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Posts Tagged ‘opportunity’

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 . . . .]

IMPERFECTION OR I’M PERFECTION:

PERHAPS. . .A LITTLE OF BOTH

In every way, I am a work in progress.There is always so much to do. The beauty of my journey is that it feels absolutely beautiful to walk in the world with the self awareness that has become part of me. Sometimes it is a challenge to accept how imperfect I am; I really do wish I was wiser, healthier, more thoughtful, and more attuned to the earth.  Yet it is because of my reality that I have the opportunity to do some awesome work and to grow as a human being.

In my own world! February 2015 - darker letting

Photos by Aryeh Grossman – Artistic layout by Marty Johnston

Each and every day, I focus on all of the areas that need my focus:

  1. Walking gently with the earth
  2. Making healthy lifestyle choices
  3. Acknowledging MY inner and outer beauty
  4. Seeking truth at every turn
  5. Strengthening my knowledge base as a Jewish Educator

As someone who is actively engaged in living consciously, I often hyper-focus on how to honor the person I am while positively impacting the world I live.

Each area above intertwines with the others. There is not one part of my journey that is an island. Becoming a healthy soul means making choices on how I interact with the earth and all of her inhabitants. As much as I love the moments when I am alone, I will never be an island. None of us are. We are all part of a much larger world even when we choose to disconnect.

The journey is not always easy, it is full of gifts and challenges. Sometimes it is scary and some time liberating. And for me, it is always intense.

I struggle with my imperfections. . .there are so many. And yet what I am coming to love that each imperfection leads me to climb the metaphoric mountains allowing me to strive to be the best human being I can be.

A few days ago, I realized that IMPERFECTION is actually I’M PERFECTION. I am sure someone came up with that one already, but it made me smile. Perhaps, just maybe, I am perfect just the way I am. 🙂

Hineini, Here I am!

May we all strive to be the most perfect people we can be without the guilt to shadow over that which is good.

With love light, and blessings,
Chava

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The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
~Rumi

December Sunset

Life this year has been daunting and sometimes scary.  At times I have have lived in fear of reality.  How would I feed my family? What happens if any of us get sick? Will I become another homeless statistic?  What about my dogs? I rescued them from a possible death sentence – What if I had to put them down because I could not find a home for them?

Due to the loss of my income as a Jewish Education Director in the southwest, I became a statistic.  The congregation that moved me from the east coast to the southwest laid me off after only two years because they lost a large chunk of their membership unexpectedly.  With barely a moment to tread and reality what it was, I had to take my shattered being and find the sparks of light that have always surrounded me.  I really had no time to lick my wounds.  As in the forward to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, Brené Brown wrote, “I have learned that the best way to find light in the darkness is not by pushing people away but by falling straight into them.”

I fell and friends caught me.

Each and every time I did reach out, people held their hands wide open to receive me and ultimately offered help.  One distant friend offered to help me edit my resume since I was having a formatting issue.  Other friends told me of potential jobs or found me part time jobs so that I would be able to stay afloat.  Some friends reminded me that the guys and I could move in with them if we needed to.  In fact, I am now living in my friend’s vacation house.  And ultimately, I created a Go Fund Me account, http://www.gofundme.com/g8o220, I asked for help to move back east and sustain myself until I can land on my feet. And at every step of the way, my friends have be willing to listen to me as I navigated my various emotions.  I may still be struggling, but I am absolutely OK.

Each and every time, I started to fall, my friends never hesitated to catch me.

