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Posts Tagged ‘listening’

Gratitude abounds.

Over the past weeks, I have found that my entire being has craved quiet. The chatter of loved ones has been too much for me. Voices on the phone, chatting via text, and conversations with strangers have all nearly stopped.

The good news is that I have been able to show up for work, for family/friends, and for the world as needed. If, however, I was not needed, I have learned not to show up.

With every ounce of my being, I want to make this world a better place. Wandering our beloved universe, I have always wanted to serve those in need and our earth too. At the same time, I have also had to temporarily release my sense of responsibility for the world.

Honoring my need for quiet has forced me to wrestle with the question, ‘Am I enough? In truth, the answer is that I could be more, do more, and give more. AND I am also aware that if I didn’t take time to move towards a quieter place, I wouldn’t be able to emerge as one of the many caregivers of our world. We have to take care of ourselves first so that we can ultimately do the holy work of showing up for our world.

Growing up, my father used to gently and firmly put his hands over my ears and cradle my head lovingly between his hands. With love he would say, “Listen to the quiet.”

While my father no longer walks in this world, his sweet words resonate inside my soul.

Abba*, I am listening. I hear the quiet.

rocking chair

*Daddy

 

 

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My pup with no name has added so much to my life. While the first days/weeks are a lot of work, they are also a ton of laughter and even more joy.

This afternoon, I was jazzed to finally take a couple of selfies with our sweet pup. I believe that he is a gift that came at the perfect moment. This became evident by how much I started to sing as soon as I knew he was coming to us.

I am not sure what I was thinking when I decided that I needed this pup or that this was the right time to train a potential therapy dog. Perhaps I am nuts or perhaps I am tapping into the divine energy that is calling me to do this. Perhaps both. . .

The time has come for deep breaths, sweet cuddles, honest seeking, and kinetic joy.  The messages have been loud and clear. I am listening. Welcome to my messy and beautiful life.

So as I do all of the above, I will also try my best to remain as present as I can. I am up for the challenge and for living life more fully not just with the pup with all life’s moving parts. I got this; we all do!

Sending love, light, and blessings. . . .

PS: Feel free to vote on the best name for Mr. Pup. Right now we are choosing between Skittles, Dreamer, and Magic

PPS: If you like this post, please let me know by liking it and/or leaving a comment.

 

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Everything we say and don’t say matters; everything we do and don’t do matters.

Words and Silence – Action and inaction. . . .

Over the past many weeks, I have been more selective with what I say and what I do. Allowing myself to room for silence of voice and action has sometimes grounded me and has sometimes left me profoundly uncomfortable.

Too much is going on in the world. Every day, we are bombarded with information on the Iran Deal, US politics, climate change, the illness of loved ones, poverty, racism, human trafficking, refugees, immigration, gun control (or lack of control). The world feels really dark and painfully out of control. Opinions, prejudices, and biases emerge as if they are fact. And the facts are skewed by whoever is sharing them.

While each of us may see or hear about the same event, we tend to interpret what is happening based on our life experiences and views. I am no different. And I am realizing that so many people lack the power to discern what is happening in the world because they are being influenced by whatever sunglasses they are wearing instead of by interpreting the facts with the openness to really embrace the facts.

With so many human travesties and a feeling of hopelessness, I find that I am doing less than I should. I am not visiting the sick, helping teens navigate the world; I am not taking the time to care for others or the environment as much as I should.  Instead I am feeling stuck; I am unable to process the world as I once did.

Add the above to life’s normal challenges and some not so normal challenges, I have been feeling paralyzed and unable to make a difference in the world.

With all of this in mind, over the recent period of time, I have found myself going a little more inward and looking for quiet ways to care for myself more. This week alone, I have slept more, read a little more, taken some amazing yoga classes and listened to some amazing podcasts. I have allowed myself some time to invest in close friends and my sons. This time has brought core exhaustion to my core, but it has also brought about some intense realizations.

When I allow my momentary sense of hopelessness to surface, I live in fear that the world can never recover from the human conditioning that exists today. And then. . . just as I settled in myself sparks began to emerge, so many beautiful moments. There are people that are really trying to address the horrific issues of our century. A couple of days ago, I received an email with the following link http://www.globalgoals.org/prayer-for-everyone/.  Open it up and allow yourself to dream, to believe, and then to join those that have created Global Goals, those that have yet to give up on the human atrocities. There is work to do; we can make a difference.  At the same time, that I woke up to find the above link in my mailbox, a couple of new friends and old friends alike have found ways to let me know that my voice matters.

