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Posts Tagged ‘listen’

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
~Rumi

No one heard me when I was younger. No one. I got used to it – so used to it that I nearly buried myself in drug abuse. With no way out and no one to hear my cries, I found solace in remaining wasted.

I started young and covered up the disarray  of my soul with more blankets of dysfunction. And no one knew; no one heard my cry for help. Instead I had to find my own way out. At 16 years old, I decided to leave the world of mind altering drugs behind and to build a new foundation.

The only trouble is that I never learned how to handle my emotions when I thought no one was willing to listen. Even now, I feel a deep sense of loss when I am not being heard or my thoughts are even temporarily being ignored.  Intellectually, I know that people are busy, but inside I am still the little girl no one heard.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yesterday, I wrote about how I was feeling drawn to listening to the quiet (https://wp.me/pthnB-3bP), but I do so with the awareness that my beloveds need to be seen, to be known, and to be loved as my spiritual mentor and writer SARK would teach.

Over the past weeks, I have been amazed at the silence I have needed to surround myself with, but I have been equally aware that I have had some friends that have needed me to be present. So, that is exactly what I did. I found myself taking a flight from Houston to Tucson so that I could nurture a friend who was recovering from major surgery. I also, connected with friends that were struggling with other challenges, and I almost helped a woman reunite with her 5 year old son by driving her four hours to pick up her son and then return to Houston. Fortunately, I ended up not needing to take the drive, but I would have.

Life happens.

AcknowledgeHere is the thing I have learned over the years. I am virtually alone. I have amazing family in Israel, but they are too far away to help without notice. AND I have the most dedicated friends in the world, but they are all over the map. Currently, I live in Houston and if it weren’t for barely a couple of people from my community and my sons, I would struggle if I really needed help; I just don’t have a support system here.

There is some really good things that come from feeling lonely and being virtually alone. I have come to understand that even when I know that my beloved friends and family are busy/distracted by life, I need to feel like I am seen.  Not all the time, but sometimes feeling ignored can hurt me deeply. Unfortunately, my childhood sense of alone-ness is never too far behind.

That realization is helping me become a better friend. If I need to be acknowledged, so do others. Everyone wants to be seen.

I am far from perfect, but I am improving over time. I am also getting better at telling those that I love, that sometimes I need a quick response with a promise that the other person will reach out as soon as possible.

My own loneliness has lead me to becoming a more beautiful friend; I think that is a good thing.

May we all show up the best way we know how; may we give those that need light, a spark from our own reservoir. And if you need me, please let me know. I am not a mind reader.

Onward with love and light,
Chava

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(Note: Reflecting about life and how to best move forward is what I do. One of my favorite teachers/writers, SARK, often talks about living in the “marvelous messy middle”. I think we all do that, but only some of us open the windows or doors for others to peek in. Hineini, here I am in all my rawness and passion. Hang on for the ride. If your interested, here is where this series begins.   https://lightwavejourney.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/time-to-heal-building-a-stronger-foundation/)

No one wants to be misunderstood or told that they are limited. I am no different. Most of my life I have felt the need to defend my thoughts and my feelings. But something is evolving at this point in time. I am learning – slowly – to say what I think without having to pound it metaphorically into anyone’s head. I do like to be heard, but I am becoming ok when people don’t see things my way.

Day 20

The last year has challenged me on a daily and sometimes on an hourly basis. My views on the political climate in the United States and Israel are not always on par with what others think or believe. With Trump and Netanyahu in the leadership of the two countries I profess to love, I struggle with the venom that they bring out in me. The good news is that I am blessed to have a fabulous village of people that share my beliefs. Unfortunately though, not everyone is as enlightened as we are.  :/

This has caused me some grief. Only in the last week or two have I begun to see a shift in my attitudes. I am learning to share my opinions without feeling explosive when I learn that I am not preaching to the choir. In return, I am learning to hear the views of others and usually find an ounce of wisdom if not more.

My intensity is impenetrable at times. With passion overflowing, it is hard for me to cope with how I feel. This must mean that others have found me impossible at times.

