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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Deep sigh.

I’ve been wondering lately how to navigate life authentically. Today I believed I failed. I lacked the character that would allow me to shine in my true light and be truly honest.

Authenticity is a value that I hold deeply. And yet, sometimes I can’t show up fully. Maybe it is the responsibility I hold as a Jewish educator,  a mother, an activist and/or a friend.

There are lies that I live. How horrible is that? I am silenced by my roles and yet I do know that my voice matters.

Still, I am not alone when I say that I fear the power of my voice. Katy Perry has a beautiful song ‘Roar’.  It is an anthem to the type of woman I want to be.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar

Day 26 - Embrace Authenticity, Embrace DarknessMay I always show up and embrace the authenticity and the darkness that sometimes envelopes my spirit. Only then will I be able to use my power to impact the world.

Embracing my darkness and my authenticity is the only way I may emerge and ultimately shine my light.

May we all keep moving forward!

Onward with love, light, & authenticity,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Day 18 -Choose Life 1‘Choose Life’ is a mantra that I say every day. Yes, I often struggle with my wide-open spirit and I feel with a depth that I sometimes wish I could lessen. And yet, I show up – always. The below blog could have been written by me today. Only I am not drumming and chanting as I should. This weekend, I am taking a long weekend. With a full heart, I think I need to take the time to reconnect with my drumming and chanting.

(Originally written in November, 2013)

From beginning to end, yesterday was challenging and full of gifts too.  Sigh and yay!!!6730685121_996af44d65

The only thing that got me through was drumming and chanting niguunim (melodies).  As my heart was hyperventilating, I took time to release the energy through drumming and chanting.  With each beat of the drum, I released the tension in my soul; with each deep breath followed by my chanting, I felt my sadness leave me.

What affected me the most was the deep sadness that surrounded me at nearly every turn.  So many folks were struggling with real darkness and others were just creating challenges through their actions.  For those that were struggling with their own darkness or perhaps their own demons, I found myself wishing I could share with them this beautiful rendition of Katy Perry’s Roar by Olivia Wise who is currently suffering from brain cancer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_An8xNwupo

Olivia’s rendition of Perry’s Roar brought tears to my eyes and deep pain to my heart. Imagining what Olivia and her family are facing hurts; I can relate and yet I can’t.  After years of the deep pain that accompanied Aryeh’s illness and to the pain that has at times accompanied my life, I couldn’t stop crying.  Life is such a gift and some people can’t find the gifts that are in front them.  Olivia made this video so that those who love her will always hear her ‘Roar”.  How beautiful is that?!?!?!

As I write, Olivia is more unconscious than conscious; her wakeful moments are few and far between.  What her family is telling the world is that Liv woke each day seeking light and finding light too.  While none of us can do that all the time, I wish more folks would go out of their way to find light and make things work with each step.

If I could make a difference for even a moment, I would shatter the illusion that there is no way around pain.

For nearly five years, I watched my son struggle for life and yet I almost never gave in to the darkness.  I always, always, always reached for life and light even as I accepted what could have been inevitable.

With every ounce of my being, I wish that the people around me could find the gifts in the challenges instead of reaching for the darkness and letting that darkness be their guide.

Choose life.

The rhetoric of the anti-abortion world and the teaching of Deuteronomy is perfect for this moment.  While I am far from the anti-abortion world, I do choose life.  Every day, I choose to wake up and find the light within the challenges.  Darkness rarely encompasses my heart and soul.

Choosing life is what I do.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
L
ouder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar.’
K
aty Perry’s Roar

My son Aryeh is alive.  How ironic it is that Aryeh’s name means lion.  He is alive. In spite of a fatal diagnosis at times, he has always decided to be a thriver that is very much alive.  We are all alive; each and every one in my family is alive and thriving and yes, even roaring.

Yesterday as I sat in the midst of so much pain, watched some folks make troubling choices, and also experienced little things getting blown out of proportion, I wanted to help others find the light when only darkness seemed to persevere.

There are so many people like Olivia or Aryeh that choose life until no more breaths can be made.  There are so many folks that have chosen to thrive as opposed to bury their head in the sand.  May those folks be our role model.

May we all find our ‘Roar’.