A day doesn’t pass without me looking deeply into the world.  With that responsibility comes the opportunity to listen and to share; we can learn from one another.  Listening and sharing leads to action and sometimes inaction. There are things we must do and sometimes we simply can’t do it all.

As I move towards 5776, I am aware that my voice matters so I need to find my voice even as I listen to all of the voices that surround me. In the coming year, may I leave the very tight cocoon I have woven for myself and be the butterfly that brightens the world around me. May I truly make a difference by impacting the world and doing things that make improve the lives of not only my family, my community, but the larger world too.

Can I be a butterfly that makes the world a little more beautiful? Courtesy of Karen Judin

Can I be a butterfly that makes the world a little more beautiful?
Courtesy of Karen Judin

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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.

Middah (character trait) focus:  Listening

“Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.” ~Holly Shere

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with both the spoken and unspoken words, music and silence between the notes.  Both sound and silence have impacted my world for good and for bad.

As a little girl, I was not blessed to hear like most other children.  while I don’t remember the details of my hearing journey, I do recall the first time I really heard sound.  The overwhelming emotion and pain was too much; I didn’t like the harshness that entered by quiet world at around 6 years old.  After that experience, I don’t believe it took me too long to learn to love music or the spoken word; I did struggle to handle some of the anger that was spoken in loud, infuriated voices.

Growing up, I learned to gauge how my day would move forward just by listening to what was going on around me.  Sound and silence both have enormous power to heal and to hurt you, to calm you or to trouble you.  One of the most important lessons I learned in life and that I am still learning today is that I don’t have to fill the space between the words or music with sound; silence can have it’s own innate beauty.

When I was a young girl, my father used to hold my ears between his hands; I loved the pressure and the warmth of those moments.  When my own children were young, my father would often hold them the same way and say, “Listen to the quiet.” As soon as, my father touched my children’s head, they would instantly smile and relax.  Perhaps we should all take time to ‘listen to the quiet’.

May each of us find holiness in both the silence and the sounds that surround us.

Holy is the silence; holy is the sound.

Holy is the silence; holy is the sound. ~Holly Shere

 

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Note to Seeing the Door series:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Have you ever noticed how many different types of doors exist in the world?  Nearly each and every door leads to an opportunity.  Some doors are physical; other doors are metaphoric.  All doors lead to opportunity.  

Words have power.

Words can heal; words can hurt.  Each of us have experienced the power that can come with words.

Healing with words can be life changing.  Healing happens when you sit across from someone who is hurting and you have an open and loving conversation.  Listening is a key to moving forward as is really speaking from your heart and saying what needs to be said.

Living honestly and walking gently have an awesome power.  As human beings, living in a place of warmth, kindness, and truth creates relationships that fuel our soul.  Personally, I try to spread sunshine with words; it really isn’t difficult.  It just means thinking before you speak and being conscious of the power of both your words and your mood.  If you really take the time to think before you speak, positive interactions will happen.  No question.

The beauty of my dog Maddie is that she loves always with good intentions and never speaks ill of anyone; we could all learn from her.

The beauty of my dog Maddie is that always loves with good intentions and never speaks ill of anyone; we could all learn from her.

Over the past months, I have seen the power of words time and time again.  What I have learned is intention is a powerful tool.  When you share your thoughts about people you know and people you don’t know, the words have the capacity to damage others.  When you do it with the intention of destruction, that is called lashon hara, otherwise known as the evil tongue or gossip.   Chofetz Chaim (a.k.a. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan) describes lashon hara as the potential to be both truth or lies.  Words can hurt; words can destroy; it almost doesn’t matter if they are truth or not.  As time has passed, I am watching lashon hara destroy people and hurt those around them.

The cycle of destruction is demoralizing to everyone that is part of the chain.  Those people that speak it, those folks that hear it and those individuals that the gossip is about. Lashon HaRa has the capability of literally bringing down each and every one of those that are part of the chain.    Sad and true.

Over the years, I’ve found myself contemplating how to handle truth that needs to be spoken for whatever reason.  What I have come up with is that the key to walking gently is to monitor your intentions.  Are your sharing because change needs to occur or are you sharing in order to be hurtful.  I often say what is on my mind, but my intentions are rarely to destroy, to hurt, or to create problems.   My intention is normally how can we move forward.  I really try to walk gently and spread sunshine.  And I am not perfect; I can still be better.