In my need for calmness, I am seeking balance in all areas of my life. I am also accepting that while I may believe that I am ‘right’, I need to take time to hear those I respect.  When people share their proofs and articles, their documentaries and diatribes, I am trying to take time to listen– really listen. And sometimes, I am even blessed to gain a new insight.

The key to me is that I automatically shut down when the name calling or nastiness begins. And I am trying to disengage with kindness or at least without being nasty too.  To be honest, a part of me believes in karma…..so I better watch myself. 😀

Over the last few days, I have found a dramatic increase in political arguments. With the tensions in Gaza being what they are, I am struggling with all of the variables only to realize that what’s happening is beyond complicated. In my devastation, I began to understand that some of my views needed to be negotiated differently which means I needed to listen more intently to views that often rubbed me the wrong way.

In truth, I am not evolving too dramatically, I am still liberal in my politics. I am, however, realizing that there are so m any narratives in this world. And if I am going to build bridges and relationships with others, I need to learn to embrace the challenging conversations with a little more openness and respect.

Relationships are complicated – always. Yet if I want to develop healthier and more beautiful connections, I need to remain conscious and mindful that what I say and how I say it makes a difference.  And I have to remain on the path to really listen to what others have to say.

Hineini, Here I am – I have a lot more work to do. I am on it!

Feel free to join me over the coming weeks as I continue to unveil some of the moving parts that I am navigating and myriad of ways I hope to stretch, to grow, and ultimately to heal. My hope is that as I share some of my story, I may inspire you in some small way.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

(Note: If you read to the end and if you like what I have to share, I’d love it if you would let me know by liking or commenting on my post.)

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Life is amazing and full. AND with that fullness comes gifts and challenges.

Over the years, I have chosen to follow my calling which was originally coined by Émile Zola:

Sonia's Sunflowers

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world,
I, an artist, will answer you:
I am here to live out loud.”

Literally. I embrace life openly and share my full spirit when possible. This means that when someone asks me how I am, I answer. It also means that when I want to share on social media, I do that too.

Hiding behind a shadow of my making is something I gave up doing long ago.  That doesn’t mean that when I am at the grocery store or at work that I spill my guts, but it does mean that I am open to being authentic when I am on my own time.

This disposition creates fascinating exchanges for those that walk through life with preconceived notions of who I am or who I should be. My transparency and intensity often confound those that hold me to expectations of their making or simply don’t understand how I walk in the world.

And yet for people to fully know me, they need to listen to this verse from John Legend’s song, All of Me:

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you.

These words may be the words of one lover expressing his love, but they are also the words of all healthy connections. When we engage fully in relationships, we have see the realities of the person in front of us and they see our core being if their eyes are wide open.

Life is messy and beautiful. Being real means that in every closet there are skeletons. They may not all be dramatic, but they are there.  There are sweet moments of sunshine and harsh moments of rain. There are moments of health and moments of illness. There are your opinions and my opinions. The question is how do we as friends and acquaintances choose to navigate each individual in our lives.

In my transparency, I share my thoughts and my soul work in my writing and on social media.  My heart and spirit are open whenever I feel comfortable sharing. In return, people receive what I share through their eyes.  And I love how in any moment, I can hear completely diverse insights into how I am perceived. Examples include:

  • “You are always so happy. I love your posts on Facebook.”
  • “I know you’ve had some ups and downs and I hope you are doing better.”
  • “Looks like you have had a lot on your plate. Are you doing ok?”

On any given day, I can hear variations of each of the above comments. In truth, I love that people care enough to reach out and I often wonder if people are really able to see the world outside of their own tunnel vision.  Yet regardless of where people are coming from, I love that people embrace and sometimes wrestle with how I show up.

Shouldn’t we all try to see those in our world for the people they are instead of who we think they should be?

What I have learned from how people both get excited or struggle with what I share is that it is my job to really listen what people are bringing to our conversation or what they are posting on Facebook.

Yes, my life is full and I feel deeply, but I am also hanging on for the ride of my life and embracing life with open arms.

ASK & I WILL TOO
If you really want to know who I am, what I think, and how I am feeling – Ask. . .don’t assume. AND if I want to know anything about you, I will ask you and not assume.

