Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘listen’

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom. For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

Yesterday, I spoke about trusting and listening to the inner voice that guides you.  As challenging as that can be, it is also so very necessary if you want to live life to the fullest. http://t.co/gIyfSxKvSh

Today, I want to take that one step further. While we can all choose to listen or not to listen to the messages in our head and/or in front of us, we truly have to be able to put ourselves out there, to trust that we matter.

As a young girl, my life didn’t matter; my opinions weren’t important to anyone in my daily life. But somewhere a long the way, there were people in my life that heard me.  They guided me towards seeing myself as special or worthy in some small way. http://wp.me/pthnB-xA I am not sure if I would have found my voice without them; I probably would have never felt like I mattered without them letting me know that I did.

At the same time, I had to learn how to take a step forward, to become ‘safe’ within my being. I had to find a way to take care of myself and to connect with the world around me. And the good news is that I did!

I became a writer, a teacher, a friend, and someone who made a difference to others.  I learned to step outside of my little cocoon, to leave the wounds behind, to live with a smile on my face, and to feel contentment deep inside my heart.

So while listening to that voice inside matters, it isn’t enough. For me, I had to be willing to take one step and then another. I had to learn to trust myself and believe that I was capable of taking care of myself and others in the world. I am so grateful that I did.

“Hold Out Your Hand”

Let’s forget the world for a while
fall back and back
into the hush and holy
of now

are you listening? This breath
invites you
to write the first word
of your new story

your new story begins with this:
You matter

you are needed—empty
and naked
willing to say yes
and yes and yes

Do you see
the sun shines, day after day
whether you have faith
or not
the sparrows continue
to sing their song
even when you forget to sing
yours

stop asking: Am I good enough?
Ask only
Am I showing up
with love?

Life is not a straight line
it’s a downpour of gifts, please—
hold out your hand
Written by: Julia Fehrenbacher

Thank you for joining me on My Journey Towards Wholeness.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom. For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

Sometimes when you listen to that quiet voice inside,
the one that is speaking so softly, you can hear the truth.
Q
uote by Chava Gal-Or

Over the last several years, I have been listening to the quiet voices in my head.  The voice that doesn’t always allow me to follow what is expected of me by others.  That is a choice that I have made.

The journey wasn’t easy at first, but now, it is – mostly. I live with integrity and I trust my inner wisdom.  Life can’t get much better than that. But in the midst of some of the greatest challenges, I found myself questioning my values and questioning what I believed.  As someone who wanted to be liked, it was painful to see that some people didn’t like the transparent me. Learning to honor myself hasn’t been easy, but in the end it has become a non-negotiable.

Over the next few weeks, I will be able to share some of what has been happening since I have grown as I have.  Much good has come my way since I have chosen to listen to my inner voices.

Living authentically has given me wings to fly and a spirit to soar. I am blessed to feel free within my being. The best gift of all is now I surround myself with people that see me as I truly am.

Facebook message that greeted me this morning: "This is for you. May you always hear the music and the Still Small Voice within it."

Facebook message that greeted me this morning: “This is for you. May you always hear the music and the Still Small Voice within it.”

Receiving this message is confirmation of how far I have come in the last few years.

May we all have the ability to listen to the voices inside our heads.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Life has been hard. Very hard. And yet. . . .

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin Did you notice the butterfly? :)

Photo courtesy of Janie Grackin
Did you notice the butterfly? 🙂

I am blessed that there are so few moments when darkness doesn’t allow me to see clearly.

Today I feel warmth from the amazing sparks that could easily burst into a flame.  There are so many gifts that surround me at any given moment.  And yes, there is also deep pain that is part of my life and part of the lives of so many people that I love.  But for now, I want to focus on the gifts.

My sons:

  • Today Aryeh and Dovi went biking together for the first time in forever!!!! Now that may seem silly because they are 21 and 17 years old; yet for so many reasons, it really is quite amazing.
  • AND Dovi has asked for shorts so that he can be more comfortable biking; he hasn’t worn shorts in nearly 10 years.  Now this is a shehecheyanu moment (a blessing that is recited when you do something for the first time in a long time or ever).
  • Dovi decided to excel in math and that is exactly what he is doing!
  • This week, we have had some incredibly sweet moments as a family.
  • Aryeh continues to amaze me in the way he takes care of everyone in the family; he is truly growing into a man! Wow.

