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Posts Tagged ‘life’

yahrzeit candle

Upon hearing of someone’s death we say, “ברוך דיין האמת / Baruch dayan ha-emet,” Blessed is the true judge.

While I often feel compelled to follow tradition, this expression is the source of great struggle for me. I don’t think Gd’s judgement causes death or holds truth. . .I just don’t. Tsunamis happen; earthquakes and volcanoes destroy; accidents occur. . . . Perhaps all of these happen because of things that humans have done, but I don’t think there is a force in the world that literally decides ‘who shall live and who shall die’.

I am so tired of people dying tragically, young, or with pain. Every time someone gets sick, gets murdered, tragically dies, or ages painfully – I struggle. Each time, a family has to bury their newborn or young child, I struggle.Basically, I struggle with the concept that any of this can be ordained.

Life is precious – all the moving parts of life, even death can be profoundly beautiful and feel Gd-like. And yet, I don’t feel that way when I hear about terrorism, murder, sudden accidents, or any tragedy. If I believed it all came from Gd, I couldn’t be the person I am. Sh^% happens. People die. Free-will causes great good in the world, horrible atrocities, and everything in the between.

As I embrace life, I find myself traumatized by the very notion that Gd may preordain our lives. I know that there are many that have such a belief, but as for me, I need to stick with the notion that godliness is possible.

May we all give and experience godliness energy in our midst. May we all have a spark that lights up the world for good.

 

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(Note: My world is exactly where it needs to be; my heaviness is not about my own personal journey in this moment, it is about the world around me.)

Those who know me deeply, know that my heart is full. I am blessed to feel intensely, love forever, and connect at a core level. My friends matter, their friends matter, and I care for those in my world and those in my loved one’s world. And if I am really honest, I can’t stop thinking about the larger world too.

For reasons of privacy, I won’t share any ‘real’ specifics. And in truth, the details probably don’t matter. What matters is that chances are that I am probably not alone when I say that each and every one of us are surrounded by people who are struggling.

Philadelphia doorways

This Photo of Philadelphia Tunnels/Doorways is given by courtesy of my beloved friend and fellow writer Wicca Davidson. I love how she captured this view. Wow.

All of us travel through passages that sometimes feel daunting. Life unravels in front of us and there is nothing we can do except open up our hearts and hold those we love and/or care for. Whether for ourselves or others, we can also take time to pray for healing for bodies, minds, and souls. AND we can visualize spirits surrounded by light too.

Years ago, when my father was dying, I realized that I praying for a specific outcome didn’t work. My father was going to take his last breath sometime in the coming days and I would no longer have him as an active part in my life. So, I had to find a way to send healing thoughts to his spirit and to let go of the impossible dream. More than anything I realized that I wanted my father to have inner peace and to know that he was loved.

Only after my dad passed did I slowly begin to understand that there was a power in finding the right right prayer. My prayers were unique to me in the same ways that yours are unique to you. For me, I actively visualize peace surrounding those in need. I understand that while I may want a specific outcome, I don’t always know the bigger picture. My job is to trust in the universe or perhaps God. I choose to let go of any preconceived notions of what life should look like. That doesn’t ALWAYS work, but I have learned to seek that people find healing and wholeness in the ways that best work for them. Lately though, it is easier said than done.

So many are struggle for health and wholeness. Each and every person is traveling their own individual journey. All I can do is send positive thoughts their way. Yesterday, I posted the following on Facebook:

Seeking a prayer that shares my light and blessings for all those I know who are going through some very significant challenges. The more I care, the more I realize that when I pray I always miss someone on my list of those in need of healing. I hate the feeling that I am missing someone each and every time I pray. ‪#‎NoMoreJewishGuilt 

What I know in this moment, is that I have to take a deep breath and just keep sending my healing energy into the world. I can only do the best I can do. And I can trust, that as long as I am sending positive vibes into the world around me. That’s all I can do.

We really can always pray/visualize.  I just have to trust that while I may miss saying someone’s name, as long I know that my intentions are to send positive energy to all in need, I can stop being so hard on myself and trust that energy will go where it needs to go.

May all of my prayers and positive thoughts penetrate the world around me. May those I know and those I don’t know experience wholeness. May each and every person’s spirit soar and personal wholeness reign.

And let us say. . . Amen.

 

 

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My mind is
spinning
spinning
spinning

I close my eyes
I breathe
I find the center
I find the quiet

There I am

There I am
Not ready to do the next thing

Just ready to see that
There I am

by Jennifer R. Zunikoff

Hineini. Here I am.

As the sun was getting ready to set and the rain was getting ready to fall, my entire being needed to feel the wind pick up while weeding the incredible growth in my backyard.

I’ve never been someone who really knew what to do with any yard I have had. My talents lie in being reflective, connecting with people wherever they are, and writing.  I am also someone who craves being present first and foremost for myself and yet struggles to do just that.

The world seems to call to me and say that I need to do more, I need to be more. And yet I am becoming clear that it may be my time to go to a more insular place. My entire being is gravitating towards a more silent and less kinetic life.

Weeding 16April2016

Hineini. Here I am.

As I reached towards the earth, I realized that pulling the weeds was much more to me than the action I was doing; each weed pulled was a metaphor for the voices in my head. I found myself reflecting about all that I need to weed in my life so that I can become even more whole and authentically me. As always, I need more simplification so with each weed pulled, I asked some hard questions. What do I really need in my life?  What do I want to fill my life with? What do I want to lose?

