Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Maya Angelou’

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space
between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
― Maya Angelou

Music was a huge blessing to me as I sought reprieve from the nightmares of my childhood. It gave sweet moments to get lost in my own cocoon and to momentarily hide from the explosions that threatened life as I knew it.

drumming with dogI nearly always had music playing; I could never get enough. And because my father was in the record business, he introduced me to all the popular music, hot musicians, and and all the records, cassettes, and eight tracks I could possibly want to hear.

 

Even as I left home in my late teens, my love of music never left me. Once I reached my middle to late 30s, I added drumming and chanting to my sweet repertoire of music. 

This new love affair came at the perfect time. It was during my late 30s that the pain of my childhood came roaring back to me when I was recovering  some long forgotten memories. The new wave of despair could only be quieted when I was chanting or drumming.

The good news is that now that I am just entering my mid-fifties, I have found a new rhythm to navigate my traumatic childhood and I still love music! Music will always be my refuge during the hard times and fuel for healthy living too.

What music inspires you on your darkest days? I am always looking for new musical inspiration.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

Read Full Post »

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud Maya Angelou

Enter a caption

There is so much power that comes from silence or from speaking the right words.

Over the last month plus, I have been loving and caring for people that have been facing enormous changes, pain, impending loss, and loss. Most often, there are few or no words to say.

Some people need to feel the love, some know it is there even if it goes unspoken, and some need to talk, to cry, and to be. This makes navigating these connections so very challenging.

Tonight, I received a call from a friend who suffered one of the most tragic losses one could imagine. She needed to talk, to pray, to receive words of comfort.

With little or no voice, I prayed with her. I offered her words of comfort, and I shared prayers and poetry to help her navigate her pain. AND most importantly, I listened. I was so grateful to be there for her and so grateful I answered the phone in my quiet and squeaky voice. (My voice has been on vacation this week.)

I wish I always had the right words to share at every moment and the supportive silence to flow at the right time. I don’t, but I really do my best.

In this moment, I am grateful when I can give what people need and sad when I can’t.

These past months have been humbling. As I have watched so many I adore navigate tough times, I have learned much about human nature and also even more about myself. One of the most challenging truths is that not everyone walks through the world as I do. Their tragedy or struggle is not the same for me as it is for them. My job is to meet those in pain where they are.

Another thing that has become crystal clear is that I need to emerge more authentically as the spiritual soul that I am. And yes, there is always so much to learn with each step. It is time for me to seek more environments/opportunities that allow my full spirit to shine.

Many years ago, I did a chant training in which two of my now dear friends created a chant that said, “Hineini (I am here); How can I serve YOU.” I don’t remember the chant as much as I’d like, but I the words still resonate.

This has been a time of deep reflection for me. I am learning; I am growing.

May I be blessed with the right words or the silence to support those I love and serve.

Read Full Post »

black butterfly

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

Maya Angelou

Ever since I can remember, I have imagined myself wrapped in a sweet cocoon of warmth and safety. Knowing that I can stay there until I am ready to spread my wings and fly. Sometimes I even imagine that I may stay there forever.

Life is full of so many moving and overwhelming parts. On a good day, our hearts and minds are in a good place with a realistic to do list that needs our attention. But the hard days are not far behind. On those days, our hearts are broken open and in need of mending while the to do list goes on for miles.

On the later days, I love the idea of spinning a cocoon around myself with the aspirations of navigating what will ultimately become a deeply reflective transformation.

Only through going inward, can I honor the deepest parts of who I am and who I want to become. While my stories have often empowered me to be the woman I am, they also need to be released in order to birth an even more vibrant me – not so different from shedding the cocoon so that I can fly and reach new heights.

In the last few years, I have been celebrating how perfectly imperfect I really am. My flaws and vulnerabilities are part of a bigger picture – maybe even a masterpiece in the making. I am a spiritual warrior whose resilience has made it possible for me to thrive as I have.

While there may be times when my brokenness leaves me navigating the darkness, more often than not, I am able to take the pain and emerge into a better spiritual space much as the caterpillar emerges a butterfly.

There is so much healing that needs to take place inside of me and around me right now, so for just a little while I will spin the cocoon and allow for the quiet to soothe my spirit. At the end of this journey, may I be ready to take flight and soar to new heights.

