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Posts Tagged ‘opportunities’

Prologue:

Over the coming period of time, I will share how I use writing to quiet my mind, to navigate darkness, to center my spirit, and to propel myself forward.  As Joan Didion says,

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking,
what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.
What I want and what I fear.”

For various reasons, I often feel silenced. This is not working for me any longer. People have every right to interpret my words in any way they want. Take what touches you and move forward as you wish. But here is one thing that you, the reader, should know – Once I release my words into the universe, they have come to do what they were meant to do.

While I share my writing unapologetically, I also write because I have no choice, it is how I am best able to walk in the world.

I am EnoughWriting,
th
e song of my heart;
th
e meaning of my mind;
the 
feeling of my soul;
I
s what makes me One.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 The last few couple of months have stretched me and inspired me to see my reflection in ways that surprised me. I am facing new fears in very direct ways and having the honesty that I need to move forward.

 If you asked me what am I most afraid of in my life? I would have a really hard time answering you. You see, I struggle with overwhelming vulnerability at times and yet, I always emerge. I have a way of doing the dance of life that allows me to navigate even when I feel like I am suffocating.

Recently, I have faced loss and heartbreak, I have also navigated loneliness more honestly than ever before. And I have started spiritual work that forces me to really look at myself in the mirror. Admitting vulnerability can be transformative or crippling. I am shooting for transformative. I am reaching for the stars and moving, always moving, forward. I am not sure that I have a choice.

When I allow myself to go there, darkness seems be a little too present in my life these days (and nights too). So much so that I have wondered, ‘How did I ever think I should change my last name, Gal-Or, or wave of light?’ I must have been a fool. And then I realize that I have to stop then negative self-talk and own what I fear most in my life. I am so afraid that  I am afraid that I will never be enough, do enough to make the world a better place, or be loved enough because I am not worthy enough.

Quieting that ridiculous inner voice and actively engaging in the world as I do should be easier than it is. And yet, I have to consciously decide to:

  • breathe deeply
  • read and listen to inspirational people
  • write and then write some more
  • laugh as much as possible
  • chant
  • walk and keep walking
  • take time to connect with those I adore (especially my sons, my animals, and my closest friends)
  • play
  • always embrace my vocations, my job and my new nonprofit – Door l’Door). I am so blessed to so what I love.
  • have family dinners
  • listen to music that lifts me up

Nurturing my spirit takes so much work and doing the above soul work is the only way I know to come to a place of knowing/believing that I may actually be enough.

While taking care of myself means remembering to do what I need to do, it is also important to release that which doesn’t serve me any longer.  This is profoundly sad to me and so important too. By letting go of what doesn’t work, I make space for the infinite possibilities that surround me. With an open door, new opportunities abound.

Yes, life is hard, but I don’t have to make it any harder than it is. As long as I remember:

Rising above my fears is not an option. I am enough. I got this!!

With that in mind, I want to share this AMAZING and inspirational music video called Rise by Mikey Pauker. If you haven’t heard it or even if you have, listen and then listen again. (link below)

May we all face our vulnerabilities and do the work of growing.

With love, light, & blessings,
Chava

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8l6KS23LKk

 

 

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more than anything
i want to trust a journey
that i don’t understand~
© Terri St. Cloud

I am a wandering Jew, a seeker, a dreamer. . .

While I was not born with wings, I was born with the urge to soar and the spirit to thrive.

Each and every exploration I take begins with a first step.  The terrain is always the wilderness, a terrain that I will only understand after I trust my steps and begin the dance of emergence.

 A lifetime of journeys never calms my spirit when it is time to start again. As someone who is ready to land and wants to do not just good things wherever I stand, but great things wherever I stand and beyond. I long to be impactful with how I walk in the world. I want to make a difference.

An inherent pressure emanates from those of us that actively strive to weave beauty and light into a world that is often full of challenges. There is so much holy work to be done and so many opportunities to make our voices count.