Through my misfortune, I was able find out what types of people were part of my life AND I am so grateful for what I found.  My situation forced me to open up and learn how to receive many gifts in whatever form they took.  Not only do I now realize how loved I am or maybe just cared for, I also have a greater understanding of what it means to trust.  Amanda Palmer said it beautifully when she said that, “Asking is an act of intimacy and trust.”  I used my blogging and Facebook to share my journey.  I was and continue to be transparent, but I chose to refrain from being openly dark about the institution that caused this situation.  I believe that I needed to honor the wisdom of Stephen Covey by ‘begin(ning) with the end in mind’ which is to say.  If I wanted to live in a place of light, I had to be that light.  And with all that, I have been touched by the tremendous results  from love, a touch, a meal, and even small and large monetary donations.  I now believe that with each gift, people have told me that they believe in me and that they see my struggle.  Everyone wants to see my family thrive.

One of life’s backdrops is that as a little girl, I often lived in fear of homelessness and violence.  There were few people that I trusted or should have trusted; there were some, but not a lot.  I sometimes wonder how I became the person I am.  Today, I can not imagine how my world could have been so broken, but it was.  And now look at the beauty that surrounds me even during the toughest of times.

Over the coming weeks, I want to take the light of this holiday season and grow it by sharing stories of how sparks of light can be found even the darkest holes.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger and to share a story on my blog or tell me a story that I can write, please let me know.

So, in the meantime, if you hear of a job that would allow me the opportunity to make a difference for good or a job that would simply pay my bills and give us health insurance, let me know.  And I will continue to do what I do. . .find and create light wherever I go.

Your light makes a difference.

With blessings, light, and love,
Chava

 

 

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When I tell you I love you. . . .

If I’ve told you that I love you,
know that it is forever.
If I tell you, never question what I feel.
Know that with every ounce of my soul I love you.
That is who I am and who I will always be.

Sometimes love evolves
Things happen; feelings change.
But for me, love will always remain.
If I’ve told you that I love you,
know that I love you forever.

Just because the door to our connection closes,
doesn’t mean my heart does.
The love I feel lasts inside of me.
When one door closes, my heart not only breaks, it shatters.
Because I really do love forever – that is who I am.

Chava’s ramblings 18 June 2014

I am someone who loves deeply.  Just because connections drift apart doesn’t mean I let go.  I feel intensely and the loss is often unbearable; especially when I don’t see the end coming.  In the last 2 + years, I have lost and with each loss I have temporarily struggled to make it out of the sinkhole of despair.  But like all of us who have loved and lost a friend, a lover, a family member – while a part of us dies or becomes crippled, still we emerge.

Tomorrows come and we package the losses of yesterday because we have no choice.  And then, if we are fortunate – we move forward.

In the chorus of the song, All Of Me, John Legend’s song seems to say exactly what I feel about all that I love.

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh

May each and every one of us have the opportunity to love fully and nurture our souls with each love connection.

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Middah (character trait) focus: Keep returning home

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.

As I was flying home from Boulder  to my sons this week, I was overcome with ambivalence. I found myself wondering, what makes a place home?

At this moment in time, I am in an incredibly expansive space; I am open to any and all opportunities.  I am happy to continue in the field that I have loved for almost three decades and I am excited that an entirely new doorway may call to me.  My physical home may continue to exist in Tucson or perhaps I will end up somewhere completely different.  The world is wide open to me and possibilities abound.

In some ways it is so simple to say that I am going home.  Home is where my family lives, my dogs await my return, or where my ‘stuff’ is.  And yet when you are navigating a possible transition to a new locale, a physical home feels more like limbo.

And then the idea of home came again on Saturday morning when I went to the Temple I used to work.  I was quite surprised that I felt comfortable there in spite of my losing my position due to financial challenges within the community.  I am still feeling lots of mixed emotions as I struggle to make ends meet.  Even so, I do have very warm feelings towards the community; I am not sure why I am shocked, but I am.  One friend let me know that she hopes that I still find Temple to be my home community.  While I don’t have the answer, I realized that the mentioning of Temple as my home left me again wondering.  Where is home?

And then this morning, the answer came to me loud and clear when I listened to the brilliant TEDTalks of Elizabeth Gilbert.  When she said, “I am not going to quit (writing), I’m going home”, I realized then Gilbert eloquently expressed what I know to be true.  For me, going home means that I am writing and that I am in a writing place.  Writing makes me feel at peace, it makes me whole.

