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Posts Tagged ‘metaphor’

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 . . . .]

‘it takes all kinds to make a world’

People's mandala - 12 hands

This world is complicated, but that doesn’t mean we should passively engage in the world around us.  In fact, we should embrace the differences that each of us have and work together to make the world a better place.

Tonight during the class I took at the Lev Shalem Institute of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, I found myself in awe of one of the last insights Rabbi Jonathan Kligler shared.  He explained that the Kabbalistic wisdom for today’s Counting of the Omer was about bringing the male and female energy together in the world. Isn’t that a great metaphor for life!

There are so many layers to how life evolves or works. Each person brings their own narrative, skill.s, and interests to the world.  With that in mind we need to take advantage of what each of us bring to the table and look for the ways to grow and stretch accordingly.

Everyone of us has a lot to offer; now can we find a way to work together. What ideas do you have?

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all of my heart.”

~Vincent Van Gogh

 

A long time ago I realized that I always have a choice on how to navigate my life’s journeys.  And while it may take a little time to decide how I will ultimately maneuver, I absolutely still have a choice.  And yes sometimes I have to simply allow myself to feel before figuring out a plan.

Two years ago, I came to Tucson for a position that I had hoped would be great for my soul and maybe even take me into retirement.  Eighteen months later, my dream job went to half-time and then the position was eliminated six months later.  Financial challenges for my employer was the ultimate reason that I was left without a position,  Regardless of the reason, it still left my sons and I in a part of the country that we had few friends and now little money to support ourselves.  And it also left me with an opportunity to actively explore what options I have for my next chapter.  (Note: While my sons are living with me now, I realize that as I type this that they are emerging into adulthood.  I love watching them grow and look forward to seeing how they evolve.)

Yes, the journey invokes some fear and at the same time it mostly inspires me to seek the possibilities that will honor my essence.  How cool is that?  With each passing day, I can consider what doors I will go through or whether or not I will simply sit in the doorway and get a taste of what could be.

With each step I have taken in this journey, I have been touched by the generosity of a few awesome friends and the love and caring of many others.  One friend gave me a job to help support myself as I look for a position that would allow me to not only survive financially, but thrive as a human being.  Another friend gave me a computer that he rebuilt after my computer stopped working.  One dear friend gave me a substantial amount of money to fix my car and a few others have offered to help if need be. And other folks have helped me improve my resume, given me an ear, and found little ways to show they care.  There seems to be no shortage of ways that my friends are willing to help; in truth, some of the love is sometimes overwhelming.  

Amazingly, I am really OK and my sons are good too!!!  Going through each and every emotion is what needs to happen; sometimes I am focused and sometimes more distracted.  Life is moving forward and I am not only hanging on for the ride, I am making decisions all the time.

The great news is that overall I am really happy taking this journey.  It isn’t easy, but I am actually forcing my to look deeply at who I am and what I want in my life.  The obvious options or ideas are not necessarily the given paths for me any longer.  I am open to finding the best place for me to go whether it be for long or short term.

Catalina Mountains remind me to keep climbing. :)

Catalina Mountains remind me to keep climbing. 🙂

Every morning, I see the beauty of the Catalina Mountains outside my bedroom window.  As I gaze to the north, the mountains appear like a metaphor reminding me that I can always keep climbing the mountain and striving to become the best person I can be.  

Not only have I taken this time to explore what to do for a living, I have also considered where I want to live, what I want to own, how I need to evolve creatively, what writing projects would give my life more meaning, how to live more consciously and healthy, who I want in my life, and how can I serve the world I live in the best way possible.  There are so many options to consider and so many ways to navigate this journey.

The choices I make now may not be the choices that stay with me forever – that is truly fine.  The key is to explore each option and at some point let the universe open up for me as it will.  Living as authentically as possible feels like the best way to emerge with inner peace.

I am starting to learn a little more about what I love, what and who I need, and what jazzes my soul.  At this point, I can’t share too much because I am just letting it resonate inside of me.  Once it takes root, I can’t wait to let you in.

Every night, I look up to the skies and I watch the cycle of our beloved moon.  Watching the moon’s cycle, reminds me that life is full of cycles too.  And I am going to continue to embrace my exploration for all the days of my life. 

Let the journey continue. . . .

 

 

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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: embracing change – it is a process

Middot (character traits) are Torah terms that refer to the positve Jewish character traits that we aspire to have.  In my current Counting of the Omer, I have broadened the tent in some ways.  My guess is that each and every aspect of my personality can be put into a specific middah category/box if that is your need, but I need to break out of the box.  As someone who grapples with the constraints that exist, I am feeling empowered to do the work of moving forward and away from so many of those constraints.

Embracing change -it is a process reminds me that all change is a process, healthy changes can’t happen overnight.  Work needs to be done.  Moving from slavery to freedom is a powerful metaphor for what continues to transpire in all aspects of life from nature to personal development from the political to the non-political.  Life constantly evolves.