With love, light, healing, and blessings,
Chava

Read Full Post »

December 2016 - looking out into waterSometimes I am blessed to open a book of poetry to the perfect poem, a magazine to an article that I needed to hear, or just maybe, the person I most need to see shows up in an unexpected moment. Today seemed to be that day for me, in fact in a weird way all three  of these scenarios seemed to be covered when I opened up the book Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.

Isn’t it funny how life works? I found a passage spoken by poet Maya Angelou and I read a chapter of a what I believe will be a great book written by someone I have no doubt could be my friend if we crossed paths. A few minutes before opening the book, I felt myself go into a dark place as I realized that I have never belonged anywhere – not really.  On a good day, I find peace with myself and enjoy what surrounds me. On a tougher day, I feel deep loneliness that feels like it shreds my heart. On most days, I see-saw back and forth between feeling like I belong and knowing I don’t.  While the journey can feel daunting, I often ride these waves with ease, finding balance along the way.

Post Hurricane Harvey has been challenging. Harvey gave me a lot of time to worry about what I may lose and accept that most of it didn’t matter or at least didn’t matter much. That lead me to reflect about what actually matters to me and who matters. Harvey also brought me face to face with some painful realities and impending losses. I guess you can say that this storm shattered my heart and right now I am taking the time to cry, to heal, and to embrace new opportunities in how I walk in the world. None of the specifics matter in this moment, but this journey has reinforced that I really fit no where and yet I can fit everywhere.

What’s surreal to me is that I do have beautiful villages of people that surround me. For the most part they are somewhat connected while often not connected at all.  Each village gives me places to go when I am looking to surround myself with beloved friends or when I need shelter from a brewing storm, but I am so aware that at any point I can leave without my footprint being missed for too long. This could come from the fact that I am a wandering Jew who has lived in many different places over the years – rarely settling in one place long enough to plant serious roots.

In Brene Brown’s newest book, she quotes Dr. Maya Angelou from an interview she gave Bill Moyers that aired on public television in 1973, she said:

You are only free when you realize you belong no place–
you belong every place–no place at all.
The price is high. The reward is great.

Why is this coming up today of all days?

In part this is emerging because today is Yom Kippur and I am not feeling well enough to be in services. And besides not feeling well, I am having what has become my tug-of-war with this time of the year. I question EVERYTHING about what this time of year means. So. . .what does someone that doesn’t necessarily believe in God do with this energy? How do I navigate what I believe with my love of Judaism and the Jewish people?

On Yom Kippur, traditional teachings tell us that on this day God will decide who will live and who will die. The problem is that I have never believed in THAT God or quite honestly, I don’t really believe in God at all.  For me, Yom Kippur is a time to go inward and to reflect on how I fit into the world and to question do I do enough to make this world a better place. I do believe in the power of the universe, but my faith allows me not to have all the answers, instead I am ok with the unknown and I don’t have to look for God in my life. Instead, I simply chose to adopt an attitude of love for creation and a desire to have a positive impact on the world I live.

For the most part, I have come to accept that even though I have a strong suspicion that I don’t quite fit in to any Jewish community or anywhere, I am still confident that I can navigate nearly any road and visit with ease. I can struggle with God yet still inspire a love of creation and a devotion to Judaism.

Through my writing, I have learned how and when to be a chameleon and when to let my true self shine.  My writing gives me an outlet to comfortably share my vulnerability instead of hiding my views behind my silence; I no longer want to have secrets that force me to be what I am not. Like so many others, I have done that too much in my life.  I guess that is why I am choosing to share what I truly believe about God: I don’t focus on what God is or isn’t, instead I root myself in Godliness or God-energy.  (More on that in a future blog. . .)

Belonging would be lovely, but for now I think it is better that I remain rooted in myself, perhaps even belonging to myself. This way I can be the woman I am — striving to stretch and grow with each and every step I take.  And at the same time, I have found the few friends I value deeply while embracing others that are simply a beautiful part of my life. I guess you could say that while I sometimes feel dark, I am (mostly) content for what I do have.

Have you ever opened up a book that was perfectly aligned to what your spirit needed at the time? I am so grateful that I was able to do exactly that on the holiest day of the Jewish year. I am fairly certain that Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown will continue to motivate me to write more blogs.

