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24 hours = 500,000 #MeToo tweets + 12 million #MeToo FB posts, comments & reactions. #MeToo is about women screaming out and saying that they were sexually violated. This has been a profound experience for because it took me decades to find my voice and tell anyone what happened.

As a young child, a neighbor who was also a friend’s father molested me on a regular basis.

And then at 14 years old, my best friend’s step-father molested me multiple times and raped me. There was no one to talk to and no one to listen. I was alone. This came at a time when the foster care system became my stomping ground because my mother couldn’t control her violent rages. Tracy’s family had wanted to take me in and treat me as their own, but Gary believed he had the right to do as he wished with my body and ultimately my soul. And he did.

Years later, I don’t really relate to the acts as being sexual assault; I seem them as violent acts. I was forced to endure what no child or adult should experience. In my mind, I was violated and thrust into the world of #MeToo.

Sunday night, I found myself in a total PTSD (or post traumatic stress disorder) meltdown. As #MeToo unfolded and then became viral, I found myself reliving the agony of those experiences and later the re-surfacing of those experiences. For just a couple of hours, I was temporarily back into the devastation mode. I remembered. I hurt. But I and so many others were being heard. How beautiful is that?!?! I was touched each and every time I saw a Facebook status line that said, “I believe”, “I hear you”, and “I am sorry”.

I’ve done a lot of healing work over the years. I also have done my part to empower young women as a way to break the cycle, and now I am sharing part of my story. And perhaps the best thing is that I have parented two amazing sons that understand that they have a responsibility moving forward. And after this past weekend, there a whole lot of women that know that they are not alone and a large group of witnesses to support them.

May we do this work together. May #MeToo become #NoMOre.

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The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. ~Gustave Flaubert

Welcome back to my journey towards Seeking My Own Path to Simchah (Happiness):  My Own Personal Happiness Project.

Writing allows me the space to cultivate ideas. Through writing, I hope to challenge others as well as myself to grapple with ideas and seek the answers to questions that we sometimes don’t even know we have. For the next two to three weeks, I will be sharing 11 or more commandments or guidelines that I am developing for myself in my journey to simchah.  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as I openly work towards growing into an even happier human being.

Simchah (happiness) is a beautiful emotion.  Personally I perceive it as being an ecstatic emotion that is somewhat beyond what I have been known to feel. There have been moments of joy, but I am seeking more.  Here is where I tell those that know me personally to stop feeling melancholy for me.  OK? I am a really content person overall: I love life and love living in it.  At the same time, I am on a journey to actively seek what I think might be a higher level of contentment; I am seeking inner simchah, a more enduring sensation than contentment, maybe even more contagious too.

Over six weeks ago, I had planned to do a 13 part series called, “Seeking My Own Path to Simchah (Happiness): My Own Personal Happiness Project”.  The first two parts of the series are:

Now I have decided that although I am extraordinarily busy, I am absolutely ready to continue this journey that was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.

Moving forward – Commandment 2: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Wow, this theme seems to come up in my life again and again.  Even last night I mentioned this commandment in my last blog.  Little did I know it was a recurring theme in my life.

About 8 plus years ago I changed my first and last name.  My first name is now Chava and it essentially means life.  I love life; I am alive.  I feel that gift each and every day.  My last name is now Gal-Or, meaning wave of light.  I gave myself that name for two simple reasons:

  1. I wanted to acknowledge the light that exists in others and in most situations.  (That is how I made it through tremendous darkness within my childhood and in the years my son was ill.)
  2. I always want to remember the light within me.

For me, living in this world means that I need to consciously be engaged in how I connect with the world.  While I feel compelled to navigate the world by considering my footprint in every way; I also find myself considering how I can share what I know.  My goal is never to make someone feel bad, but it is important that folks make conscious decisions when they can.  Perhaps they will consider new realities or share what they know if I am making an incorrect assumption based on incorrect information.  In the end, we all benefit.

‘Be the change you want to see in the world” means that I need to live consciously and treat others with kindness and love even when challenges exist.  Sometimes it means that I need to walk away when the space that I am standing is no longer sacred and when I stop being able to be the person I think I should be.  Admitting it is time to move forward is an extension of living with integrity and therefore taking one more step so that I can “be the change. . . .”

