  Within that role, I have had the opportunity to connect deeply with many people from staff to congregants and their families too.  My students, their parents, my teachers, and their families have always become a part of my life.  And now is no different; I work the aged, most if not all are in the last years of their life.  My guess is that regardless of where I work or where I choose to be, I will always build relationships with those that surround me.

People are born; people die.  And in the middle of it all, people live.   They have experiences that fill their lives – including gifts and challenges.

Life is full of cycles

Life is full of cycles.

Over the last two weeks, I have been touched by the strength and integrity of the living and the pain and/or resolve of death.  And in the middle of it all, I have been touched by those that have lived and those that have died.

Three Deaths in Two Weeks

Loving people is what I do; no one is a stranger for long.  All are welcomed into my life including my home.  And within each connection, I try to give fully and be as present as I can be.  Sometimes people are part of my life for moments, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, and sometimes much longer.  And for that moment that I am blessed to be in a relationship, whether a close friend or for a momentary exchange of words, I treasure the moments however large or small.

Within my work, I build relationships.  And within each relationship, I care deeply.  Whether I connect with people daily, once a week, or only on the holidays, they impact my life and I pray that I impact their lives for good.  Often I do, sometimes I don’t.    The bottom-line is that I hope and pray that most of my connections are full of light and positive energy.  When people go through hard times, I struggle with them – it is simply what I do.  And when they live fully, I celebrate with them – that is also what I do.

Three Deaths in Two Weeks

So far in two weeks, I have gone to one funeral, one shiva minyan (memorial service), and another funeral on Sunday.  I also needed to help transition a client, who is now a friend, to a 24-hour care facility.  She is having a rough transition; her husband is profoundly sad too.  Life keeps moving forward.

Today, I saw a baby in a sling and a toddler eating dinner with his parents and puppy.  I also had a few hours talking and hanging out with my 17 year old son.  Life keeps moving forward.

Life-cycles happen.  I am learning to say good-bye with more regularity than I wish, I am also learning to take note of the life that surrounds me.  The baby, the toddler, the aging, and everyone in between.  I am also noticing the birds and the saguaro cacti; I am watching pomegranates thrive on a tree and flowers open and close on the cacti.  And each evening I look up at the sky and I take note of the moon and her cycle.  I am also waiting and hoping the sky opens up and the rain comes storming into my beautiful desert.

Life. Death. Everything in between.

May I treasure what is and continue to build relationships with the living.  And when people die, may I remember them and honor them by continuing to build connections with the living.

Three Deaths in Two Weeks

People matter and each of these three souls impacted my life for good.

l’Shalom – May their souls go towards peace.

 

 

 

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Life is full of cycles.

Birth and death.  Beginnings and endings.   Between beginnings and endings, there are many moving parts that need to be navigated.

Tonight as I look at the beautiful full moon, I am amazed at how much I treasure the full moons that I see month after month.  I am truly in love with the cycle of the moon, the cycles of life.

Photograph courtesy of Wicca Davidson

Photograph courtesy of Wicca Davidson

As this afternoon turned into evening, we began celebrating another cycle, Tu B’Shevat.  Every 15th of Shevat, the birthday of the trees, the Jewish people take note of all that our trees have to offer.  People aren’t the only ones to have a life cycle, every living thing on this earth does.    Are we doing enough for the trees, for the world around us, and for ourselves.

With the darkness tonight, I found myself reflective about the gifts and the challenges that come with the cycles of life.  Everything we do matters; everything can impact what comes later.

Thirty-four days from now, I will celebrate my 48th birthday.   If I want to live life fully, it is time for me to actively engage in growing the healthier cycles and releasing those cycles that don’t serve me well any longer.

Echo.

Choosing to live life fully and with a smile on my face means that I will also feel happier and see many smiles in return.  Whatever we do reflects back to us, like a mirror reflects the images in front of it.

So now is the time for me to remember to treasure my own body, my mind, and my soul, as much as I love the moon.  It is time for me to again care for my entire being by writing more, eating better, laughing deeply, chanting intensely. teaching soulfully, and really being all that I can be.  There are so many parts of my being; so many parts of my soul that need to be tapped.

Echo.

Only as I live more authentically will positive reverberate into my being and to the world that surrounds me too.

“Dance of Emergence” is what I am calling this journey.  My hope is that as the new moon comes next month, that I am more actively engaged in nurturing my body, my mind, and my soul.  Starting now. . .it is time to celebrate every step of my life by more fully embracing where I am and where I am going.

l’Chayyim! To Life!!

 

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PatienceSand

Throughout much of life, we wait. . . .

We wait for many things:

  • to grow up
  • the phone to ring
  • letters to come
  • life cycle events
  • to make a difference
  • the perfect job
  • news
  • sickness to turn to healing
  • appointments to happen
  • the right words to come
  • pain to end
  • joy to emerge
  • time to pass

Change takes time.

Living into the moment takes time.

With each breath, I am profoundly impacted by what is happening around me.  Just below the surface is beauty waiting for the right time to sprout up into the world.

Always waiting; always seeking patience.

But for now, I have to navigate life one breath at a time.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart

and try to love the questions themselves.

Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be

given you because you would not be able

to live them.  And the point is to live everything.

Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then

gradually, without noticing it, live along some

distant day into the answers.

 

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet

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Sunset near Pupukea Hawaii; Photo coutesy of  Kathleen Kendle

Sunset near Pupukea Hawaii; Photo coutesy of Kathleen Kendle

Note:

I am not a poet, but sometimes I try.

I love the people in my life intensely.  My prayer is that I have been unquestionably clear about my feelings.  I am intense, but not necessarily melodramatic.  So when this poem came to me, the words felt a bit surreal.  The words initially came pouring out to my sons, but upon reflection, I realized that they were meant for anyone that has been a strong part of my life, for anyone I love.

Sometimes life ends without warning; often words are left unsaid.

Many of us have lost people unexpectedly; it happens and it sucks the wind right out of you.  My hope is that if my time ever comes unexpectedly that those I love will feel it even when I am gone.

Below are the words that come from my heart.  Gd willing I should live for many years to come, but when the time comes that I take my last breath, this is what I want my loved ones to know.

Sometimes life gives you no tomorrows

Know that I love you wherever I may be.
Always treasure that reality.
Life comes and goes.
And sometimes it goes without warning.

Cry the tears that a broken heart leaves.
Scream out your sadness to the world, the universe or Gd
But never question the love that was part of our every interaction
I am always in your heart.

Sometimes life gives us no tomorrows
Allow yourself the room to mourn
Move forward knowing I am always with you.
What we had can never be taken away even in death

Some tomorrows never come
Don’t forget the good that I did
Learn from the less than perfect attributes of my essence
And become the best you that you can be.

I have always loved you
I love people just for being who they are
Finding light in the darkest of moments has kept me thriving as I have.
Chanting, writing, dancing, and praying made me into the person I was.

Don’t be afraid to tread when you can’t really swim
Dance in the rain and find the rainbows when darkness prevails
Find the good in every challenge that crosses your path
And always soar and reach for your best.

Know that my life is with you no matter where I stand.
Sometimes life gives you no tomorrows
But I will still always be where you are now.
I love you.

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