There is another side to my journey, perhaps a more important one. I am birthing the most authentic living soul I can be. I am ready to nurture that person as she becomes more grounded in what she truly believes. It is time to have my values and my dreams intersect in the healthiest of ways. I strive to walk consciously by caring for my body, my mind, and my soul. And as I do, my hope is that I will remember the larger world around me.

I have traveled some really rocky paths. I have stumbled, I have fallen, I have cried torrential downpours, but I have always continued to move forward. As a work in progress, my innermost prayer is that all previous journeys create someone worthy of making my next steps count.

May this trek weave together my desire to take care of the deepest part of me while intensely nurturing the world I live in, our world.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?”
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Father) 1:14

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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 19 Elul or 11 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!

~ ~ ~

“Find beauty and gifts in simple moments, but acknowledge the entire picture too.”
Quote by Me

~ ~ ~

All of us have default responses that show how we walk through the world.  As someone who has been been beaten in a multitude of ways both violently and emotionally, I choose to see the world as beautiful and to celebrate life at every given opportunity.  Life is hard, but amazing moments happen with each passing day.

Reality is what it is and I am choosing to be transparent about what we are currently experiencing.  At the same time, please know that many blessings surround my family.  Yes, times are painfully difficult, but drowning is not an option.  My sons and I have chosen to thrive by diving into the water, swimming as best we can, and sometimes treading so that we can stay afloat.  There is no question, we will make it to shore.

Reality first:

  1. On December 16th, my youngest son’s 17th birthday, I was told that my job would go to half-time and that I would lose all benefits unless I could afford COBRA.  I couldn’t, so not only did I lose half of my salary, I lost health insurance and the ability to take care of my nearly adult children or myself.
  2. In June, after I had learned to manage on half-salary by supplementing my income, I lost my half-time position.
  3. June is too late to find a professional position in my field; now I need to wait until next winter if I choose to stay in my field.
  4. I struggle to afford even the most basic needs and sometimes I can’t even afford them.
  5. My Temple (as well as many spiritual communities) did not pay into unemployment insurance, so I have no benefits that are often available to those that have lost their jobs.  (Note: If you are a leader or a member of a spiritual community, be part of helping the community navigate good and ethical decision making.  Unemployment should be a given-not a loop hole.)
  6. I am a single mother who is barely supporting my sons on whatever I make.
  7. My family moved to Tucson and left many of our closest friends for a job that left us stranded.  Jewish professionals do not make enough to easily save the kind of money that would allow us to move back east.

I am sorry that the congregation I worked for is struggling; I am also tremendously sorry that I live in fear of homelessness because of their choices.

Life is hard, really hard. And the good news is that I get to decide how I will walk through this journey.  And during this weekend alone, I found so many awesome gifts:

  1. Aryeh found my dog playing with my thumb drive; I thought some important documents had been lost forever.  Now I have some back-ups to do.  Can anyone help me create a cloud that can contain all my computer documents?  Unfortunately I do have some significant limitiations. :/
  2. Loved when my friends shared with me what was good about their week before Shabbat when I asked; Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with so many folks in our lives.
  3. The boys and I had a simple salad for Shabbat dinner; we loved just being together.
  4. After dinner, Aryeh and I taught Dovi to play backgammon!!! And he actually won one game.
  5. Saturday morning, I visited my 98 year old friend and took her to the DeGrazia Museum in the Sun. While it wasn’t a total success, I did get my friend out for awhile.  AND I can’t wait to go back by myself later this week.
  6. The DeGrazia Museum is a hidden free treasure for all visiting or living in Tucson; go when you can and be sure to leave a donation.
  7. Aryeh and I had an amazing time at our friends house; we swam, ate good food; and laughed a lot!
  8. Had an hour conversation with one of my closest friends in Tucson.  (Wow, Tucson really has given me some close friends.)
  9. Another friend found me a great High Holiday position in NY, but it ended up not making sense to take it.  But when the offer came in, it brought tears to my eyes and made me feel a little more worthy than I have been feeling.

