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Posts Tagged ‘open heart’

Mountain WomanLoving people can make your heart soar; losing people can shatter your entire foundation.

Over the years I have learned love isn’t the panacea for navigating the pain that I have endured, am enduring, and will endure throughout my life. Love isn’t enough to sustain me through dark moments or crushing disappointments. Love isn’t enough to help me navigate hard conversations or devastating realities. And yet, I, like most of us, still choose to connect and to love others.

And I do love deeply and with an open heart. I actually love with my entire being. Which means over my lifetime, I have experienced a lot of heart-ache as well as hurt a few people too.

When one of my dear friends recently said that “I disappoint no matter what I do”, I found myself taking a deep cleansing breath.  His words really struck a chord with me.

Suddenly I was aware that I have spent my entire life breaking hearts and struggling with what it means to exist the many dichotomies of life while honoring my spirit. In truth, I have found the rocky terrain to be crippling at times.

Standing between a rock and hard place means that my work is to do the next right thing day in and day out by:Heartbreak is Inevitable September 2019

  • loving fiercely
  • breathing deeply
  • speaking truth
  • honoring my soul
  • living authentically
  • remaining kind
  • walking gently

I wish living wasn’t so hard; I wish relationships could be easier. And sometimes they are easy. But when you love someone long enough, heartbreak happens. As I have learned to live my many truths, I have also experienced an evolution to some of my beautiful relationships. Connections have changed because we, as humans, are static.  As our hearts and souls change, so do the paths of our relationships. And since my personal motto comes from the words of Émile Zola:

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world,
I, an artist,

will answer you:
I am here to live out loud.”

I learned heartbreak for the first time from my father. I have no doubt that I was loved by my father. I felt that love with every fiber of my being, but he didn’t really do what it took to make sure I was safe. In fact, he let me stay in harm’s way.  As I got older my heart was shattered again and again by family members, lovers, and even a few friends. They were people who I thought would be in my life forever and who I believe loved me deeply, only when push came to shove they left me hanging.

And then there were those that I hurt because I needed to step back or say things that were painful to hear. My entire childhood was filled with tsunamis at every turn. It took me a long time to reel in my ability to create emotional tsunamis in my head. It took me a long time to know how to navigate hard conversations. Sometimes I still struggle because I am pretty damn sensitive.

Over time, I’ve come to understand that very few people will be in my life forever. Love changes. Relationships change. People change. Heck I have changed a ton over the years. If we are lucky, those we love deeply will stay in our lives even as relationships take on a different hue. This is something I have tried to do with old lovers, beloved friends, and even a few family members. Sometimes it works and sometimes my heart get’s broken. Relationships are so complicated.

I still feel devastated when I look back on my two beloved best friends who left my life when I moved to Tucson. It was a coincidence since one them lived in Ohio and the other in New York.  I still miss both of them and pine for those connections that are etched in my memory. Both were people that I could share my heart and soul with and both are completely out of my life today. It was a total coincidence that both friends left around the same time and for very different reasons, but the effect still squeezes my heart from time to time.

In my dreams, I believe in forever. AND in truth, I have some amazing friends that have been part of my life since my teen years and early professional years.  For my friends  Lisa, Linda and Louis, I don’t understand how they still love me and put up with me after decades. Since I tend to live out loud, they have seen me move around a lot, take a few different religious journeys, navigate my childhood memories, cope with serious illnesses for my children, divorce Michael, and so much more.

My closest friends know that I am not an angel and they love me anyway. They hold space for me to screw up, fall apart, and sometimes soar. I do the same for them. Recently, I emailed one of my soul sisters and let her know that I may not be able to make it to her daughter’s wedding because I am having a hard time coping with life in the present.  I expected her to be furious with me because my friend had been awesome to me over the years. While her initial response was short, it wasn’t unkind. Later she followed up and perhaps realized that I was really not in a good place. Isn’t that what beautiful connections are supposed to be.

Life isn’t easy. When we love deeply, we tend t say exactly what we are thinking and feeling; this often leads to dark moments in even the most solid relationships.  And then there are times when we grow and evolve from what we were when we first met. I have so many friends that have become grounded differently then I would have ever expected. My guess is that my friends would be saying the same about me. For those of us that are seekers and explorers, our world evolves whenever we learn new information from spiritual to more tangible. If you had asked me 30 years ago if I would be chanting and drumming as part of my spiritual practice, I would have giggled.  If you had told me that my political beliefs would put a wedge between me and others, I wouldn’t have believed it.