As I type this blog piece, I am embracing so many potential changes; all are changes I want, some need to evolve at a quicker rate.  On the other hand I am blessed to be able to transform in a multitude of ways and in my own time.  It really is ok if transformation takes place in it’s right time.

Just one flower is greeting me. . . .

Just one flower is greeting me and then. . . .

Now three open flowers welcome me every afternoon. . . .

Now three open flowers welcome me every afternoon. . . .

Every morning three closed flowers welcome me and then open as morning progresses. . . .

Each & every morning three closed flowers welcome me and then open as morning progresses. . . .

 

 May each of us find the tools we need to evolve and manage a  healthy process as move forward.

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Note: I am not a yogi, not really; still I have learned from the wisdom of my many yoga classes.  With each breath, I should breathe deeply as I reach towards the heavens and the earth. This allows my blood to flow as the energy moves to where it needs to move.

With the concept of reaching in mind, I want to share one of the strongest metaphors of my life.

TreesFromAbove

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Libowitz

Looking at the nakedness of a tree in winter, I wanted to share some stream of consciousness that is deep inside of me.  It all started with a song.

My Roots Go Downwords and music by Sarah Pirtle, © 1979 and 1989 Discovery Center Music BMI

Chorus:
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down.

Love the chorus to the song My Roots Go Down – I once did a workshop where we all wrote our own verses. The metaphors that were created by the different groups were both meaningful and deep.  With that in mind, I wanted to make myself naked like the trees for a moment.  I want you to know where my heart and head are in this moment.

My version #1:
I am a woman, intense as can be.
I am a woman seeking to be me.
I am a woman creative in my soul.
 I am a woman.

My version #2:
I am a writer sharing from my heart.
I am a writer creating my own art.
I am a writer striving to be clear
 I am a writer.

With each word, I am stretching myself and hoping that my roots go down and become rooted to the earth as they reach out to the heavens.  I want my words to matter.

Today, I touch those I meet with my soulful energy.  I have so much to give and many receive it and crave it.  That hasn’t always been the case; during much my life, I was a chameleon.  I would blend into world around me.  What I thought didn’t matter-it didn’t.  The good news is that I didn’t always realize it until later when I looked back.  Learning from my past experiences only strengthen my roots today.

So, I stand tall and proud, I now know that my energy reaches out into the world.  When I walk into the room, people often smile.  When I post a blog or a positive status line on Facebook, my written words count.  And with each relationship, I build stronger roots and develop stronger branches to reach out into the world.

I am a woman.  I am a writer. I am a mother.  I am so many things.  I am someone who strives to have integrity with each and every step.  Sometimes I succeed; other times I fail.  After all, I am human.

My roots go down. . . .

With Blessings and light,   Chava

P.S. – May we all strive to make our roots healthy and as our branches emerge to towards light.

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Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

closedOvenDoor

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.

Last Friday, my boys and I really wanted to make challah.  Friends of ours had introduced us to Tom Sawyer flour which was supposed to work cup for cup the same way that regular flour worked.  So with our new bag of Tom Sawyer Flour in hand, we found an old challah recipe from our pre-celiac days and attempted to make challah.

On Facebook last Friday, I acknowledged our latest challah fiasco when I posted:

“There is good news and bad news:

“It is with great sadness that I share that my first gluten free challah in my new home needs to visit the garbage disposal.

“The good news is that for 20 minutes I had the opportunity to prepare a challah dough that felt absolutely amazing.

“Sigh. . .”

The better news is that Aryeh allowed NONE of this attitude to emerge.  He popped our very flat challah back into the oven to cook more.  While it never rose, it cooked a little – yay!

Funny that the challah seemed to proof beautifully, yet it lacked the ability to actually rise.  Well at least, Aryeh’s saw the possibilities and forced  us to continue with the challah making plan; there ended up being no garbage disposal for our challah.  And on top of that, It ended up tasting amazing.  The biggest problem with this initial challah making scene was that I gave up waaaayyyyyyy too quickly!!! I am so grateful that Aryeh had faith!  We ended up with very flat (didn’t rise), but awesome tasting challah.

challahFlat

Our Shabbat dinner was amazing, our company was enjoyable, and the next morning Aryeh decided to make our very dense challah into french toast.  We took turns chiseling (cutting :)) the challah into small slices of challah.  It was hard on the hands, but awesome for the spirit.  It felt so nice to actively turn a dense block of challah into a work of art.  In my opinion all baking and cooking is a form of art.

TransformationChallah

Cutting the challah took enormous energy and strength, but with the use of a little muscle and a happy disposition we were able to turn the dense challah brick into sliced challah.  And we never wasted even a crumb.  (OK, maybe we lost a few crumbs. ;))

SlicedChallah

After soaking the challah and allowing the egg to moisten the challah, Aryeh started the process of making the challah into french toast.  It really is an art-form to turn a challah brick into french toast.  Loved seeing my son make french toast happen.