PS – I forgot to mention, I saw some beautiful, vibrant life yesterday.  I met people on the street that grapple with life and win.  From a distance, I watched my dear friend and his wife move towards the impending death of their father and father-in-law.  I also watched beautiful young minds embrace their own love of learning.  And finally, I had a delightful evening with my son.

While darkness surrounded me, it wasn’t part of me.  Still, may I, and those that are part of my life always remember to ‘Roar’.

Onward with love, light, creativity, & action,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

As an educator and an activist, I plant seeds as often as I can. I put a lot of attention into learning so that I can share my knowledge. This seems to have become my life’s work in a multitude of ways.Day 8 - Plant Seeds

Change can only come when we give from our hearts and when we do the work that makes it possible for the seeds to sprout and eventually flourish. The work is great, but the potential is endless.

May we all find ways to plant seeds which will ultimately make a difference in our family, our community, or/and our world. And while we are at it, let’s make sure we take the time to shine our light and water the seeds too.

Onward with love, light, and creativity,
Chava

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Have you ever noticed  how sometimes less is more?

  • a smile
  • a touch
  • a sweet moment
  • a hug
  • a look in the eye
  • an unexpected call
  • a loving card
  • and so much more. . .

All of this and more can be light.

day-3-be-light.jpg

How can you shine your light today?

With love, light, and creativity,
Chava

 

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years ago I was afforded the opportunity to remain silent for nearly 8 days. a dear friend of mine gave me the keys to his log cabin in the Berkshires which was located in rural western Massachusetts. the time was magical, challenging, beautiful, and wildly needed.

being alone in that silence was a powerful time for me and it became the most transformative time in my life. it was there I cried out the atrocities that I faced in my childhood and began to release the pain. it was there that I found the courage to change my name and allow for further transformation. it was there that I found the inner strength to ask Michael for a divorce (the first time). it was there that I realized that I had the spirit to accomplish what I wanted to in life.

with each step and with each passing day I became profoundly  aware that I am and always will be a work in progress.  each step allowed for stretching, growing, and becoming more grounded in the person I am. the 8 days lead me to new heights and allowed me to face some very real realities too.

Mendocino CA-Sandra G. Wortzel

Mendocino, California Photo Courtesy of Sandra G. Wortzel

moving forward. . .
until this afternoon, I hadn’t realized that I haven’t had real time alone in so very long, perhaps even years. I guess I now understand why I have been feeling like I am on overload; I need to allow for more quiet in my life. while I don’t currently have 8 full days, I will take as much time as I can over the next 11 days when my sons are visiting their dad and grandmother. with work and previously scheduled plans, I have decided to treasure the quiet hours I do have.

I started by canceling three sets of plans for today and tomorrow. 🙂 I bet you are wondering what I will do with the time. this is easy to answer. I will take time just to sit in the quiet, write without distraction, and breathe a little more deeply. I will also take naps, work on some of my art, and chant. and finally, the dogs, Maddie and Magic will get some undivided attention.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up
and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.
You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
~Anne Lamott

allowing for the sadness
the world has been dragging my spirit down a little bit of lately. how can it not?

once I realized that I haven’t had or taken the time I needed to center myself, I understood why I was taking the harshness as hard as I have. yes, life is not easy for someone who walks in the world as I do, but I do have the responsibility to find the light and the angels in this world. I can’t move forward in any are if I don’t take that time to nurture my own spirit.

I do have some reasons both personally and within the many worlds I exist to feel sadness. so with that in mind, I am allowing for the tears to fall. in truth, there is no container that can gather the tears, but that’s ok. I believe that tears plant seeds towards new growth. you can’t move forward without navigating the darkness. once through the darkness, all of us can slowly catch the sparks that will create more light in our worlds.

and in truth, my life has so much light too. I live in a world of angels that are doing all they can to make the world a better place. in fact, I am showing up to make our world a better place too. I, sincerely, feel blessed in the world I have and continue to create for myself.

as my teacher SARK might say, it is my job to embrace “the messy middle”; I am perfectly imperfect. so I am doing just that as I take time to listen to the quiet.

may we all move towards the light and do whatever we can to create more sparks.

with love, light, and blessings,
chava

 

 

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Sometimes life hurts. There is no way around this reality. The question is not whether or not we will hurt, the question is how will we walk through the storms?