Friends:

  • I love how my friends reach out and are totally present for me.  As I type, one group of friends is trying to find ways to help me thrive emotionally; they are working towards creating options for me to make it through a challenging period of time.
  • A few different friends have found ways for me to support myself after losing my livelihood. Yay!
  • One friend just embroidered a bath-sheet with my name on it!!!! She even used my favorite colors.  I can’t wait to see it and use it!  (If you are curious, I love sage and lavender. . . but in truth all shades of purple are awesome.)
  • A couple of friends have given me great gifts when I wasn’t sure how I would move forward.
  • I am held by some profoundly loving souls.

Taking care of me:

  • I found a care-giving position that is giving me more normal hours so that I don’t have to work all-nighters.
  • I am on Day 8 of not drinking any sodas!!!!!
  • I am getting more hours of sleep than I had been getting previously; this week I have gone to sleep by 10 PM nearly every night.
  • I am taking time to write.
  • My blog reached 30,000 viewers today.  Sometimes I even hear that my writing is inspiring those that take time to read my writings. YAY!  I so love sharing my inner thoughts through writing.
  • I spoke with one of my closest friends this week after a too long hiatus.

Insights for the week

  • Omm backwards is Moo. (Thanks Dietz Family)
  • My intuition keeps getting stronger and stronger; I love that I am learning to actively listen and respond to my gut.
  • Finding answers to questions is not always so simple. . . .Never ask your friends what is better a Vitamix vs. Blendtec OR Nutri-Bullet vs. Ninja. 🙂 Can you tell my blender is dying and I am into making green smoothies?
  • Everyone has a different perspective about the practices of the High Holy Days.  I am thinking next year I may create my own practice and share with those that are interested.
  • Words have meaning and attitude; just when you think something makes sense, you learn it doesn’t.

I love that I can always find light even when I am walking down a dark alley.  Hoping the same for you too!

With love, light, & blessings
Chava

 

Read Full Post »

Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 26 Elul or 4 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

~ ~ ~

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of  difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall
Primatologist, Anthropologist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace

~ ~ ~

(Note: Before you read this blog entry, know that I am fairly hard on myself.  I believe that everything I do in life can impact the world for good and for bad.  Every interaction I have with people or the environment can make a difference.  So I try to walk in the world knowing that I need to be mindful at all times.  And since I am being brutally honest, I try to surround myself with people that embody conscious living as they walk in the world.  I want to connect with people that believe in their power and actively want to make a difference for good.)

Everything we do matters.

AND we cannot sustain equal intensity in all areas of our lives.  Sometimes we have to decide what focuses we will have.  My hope is that each of us decide on 3-5 actions that can impact the world in positive ways.   And while I am at it, let me throw out the idea that living positively needs to begin at home.

Each of us will define home according to our own uniqueness.  For some of us, it is simply our own little family unit; for others, it could be their spiritual community; and for others, it could be their neighborhood, their community, their spiritual community, their ethnic group.. . .the list can go on and on.

Take a moment and consider what you can do in your life to make the world a little bit healthier than it currently is.  Below I will share a few things on my family’s list.

  1. Take a moment to smile or have a sweet verbal exchange with nearly everyone I meet.
  2. Make time for the people and things that jazz you.
  3. Always consider your carbon footprint.
  4. Conscious eating and shopping – organics, local, human rights, fair-trade
  5. Adopt rescue animals
  6. Recycle, Reuse – Try to obtain and pass on as much as we can at thrift shops, free cycle, Craig’s List, friends, etc.
  7. Share your views/listen to others’ views
  8. Listen to music that inspires living positively
  9. Connect with people who share our beliefs/values – interest groups (political, environmental, social, spiritual, human rights, etc.)
  10. Spread light

In truth, I am in the midst of thinking what I need to focus on so that I can make a positive impact in our world.  I am fortunate that I can do a ton, but I do believe it is time to focus a little more heavily in one area of my life.  I will let you know once I decide.