A broken heart though, that comes from having everything you believe to be true turned upside down. But what I know after years of broken hearts is that sometimes relationships can heal and new connections can be forged. And sometimes all we can do is say good-bye.

For me all sudden loss breaks my heart more than anything in the world. A friend who shuts the door on your relationship feels no different to having a friend die suddenly without warning. In truth, each time this happens, I have a harder and harder time forging new connections. I’m really not sure how any of us heal from a broken heart, but as I get older it is harder and harder to do so.

AND yet, I keep showing up at the table – again and again. Most of us do.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,

Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Life isn’t easy. There is so much that we are handling at any given moment. The world is feeling daunting in this moment . . .  politics, family, internal strife, unwanted deadlines, loneliness, hurdles. Even the good stuff like the work, Jewish holidays, time to walk, and loved ones can be daunting. Life is what it is and I am always navigating my spirit’s intensity.

Day 22 - Be Open to possibilitiesWhile I may sometimes want to hide in a cocoon, it behooves me to keep showing up and seek out the possibilities. The world is calling to me with open hands or maybe just open windows.

Exploring the world, meeting people where they are, fully connecting with old and new friends, embracing new ideas, playing at every chance – these are the ways that our potentials will soar.

Take a deep breath and join me in open your hearts to possibilities! I am on it! Are you?

Together we can make a world that makes us proud.

Onward with love, light, & action,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

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Waking up
I breathe deeply to check in with my soul.
Am I alive? I mean, am I REALLY alive?
Can I move my body? Am I ready to do my ‘Dance of Emergence’?
Is my spirit ready for the day? Will today be a day for soaring, simply navigating, or crashing?

I love fully – always too fully.
Listening to the rhythm of the earth and all her inhabitants impacts me deeply
Chaos reigns
Values don’t make sense
The struggle to navigate makes breathing hard.
But then the angels appear. . .the angels always appear.

The world is challenging for someone who walks like me.
And yet,
every day I open my arms wide
reaching for the world I love
I say
Hineini
I am here to serve.

This is my journey in life.

When I give my smile or share my spirit, it is real. And when I feel grounded and safe in that connection I want it to last forever. Only it rarely does.

Over the years, I have learned that I am too intense for the world I live.  But instead of hiding behind what my gut feels, I honor myself by adhering to the words of Emile Zola, “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: “I am here to live out loud.”

This means that I show up to connect with friends, for meetings, political gatherings, or even the March For Our Lives as I did today. I show up even when I’d rather be in a quieter place. I also choose when I allow for the quiet, when I go into my own space so that I can create, daydream, or simply nurture my spirit.

Chava from behind with kippahFinding balance takes work. I say and do the things that jazz my soul, but also have the possibility of making a difference. I do this as a Jewish educator, a woman, an activist, a friend, a mother, a writer, and a  human being.

Living in the universe as I do means that I climb a lot of mountains only to stumble to keep my footing.  It also means that there are times I reach great heights and soar when I least expect it. The many moving parts of the world are relentless.

I pray with my feet as often as I can, never hiding who I am or what I believe.  At the same time, I am a seeker who chants, drums, meditates, and dreams. I am also an introvert that most people believe is an extrovert.

Actively living in the world and spending so much time navigating my work, my passions, my loved ones, and life has taken its toll. While I will keep my arms and heart open wide, I also struggle to find, to build, and to maintain sweet connections with those that consciously walk in the world. This has become a non-negotiable over the last several years.

I wasn’t always this way. In fact, I am not sure when it changed.

While I have always walked as I loved our world with all of the gifts and challenges that it brings, I used to care with a bit more detachment. And then about 20 years ago, something inside of me changed. I am not sure of the particular event or a triggered memory. But suddenly I couldn’t turn off my feelings with ease.  I wanted to learn more, do more, be more. Slowly I came to understand that I may never learn enough, do enough, be enough.

As a little girl, my mother truly believed I was limited. And as I grew, I believed that too. I hid behind good grades and a passion for learning, but I wasn’t able to absorb what was happening like other kids. I wasn’t articulate or good in math. I couldn’t remember the finer details of anything.  Over time, I learned to do the best I could do, but I wanted to do so much more. I wanted the capacity to synthesize all that I was learning into action and sharing for good.  I wanted to make a difference with my wisdom; I wanted to touch the world in huge ways.

Life took over. I learned to do what I could do. When something needed to be done, I did it. I always did what was asked of me. In my family, in my work, and in my community, I was the solid one. If you needed anything, I would show up and take care of things – and always with a smile.