Turning my wounded heart towards living out loud has been my soul work.  Except for the times that my loved ones needed me to focus, I have always shown up in any way I can. I simply open my arms and do what needs to be done. There are a myriad of tasks that need my love and attention. Our country, my neighbors, my friends, my family, and our world.

In the last month alone I have:

  • taken care of a sick friend recovering from a double mastectomy.
  • called our politicians.
  • visited with friends who needed a pick-me-up.
  • picked up trash.
  • given mezuzot, ritual objects, to those who lost their homes to disasters.
  • mailed chai (life) clothes to people who were suffering.
  • wrote politicians as well as blogs and Facebook posts to make people think about things differently.
  • helped rebuilt a house destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.
  • donated money to several causes.
  • watched two different friends puppies so that they wouldn’t have to board them.
  • helped a friend who professionally needed the guidance.
  • rallied/resisted against Trump’s policies that allowed for children to be torn from their parents’ arms.
  • tried to help a young woman reunite with her son and find a stable home.

Did I miss the mark in different areas? I’m sure. But the point is that I have chosen to live differently as an adult than what I experienced and saw in my youth.

For me, my life challenges seemed to have been ingrained on a cellular level. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the moment of my conception was what started the train wreck that has often overshadowed me and in truth it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that on most days I have navigated life’s journey and embraced the hand that showed up. While I am not sure that I had a choice, from a young age I seem to have decided to wake up each day and take one step and then another.

Although there are moments when I wish that things could have been different, they weren’t.  For the most part, I have reached this time in my life and found a way to absorb the blessings reverberating from my soul.

Living out loudI am alive. I am thriving. And I have emerged to be the woman I am today.

Thriving or simply surviving has not always been a given. At each and every stage of my life, I faced some harsh realities. If it weren’t for my inner strength, I may have found myself devastated or worse destroyed.

I’ve been battered both physically and spiritually; I have seen violence and watched my children navigate ICU on multiple occasions and even sat by their bedsides expecting that no tomorrows would ever come. And yet they did come.

My heart has been shattered and sometimes trampled beyond recognition. And yet somehow I have found my breath. I have learned to inhale the light and exhale the pain and darkness. And nearly every time I needed, an angel showed up to make a difference in both small and large ways.

Much of my life, I have felt like I was rock climbing up extremely treacherous terrain. The only problem with that is that I was born with two left feet; I am a total klutz in every way.  The fabulous news is that even as I have struggled to find a healthy place to stand, I’ve have always found the solid ground I was seeking.

With my past as a guiding force, I find meeting new people challenging. My life is full of skeletons that are harsh for any person to absorb. Yet each and every story has opened doors for me and made me the woman I am. Instead of wearing a mask, I want to touch people as I transcend the darkness with my resiliency. And I want to take what I have learned from all the pain that has hammered my life and bring light into the world; in as many was as possible, I want to make our world a better place.

Today, I allow myself to ‘live out loud’. I share my thoughts, my pain, my politics, my soul.  I share my writing, my art, and my spirit without apology. Today I climb mountains and accept the fact that I may fall. I know that I am surrounded by my sons and other loved ones. I am not alone.

My inner wise soul has turned life’s monsoons into the vibrant beauty that often follows a storm. Instead of hiding behind the shadows, I have actively chosen to ‘live out loud’ in every aspect of my life by loving deeply and engaging in the world is what drives my spirit.

Hineini, here I am!

 

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if you asked me how I am today, i couldn’t be honest. . .
i would have to lie.
seriously.

if you asked me how i am today, you wouldn’t get the answer you are expecting. . .
today is a day of longing and a day of wishing.
i am missing what never was and will never be.

if you asked me how i am today, i would simply smile and say i have no voice. . .
my voice is lost; it is hiding somewhere so that it doesn’t have to lie.
with a sad spirit, i am grateful that only silence can be heard.

if you asked me how i am today, i would simply write ‘words have power’.
some days, it is simply best to say nothing.
just knowing that tomorrow is another day.

tomorrow you can ask me how i am and i will probably answer. . .
today it is best to honor the words that are better left unspoken.
breathing in the light and releasing the darkness.

tomorrow is another day; a new light will shine or at least a different one.
the doldrums will be washed out to sea.
and if I am lucky, I will become light – again.

December 2016 - looking out into water

My happy place. . . 

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