With Passover coming next Friday night, I should have been cleaning my house and preparing for the holiday. While I don’t have chametz (leaven, or food mixed with chametz (leaven, prohibited during Passover), I do have some things to clear away; I have some spiritual soul work to do. I have a whole lot of clutter inside my heart, mind and soul. I also have some excesses surrounding me that need some reckoning.

May each weed pulled lead me to a little less noise and the ability to release a lot more stuff. May the freedom be sweet and the breath be deep.

Hineini. Here I am.

Weeds and chimes

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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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“To be alive──is Power.” 
~Emily Dickinson

Life doesn’t always work out as expected; there are times when all of us feel railroaded. 

For the most part, I find that the best way for me to ride the waves of life, the tumultuous storms, is with a sense of optimism that has the ability to light up any room. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that was always the way ‘it’ worked out?

Over the last few days, I have been triggered by some shadows that are leaving me painfully reflective. While the triggers hurt deeply, I always know that after the moment or moments pass, the sun will shine down on me again.

beautiful blue skies

Tonight, I am allowing myself to breathe into the realities of my life, to feel the raw emotions instead of ignoring them, and to take an evening off of engaging with the world. I am allowing myself the time to live inside my heart without apology.

Transition is often challenging, even when it is ultimately for good.  There is a vibration of vulnerability and excitement, fear and gratitude, playing off of each other. As much as we think we are moving through our transitions alone, we aren’t. There is a village surrounding us, friends and loved ones that are in our court. And in my case, I have my sons that are hanging on for the ride. The biggest challenge of the last two years has been really rough for my guys.

The cost for my younger son, Dovi, was great. The good news is that today I have a strong sense that he is now turning the corner and making conscious decisions to emerge from his darkness. YAY!!! My older son, Aryeh, had to give up a lot in order to help keep our family thriving.  I will always feel enormous gratitude for his perseverance. I am not sure that Dovi and I would have made it without him. Aryeh not only kept us eating healthy meals, he also gave his earnings so that our family could function.  There were so many days that I could have curled up into a ball, but why?

While life hasn’t always given me what I have hoped for, it has given me a spirit to soar and feet to land. I am OK and so is my family!! All of us keep growing and stretching our souls. How beautiful is that!

Most of us can probably relate to the sensation of traveling on a roller coaster.  As we suddenly get thrown downward, we find ourselves screaming or crying out in fear.  And then after the fear passes, we feel a sense of exhilaration as we begin to take the next curve.

A few months ago, I learned that some of the leadership of the congregation I loved so deeply did not believe that my son was as ill as he was. While my son almost died and fought for life, there were those that didn’t understand the extent of his illness and the unimaginable realities of his healing. Really?!?!?!?! YET we were NEVER alone, there were so many others that stepped up to the plate and stood with us every step of the way. 

Learning the above made the ending of my marriage a little over a month ago even rougher. While it was a long time coming, there is no joy in this ending. I thought our connection would last forever, but life didn’t work out that way.

With this period of deep reflection. I am striving to find peace within the storms of my mind. Life didn’t give me what I expect, but it gave me the fortitude to thrive!

This is my time to explore all of the relationships in my life and to better examine what I want for the next half of my life. How do I want to live? What do I want to do with my time? How will I honor the world I live in? Can I better take care of myself and my sons? Will I ever truly be enough? Can I do what it takes to thrive in the world? Will I ever make a difference and have a lasting effect?

The answers to these questions don’t really matter.  What matters is that I know that no matter what happens, I know that, for me (and hopefully my sons), the sun always returns.

I/We got this!

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i miss the loving energy that once fueled my soul
i know that tonight is a moment. . .
the sun will shine tomorrow
the blessing is that i always find my way

Life is messy. With the many moving parts, gifts and complications exist at every turn. No matter how good things appear on the outside, my inside is full and always have been.  Mostly I navigate and find light, but sometimes darkness permeates my being.

I struggle with some of life’s realities. My car needs another $900 of work; I never have enough time to nurture my creative spirit; I am not sure how I will afford this month or next; the world is full of so much hatred.

At the same time, I have the most amazing Monday Morning Torah Study Chavurah (group); my family is healthy; I have recently lost 26 lbs by better taking care of myself; my friends are the most amazing people in the world; writing jazzes my soul; my new position reminds me that I make a difference to others as a Jewish Educator.  There is so much to be grateful for.

Finding balance can be so hard. Yet this morning, after I took a deep breath, I realized no matter how difficult my life can feel, I have most of what I need. And the things that I think I need. . . probably aren’t needs.

There are so many people that need more than they have. A mattress on the floor would be better than the ground they have to rest their head on each night.  Being a vegetarian is a choice I have made; there are many people that would be blessed to have a morsel of food or a clean glass of water. While I am missing the changing leaves, the Tucson skies, and the ocean, I am living in a city that offers walking paths and playgrounds in nearly every area. My world really is quite amazing.

In order to go inward and celebrate the life I have, I am slowly allowing myself to go to a more silent place.  The more I voice my ‘third world problems’, the larger the challenges seem to loom. I want to be a little more quiet and allow for the gratitude to flow through me.  I am surrounded by love, by beauty, and loving souls.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava
Listen to the Silence

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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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