Lately I and many that I care for have become the object of manipulative conversations and slander; I am struggling with this reality.   Why was the Second Temple destroyed? Because of sinat chinam, senseless hatred of one Jew for another.  We haven’t changed as much as I would have hoped since the time of the Second Temple.  We are still in the midst of baseless hatred.  Instead of being reflective and looking at someone’s intentions, we tend to slander them and their beliefs or we spread lies and exaggerations.  Often there is truth in what is being said, but if you don’t look at the complete picture, you begin single handedly hurting communities and people you once valued.  We are all human beings.

As we move towards the High Holy Days and as we reflect on how we hold ourselves as human beings, may we remember to walk gently, trust the silence a little more, and let go of anger a bit more quickly.  May we remember that most of us have good intentions and do the best we can with the tools we have.  Learn to give the benefit of the doubt and believe that most folks have a kindness about them.

What have I learned about how I hold myself as I watch others? I have learned that there is power in silence; I have learned that words complicate truth; and I have learned that I have my own work to do.  Each experience I have with others leads to seeing new doors.

May we all learn to be more silent and believe in the good intentions of the people that exist in our lives.

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Shemati. . . .

 

I used to love the word Shemati, I hear you. . .I’ve heard you. . . I am with you. . .

Chava'sEar

Recently I fell out of love with the word that had once centered me and helped me feel like I was totally present in a conversation that needed no response.  And then came a day, when I really wanted to be heard. I needed my voice to be heard, to be felt and to be listened to.  My feelings mattered; my thoughts were important; and my wisdom was worthy of considering.  And somehow I felt too alone to believe the one word that had once been dear to my heart.

When I said “Shemati”, I was saying I hear you; I am listening.  I meant it with all my heart. . .Shemati.  And in truth, I believe that others meant it and probably still do mean it when they say the word after I have spoken.

Still I am realizing that  something changed. . .

The day came when my heart and my body yearned to be heard deeply.  I needed my tears to be heard; I needed my heart beat to be felt.  I needed to be heard in a way that needed more than the word Shemati.

I used to feel that whatever I was saying was being heard and felt deeply. When others said the word Shemati in response to my words, I felt heard.  And when I said that word as a response to listening to another soul, it meant that I was being fully present in the conversation.

Becoming challenged by the word Shemati probably did not happen overnight.  I believe the first time I struggled with the word was the day someone kept trying to prove a point they were making.  At first I listened and I understood what they were saying even if I didn’t agree.  Each time I said Shemati they became more irate.  The fact that I heard them did not mean I agreed to what they were saying; it meant that I was respectfully listening.

Following that conversation, I realized that I was a bit uncomfortable with a word that was once full of positive meaning.  😦 I loved connecting with people by saying “I have heard you” or I am listening.  I loved feeling the warmth of that connection regardless of what the conversation was.

And then there was a day that I felt painfully alone and I needed to be comforted.  The word Shemati somehow reinforced how alone I really was.

I have grown challenged by the word that had once resonated deeply for me.

Even as I struggle with the word Shemati; I know that it is my job to find the power behind that one word once again.

Listening to others and really hearing what they are saying is the gift we give not only the person who is sharing, but ourselves too.

Debarti – I have spoken

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Returning to your purest soul = Teshuvah

Teshuvah*

Begins with being honest with yourself

Facing the rawness of who you are

Elohai Neshama*

Finding the infinite possibilities as you come to grips with reality

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Teshuvah

Believing in the future even as you wrestle with your demons and face the past head on

Dancing with the truth

Knowing that nothing is ok, not now

Yet seeking a balance, a time when all can be ok.

*Teshuvah comes when you look inside yourself and dig for the truths of your soul.  In the end of the day, we have the opportunity to reach out and to reach in as we become our most authentic selves.  Often we need to become transparent and sometimes we need to say that we are sorry.  More often than not, what I need is to find my truth and listen.

**Elohai Neshama – God gave me my soul.  Is God all-powerful? I don’t know.  All I know is that I am pure because of my soul.  And it is my job to live in the most purest way I can.  The universe calls me to action; I am alive because the universe still has a role for me.  May I have the strength and the wisdom to honor the universe (including myself and others) by doing what is right, what is good.

 Reflections

My journey over the years has been to seek integrity by living consciously and honestly as a human being.  What makes me soar? What makes me smile? What makes me laugh? Can I cry when the tears are calling out?  Sometimes. . . .I am, after all, a human-being.  I am striving and growing each moment that I am alive.

My intentions matter.  And honoring my intentions is part of my soul’s journey.

Teshuvah is about honoring the realness, the darkness, the realities of life, of my life.  As I prepare for the journeys of my soul, I pray that I am always living in a place of honesty with myself and others.

May I be blessed with the integrity by reaching to be my highest self.

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