Continuously Reflection and gratitude:

  1. I have had some amazing time to think about my values and what I want to accomplish during the second half of my life.  What do I really want to do? Where do I really want to be? Who do I want in my life? I want a life that includes thoughtful people doing things that jazz their soul; I want to be that person too.
  2. A good friend helped me sustain myself by giving me a job; another one helped me find more work when the first job stopped producing enough hours for me.
  3. There are many friends that keep calling, sending notes, and believing in me.  They support me when I am feeling good, when I am devastated, and when I am just ok.  My most beautiful friends see me as I am, positive (for the most part) and navigating tough times; they support me by being there and letting me know that they are!
  4. Since December, I have been a caregiver to those that are aging, in medical crisis, and/or dying.  Helping each individual and sometimes their families as they navigate some of life’s hardest times has been an amazing experience for me; I believe that I am making people’s lives a little easier when I am their caregiver.
  5. When we really needed help, financial help has shown up on three different occasions since December.  Still every month since December has been terrifying.
  6. AND last week a dear friend offered me her house in Charlottesville, VA; I am seriously thinking about trying to get there.  I am wondering how to afford getting there and/or the storage costs of that transition.
  7. Two friends offered to drive a U-Haul truck cross country so that I wouldn’t have to pay movers.
  8. Countless friends have offered me real solutions so that homelessness wouldn’t happen; one challenge to many of the solutions is that we have two dogs that for now we are choosing to keep.  They have already been homeless in their lives; I don’t want them to experience that fate again.  (Besides when our newest pup became a problem this summer, we couldn’t find a home for her. Sigh.)
  9. A fabulous congregation in Boulder offered me a position that I’d love to take, but it is half-time.  After the holidays, perhaps I can find another half-time position to compliment the first position.  They have a temp Director of Education there for the next couple of months.

What can you do to help?

  1. Visualize we are good and pray for us to find the sustenance that will help us thrive.
  2. Give me a job.  I am good with people in all sorts of settings.
  3. If you hear of a job that you think would be good for my soul. Let me know.  I am looking for either a career position in Jewish Education or Social Action work AND I am also open to doing a job in a great environment that is a 35-40 hour week job that will allow me the time to write and do Social Action when I am not working.
  4. If you are a doctor or dentist living in Tucson and you are willing to be there for our family for lower or no costs, let me know.
  5. Keep your eyes open. . . .I am considering asking for concrete help that will allow us to go to the east coast.
  6. Light a candle and visualize us spreading light and being full of light.

The good news is that I believe all will be ok.  I am patient and hopeful; the right door is emerging as I type :).  Today’s text response to a local friend that had asked me how I am was –“up & down. . . .but mostly navigating with a positive outlook.”  This is how I walk through life.  I believe that blessings surround me and I pray that all of us will remain healthy (medical emergencies are not an option).  I am actively engaged in living positively as we also play the waiting game for a good job/position that will help sustain my family.

May light surround our family and flow through our family now and always; may that light help make the world a better place.

With blessings & light,
Chava

 

 

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“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all of my heart.”

~Vincent Van Gogh

 

A long time ago I realized that I always have a choice on how to navigate my life’s journeys.  And while it may take a little time to decide how I will ultimately maneuver, I absolutely still have a choice.  And yes sometimes I have to simply allow myself to feel before figuring out a plan.

Two years ago, I came to Tucson for a position that I had hoped would be great for my soul and maybe even take me into retirement.  Eighteen months later, my dream job went to half-time and then the position was eliminated six months later.  Financial challenges for my employer was the ultimate reason that I was left without a position,  Regardless of the reason, it still left my sons and I in a part of the country that we had few friends and now little money to support ourselves.  And it also left me with an opportunity to actively explore what options I have for my next chapter.  (Note: While my sons are living with me now, I realize that as I type this that they are emerging into adulthood.  I love watching them grow and look forward to seeing how they evolve.)