Beautiful relationships come when we are open to sharing the fullness of who we are and when we open our arms to the fullness of whoever is in front of us at any given moment.

Looking forward to getting to know you better!

Onward with love, light, & blessings,
Chava

PS: YES – LIFE IS REALLY FULL RIGHT NOW! 🙂

  1. Door l’Door is thriving
  2. Loving my work
  3. Aryeh and Dovi . . . .
  4. Writing a ton
  5. Finances are tight
  6. Engaging in my health journey (again)
  7. Simplifying daily
  8. Emerging from some darkness
  9. Navigating connections
  10. and, and, and

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Flooding 1Life is forever altered.

(Note: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant address this again and again in their book, Option B. If you haven’t yet read it, rush to purchase it and embrace the wisdom.)

No one ever wakes up one day expecting a moment (or many moments) can change the course of life, but sometimes it happens. For us living in Houston, Hurricane Harvey did the job.

Option B is my new norm and has been for just over a week. Although, it has only been over the last few days that I am feeling the long-term impact. Our new norms have left me unable able to take a deep breath (literally); I have, at least temporarily, shed the calm armor of grace and bravery.  AND I do know that at some point soon calm waters will appear. I have faced enough challenges in my life to trust that somehow I always find a way to navigate new norms.

Here is just a short list of how life has been altered:

  • The air quality is making it difficult to breathe.
  • Four or five hours of driving time have been added onto our daily commute. Although we will be looking for ways around this.
  • The possibility of flooding is a constant fear. With water levels so high. . .
  • While Houstonians are resilient, they are also bone weary.
  • Time to take care of myself via exercise and whole food cooking is gone. Although, a recent physical has dictated that I make some significant changes.

These are the biggies, but their are so many more.

Last night, the new realities hit me or should I say sucker punched me – knocking all the air out of me. The good news is that today, I am reflecting on how to navigate the new norms without allowing a sense of despondency to envelop me – Option B. I have NO doubt that my family will find new norms that work and a healthy new center.

Keep sending your prayers and sweet visions our way!

Even with the stress, I am immensely grateful.  We have our home and I have a widespread village to support me. While the harshness of the new landscape is not easy to integrate into my life, I am hoping that those that love me will be able to handle that I am a little more sensitive than usual.

Maneuvering Option B is going to take some time, but it is happening – a little by little each hour. And the only way that I can do it is with my amazing village by my side.  While my village is extraordinary, I want to share some insights and advice for better supporting me.

  • Sometimes I just need a ‘witness’ to listen.
  • Being transparent on Facebook is what I do, if you want to know how I am. . .check out my status; it will probably let you know exactly how I am.  AND for the meantime, I will continue to do my Facebook Live at 5 (or as close to 5 as I can).
  • While I know that I didn’t lose my house or anything of significance, this new norm is hell. I don’t need to be reminded that I should be grateful. I am. AND I am also acutely aware that Hurricane Harvey is even more devastating for others. Still, I have a right to feel as I feel.
  • Suggesting that I take care of myself doesn’t serve either of us well. In the early days of the disaster, I was constantly on the phone and connecting with those in need. Drumming and chanting would have been great, but when I had time, I needed to sleep/rest. The one thing I do multiple times a day is journal. Trust that I will find the pockets of time and embrace them. Telling me to take the time is a reminder that time is not what it once was. And hearing that again and again by the same people makes me crazy.
  • Social media offers so many gifts. At any moment, I may choose to engage or disengage, that is my prerogative.  I love the support of it, the information I glean, the sayings, the inspirations, and stories/music shared.  Telling me to unplug is infuriating; I am more than capable of deciding what I need to do at any moment.
  • While I love the support that surrounds me, I am fairly clear about what I need. If I ask you to connect with me or not in a certain way, please listen. I won’t be demanding or disconnected for long.

The vulnerability I feel right now can be earth shattering at times. The new norms petrify me. I can’t explain it all just yet, but I will over time. I am comfortable with transparency, but I am hurting right now and I am not always clear that I have the resiliency to navigate.  Yet I have a long history of thriving and my guess is that Hurricane Harvey will be no different.