How about you? “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of  difference you want to make.”

With blessings & light,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775 – http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is the third day following Rosh Hodesh (beginning of the month) Elul; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move forward.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

שמע קולי – Hear My Voice

Have you ever noticed that the same words can have many different meanings depending how they are said, to whom they are said, and when they are said?

Words have power.  When we use them wisely and with intention, they have the ability to impact those that hear them and those that speak them.

The two most significant or empowering words in my world are  שמע קולי – Hear My Voice.  They have guided me for over five years in each and every human interaction I have.  And while I mostly say them silently, they remind me on how I need to walk through life.

Initially these words came to me in a chant that helped center me and made me feel whole.  It is a chant that I wrote when I needed deep medicine to heal my sad and mourning soul.  And the beauty of it is that as I have grown so has this chant.  The words are still helping me to grow into the human being that I want to be.

שמע קולי (Hear My Voice) has three parts:

  1. When I am first chanting these words, I am saying the words to me.  I need to hear my voice; I need to listen to my thoughts, my beliefs, my needs, and my dreams.  With each repetition, I have to accept what I really feel and find a way to manage what I know in my heart, my mind, and my soul. It is my job to not only listen to what is on my mind, but for me to wake up and navigate where I am in the most honest ways that I can.
  2. When I am chanting this second part, I am focused on my relationship with others.  If I am navigating a soulful relationship with a beloved, I concentrate on what I need and what the other person may need of me.  My prayer is that the two of us (whoever we are) are working towards our connection together in whatever ways we need to do this.  I also use part two of this chant practice to work on all the dynamics I have with everyone I interact.
  3. Finally, in the third part of this chant, I am concentrating on how I walk in the larger world.  I want to have integrity in all that I do and in all the thoughts that I have.  In a perfect world, I want my heart, my mind, and my soul to be aligned with one another.  I want to live actively and consciously with the values that I hold dear.  I want to walk with the godliness that guides my spirit.  When I write a blog or work on my book, I want the words to be meaningful and truthful.  I believe that I am part of the universe and everything I does matters in some way.

When I begin and end this chant practice, I do all three parts; however, in the middle I focus on whatever relationship needs the most work.

Creating healthy relationships is holy work.

As my Elul Journeys continue, may I take the time I need to listen to my voice and to create healthy interactions with the world around me. May I nurture my love of life and feel inspired to walk fully within the beauty that surrounds me.

With blessings & light,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Listening To My Body: Allowing it to Heal

This week I got slam-dunked with a virus.  In truth, I know that illness came to me not because I stood near someone with a virus, but because I needed to have some time to sort out my feelings and heal from all that has been going on in the last few months.  And perhaps, I got sick because I needed to just stop moving for a little while and rest.

Yesterday, I don’t think I left my bed for more than 20 minutes, maybe even less.  As my fever remained a solid 101+ degrees (I normally run about 97.1), I was fairly miserable and I physically could not move.  Today, my body’s temperature seemed to be quite normal, but my body wasn’t buying it.  Today’s activities included showering, laying down, going to the chiropractor, laying down, taking Maddie on a short walk, laying down. Each activity took no more than 15 – 30 minutes, each nap or resting took about 2 hours. . . .and I am still wiped.

Sick June 2014Stop. . .Listen. . .What a concept

My body is telling me something. It is telling me to stop and frankly it isn’t giving me a choice.  Even if I wanted to go for a long walk or to work, I couldn’t do it.  Even my time on Facebook or blogging has had to be short, I simply do not have the energy or ability to do much more than rest.  And in truth I fear the results of me ignoring my body.  I fear serious illness.  So, while I can’t afford to refrain from working now that I am paid hourly; I also can’t afford to wipe myself out.