Here is just a small list of what our family does to be the change:

  • buy fair-trade chocolate.  The chocolate industry utilizes child slave labor at every turn.
  • use environmentally friendly products and make our own cleansers.
  • use an electric lawn mower instead of gas.  We would love to find a manual lawn mower next.
  • try to send thoughtful cards to people.
  • purchase and consume organics.
  • limit our trash as we can. (moving was not good for us in this department, working on improving again)
  • support businesses that have good business practices.
  • refrain from using businesses that do not share our values.
  • refrain from purchasing gas at Chevron, BP, Exxon, Shell, Mobile.  Trying to figure out who might be good.  Any ideas?
  • remember the workers.  We always try to tip for service rendered even when it isn’t the norm.
  • are always kind to strangers and people we meet wherever we go.
  • do not purchase anything made in China unless it is used or recycled.
  • actively pursue human rights in any way we can.  We actively do our part for Palestinians, folks in Darfur, workers in China, immigrant workers, etc.  Sadly, the list goes on and on.

We have much to learn, but with each new piece of information we try to incorporate the knowledge so that we can be conscious consumers and human beings.  Change in the world begins with each individual actively doing his or her part (large and small).  If each of us made a difference in some small way, our collective consciousness would grow.

My second commandment is that I need to be the change I want to see in the world.  I need to remember that with each step I take.  Complacency can never become a part of who I am.

With each smile, with each small step, I can be the change I want to see in the world.  Can you?

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The people I love most are seekers.  They are conscious individuals who consistently consider the world around them.  They are looking for the best ways to walk in the world as they honor both themselves and the world that they live.  Lately I have been wondering if people that are conscious about each and every step can find happiness knowing that complexity surrounds them at every turn.  Nothing is simple.

The beauty of conscious people is that most of them have integrity in how they live their lives.  When they smile or when they scream, they are being real.  When they write, you can trust their words come from reality, as they know it to be.  Passion runs deep and their souls are full of life.

As I write these words, I realize that I am talking about myself; I am a seeker.  With each breath I strive to be the best person that I can be.  Admitting that I am far from perfect or that I am not as good as I’d like to be bothers me.  The truth is that as a seeker, I have to acknowledge the many truths that exist within me and around me.  Life’s complications are part of the chaos of the world I live.

Tomorrow I will reopen my writing series on my own process of seeking happiness. This process I am using to consciously and openly grapple with my own journey to seek simchah also known as happiness or joy. My first entry was written just over 6 weeks ago when I thought I would be able to explore journey as I entered one of the busiest periods of my life.  Here it the link to the first entry written nearly 6 weeks ago. https://lightwavejourney.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/seeking-my-own-path-to-simchah-happiness-my-own-personal-happiness-project/

Seeking happiness or contentment takes guts for someone like me.  I walk the world conscious of nearly every breath I take.  Even when I am making what I consider to be poor choices, I can never stop considering each and every decision that I make.  Very few things happen without deep contemplation.  As I was driving cross-country recently, we nearly ran out of gas because I couldn’t find a gas station that was less than evil.  Our family generally chooses to refrain from purchasing gas at Exxon, Chevron, Mobile, BP, and now Shell.  I am probably missing a few on the list. My guess is that none of the companies are good, but this is what I remember.  As I was driving through Texas, I knew I had to stop or my family would be stuck on the highway. So I did what I thought I had to do, I stopped at an Exxon and cringed as I filled up and then paid.

With each step I make, I hope that my choices are for good. I pray that I have the ability to make good decisions.  I hope that when I choose to ‘dig my heels in’ that it is with the right intentions. I am seeker, but it is my prayer that my decisions are grounded and healthy not only for myself and those I love, but for the world around me too.  Contentment and simchah (joy) comes from transparency and thoughtfulness.

I want to “be the change you want to see in the world (Mahatma Gandhi)

May each step that a seeker takes help build a stronger foundation towards true and complete simchah (happiness).  Stay tuned as I continue my own personal journey and blog series toward finding simchah over the coming two to three weeks.

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