Eventually, I started looking past the village that I was living. Ouch. Slowly, I dipped my toe into the larger world, the world outside myself. First, a homeless, pregnant woman with a toddler came to live with my family for nearly six months. That was the beginning of me realizing that there was so much to do. The more I learned, the more I realized that I just couldn’t do enough. EVERYTHING was calling to me – the environment, homelessness, the need to protect those that couldn’t protect themselves, and then the policies of Israel became more than I could bare to see/hear/read. Human rights, the environment, politics – everything mattered. Only I couldn’t do enough to make the world a better place. I still can’t. So I take one step and then another – knowing it is all a little too inadequate. But still, it is my job do what I can.

The last few years have been a time for learning and accepting the realities of not only my life, but the world I live. I’ve struggled to come to grips with how I walk in the world. I am blessed to be able to open my arms and do just a little for the family, community, and world that I love. I know that my smile and my warmth makes a difference – sometimes. But I also know that deep inside, I know that I am not done yet, I have more to do! I am not enough because I am not able to keep up with the world I live as I’d like. I am limited. With so much to absorb, I can’t make sense of it all.

  • How can we create a world with racial and economic equality?
  • How can the countries I love care so poorly for all of their inhabitants?
  • What can we learn from science to make our environment safer for all? Why does big business and the government continue to literally destroy the fabric or our world?
  • Guns – WTF should be done? AND what truths make sense? 17 people were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida; more are still struggling with their lives. People of color are at a disproportionately greater risk for violence – always.
  • How can our government have so many people that believe that hatred and white supremacy should be a guiding message?
  • Wasn’t our country made with immigrants? YET, all over the country, beautiful people are forced to rally and chant, “No Hate! No Fear! Immigrants are welcome here!”
  • We are so far away from taking care of the world we live in. Homelessness, veterans, domestic violence, animal cruelty, and ___________ – You fill in the blank. How can we do what we need to do in order to improve the world for our people?
  • . . . .and so much more.

With so much that needs to be done, I am not where I want to be, but the message I am hearing in my head is clear.  While I may not feel like I am enough, I am doing a little bit every day. AND on a good day, I do a lot more. Continuing the holy work of rolling up my sleeves is no option; there is still too much to do.  I may not feel like I am enough, but that doesn’t mean that I should stop doing what I am doing. And yes, I do realize that it is time for me to reframe my inner critic; I know I have some work to do.

MeFueling my spirit, I will continue on this journey. I will do what I can and eventually as I keep taking one step and then another, I will believe that I am enough.

My work, my writing, my beautiful nonprofit, and my warmth need to be my focus. So I will continue to do what I do best, wake up every morning with my arms and heart wide open. I show up. I am here. Hineini.

With love, light, hope, and blessings,
Chava

(Note: This rambling piece is following the amazing March For Our Lives which inspired me in every way, but also left me in a pool of tears. I wish their wasn’t still so much to do and yet, there are so many angels stepping up to do the work.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is Day 15 of My Selfie Challenge. This is my time to look at how I walk in the world and to shake loose from some of the very things that bind my spirit.  And if I am going to be really truthful, it is my hope that as I take each photo, I will learn to be just a little happier with the person that I am. As a seeker, it is my time to find the beauty that is me.

~ ~ ~

I often try to push myself at the things that I struggle with. 21 day challenges are a good way to start the process of altering behaviors and to do deep reflection on how to navigate some of life’s challenges. With that in mind, I think there will be more 21 day challenges in my future.

Day 15Usually by Day 15 of any 21 Day Counting, I am finding a sweet rhythm, but not here. I’m really struggling to see myself in any picture. Sigh. So, taking selfies of myself for 21 days is ABSOLUTELY a challenge.

Looking at yourself in any way can be complex while you are coming to terms with where you are. Inside I am facing some lots of turmoil and wondering how to best navigate all of life’s moving parts. I believe that is making it difficult for me to find the good in what’s in front of me or within me.

Entering my final week of this Selfie Challenge is a little daunting. My experiment has yet to work. I am not really having fun taking photos of myself or an easy time articulating why I am doing this journey. Yet it feels important to wrestle and to continue seek to capture where I am standing in this moment.

I’ve never seen myself as beautiful inside or out. Don’t get me wrong, I love who I am and how I walk in the world, but I still have work to do to find the beauty.

Day 15BThis work feels like holy and worthwhile.

What I am appreciating is the freedom I have in being vulnerable as I try to remain brave.  The 21 Day Selfie Challenge is my way of allowing people to see me. This is pretty scary for the woman that believed for many years that she was one of the ugliest people alive.