InFryingPan

So my pessimism had no place in the challah making or in the french toast creations.

FrenchToast

This past Shabbat’s challah seems to have be sa metaphor for the way I move forward in life.  For the most part, I believe in pushing forward and finding the opportunities that exist beyond each and every door.  So while the challah might have initially appeared to be a failure, it ended up being awesome from start to finish.  The challenge ended up being a gift.  Even though, the challah was dense and hard, it also made for the most flavorful  bread and french toast we have had in a long time.

Opening the door, in this case the oven door, to possibility allowed the boys and I to enjoy every moment that surrounded this past Shabbat’s challah.  The prepping brought back memories and led to family time; turning success into failure allowed for many lessons; and the challah and subsequent french toast tasted yummy!

May we all find the the open doors, the gifts in what is.

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If you want to succeed, you have to open the door. ~Chava

For me is is profoundly clear that in order to move forward within life you have to open doors.

Over the last year, I have been drawn to the metaphor of the open door.  So much happens when you walk through a doorway.  Each step can lead to infinite opportunities and answers to questions both known and unknown.  Each step is also filled with gifts and challenges.  Sometimes you get to where you think you are going and other times you find a horizon you weren’t quite expecting.

The journey’s dichotomies reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books/songs.  Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it.  Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

With each step there is a child-like excitement and then a little trepidation as I realize that the only way to succeed is to go through the steps that will help you reach success.  And success isn’t always going through the doorway; sometimes success is the journey itself.  Either way, when you are taking any trek, you really do have to go through it!

Every day, I am faced with the decision on how to walk through the doorways of life.  While I tend to smile a lot and find humor when I can, I also struggle with finding balance.  Intensity courses through my veins as I struggle with my own perfectionist tendencies.  I embrace life journey’s but I also struggle with many of the steps I take.

The benefit of being aware is that  in this stage of life I can now take a deep breath before I allow the struggle for perfectionism to hurt me.  I haven’t always been that way and the consequences of my behavior will always be a thorn.  In my early twenties, I destroyed much of my writing and my paintings.  The realization that I was much less creative than I wanted to be hurt me to the core; I wondered if I had anything to offer the world (even my small world).  In response to the pain, I destroyed my work.

For me, I often find gifts within the struggles of realities.  So while I ultimately destroyed my works and in the process broke my own heart, I also learned from my actions.  I probably will never destroy my work in the same way again.  I also learned that I can handle loss and move forward to create again.  Loss is always profoundly painful.  Yet I know that if you allow yourself the time to heal and the space to do the work, healing is a strong possibility.

Walking through any door, metaphoric or real, takes not only courage but wisdom to discern what derekh, path, is best.  And the work doesn’t end there; with each step we need to keep reflecting honestly and tweaking how you move through each open door.

One of my core guiding principles is that I have to find light within each journey even the darkest ones; finding light is not optional.  The light, even when it is just a small ember, helps me to remember that there is something both within myself and outside of myself to keep my spirit alive and enlightened.

May we all find light and ways to grow with each and every step we take.

PS-Over the next few days, I will share some of the doors that I am moving through currently.  Life is a journey.

PPS – I would love it if one of my good friends would happen to have a good camera AND would like to go drive around Tucson and take photos of doors, tunnel entrances, bridges. . .photos that represent doorways.

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Gary’s Garden courtesy of Gary Tenen

The Garden Song written by David Mallett is an metaphor for my life, probably most of our lives.  Whenever I try to navigate a new skill or a new job or when I try to wrap my head around something that I struggle to understand, the below words come into my head:

Inch by inch, row by row

Gonna Make this garden grow

Gonna mulch it deep and low

Gonna make it fertile ground

The last few years have been full of new opportunities to push myself in new directions.  With each step I have essentially been forced or maybe inspired to explore how I will take each step.  While I sometimes appear to be self assured and even brave, that isn’t always the case. I struggle with the desire to soar in everything I do, yet I can’t possibly be all that I want to be.  It is what is is.

This week alone, I have started learning how to weed a large garden.  Slowly.  I am still getting to know a new community with all of the gifts and challenges.  I hiked on a mountain and for the first time in decades, I really struggled with a ridiculously easy trek.  With each of these new experiences, I have to remember that it takes time to feel comfortable with new experiences.

Life takes work.  In order to move through life experiences, I have to remember that the choice of how I will step is mine alone.  Sometimes baby steps propel me forward; other times I leap.  There is a time and a place for both types of movement.   Only through movement will I move forward, will I learn I new skill, will I gain insight. Only through movement will I succeed in my endeavors.

For me, there is incredible beauty in remembering that I really can move ‘Inch by inch” . . . Here’s John Denver’s version.

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