This week, I needed some time to process all that has been going on in my world and to make some decisions about how I will proceed professionally and emotionally.  My body is making sure I listen to my need to process by not allowing me the opportunity to move.  The last 7 months have been hard, really hard.  In fact much of the past several years have been a struggle.  I have never focused on the challenging times or allowed them to control how I walk in the world, but that doesn’t mean all has been ok.

There is a plus side to all of this.  In this moment, I am feeling optimistic and clear; my life and my children’s lives will be good.  Whatever we do, wherever we go, life will be good.

While I believe I will go to work tomorrow, my guess is that I will be gone no more than 5 hours and then I will return to rest until I am ready to move again.  And for this weekend, I have already said no to working so that I can continue my healing journey.

This week’s virus has allowed me the time I needed to take a deep breath, stop, and listen to my body.

For next time, it is my hope that I remember to breathe, stop, and listen to my body before my body tells me it has no choice.

 

Read Full Post »

Middah (character trait) focus: Listen to the quiet

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

“”Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.” 
~Maya Angelou’s last tweet from May 23,

When I was a little girl my father used to look into my eyes and put each hand on one of my ears and apply loving pressure.  As he did, he would whisper ‘Listen to the silence.”  I loved those peaceful moments.  When I had my own sons, my father reminded me of those moments and started doing it to each of my boys when they were just hours/days old.  Even today, I remember the warmth and the loving feeling that came over me.  I love how children always smile or relax when you hold their ears; it is so sweet.

Today I love the silence and the feeling that overcomes me when I am able to sit in the silence and appreciate the messages that surround me.  Even today I feel the warmth and loving feeling when I take a moment and listen to the silence.  Perhaps the warm feeling that washes over me is God’s energy or perhaps it is Godliness; either way I will welcome it.

May we each find a way to do that kind of listening, in that kind of quiet.

Listening to the quiet of the sunrise in Tucson. . .

Listening to the quiet of the sunrise in Tucson. . .

 

 

Read Full Post »

Middah (character trait) focus: Loving My Teens & All My Students For Who They Are

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

Over the years I have been transformed by the young people that have touched my life; each and every one of them added depth to my life.  Somehow they trusted me and as their trust grew so did my ability to connect with them.  What I love about all of the children and teens that I have known over the years is that as long as I was willing to listen, I could build relationships with them.  I am so humbled by the different connections I have experienced.

Back in 2002, when I started working at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, I had no idea how to work with preteen girls.  But I didn’t actually realize that I didn’t have the skills, I faked it and somehow with each success I grew.  I loved the girls that were to become my Rosh Hodesh Girls (a group that met during the first days of the new moon each month); my life was better because of the work I did with them for several years.  The work transformed me and made me more aware of what it means to be a teacher, a mentor, woman, and a friend.  I wish I could thank each and every one of the young women today, but I have lost contact over the years.  Sigh.

Why am I reflecting back to my Rosh Hodesh Girls now?

Loved my time with Lucy Heller, Karen Judin, Rachel Rheingold - shown with Chava Gal-Or (from left to right)

Loved my time with Lucy Heller, Karen Judin, and Rachel Rheingold – shown with Chava Gal-Or (from left to right)

Today, three amazing young women took me to lunch.  Two years ago, I met them when I began working at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson.  Two of them taught Israeli dance and one was a madricha, (a teaching assistant); all three of them were giving and wise with their students and their friends too.  Within a very short time of meeting these three teens, I grew to like them very much; they became people that I now consider to be friends.  While I have always treasured the relationships I have built with my students, it was my relationship with the now college students from Adat Shalom that opened me up to really building meaningful relationships with those that were once simply my students.

One of the things I treasured most about my time with the Temple Emanu-El teens today was when they told me how I impacted them.  What I know now is that I touched their lives because I respected them as individuals and as teens; I listened to them and appreciated whatever they brought to the table; I trusted them to be leaders.  The bottom-line is that I do not believe in coercive leadership; I believe in building partnerships.