Yes, the journey invokes some fear and at the same time it mostly inspires me to seek the possibilities that will honor my essence.  How cool is that?  With each passing day, I can consider what doors I will go through or whether or not I will simply sit in the doorway and get a taste of what could be.

With each step I have taken in this journey, I have been touched by the generosity of a few awesome friends and the love and caring of many others.  One friend gave me a job to help support myself as I look for a position that would allow me to not only survive financially, but thrive as a human being.  Another friend gave me a computer that he rebuilt after my computer stopped working.  One dear friend gave me a substantial amount of money to fix my car and a few others have offered to help if need be. And other folks have helped me improve my resume, given me an ear, and found little ways to show they care.  There seems to be no shortage of ways that my friends are willing to help; in truth, some of the love is sometimes overwhelming.  

Amazingly, I am really OK and my sons are good too!!!  Going through each and every emotion is what needs to happen; sometimes I am focused and sometimes more distracted.  Life is moving forward and I am not only hanging on for the ride, I am making decisions all the time.

The great news is that overall I am really happy taking this journey.  It isn’t easy, but I am actually forcing my to look deeply at who I am and what I want in my life.  The obvious options or ideas are not necessarily the given paths for me any longer.  I am open to finding the best place for me to go whether it be for long or short term.

Catalina Mountains remind me to keep climbing. :)

Catalina Mountains remind me to keep climbing. 🙂

Every morning, I see the beauty of the Catalina Mountains outside my bedroom window.  As I gaze to the north, the mountains appear like a metaphor reminding me that I can always keep climbing the mountain and striving to become the best person I can be.  

Not only have I taken this time to explore what to do for a living, I have also considered where I want to live, what I want to own, how I need to evolve creatively, what writing projects would give my life more meaning, how to live more consciously and healthy, who I want in my life, and how can I serve the world I live in the best way possible.  There are so many options to consider and so many ways to navigate this journey.

The choices I make now may not be the choices that stay with me forever – that is truly fine.  The key is to explore each option and at some point let the universe open up for me as it will.  Living as authentically as possible feels like the best way to emerge with inner peace.

I am starting to learn a little more about what I love, what and who I need, and what jazzes my soul.  At this point, I can’t share too much because I am just letting it resonate inside of me.  Once it takes root, I can’t wait to let you in.

Every night, I look up to the skies and I watch the cycle of our beloved moon.  Watching the moon’s cycle, reminds me that life is full of cycles too.  And I am going to continue to embrace my exploration for all the days of my life. 

Let the journey continue. . . .

 

 

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Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh,

Landing on my feet is not optional; life is a work in progress.  With each step, it is my job to continue the work of nurturing a strong foundation in the midst of life’s storms.  Storms happen. And I get to decide how I will walk through each storm.

Hiking Boots

So while I am in the midst of more transitions, know that I am striving to live authentically by walking gently in the world.  For my dear friends, I ask you to assist me in landing on my feet by helping me to navigate the world.  Believe with me that all will be good and that the best is yet to come.

Today, I was officially restructured out of my position and the reason I took the trek to the desert no longer exists.  Yet I am profoundly aware that there are many doorways offering amazing opportunities, but only after I find them and step over the threshold.  Help me find new doorways, new opportunities.

Remember – there is no option for landing on my feet.

With love and light, Chava

 

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Note to Seeing the Door series:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Have you ever noticed how many different types of doors exist in the world?  Nearly each and every door leads to an opportunity.  Some doors are physical; other doors are metaphoric.  All doors lead to opportunity.  

Know your non-negotiables and honor them.

Over the years I have learned to walk alone.  I am not a loner, but I do value following the quiet voice that guides me without the interference of others ‘enlightening my sorry soul’.  In truth, most of the people I have crossed paths with really do enlighten me and help me gain a better understanding of whatever issue embodies my mind at any given minute.  Just the same, I have come to appreciate the learning I do from others while synthesizing the information silently.  Ultimately, I have to think for myself and come to my own conclusions.