For me, I feel balanced and complete when I am writing; it really does make any place feel like home sweet home..  Where is your safe place? When do you feel most at peace? Where is your home?

May we all keep returning home to the whatever jazzes our soul, makes us feel centered, and nurtures who we are.

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Middah (character trait) focus: Persistence

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.

 

Courtesy of Shay Seaborne

Courtesy of Shay Seaborne

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean 

What I have learned is that if you want to accomplish anything in the world you have to do the work.   Only though taking one step at a time will you learn how to make things happen or how to navigate the waters so that you can get to where you want to go.

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to develop a few practices that now guide my life.

  • Writing – Only through writing and reading do I grow my writing in skill and intensity. Since writing really jazzes my soul, I have to do the work to be a good writer.
  • Chanting –   For me, chanting is a way to go deep inside myself and to work on how I see the world and walk through life.  The deeper I allow my chanting practice to go, the more  my spirit seems to evolve to a healthier place.
  • Healthy Living – I love eating healthy foods, going to the chiropractor regularly, and biking/hiking in the desert.  The challenge for me is that this is a practice I’ve yet to find a momentum for. So, this is my work.  Once I set my mind to the holy work of taking care of my entire being only then will I be healthier.  The good news is that I do have a practice and I will continue to take small steps over time.

Only persistence will get me where I want to go.  Is there a practice that you would like to grow? If yes,what are you doing to invest in your journey?

 

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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.

With the Rosh Chodesh Av (the first day of Av, the new Jewish month) beginning tonight, I have been processing how I can find meaning as we journey towards Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av?  On Tisha B’Av, we mourn the destruction of the both the First and Second Temples as well as many other horrible atrocities that were done to the Jews on this date.  Historically, this day is the saddest day in all of the Jewish calendar; on the 9th of Av, we remember, we mourn, and for some of us, we look for ways to make sense of this time.

How can you create an opening or doorway that will allow for new insight when darkness prevails?   For me, that means being reflective and finding lessons from the shattered remnants.

While many outdoor spaces offer me the most potent of spiritual places I have ever been, the most spiritual sanctuary and community has easily been Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland.  There I found peace, spirituality, and community; it was and still is quite beautiful.  So when I consider what a Temple could be to in modern terms, I return to Adat Shalom.  That doesn’t take away what the First and Second Temples mean to the Jewish people, but it does help me find meaning in what the Temples could have meant to those that treasured them and all they stood for.  Adat Shalom’s beauty quite literally takes my breathe away.

AdatShalomSanctuary

Over the coming days, I will be openly reflecting on what we can learn from the Destruction of the Temples.  One way that I gain a little empathy for a time that is somewhat beyond my comprehension is that I want to explore how my body is like a Temple both physically and metaphorically.  As sacred beings, we create sacred Temples/sacred spaces by how we choose to walk in the world.  Here is a working list of different ways each of us might be like a Temple.

  1. Spirituality doesn’t happen without a practice.
  2. In order to grow, I need to take care of myself, my community, and the world.
  3. Nourishing my body with good ingredients will ultimately lead me to be the best I can be.
  4. Surrounding myself with positive energy will create a healthy environment.
  5. My carbon footprint matters.
  6. Knowledge leads to wisdom.
  7. Choosing to live with integrity is a way of honoring my essence.
  8. Sometimes what appears to be lifeless, stagnant, or even dead, is actually within a time of rebirth, re-visioning and ultimate growth.
  9. Gaining insight often comes from trusting that the silence will us to the answers.
  10. Taking care of yourself physically leads people to appreciate and take note of your beauty.  Similar to the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah.
  11. Taking care of myself leads me and those that work with me to be part of the holy work.nd with this list comes a responsibility to take care of our bodies so we can do the holy work.