So often I work with rabbis, teachers, and parents that feel the need to tell our teens and all of our children not only how to walk in the world. but how to use their minds.  I don’t feel this way.  I want to open a door or a window.  I want to share the tools I treasure and the knowledge that has guided me throughout life; I want to give those I work with the room to play and to experience Judaism in a way that is comfortable for them.  My goal is always to hear both what those I work with are saying and what they are not yet saying; I want all the children, teens, and adults that I work to be comfortable with me and the gifts I have to offer.  My door is open.

Today I realized that all three teens were not just my co-workers, but my friends.  May they always remember that my door will be open to them.  I have grown to love them not simply as I love all my students and families; I love them as the beautiful souls that they are; I love them as my friends.

I will always be grateful to the Adat Shalom girls and the families that trusted me so many years ago.  Without them, I would not be the person I am.

Read Full Post »

Middah (character trait) focus: Build a Healthy Foundation

Yoga gives me many of the tools I need to create a stronger and healthier yesod (foundation).

Yoga gives me many of the tools I need to create a stronger and healthier yesod (foundation).

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom.  For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth.

During much of my life, I wanted to be fortified by people that could comfort me and protect me; I wanted to be surrounded by a cocoon of  beloveds.

Today as I was reflecting on the what it means to build a healthy foundation, I realized that each individual needs to independently build their own strong yesod, foundation; only by nurturing yourself can you have the power to go from slavery to freedom ultimately as a means to sustain and help one to become their highest self.  While each of us can gain support from those that surround us, we need to do some incredible work ourselves.

Building a healthy foundation means:

Breathe deeply, move frequently.
Nurture your soul, fuel your body.
Believe in yourself, reach for your dreams.
Do your part to repair the world and do it with all your heart.
Give yourself space to feel and to be.

Surround yourself with people that accept who you are.
Laugh and cry as you are called to do.
Listen to the words and the space between the words.
Love and be loved.
Trust in the universe and in the Godliness that is.

Inspiration for this blog came from Alden Solovy, a writer, a liturgist, a poet, and a Facebook friend.  Here is a link to his blog in which he honors Day 37 of the Omer http://tobendlight.com/2012/04/15/ethics/.

 

Read Full Post »

Shemati Reconsidered

Shemati Reconsidered

Hearing is about noting the sound or the words being heard.  Sometimes it is also about connecting with the energy or the rhythm of what’s going on around you.  If I am honest, listening, really absorbing what is being said and what is going on around you is one of the most sacred acts one can do.

Shema in Hebrew means so many things; it means hear, listen, absorb, focus. . . .it means be present with the sounds and the rhythm of the earth and with whom you stand.  When you are able to be fully present, you open you heart to what is.

In February, I had a viceral amd temporary response, http://wp.me/pthnB-ox, to the word Shemati, the word that had previously meant so much to me. . . perhaps I just had a temper tantrum of sorts.  The word that I had previously held so dear started to hurt me.  In my aloneness, I believed that no one could truly hear the depths of my words and my thoughts.  While there might be some truth to that, I have since returned to peace with trusing that word when uttered from a place of truth.

I am a human being that wrestles with my place in this world.  Where do I belong? Who wants to truly hear what is going on in my head? And do I really have anything worthy of listening to.  As a general rule, my self esteem is strong yet I have moments in which I grapple with the power of my silence.  Perhaps I should say less, walk more gently, and serve others a little more.    While my voice matters, it might have more power in the silence.

And then there are other times when I love the power of my voice and how I am able to connect with people when I use my voice;  I  also love the silence.  The key is finding the balance.

Honoring others comes when I allow others to be real with me and when I trust my own voice and how I interact with any individual or group of individuals.  When I am in a place of integrity, I can say shemati.   And when I am in trustworthy connections, I can believe when folks say shemati to me.  Shemati really does strengthens those connections.

To be fully transparent, I have only started to dip my toe into fully utilizing the word shemati again.  And I have to say it is starting to feel good again. . .it takes time to reconnect with an old friend.

Today, at some point in a conversation with my friend, I used the word shemati.  And with that one word, my friend’s joy was so full; she knew I was returning home.  I was finding my voice and finding center with a word that I really do hold so dear.

Temper tantrum over.  🙂

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »