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Posts Tagged ‘mind’

Every time you go into the fire,
you come out with a new life and it’s better than the last one.
~Martha Beck 

Twelve days ago I ate gluten for what I hope will be the last time.  To say that I felt absolutely awful is an understatement.  Every fiber of my being hurt to the extent that nine days after the accidental consumption I ended up in the ER.

Within 20 minutes of eating the gluten-filled panini, I knew I was in for a challenging evening. Within an hour, I felt so sick that for a dramatic moment, I was praying that life would cease.  The good news was that even when I felt the extraordinary discomfort, I knew I would find a way to cope quickly; I also knew that I was in for up to three months of core exhaustion and intense joint pain. Saturday night, October 1st ended up being a total bummer that ruptured a period of spiritual calm. It is hard to remain calm when you are in the midst of being over the top dramatic and crippled with pain.

And then there was this past Sunday, when the pain had escalated to about 8.5 or higher on the 10 point pain scale and I started feeling nauseous, was fighting a fever, and struggled to walk. Going to the ER seemed prudent at the time and like the only option too. With the sense of vulnerability overflowing, I caved into going to a place that lacked the ability to treat me with dignity and made me feel small and insignificant.  Sigh.

Fire vs Shredder

Photo Courtesy of Aryeh Grossman

AND I am now emerging!

My visit to the ER was a reminder that I had recently surrounded myself with a fabulous team of healers. Some of them know me and are directly helping me navigate my health and others are people that are inspiring me spiritually via books, podcasts, and social media. I am so excited to actively engage in my new healing journey!!!

For someone with celiac disease, the gluten fire petrified me, but it is now helping ground me in my health journey. With a team consisting of my sons, my friends, amazing health practitioners, and some very wise souls, I am surrounded by support. The fire of October 1st ignited the importance of what Glennon Doyle Melton refers to as the “trinities – body, mind, spirit. The warrior lives out all three lives: a physical life, an intellectual life, and a spiritual life.”

I consider myself to be a spiritual warrior. My journey to self care has been intense over the years. I have struggled to loosen and/or release some tightly wound ropes that kept me bound to pain and darkness.

Through chanting, drumming, writing, movement, and other creative endeavors, I have found new norms. Six years ago, I openly did a health journey that focused on staying away from eating foods that caused me health challenges.  I lost a ton of weight and I stopped getting UTI infections just be giving up soda, caffeine, and sugar.

While I kept off most of the weight, I am now doing low levels of the above mentioned foods, although effective tonight, I am making a conscious decision to go back to refraining from those foods, plus making some lifestyle decisions.

Perhaps it isn’t ironic, that the decision to create a list of non-negotiables and to openly share my health journey happened on Yom Kippur.  As I sat in services, I was overwhelmed with both a sense of loss and a sense of joy. The loss was that I wasn’t the healthiest that I could be, but the joy came from the realization that I am in the midst of doing good work and I can do even  better work. All three of the ‘trinities’ will get my attention each and every day of this journey.

There are 124 days until my 51st birthday which is:

  • 10,713,600 seconds
  • 178,560 minutes
  • 2976 hours
  • 17 weeks and 5 days

Over the course of this time, via my blog I will share how I am moving forward, who is inspiring me, my practitioners, and the impact that this journey has on my life. Via Facebook, I will share the daily countdown to my birthday and the daily highlights/challenges with each step.

I am so blessed to have my daily writing practice, a new Ayurvedic Practice, a new Acupuncture Practice, and hopefully what will be regular massages with an AWEsome healer. And then there are the daily gifts that I continue to find each and every day. And finally, I feel humbled to have an amazingly supportive work environment to keep me grounded as I find new ways to care for my body, my mind, and my soul.

As Yom Kippur came to a close, I became aware that my physical pain was slipping away and the gates were opening to some very profound and enlightening possibilities.

Onward with love & light,
Chava

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My mind is
spinning
spinning
spinning

I close my eyes
I breathe
I find the center
I find the quiet

There I am

There I am
Not ready to do the next thing

Just ready to see that
There I am

by Jennifer R. Zunikoff

Hineini. Here I am.

As the sun was getting ready to set and the rain was getting ready to fall, my entire being needed to feel the wind pick up while weeding the incredible growth in my backyard.

I’ve never been someone who really knew what to do with any yard I have had. My talents lie in being reflective, connecting with people wherever they are, and writing.  I am also someone who craves being present first and foremost for myself and yet struggles to do just that.

The world seems to call to me and say that I need to do more, I need to be more. And yet I am becoming clear that it may be my time to go to a more insular place. My entire being is gravitating towards a more silent and less kinetic life.

Weeding 16April2016

Hineini. Here I am.

As I reached towards the earth, I realized that pulling the weeds was much more to me than the action I was doing; each weed pulled was a metaphor for the voices in my head. I found myself reflecting about all that I need to weed in my life so that I can become even more whole and authentically me. As always, I need more simplification so with each weed pulled, I asked some hard questions. What do I really need in my life?  What do I want to fill my life with? What do I want to lose?

With Passover coming next Friday night, I should have been cleaning my house and preparing for the holiday. While I don’t have chametz (leaven, or food mixed with chametz (leaven, prohibited during Passover), I do have some things to clear away; I have some spiritual soul work to do. I have a whole lot of clutter inside my heart, mind and soul. I also have some excesses surrounding me that need some reckoning.

May each weed pulled lead me to a little less noise and the ability to release a lot more stuff. May the freedom be sweet and the breath be deep.

Hineini. Here I am.

Weeds and chimes

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Chava's Shadow 17January2016

 

“. . . have patience towards everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms or like books that are written in a remote foreign language. Do not search now for answers that cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And everything has to be lived. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually live your way, without noticing, into the answer some day.  Perhaps indeed you have the capacity to educate and develop others as an especially happy and pure way of life; train yourself for this – but accept what comes in great trust, and as long as it comes from your will or from some innermost need, take it on yourself and hate nothing. ”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Today, I am 50. I know more about myself than I knew a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, five years ago, and so on.  I know that I do not have all the answers, but I wish I did.

Life’s journey has not been easy and yet my life is really quite beautiful. I often get in the way of myself; my intensity leads me into some challenging shadows, but the light that often follows is worth it.  Life’s wounds have healed and loved ones have helped and continue to help me emerge even if I have to do most of the work.

In so many ways, I have chosen to walk a very different path than my friends and family.  My choices have not always been good ones, but they have lead me where I am today. In spite of some of my decisions, my sons are amazing young men that are following their own derekh, path.  I trust most of how they choose to walk in the world; as a ima, mother, it is my job to wonder, reflect, and hope that things go as good as they can and that they make the ‘right’ decisions for themselves.

I have traveled many miles, both in distance and spiritually. With each step, I find my footing, but sometimes I slip and hurt myself (and others) along the way. That doesn’t always mean I have taken a wrong turn and yet the truth is that I often have a lousy sense of direction. Sigh.  Yet, the good news is that I climb mountains that some find insurmountable, but I do it! And each mountain leads to new insight and a stronger me.

There is so much more  work that I need to do in this world. My gut is telling me that I will make a difference for good! I just have to remember to do the work and nurture my body, mind, and soul so that I can do the holy work.  I wish I knew how I could make the most positive impact, but that answer seems to elude me at this time. So I am following Rilke’s advice (above) and living into the answers.

As I take the time to treasure where I am, I also feel the need to look at what more I need to do for me so that it is possible for me to be the healthiest I can be.

My body needs some serious revamping. I have no choice, but to listen to the messages that are speaking so clearly to me. It is time to sleep more, exercise, eat better, and allow for the quiet to nudge me to where I need to go.

I also need to make more time to read great books, go to fabulous museums, hike new pathways and sit in cafés; one of my favorite things to do in this world is to sit in cafés while drinking my tea latte, people watching, and writing.

Stretching means that I need to leave my comfort zone a little bit more often and reach for new heights and become more open to hearing that which makes little sense to me.

My soul aches for the quiet as much as it aches for meaningful interactions. For whatever time I have left on this earth, may I allow for the quiet while navigating towards meaningful relationships and spiritual work.

I seem to always be seeking balance.

My spiritual work is inspired by climbing both real and metaphoric mountains so that I can create a sanctuary wherever I am.  May my energy and light spread out into the world while still warming my very own heart and soul.

Happy 50th to me!

Louisa - late winter 2015

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~Lao Tzu

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L I V I N G is holy work.
 
Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

 
Life is so profoundly full
My body craves less
My mind would love some emptiness
My heart desires just a little more.
 
Dance is the hidden language of the soul. (Martha Graham)
Stretching my entire being
Reaching for the stars
Allowing my body to sway to my own rhythm
 
Losing what I don’t need
Addictions, loved ones, and inner turmoil
Body weight, too much stuff, and lots of old stories
Wanting to celebrate what was
while letting go of what is no longer needed
 
Craving what I need:
Writing time
Creative experiences
and spiritual moments
 
Chanting
Drumming
Journaling
Moving
 
My body
My mind
My soul
Needs so much less and so much more
 
Each time I reach inward, I find more that I want
He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. (Nietzsche)
My soul yearns to make a difference
My body and mind yearn to see the world through a different lens.
 
Let go of the old, make room for the possibilities
 
In front of me is a bridge
Only once I shed what I don’t need
Release what no longer serves me
Take one step and then another
Only then, will I be able to cross the bridge
 
L I V I N G is holy work
So I will do ALL that I have to do.
Hineini
Here I Am
Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

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more than anything
i want to trust a journey
that i don’t understand~
© Terri St. Cloud

I am a wandering Jew, a seeker, a dreamer. . .

While I was not born with wings, I was born with the urge to soar and the spirit to thrive.

Each and every exploration I take begins with a first step.  The terrain is always the wilderness, a terrain that I will only understand after I trust my steps and begin the dance of emergence.

 A lifetime of journeys never calms my spirit when it is time to start again. As someone who is ready to land and wants to do not just good things wherever I stand, but great things wherever I stand and beyond. I long to be impactful with how I walk in the world. I want to make a difference.

An inherent pressure emanates from those of us that actively strive to weave beauty and light into a world that is often full of challenges. There is so much holy work to be done and so many opportunities to make our voices count.

There is another side to my journey, perhaps a more important one. I am birthing the most authentic living soul I can be. I am ready to nurture that person as she becomes more grounded in what she truly believes. It is time to have my values and my dreams intersect in the healthiest of ways. I strive to walk consciously by caring for my body, my mind, and my soul. And as I do, my hope is that I will remember the larger world around me.

I have traveled some really rocky paths. I have stumbled, I have fallen, I have cried torrential downpours, but I have always continued to move forward. As a work in progress, my innermost prayer is that all previous journeys create someone worthy of making my next steps count.

May this trek weave together my desire to take care of the deepest part of me while intensely nurturing the world I live in, our world.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?”
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Father) 1:14

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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 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 . . . .]

Namaste – Part 1

I love life – all of life!

2002
In 2002, my heart, my mind, and my soul opened in very profound and unexpected ways. That was the year I moved from Atlanta, Georgia to the Washington, DC area so that I could work at one of the most beautifully conscious synagogues in the country, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda.

Through my work environment, I found people that treasured the earth and all of her inhabitants. Looking back, I am amazed at what a gift that was for me. Nearly every person I met at Adat Shalom valued life and was intrinsically aware of the impact human beings had on the larger universe. Before that time, I thought I was cognizant of my part in the world; working with such thoughtful human beings proved that I had a long way to go.

And then shortly after beginning my work, I took my first yoga class at Willow Street Yoga, a wonderful little studio in Takoma Park, Maryland.  During my years at that studio, I grew comfortable with my body and in the world I lived. Through yoga, I grew to understand that my body was a temple and with that the world around me grew more sacred.

The more I grew as a person, the more connected to everything I became. And to this day, I remain a person that constantly grapples with how to make the healthiest choices within the world I live.

Change didn’t happen overnight; it took time for me to learn my role in caring for myself and tikkun olam (repairing the world). I was quite fortunate to find myself in the most spiritual settings of my life to date. Still today, I am constantly re-visioning how to move forward in the world and to positively guide every environment I live (family, friends, work, etc.).

Namaste

At my first yoga class, I heard the word Namaste, it reminded me that I had a role in the bigger world. Namaste, the spirit in me honors the spirit in you.  While this Sanskrit word is often interpreted in many different ways, I am most comfortable with the interpretation my first yoga teacher gave me. And over time, the word became more and more precious to me as those in my work environment reinforced the teachings.

I always loved life. . . always. Through my time at Adat Shalom and then Willow Street Yoga, I grew to value life even more.

So why am I choosing to share this basic tenet in my life at this time?

I will always see myself as a Work In Progress. So, as I am in the midst of sharing My Journey Towards Wholeness, I wanted to share a few of the ways I use the word in my daily life.

  1. When I see a road kill or an animal die on the road, I say, “Namaste” as my car passes. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you. While you have died, know that I care; your presence in the world mattered.
  2. When a fire engine, ambulance, or police car pass, I say “Namaste.” The spirit in me honors the spirit in you. May you and whoever you are helping feel the positive energy and ultimately be ok!
  3. When I meet friends (new and old), the word Namaste enters my mind.
  4. When I do each and every mitzvah, commandment,t that is part of the Jewish practices I live by, I say “Namaste” in my head. Whether I am caring for a sick person, the family of someone who has died, the land, or one of the many social action interests, I find myself remembering that the spirit in me honors the spirit in all.

Since the world I live in is full of many life forces, my job is to remember and to honor each one. Every day, I have the opportunity to blend the world of my Judaism and the world of my yoga practice together. The work is the holiest work I have ever done with the exception of raising my sons.  I will be forever grateful to the two communities that helped me grow my own spirit so that I can be the person I am.

May I learn to grow in the practice of remembering to honor the spirit of each and every individual and the land I live.

I love life – all of life!

Namaste,
Chava

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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 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 . . . .]

blue_boat_house_door

Sometimes closing the door is not enough;
sometimes the door must be locked AND barricaded too!
~Quote by Chava

My Journey Towards Wholeness has been profound. With each passing day, I am encountering more and more awareness regarding how to best navigate my life in the healthiest of ways.

While this has been an exciting time for me, it has also been challenging to look at the many relationships that have been part of my life – some for weeks and months, others for years and decades.  And while I treasure what each connection has given me, I am also finding it advantageous to let go of the connections that no longer serve me. If nearly every interaction with someone causes discomfort, it is time to leave the connection behind.

Life is a gift. That means I need to treat it with love and thoughtfulness; I need to treasure what life offers and find peace when some of the relationships end.  Few things last forever.

With every ounce of my being, I am constantly working towards being as considerate and warm as I can be. Maybe I haven’t always been this way, but I have been doing the holy work of walking gently for a few years now.

The pain of closing the door from a once special person can feel overwhelming and yet I believe we are honoring ourselves when we do just that. . And with the really tough or toxic relationships, we need want to consider my friend Sabrina Sojourner’s wisdom, “Sometimes you need to change the door into a wall. Bookcases and shelving work great for that.”

Today I made the painful decision to barricade the door from someone who has been in my life for decades; perhaps I should have erected a wall instead. My heart and my soul are too precious to be continually stomped on.

With a heavy heart and a clear mind, I am taking care of me. I am letting go and finding balance.

While I believe that ‘when one door closes, another door opens’, I don’t want to hear that right now.  Instead I want to be spiritually held and allowed to grieve.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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