Sending love, light, & blessings,
Chava

Read Full Post »

At this point, my beautiful village is probably wondering why I would ever have called myself a loser, but I am. Or at least I have been and sometimes it is still my reality.  The good news is that I do some very holy work; I am always trying to become better person and more healthy too. What I know and trust is that I am definitely a work in progress.

Reflections:
You see I have been known to love the wrong person, to value a connection that has outlived it’s benefits, and to hold on to beliefs that stopped serving me well. My guess is that we all have these moments, but lately I seem to be feeling it more intensely than I have in a while.

  1.  A few mornings ago, I awoke early and found myself reading a new Julia Cameron book. In each of her books, Cameron inspires her readers to begin writing what she refers to as Morning Pages.  Morning Pages are stream of consciousness hand-written writings to help jump start your spirit and often allows you the room to work through some of your own garbage without a need to filter each word. (Who has the wherewithal to filter what you are writing first thing in the morning?)

    This morning, I found myself processing the wounds that my original Morning Pages brought me years ago when someone I should have been able to trust went through my writings. I never quite got over that open wound even though that person is no longer part of my life. But it is time and today, instead of writing the three mandatory pages I wrote six pages of long hand writing and released some of the pain that has been getting in the way for years.

    Taking the time to write Morning Pages helped renew my spirit and give me balance.

  2. Holding too tight to Barbed WireAnd then later in the morning, my friend posted the following photo on her Facebook page. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spend a lot of time making it.”

    Wow, this saying forced me to consider all of the ramifications of not only the challenging relationship that took away my love affair with my original Morning Pages and the relationships that were crushed from that betrayal. That experience  literally changed the course of my life.

    Regardless, my job is still to move forward. Being stuck for years did not serve my future writing, it did not allow me move forward from the relationships that I saw as being non negotiable parts of my life, and it didn’t allow me to build trust with new people who would value all ot even most of the moving parts of me.

  3. One of my more significant challenges has been how I care for my body through food, exercise, and sleep.  This is one of those areas of my life that I need to build a stronger practice of self care. And in truth, I am doing the work, but I have so much further to go.

    Sleep and exercise seem to be faltering behind, but my eating habits are improving by exponentially.  The last few years I have made a ton of changes for good and now I am making more. Except that I am humbled by how often I backslide.

    Even this past week when I was really sick with a virus, I made sure I had some Coca-Cola nearby. As a child and into adulthood, I have always believed that drinking the caramel flavored ‘stuff’ could make anyone better. It is OK to laugh at me now. . . we know:

    • Coca-Cola can corrode a battery.
    • The sugar in Coca-Cola is a huge contributor to obesity.
    • For me, Coca-Cola causes urinary tract infections or UTIs and it feeds into my sugar addiction.
    • Coca-Cola Company has questionable business practices with many human right violations.
  4. How many times have I created friendships with people that I Believe what People tell yousimply adore even though they have told me something that should have been a red flag. I really should embrace Maya Angelou’s insight, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Had I embraced these words, I may have saved myself so much pain over the years.

    A few years ago, I had a friend who I loved deeply.  She used to voice that she felt like she was living in my shadow. She would say things like, “Chavale, you are so strongly rooted in ethical choices”; I don’t know how you do it.  She seemed to love my strong spirit, but in the end she voiced that it also made her feel  inept in some way. One day, she closed the door and ended a friendship that I believed would last a lifetime. Today I realize that I am happiest when I surround myself with conscious individuals who live by their values.

Going Deeper
May I surround myself with those that inspire me to be a better human being as they seek to be the best they can be too. Let me also remember to live with integrity always and to strive to be authentic as I walk in the world not only for myself, but for the world I live.

Life is full of many moving parts. Individually, each part can appear to be overwhelming and if I don’t watch myself, I may see myself as a loser. My job is to look a little deeper, if I do I will most definitely see myself as the work in progress that I am.  Conscious living means giving myself the space to stretch, to grow, and to evolve.

May I always be blessed to see the world clearly and not clouded by my own spiritual low – Keeping perspective and remembering to take one step and then the another. There is always more work to do.

 

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 »