Of course, many of the issues that encompass my brain don’t allow for my silence (even if I wish I could be silent).  Some of the issues I consider on a daily/weekly basis include:

  • Modern day slavery
  • Creating a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine
  • Honoring children (educationally and spiritually)
  • Giving a voice to those that have experienced trauma
  • Being innovative with Jewish education while engaging them where they are
  • Caring for the environment and thinking about our carbon footprint
  • Human rights for all (skin color, religion, sexuality, gender, etc should never be a factor)
  • So much more. . . .

In short, our guts tend to tell us what is right and what isn’t as right. When we allow the quiet (and sometimes) loud voice inside of us to guide our actions, we live with integrity. If something doesn’t feel ‘right’ to us, it probably isn’t. Listen to that voice as you walk in the world. Over the past few years, I have learned to honor myself by not doing what doesn’t feel right. If for some reason, I can’t ‘get out of something” I am in the middle of, I will as soon as I can.

When injustice surrounds you, it becomes part of you.  When you eat food or where clothing that was created by the modern day slave labor chain, you are perpetuating the  crime to humanity.  The environment matters; living as it doesn’t destroys our world.  Children are quite literally our future; it doesn’t serve us to silently standing allowing things to happen without actively trying to make a difference for good.

Over the years I have found that silence is my friend.  I don’t like bringing attention to myself all the times, but it is what I do.  While it can be difficult to go against ‘the norm’, it is also an amazing feeling to be able to share the information I have while sometimes inspiring people to learn on their own.  Only through gaining knowledge, following up with action, and ultimately sharing what you know/do is it possible to open the door that leads to a little (or a lot) of tikkun olam (repairing the world).

By listening to the quiet voice and living by the values I hold dearly, I am honoring myself. Quite honestly, if I don’t live according to my values then I have no way of thriving as a human being. While I accept that sometimes I have to do things I would prefer not to do, I still won’t cross the line for big ideological challenges.

May we honor our non-negotiables as we listen to the voice that guides us (especially if that voice is for good).

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Note to Seeing the Door series:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Have you ever noticed how many different types of doors exist in the world?  Nearly each and every door leads to an opportunity.  Some doors are physical; other doors are metaphoric.  All doors lead to opportunity.

A Broken Heart:

Most of us have had a broken heart, an intense loss that cripples our soul.  Sometimes we heal and sometimes we just move forward; we really don’t have a choice.

broken heart
My heart, for one, has been shattered more times than I’d like to remember.  I have lost lovers and friends, family members and loved ones.  I have suffered incredible pain at the hands of people that should have loved me differently.  And other losses happened because love evolved or death occurred.  With each broken heart, I have found a way to mend even though the memories run deep.

With each broken heart, I find a way to ride the waves and emerge a little stronger even if the pain stays with me.  Moving through the losses is a non-negotiable.  Only when tomorrows stop coming will I stop moving forward.  Moving forward is the gift I give myself.

Tonight, as I spoke to my nearly 20 year old, I told him that I felt horrible for a friend of mine going through a broken heart.  Without missing a beat, he asked if my friend would need heart surgery.  With laughter rippling through me and tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t stop laughing at how literal my precious son responded to my friend’s broken heart.  Wouldn’t it be amazing, if all of our broken hearts could mend so easily.  Reality doesn’t work that way.

The good news is that broken hearts lead to new realizations, infinite possibilities, sweet opportunities.  Life continues even after intense loss.  If you open your eyes, new horizons will light the morning and evening skies; it might take awhile, but it will happen.  One day you will step through the doorway and you will see the light.  While the light might be muted, it will still have the ability to usher you into a new horizon.

May each and every one of us find the sparks to move us through the doorways and towards the light.

With love, light, and blessings

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