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Posts Tagged ‘namaste’

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 2

Namaste

Yesterday, I shared a little about my Namaste Journeyhttp://wp.me/pthnB-Mt. On Day 31 of the counting of the Omer, it is my hope to share how I am finding myself missing the mark in terms of fully being present with remembering that the spirit in me honors the spirit in all life forces, Namaste.

In the last few weeks, I have been on the road a lot.  Ten days ago, I drove from Louisa, Virginia to Woodstock, NY. During the first two hours of my trek, I noticed over 20 dead animals. For the first dozen or so, I earnestly found myself sad for each creature’s spirit. How horrible for any spirit to die with a crash and a squeal of tires. My heart really breaks when I allow myself to reflect about this.

After the first dozen animals, I slowly noticed that I had lost the sensitivity that I had always prided myself on. Eventually, the beautiful spirits began to blend together and I stopped feeling compelled to honor each spirit.

I am a work in progress. How disappointing that I wasn’t stopped being as conscious as I like to be. With that in mind, I am wondering how to remain caring when I am surrounded by life’s challenges for those I love, those in my life, and all life forces that surround me.

Each and every day, our news reminds of the mounting tragedies in our world. Global warming, race riots, murder, natural disasters, homelessness, illness. . . .the list goes on and on.

I love life – all of life!

With this in mind, I have decided to share my challenges in hope of making myself more accountable. In sharing what I perceive as my shortcomings, I know that I am striving to improve. At the same time, I am hoping that I inspire others to consider all the life forces that surround you.

May we all strive to not only notice the world around us, but to pray for the spirits of all life forces as we make a difference for good.

With love, light, and blessings,

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 . . . .]

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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Tonight we counted Day 9 of the counting of the Omer;  Gevrurah she-b’Gevurah which to me means strength within strength.

PrayerPose

When I visualize Day 9, I find myself reflecting back to prayer pose.  Balance and strength seem to the prevailing feeling that comes with holding your hands together in prayer pose.  Often times I do this pose when I am in need of inner strength and balance.  If I am in the company of another person, I tend to say thank you or good-bye by holding my hands together like the above photo and saying  “namaste”, the spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

Perhaps the ultimate strength within strength comes from finding the balance within yourself before you interact with others.  With others, strength within strength can be found when you allow your spirit to honor another’s spirit.

May we all find the inner strength to navigate the outer realities of our lives.

 Namaste 

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Words

I love words.  I love reading them; I love understanding them; I love speaking them.  Weaving words together is probably one of the top five things that I love to do.

So when I woke up this morning, I tried to find my favorite word.  So far it hasn’t worked.  I have found a few words I love more than any other.  What makes me laugh is that the first words I thought of weren’t even in English.  The top choice wasn’t even in a language that I know.  🙂

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Namaste – The Spirit in me honors the spirit in you.  – This one Sanskrit word fills me with inner peace; it illustrates how I walk in the world.  My interactions with the world around me can be seen in the this one word.  When one says the word Namaste, s/he consciously acknowledges that the life-force that exists within the spirit that is front of them.  I love the universe and the spirit of nearly each and every living and dead being.

While the saying might be Sanskit, the teaching can also be found in Perek Shirah, the Chapter of Song (or better known as the Song of the Universe).  In Perek Shirah, all of creation is given a place of honor.

I say Namaste when I see a dead animal on the road or an ambulance rushing past.  By saying Namaste, I am actively acknowledging the life-force that surrounds not only me but every living spirit.  When I hear wisdom from a teacher or from any beautiful soul or when I am leaving a beloved friend, my hands go to prayer pose and with a little bow I say Namaste.  Saying Namaste means that I am valuing the life in front of me.

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Shalom – peace, hello, good-bye – While Shalom has many meanings in Hebrew; the meaning that touches me in the most poignant of ways is peace.  In order to best understand this word, you have to understand the make-up of the Hebrew language.  Each word in the Hebrew language has a three-letter root.  In this case, the root refers to wholeness and completion.  Peace exists when people feel a sense of wholeness, when we reach a sense that our work is done.

If our hearts and souls do not have a sense of wholeness, there is no peace.  In truth, shalom comes in so many different shapes and sizes.  Each of us has moments of shalom; the work towards finding peace is constant.  A good way to approach peace is to realize that you might only be able to find peace in a small area of your life; finding peace is a challenge, so parceling it out will help peace feel more attainable.

Each step towards peace leads to more opportunity for a healthier rhythm within life.

 ~~~~~

Breathe – to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.  Breathing means that the life-force is within me.  With each breath, I am actively engaged in life, in living.  When I breathe deeply I am not only taking in life, I am giving in return.  Without breathing, my life is nothing.

With each breath, I am reminded that the life that surrounds me and all of us takes many different forms.  I have had the gift of watching my son be intubated and then watching him take a breath on his own when the machines were removed.  Anyone that has watched a baby take their first breath knows what that feels like.  I never take breathing for granted; it isn’t always a given.  The key is that most of us can breathe deeply and take control of our breathing.

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Each of us has the power to take control of our lives by living life to it’s fullest.  I find it fascinating that each of my favorite words is about living life consciously.  Blessings come in so many forms.  Walking through life is not always easy; sometimes it is really tough even painful.  The good news is that I do have some control, I can decide to walk gently or to leap with gusto.  I can choose to find peace within the storm or fight every step.  There is a time for walking with a heavy step and walking with a softer step; but there is no choice for moving forward.

With each step I take, I pray that I have the strength to breathe deeply, to walk thoughtfully in peace, and to remember that I am part of a much larger universe.

May we each find our footing to walk in the world.

Namaste (The Spirit in me honors the Spirit in you),

With blessings and light,

Chava

PS-To see a picture that I created for this post, but can’t figure out how to post, go to http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/3783264/Life-Force

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