All that we do for our bodies makes a difference and ultimately leads to a better makom, a sacred space.  And yet it is important to remember that nothing is permanent; impermanence is a reality for all even that which is remembered in our collective memory.  While both a sacred being and a sacred place create an imprint and potential impact the world in which they exist, it doesn’t mean that it has a permanent place within that existence.  Yet each still has the possibility of being impact-ful during and exceeding their time.  How each walks in the world matters.

Much beauty exists around the exploration of how are body can be like a Temple.  One of my most empowering teachers, Lauren Rader, had her students create an art project that responded to that very question.  Here is the link to the amazing insight that was created by Lauren’s students. https://www.facebook.com/LaurenRadrArt/media_set?set=a.412319202480.182023.692372480&type=3

May the sacred beauty we develop within and around ourselves be parallel to how we see the Temple or any of the sacred places in our lives.

Coming soon: Part 2 if ‘How is My Body like a Temple?’ will explore how can gain insight through Jewish Texts and prayers.

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Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

closedOvenDoor

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.

Last Friday, my boys and I really wanted to make challah.  Friends of ours had introduced us to Tom Sawyer flour which was supposed to work cup for cup the same way that regular flour worked.  So with our new bag of Tom Sawyer Flour in hand, we found an old challah recipe from our pre-celiac days and attempted to make challah.

On Facebook last Friday, I acknowledged our latest challah fiasco when I posted:

“There is good news and bad news:

“It is with great sadness that I share that my first gluten free challah in my new home needs to visit the garbage disposal.

“The good news is that for 20 minutes I had the opportunity to prepare a challah dough that felt absolutely amazing.

“Sigh. . .”

The better news is that Aryeh allowed NONE of this attitude to emerge.  He popped our very flat challah back into the oven to cook more.  While it never rose, it cooked a little – yay!

Funny that the challah seemed to proof beautifully, yet it lacked the ability to actually rise.  Well at least, Aryeh’s saw the possibilities and forced  us to continue with the challah making plan; there ended up being no garbage disposal for our challah.  And on top of that, It ended up tasting amazing.  The biggest problem with this initial challah making scene was that I gave up waaaayyyyyyy too quickly!!! I am so grateful that Aryeh had faith!  We ended up with very flat (didn’t rise), but awesome tasting challah.

challahFlat

Our Shabbat dinner was amazing, our company was enjoyable, and the next morning Aryeh decided to make our very dense challah into french toast.  We took turns chiseling (cutting :)) the challah into small slices of challah.  It was hard on the hands, but awesome for the spirit.  It felt so nice to actively turn a dense block of challah into a work of art.  In my opinion all baking and cooking is a form of art.

TransformationChallah

Cutting the challah took enormous energy and strength, but with the use of a little muscle and a happy disposition we were able to turn the dense challah brick into sliced challah.  And we never wasted even a crumb.  (OK, maybe we lost a few crumbs. ;))

SlicedChallah

After soaking the challah and allowing the egg to moisten the challah, Aryeh started the process of making the challah into french toast.  It really is an art-form to turn a challah brick into french toast.  Loved seeing my son make french toast happen.

InFryingPan

So my pessimism had no place in the challah making or in the french toast creations.

FrenchToast

This past Shabbat’s challah seems to have be sa metaphor for the way I move forward in life.  For the most part, I believe in pushing forward and finding the opportunities that exist beyond each and every door.  So while the challah might have initially appeared to be a failure, it ended up being awesome from start to finish.  The challenge ended up being a gift.  Even though, the challah was dense and hard, it also made for the most flavorful  bread and french toast we have had in a long time.

Opening the door, in this case the oven door, to possibility allowed the boys and I to enjoy every moment that surrounded this past Shabbat’s challah.  The prepping brought back memories and led to family time; turning success into failure allowed for many lessons; and the challah and subsequent french toast tasted yummy!

May we all find the the open doors, the gifts in what is.

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