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Posts Tagged ‘Normal’

Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 22 Elul or 8 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

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“The only people we can think of as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. “
Quote by Alain de Botton

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Not one soul is ‘normal’ because there is no such thing as normal.  Each and every one of us are unique individuals with our own stories.  We have lived, loved, and struggled; we have known joy, sadness, birth, and loss.  Our experiences are impacted by all of the moving parts that are unique to us.

I love when people try to identify me as being ‘X’, whatever X is.  Sometimes they are more correct and sometimes less correct; rarely do they have me all figured out.  I am blessed to be a chameleon. While I can find a comfortable place in nearly any setting, that doesn’t mean I am always internally at home in the roles that I am playing.  On the other side, it is awesome that I am usually flexible enough to play with others in their sand boxes.  I love that I can meet most people where they are and enjoy my time with them at the same time.

May we each find a norm that works for who we are and allows us to exist with ease whether we are alone or with other unique souls.

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Listening To My Body: Allowing it to Heal

This week I got slam-dunked with a virus.  In truth, I know that illness came to me not because I stood near someone with a virus, but because I needed to have some time to sort out my feelings and heal from all that has been going on in the last few months.  And perhaps, I got sick because I needed to just stop moving for a little while and rest.

Yesterday, I don’t think I left my bed for more than 20 minutes, maybe even less.  As my fever remained a solid 101+ degrees (I normally run about 97.1), I was fairly miserable and I physically could not move.  Today, my body’s temperature seemed to be quite normal, but my body wasn’t buying it.  Today’s activities included showering, laying down, going to the chiropractor, laying down, taking Maddie on a short walk, laying down. Each activity took no more than 15 – 30 minutes, each nap or resting took about 2 hours. . . .and I am still wiped.

Sick June 2014Stop. . .Listen. . .What a concept

My body is telling me something. It is telling me to stop and frankly it isn’t giving me a choice.  Even if I wanted to go for a long walk or to work, I couldn’t do it.  Even my time on Facebook or blogging has had to be short, I simply do not have the energy or ability to do much more than rest.  And in truth I fear the results of me ignoring my body.  I fear serious illness.  So, while I can’t afford to refrain from working now that I am paid hourly; I also can’t afford to wipe myself out.

This week, I needed some time to process all that has been going on in my world and to make some decisions about how I will proceed professionally and emotionally.  My body is making sure I listen to my need to process by not allowing me the opportunity to move.  The last 7 months have been hard, really hard.  In fact much of the past several years have been a struggle.  I have never focused on the challenging times or allowed them to control how I walk in the world, but that doesn’t mean all has been ok.

There is a plus side to all of this.  In this moment, I am feeling optimistic and clear; my life and my children’s lives will be good.  Whatever we do, wherever we go, life will be good.

While I believe I will go to work tomorrow, my guess is that I will be gone no more than 5 hours and then I will return to rest until I am ready to move again.  And for this weekend, I have already said no to working so that I can continue my healing journey.

This week’s virus has allowed me the time I needed to take a deep breath, stop, and listen to my body.

For next time, it is my hope that I remember to breathe, stop, and listen to my body before my body tells me it has no choice.

 

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‘Normal’

Life is so full of experiences from beginning to end.   We live, we dance, we sing, we crumble; our bodies thrive, they evolve, they strengthen, they degenerate, and sometimes we can rebuild them again.  Our hearts hurt and then they become mostly whole again.  Life is what happens as you walk along the way.  And sometimes we are blessed with a full life and sometimes we can’t see it that way.

For nearly three years, I experienced a normal that I pray you never experience.  And yet even as I type these words, I know that I am so incredibly lucky.  While my son Aryeh suffered incredible physical pain and emotional darkness, I was able to be there for him.  I was able to hold him, massage his feet, and give him the intense love that hopefully helped his spirit.  As a family, we found ways to enjoy life and to thrive even as we managed some intense challenges.

Sometimes our children experience normal viruses, broken limbs, or what I refer to as uneventful events.  Moments in time that happen just because you are alive, just because you have a body and you live in society.  Viruses happen, klutzy moments occur, and wisdom teeth often have to be removed from your mouth especially if you are blessed with your mother’s genetics.  My mouth is so small that I had six teeth removed once my adult teeth grew in and then my wisdom teeth had to come out too.

Well Aryeh was blessed with having one of his first ‘normal’ health challenges.  Today he had his wisdom teeth out.  Most of you remember what it was like; it hurts and you feel rotten for a few days.  After about a week, you barely suffer the effects of the experience.  Hopefully that will be true for Aryeh.  I am amazed at his ability to cope with the pain and to persevere.  That doesn’t mean it is painless, but he is handling it.

Amazing - Aryeh is looking good even though his wisdom (teeth) are gone.

I love watching normal even though it isn’t feeling great for Aryeh.  I love know that my son is now a thriving young man who is not bound by the torment of his earlier teenage years.  While oral surgery is taking a bit out of life for the next couple of days, he is planning on seeing his friends in the coming days, keeping track on the news, and learning about Leonardo Da Vinci.

While life has brought us challenges, I am reminded of Debbie Friedman’s song, Mourning into Dancing, inspired by Palm 30.

May each of us be blessed with turning our Mourning into Dancing and finding light in whatever normal might look like for you

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Being a mother is constant; there are no days off, not really.