Hineini, here I am, riding the waves. . . .  I don’t have Option A any longer, so Option B will simply have to do.

A few days ago, I shared that I am finding myself creating and humming a lot of niggunim, wordless melodies. There really are no words to adequately describe the mixture of emotions that each and every person in Houston is feeling. Today was my first effort in writing.

Moving forward. . .

Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?

~Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

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it-is-up-to-us-to-create

Hope Cards answer so many questions that fill  my heart! http://www.bonesigharts.com/store/hope-cards

As I opened my eyes this morning, I quickly became aware that I was in the midst of some sort of  a spiritual metamorphosis. As soon as my pen hit the paper for My Morning Pages (journal), I felt  like a huge shift was on the horizon. I went from moody to grounded with each written word, but it took a lot of deep breaths and inner-work to go from Point A to Point B.

The most empowering transition seemed to come when I compared the a few of the moving parts of my life that have either jazzed my soul and/or crippled my spirit. Sometimes I feel like these two seemingly different concepts are actually ‘two sides of the same coin’.

Taking A Step Back
Two weeks ago, I took a bite of real bread and then another and another. As I was sinking my teeth into the first bite and then the second bite, I found myself thinking that this panini tasted so authentic, so real; the only problem was that it ACTUALLY was and I got really sick from eating it. As someone with celiac disease, eating a gluten filled panini was a disaster. History had taught me time and again that I would be sick for as long as three months from eating the panini.

The good news was that I understood what was happening and I had recently found some amazing health practitioners to help me strive for better health which meant that they were there to help me face my latest crisis. The bad news is that every fiber of my being hurt.

Over the years, I have learned that when I am most despondent or sick as in this case, I dig deep into the soil of life to figure out what is really hurting and how I can best heal.

Digging Deep
This morning, I allowed myself the time and space t go inward. It probably helps that I started waking up at 3:30. Within My Morning Pages, I admitted to myself that I felt off. My body hurt, my mind was struggling, and my spirit wasn’t up to par.  As someone who seems to rally at an intense level most of the time, I was aware that I needed to explore the thoughts racing around in my head.

What I found initially stunned me? And then, I allowed myself some space to re-frame the darkness and turn it into light.  I needed to knead the thoughts to allow them to flow.

Realization #1
I had a momentary fear that I was simply never going to reach my dreams.

  • If being healthy is a non-negotiable then why aren’t I further along in my health journey?
  • Why is it that I haven’t created my new blog called My Second Foundation in which I will be interviewing and writing about survivors of trauma?
  • Have I done enough or anything to make the world a better place?
  • If I truly want to have more time to do the things I love, why haven’t I done more to simplify my life?
  • Am I doing enough to develop my writing?
  • And when will My Second Foundation, my nonprofit, have wings?

All of these questions/thoughts challenged me and will continue to challenge me.  And while I wish I could be doing more of what I love, I am blessed to be on a path that I love.

Breathing deeply, I need to do a better job of celebrating what is as I strive for each and every one of my dreams.

Realization #2
As I focus on becoming the healthiest me that I can be, I need reconsider how I see this process. I am on Day 3 of what I will now refer to as My Journey Towards Life. With 122 days until my birthday, I have the ability to do the holy work of taking care of my body, my mind, and my spirit. I am on the journey to make my life the best possible life it can be. My hope is that on Day 124, I may stop ‘officially’ counting, but I will count all the days of my life. 🙂

While I love life and I love my life, I want to better engage in living more consciously, physically moving and keeping my heart pumping. Being healthy is so much bigger than I realized. My body, my mind, and my spirit need to be cared for; I am a package deal.

Over the last few days, I have been doing a lot of the practices given to be by my Aryuvedic Practitioner and acupuncturist, massage, drinking cleansing teas, walking, and writing. I have also been spending time with my sons and connecting with friends. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, I have been sleeping and napping a lot.

It feels good to make taking care of myself a norm.

Realization #3
I love deeply and I am spiritually committed to those I adore. And yet, I nurture relationships that are safe instead of seeking connections that can bloom into partnerships.