Today, I find myself perplexed that I ever saw myself as ugly even if I understand why that was. AND  I happen to find physical beauty in nearly everyone I see. I absolutely love that people come in so many different shapes, sizes, colors, and complexities. I love that about myself as well.

Complicated feelings and all, I embracing this journey with an open heart.

Hineini, Here I am!

Sending love, light, hope, & blessings. . .

 

 

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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 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:  Wholeheartedness

Wholeheartedness.  There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing I am enough.” ~ Brené Brown

Over the last couple of days, I have heard (and read) both Bre Brown and David Whyte speak about wholeheartedness; on a core level this concept very deeply resonated with me.  In order to live as  authentically as possible, I need to allow myself the space to be real without fear.  Or if I have fear, perhaps I need to embrace it by breathing into the uneasiness.   Wholeheartedness living is the journey of my soul.

While I have a strong thriver mentality, I have also had to face my own fragility and neediness.  My heart has been shattered many times over my lifetime and yet I still approach life with an open heart and with hope.  Always.

Living wholeheartedly is not an option, it is a given.  May I be blessed with the ability to push through all of my intensity and to be real at every step.  And with each step may I be surrounded by love and support and may I do the same for others.

May I remember to breathe into all that is as I walk within my wholehearted journey.

With blessings and light, Chava

pet-rock

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Last night we counted Day 31 of the Omer, which is 4 weeks and three days of the counting. Today is referred to as Tiferet sheh b’Hod, Beauty, Balance or Harmony within Expansiveness.

Have you ever noticed how some days just work?  All of the pieces of life’s puzzles come together as you would like and challenging moments don’t really trouble you.

Tiferet sheh b’Hod

Each of us have a story that makes us who we are at any given moment.  We have trials and tribulations; we have gifts and challenges happening at nearly every turn.  We have a past, a present, and a future.  Life always has a lot of moving parts and for the most part, we have a choice on how we experience the moving parts.

(Note: I do realize that tragedy never feels good and loss can be devastating.  And in the midst of pain, life can feel like hell.  From experience, I realize that awareness or insight comes only after the harshness of pain eases over time.  While I believe we have a choice how we walk through life’s darkness, we might not have a choice during the initial spark or as a disaster is absorbing our essence.  The choice will come days, weeks, months, or even years later when we have an opportunity to look back and find moments that worked or new ways to absorb the blow of reality.)

DoubleRainbow

Storms come and go.  Life happens and sometimes we have no control.  If we open our eyes real wide, we might find the rainbows that happen after the storm.  At those moments, I am always amazed that regardless of how I feel part of the larger world and I see the beauty that surrounds me with an open heart.

Tiferet sheh b’Hod, Beauty, Balance or Harmony within Expansiveness.

May we all find our rainbows within the beauty that encircles us.

 

 

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The silence of the skies is profoundly telling; learning how to listen is the key.

My spirit thrives with music of all sorts, with words in all forms, and with silence.  I love the quiet between the notes and I love the notes themselves.  The same can be said for how the written word touches me; I love the words or the black ink and I love the white space between the words and around the printed pages.  I also love silence and respect what silence often means.

As a writer, I’ve come to respect the awesome power of words.  Every thing we say matters; every thing we don’t say matters.  So much integrity comes with using our words wisely and receiving what others say (or don’t say) with clarity.  There is little difference between the written word or the spoken word for the most part.  Some people can weave words better through writing while others are much better articulating their thoughts orally.  And still others speak through the look in their eyes or through their actions.

When you are intuitive, the beauty of silence is clarity.  Since not everyone is transparent with their words, an intuitive trusts the silence as a form of communication.  And sometimes the silence can mean disinterest, lack of time, or disengagement; silence can also mean total engagement, profound respect, or a desire to maintain sacred space within a connection.  The key is trusting the silence and allowing it to be what it is.

Throughout my life, I have experienced both a dark silence and illuminating silence.  As a child, I learned to navigate the silence of dysfunction and sometimes violence; as an adult I learned to trust the love that flows from many of  the connections I have experienced.  It is amazing that the simplicity of silence can mean so much, the key is listening with an open heart and a willingness to see.

This year I have faced my need for silence and the silence of others.  I have endured intense joy by honoring the silence; I have also faced significant loss that comes with silence.  There is no easy way to navigate the reality of silence, but most of us will experience the journey.

May we find the power in silence and trust our interpretation of the silence that sometimes surrounds us.

 

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