Nothing prepared me for motherhood.  As soon as my children were born they became the center of my world.  While past life experiences mattered, nothing impacted me like being a mother; all past experiences took a back seat to parenting.  I have loved mothering and continue to do so!

My children are such special souls; they rock my world and touch the world around them in such profound ways.  They are wise and kind, insightful and giving.  Dovi and Aryeh are also the most amazing teachers; they have taught me so much about living with integrity and kindness.  And much of their education has come from their own life experiences; both have suffered some horrible health challenges and have thrived in spite of the pain.  With each challenge we soar through the struggles, but it takes a toll on each of us.

This past week, my son Aryeh went to see a 3D movie, Transformers with both his father and brother.  Although he loved the movie, he didn’t feel too great during the movie.  Once the movie was over, Aryeh’s world became filled with a serious case of vertigo.  Walking became a challenge; standing was nearly impossible, daily life became an insurmountable goal for nearly a week.  My heart was breaking for Aryeh and Aryeh’s heart was breaking because the cycle of hell was beginning and he didn’t know when or if it would end.  Having suffered for nearly three years with significant neurological challenges and two brain surgeries, all of us know pain from this experience.

With every ounce of our being, we seek a ‘normal” life.  But each time an incident occurs, we crumble inside with a fear that perhaps this moment won’t end.  We might intellectually know that things will get better, but we are afraid it won’t.  For so long our lives were filled with roller-coaster rides in hell.  There were days when I would wonder if death would have been easier than the pain.  Thankfully, we all survived and thrived to make it through our hell.  And thankfully, there were no days when we were all dark, that would have been a disaster.

The good news is that with Michael’s parenting, some good doctors and some incredible patience, we made it through this past week.  As a mother, my heart is still feeling fragile and my body aching as it navigates the pain of the past week, but Aryeh is feeling better.

I am so grateful for each and every moment of health.  With the exception of this past week, both boys are doing great; Aryeh continues to get healthier and Dovi is perfect, both boys are perfect!  May none of us know the pain that Aryeh and our entire family has faced over the past years.  And if pain occurs, may we have the strength to soar through it.

With blessings and light,

Shabbat Shalom

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What’s Normal? An Aryeh Update

Bike riding is such a natural part of childhood.  Running in the fields on a cool spring day, playing games with other children, learning the basic skills of writing and math are all normal activities for children.  Parents kvetch (complain) about their children’s activities, their teenager’s attitudes, and the craziness of the household as they try to complete all their work, chauffeuring, and life’s mundane activities.  Parents also kvell (brag) about their children’s successes however big or small.

Not everyone experiences the “normal” childhood as seen above. Some childhoods are fraught with educational, behavioral or health challenges.  Those norms are quite dissimilar and can often feel quite agonizing at times.  Sometimes normal is about navigating your schedule according to the medication schedule; sometimes normal is living without sleep for days on end so that you can take care of your child’s every medical need; sometimes normal is watching your child zone on the television set for hours and hours because he can’t do anything else.

Normal is as different as every person and every family is from one another.

Watching my 16-year-old son bike ride on Sunday for the first time in over 3 years, brought tears of joy to my eyes.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would instantly taking to riding a bike again and not in the first 5 minutes of being on the bike after such a long hiatus.  It has been just over three years since we faced the devastating affects of a 6.5 cm cyst in Aryeh’s brain.  There have been times over those three years that Aryeh has struggled to walk and even see.  We have continually believed that he would be OK only to see him flounder without any real progress to his health for weeks, months and even years.

On Sunday, our son started a new road.  In the poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, I see part of Aryeh’s story. The poem’s last lines are:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Well Aryeh took a different journey than any of us could have mapped out, even down to going to the only doctor in the US that performed the type of surgery that ultimately saved his life.

No matter what our journey we all make it our way and Aryeh is no different.  His journey towards life has really “made all the difference”.  He is alive; he thrives; and he moves to his own rhythm.

The great thing about Aryeh is that he always persevered; he always strived to be an active part of the living; however, often that was easier said than done.  It is really tough for a child who can’t go to school, feels intense pain every moment of his life, and who has been unable to handle any significant sensory integration to actively engage in the world.  Aryeh has always been willing to try.

Sunday, for a few hours, so many of the recent past’s pain went out the door.  Aryeh was an active teenager, having fun looking for a bike; in fact both of my sons, Aryeh and Dovi were both trying to find a bike. YEAH!!!!  Aryeh was so much easier to get a bike for than Dovi.  But Dovi really does have an opinion about nearly everything; Aryeh is better at just going with whatever.  Of course, in reality, Dovi is not only opinionated, but he is also between sizes, so it really isn’t a problem that he was being a little difficult.  In fact, it was great!!!! For the first time in many years, our boy were able to have what others would consider to be “normal”, but to us was exciting beyond words.

And today, as I finish typing these words, Aryeh has had a great few days at school and with his friends.  In fact, I almost think my child is happier than I have ever seen him.  Last night he hung out all night with 5 friends watching movies and playing D & D; today he went to school, ran school meeting, and came home to a full evening (studying Hebrew, walking with Michael, hanging out with the family).  For the first time in so very long, our child is creating a new normal.  Aryeh is thriving and actively engaged in living.  Joy is permeating Aryeh’s world.  I hope this norm stays for a long long while!

With gratitude,

Chava

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