Perhaps that is what is right for me, perhaps not. . . I think it is time for me to delve deeper so that I can discover what I really want.

I need to face the myriad of feelings and trust what insight follows.

Wrapping Up
At the end of my very soulful writing time I asked myself some guiding questions.

  • How can I connect more deeply with that which I am and that which I want to be?
  • How do I create a world that honors the holy trinities (per Glennon Doyle Melton) of body, mind, & spirit?
  • How do I navigate my sadness over some deep losses.

Picking Cards
After I ask guiding questions of myself, I often pick cards from different decks.  The beauty of picking these cards is that each of them usually answer the very questions that I had originally asked for guidance. Today, all three of my card choices did! It was mind blowing!!!

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This I believe
The insights that come during the early morning hours have the power to change you if you have the inner-strength to listen.

May the seeds that were planted this morning sprout with beautiful growth! May I become even MORE ALIVE!

Thank you for taking time to listen to today’s rambles.

Onward with love, light, & blessings,
Chava

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Wherever I turn, I find angels, the people that show up with an open hand to help me navigate life’s journeys. Throughout my adult life, I have been blessed to have people enter my life just as I was facing a dark reality. The reason I emanate so much light is simply because I am surrounded by light. I find the light in life and my path always includes beautiful angels/helpers that emerge at the perfect moment.

Last night as I wrapped from writing my blog, I realized that I missed something vital when I shared that I am now beginning a new life journey. (I meant to type health journey, but somehow life journey feels a bit more on target.) I didn’t mention my gratitude for the angels that have showed up during this journey.

On October 1st, I was poisoned by gluten. After eating gluten that was served to me as a gluten-free panini, my health did a downward spiral which I am still recovering from to this day and probably through the coming weeks. The good news is that I have turned the corner, but I wouldn’t have moved forward if it wasn’t for the help of so many.

Over the next 124 days, I will be counting down to my birthday (see above blog link). Each and every day, I will do something to care for myself, probably a lot of somethings.  But before I delve into a series of blogs, I really wanted to note those people that have showed up over the past weeks/months.

Tzadi

Drawing courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her book Songs of Creations

  1. The Healers
    • Sita Chopra, my Ayurvedic Practitioner, responded within minutes of receiving my note saying that I was contaminated with gluten. I believe that her quick advice and my ability to follow her directions made it so that my gut did not suffer as harshly and for the usual period of time from being poisoned. I am looking forward to experiencing better health as she utilizes her knowledge and wisdom to support better health.
    • Katrice Gullens of Fifth Element Acupuncture & Wellness for her lovely energy and for the beautiful ability she had and continues to have so that she can hear what is needed. Her acupuncture treatment enhanced my ability to function and lifted my spirit. I felt like her needles opened my soul up from some of the armor that once needed to protect me.
    • Tom Pierson of Tranquil Heart Yoga, a massage therapist extraordinaire, who was able to listen to what my body was saying and nurture it towards a healthier place.
  2. My Friends
    • Out of state friends – Many people showed up to support me with love and prayers when I shared what was happening on Facebook, but my friends Jennifer, Cheryl, Idie, Ilan, and Karen reached out via telephone and reminded me that I was loved. BTW, what they may not of known was that I was literally despondent from two days of unrelenting pain. And my friend Dr. Scott, an ER doc, who opened his door to help me decide what the best protocol would be at 12:30 at night.

      Each and every love note and call made a difference. While the pain was pretty horrible, I knew I was being held by so many.

    • Local friends – Reminded me that I could of and should have called instead of driving myself to the hospital. To be honest, I felt painfully alone and like no one cared. Chalk it up to drama. . . not reality, I forgot that I am surrounded by a community and friends that would not have wanted me to feel so alone and would have taken me to the hospital if I had only asked.

      I loved that people care and knowing that I am not alone. Although I do need to remember that my friends aren’t mind-readers; sometimes I have to ask for what I need.

