Posts Tagged ‘nature’

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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Part of writing this blog series is for me to remind myself that I need to actively seek happiness.  This exploration will continue through my lifetime;  the goal is to continually create the spiritual space to thrive as I actively engage in life with a smile on my face.  It’s what I do.

Before I go into what I will call Commandment #5 or Seek Peaceful Connections, I want to explore how each of us see beauty.

Below are two photos, the first one taken by my friend Shai Gluskin under the beautiful clouds of Vermont’s wilderness.  The second photo was taken in one of the holiest places I have ever traveled, Jemez Springs, New Mexico.  The terrain of both locations is vastly different and yet both are spiritually holy places.  The question is which physical environment do you find peaceful? Which location is beautiful to you?

Blueberry Hill near Ripton, Vermont
Photo is a contribution from Shai Gluskin

Jemez Spring, New Mexico
Photo taken in January 2009 by Chava

Each of us define relationships to people, to land, to the world differently.  What do you see as healthy and what I see as healthy may be different.  In the fifth commandment, I am exploring what it means to have peaceful connections.  Looking at the two photos above, I am aware that my needs change based on what is going on in my life at any given time.   I am flexible in my needs, but my son Aryeh has yet to find beauty in the ‘fucking desert’ as he jokingly refers to the southwest.  I, however, love being here.

Seek Peaceful Connections

In our personal relationships, we all have people we adore, people we tolerate or just like, and people that challenge us.  I contend that in order to be happy, you really need to surround yourself with those folks that jazz your soul in different ways.

Knowing yourself will help in this journey.  Personally, I love spiritual environments; drumming and chanting, prayer and learning make me happy.  When I take time to write, my soul feels complete joy and thoroughly alive. I am passionate about the environment and Israeli politics.  And watch out once I start talking about voluntary simplicity.  For me, I need to spend time with people that love many of the things I do.

Over the years, I have learned to end connections that don’t fuel me in any way.  While it is sad and hard to do that, it is necessary for my emotional health.  I accept the fact that I do not have enough time in my week to experience what I need and want for myself.  Between my children and work, there is so much to do.  So when I have time, I want to thoroughly enjoy those that surround me or I want to know that what I am doing makes a difference.  Wasting time is not an option.

What is peaceful to you? What do you find comforting? Below is a short list of environments I find to be peaceful:

  • nature
  • quiet coffee houses
  • drum circles
  • walks in the rain
  • chant circles

And I love being with people that prefer the same environments.  I wouldn’t enjoy nightclubs or amusement parks.  I don’t like large gatherings and I wouldn’t like to be around a group of hunters.  So, it is important to have a grasp of what environments are soothing to you and then find others that share what you like.

The biggest challenge in creating peaceful connections is finding the time.  There are so many people that I instantly adore; sometimes I have the time it takes to nurture the connections and sometimes I don’t.  The key is being honest with myself about the time I have to connect.

Peace is the calm feeling that nourishes and inspires me to be the best me I can be.

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”

~Peace Pilgrim

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