  3. My Sons
    • Aryeh and Dovi took care of me. Aryeh wouldn’t let me go to the hospital by myself. And he confirmed that ER doc wasn’t listening to me or understanding how much pain I was in. While it didn’t really help to have him advocate for me at the hospital, he was so loving and tried to comfort me. Only after taking care of my parents and my sons in hospital settings did I learn what it means to advocate with medical professionals. . .it isn’t easy.

I would not made it if so many people to give their love and warmth so freely. I received that love with open heart that is still overflowing in this moment. I am especially grateful those friends who are rabbis and Jewish professionals who were able to take the time to reach out as they were preparing for one of the most demanding and holy days of the Jewish calendar.

The timing of ‘this episode’ was perfect. I had just scheduled/started my work with the above healers and I was in a good spiritual space for the first time in years. So with all this in mind, I am ready to move forward and strive for better health.

Grateful for each and every person that has offered and continues to offer their wisdom, kindness, love, and light.

Onward – now & always,
Chava

 

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Chava looking at large canvas 3

Rothko Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts;             Photo Courtesy of David Cooper

Last night, I learned to listen to that quiet voice that reminded me to remain silent when what I really wanted to do was share the thoughts racing around in my head. Somehow I knew that I needed some time to reflect before expressing myself in any serious way.

Communicating is easy. At any moment, I can pick up my phone, send a quick (or lengthy) text, quickly shoot of an email, blog from my soul, shout out to my Facebook/Twitter community, or scream at my sons. I could do that, but I didn’t. At least, I did not do that last night.

Instead of going for instant gratification, I took a deep breath, a long walk, and a shot of vodka. I decided to refrain from major conversations, long involved letters, intense blogging, or even small talk. While I wrote a few quick responses on Facebook status lines, I did not pour out my heart, make any major decisions, or say something that I would later regret.

For once in my life, I (mostly) listened to that quiet voice that provided a shadow over my soul. Sometimes it is better to allow for the quiet.

When I was a little girl, my father used to loving put his hands over my ears and give a gentle squeeze. As he did, he would whisper the words, “Listen to the quiet.” I believe that act may have been the most loving act my father ever did. He knew that when I was sad, tired, sick, or struggling that I needed the cocoon of silence. I probably also needed his loving hands to remind me that I am loved.

While I don’t have my father’s hands nurturing my spirit with his gentle touch and loving words, I do have the ability to remember that sometimes, I need to listen to the quiet. And sometimes, I simply need to allow for the silence before finding and sharing my voice.

Writing is how I best communicate. If you want to know what I really feel, don’t ask me to tell you, ask me to write. Years ago, I learned:

“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

Through writing, I share the deepest part of who I am. And while I know how to use my voice, I am a much more honest writer.

So when last night’s darkness loomed, I did the only thing that made sense. I allowed for the silence, refrained from making any ‘real’ decisions, and I sat in my sadness, my frustration, and my anger. And the hardest thing that I did was refrain from writing. I didn’t send words out into the universe that could never be taken back.

At this point, you may be wondering what was feeling so heavy. Was it that one of my sons was acting out? Was it an internal struggle I am having? Was it that I have an upcoming meeting that is reminding me of my many vulnerabilities? Yes, it was all of those things. AND it was the sense of foreboding I feel with the upcoming election that was intensified by this week’s AIPAC conference. It is also the growing rift I see in the larger Jewish community. Maybe it has always been there, but in the last few years I feel the rift growing. Whether we are talking about Israel or the Jewish people, politics or immigration, human rights or the environment, each and every issue seems to create clouds over our people and the larger world too. And with each serious challenge being brought to our attention at break neck speed, the struggle is inevitable.

Last night, I did my best to take a deep breath and to listen to the silence. I chose to go inward, to cry, and to sleep for a couple of hours. It helped.

I am not sure that the world is a better place or that the elections will bring out the best in people. I do know that this morning I have a little more clarity about what I need to do today, tonight, and in the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Mostly I know that I have to sometimes trust the silence and sometimes trust my voice. And perhaps, what I need most is to:

“Step out today not seeking to be in the spotlight but seeking
for a spot to light
– be a blessing to someone.”
Bernard Kelvin Clive

 

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