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Posts Tagged ‘possibilities’

We make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
John Dryden

Life is a journey that can totally deplete us, but can also empower us to stretch and grow. Personally, I do a much better job once I realize that living consciously makes a profound difference with every step I take. Sure, I wish my heart never shattered and my body didn’t hurt, but sometimes they do. Damn.

There are periods of time when I feel broken and ill equipped to navigate life, but once I realize my role in the hard stuff, I can plunge right into action. That starts by taking a deep breath and beginning to put the puzzle pieces of my life where they need to go. While at first it may be painfully challenging, it is also a non-negotiable . . . although there are moments when I forget this reality. The truth is each of us need to go through our pain; I am no different.

Healing is holy work.

The beautiful news is that once I open up to the possibilities, I can choose how to proceed. My deep sadness, my physical achiness, or my overall intensity doesn’t have to take over my spirit – at least not on a permanent basis.

And yet, how often do I go to unhealthy defaults. For me, it may mean eating the wrong foods or not doing what I need to be healthy. Over the years, I have often forgotten that my habits can either keep me healthy or burden me. Without question, I believe that everything I do matters.

With that in mind, I want to share a few of the ways, I cope with some of the deep sadness that I have been feeling since March. In March, our country lost our norm with COVID and my heart broke when a beloved relationship needed to dramatically shift. Both left me treading water and crying big ugly tears. And on a bad day, both still do.

Pain has a way of causing watershed moments and at the same time, water has a way of healing.

As much as I cry big, ugly tears and tread water to stay afloat, I also run to the water when my spirit needs calming. And when my body aches, it is water that seems to ‘oil’ my body so that it better functions.

Running to the water – always

Water is one of the hugest gifts in my healing toolbox.

  1. I ride waves daily and sometimes I simply tread water. I do what I need to do.
  2. I drink a ton of cold water and sometimes warm water to help me stay hydrated, clear headed, and physically malleable.
  3. Whenever I can, I run to the water (ocean, bay, river, or lake) and just stare out to the soothing waters – sometimes for hours.

AND there are a few morning practices that guide me daily or nearly daily:

  1. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, I start moving. For the most part I rarely use an alarm clock, instead I wake up when the universe shakes me up and then I start functioning.
  2. I always make my bed as soon as I can (or as soon as my puppy, Magic, allows me). This habit allows me to always be successful at the start of my day.
  3. Do The 5 Second Journal – This journal invites me to reflect where I am and to plan my day too. For the most part, Mel Robbins’ journal opens my spirit while easing me into my day.
  4. Stretch my very stiff body. Ever since I had back surgery a few years ago, I can’t seem to leave the stiffness behind, but I am grateful that my stretching routine helps me feel to keep moving.
  5. On a good day, I walk 3-5 miles. I love when the cooler weather conspires to have me meet what has become a daily goal.
  6. Thanks to Chase Jarvis, creativity has become a daily part of my life. Since hearing his amazing podcasts, The Chase Jarvis Live Show, I have found a creative rhythm that propels me forward, inspires happiness, and keeps me grounded.

Holy living is possible because I have learned to honor my journey to healing and ultimately to life. Yes it’s hard at times, but I always get to choose how I will negotiate moving forward.

Holy living is a gift. AND water has a way of making nearly everything better.

Onward with love, light, & blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Living Out Loud: A Thriver’s Journey. 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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Each day, I open my eyes with an awareness that life as I know it is gone or if it’s not it will be soon. Nothing lasts forever. . . . everything changes and evolves. That thought often leads to initial despondency, but ultimately I can’t stay in that place or I won’t be able to move my spirit and body to where it needs to go.

With each breath, I realize that moments of calm are fleeting. My once content loved ones may be wrestling with serious illness, broken hearts, or devastation over the course our country has taken. I am also be aware that the people I once felt loved by may have drifted away. Or perhaps the body that allowed me to run miles and miles can no longer move in quite the same way. Or maybe a practice that always helped me find calm isn’t working as it did.

 

img_2747And even with all of this knowledge and sometimes pain, I am impacted by the very real possibilities that waking up may open for me. Relationships may be salvaged. New friends may be found. A new love may enter my life. A beautiful moment may ignite my spirit. A solution may be found for something that once seemed impossible. Or perhaps, waking up that day will be enough.

While giving up and curling up into a cocoon may be exactly what my spirit craves, it usually only helps things for a brief time. Instead I endeavor to live each morning with intention. I visit the darkness only to push it aside (on most mornings) and then I stretch my limbs and allow gratitude to flow. I can move.  On a more hopeful morning, I embrace the words and melodies that fill my head. As the words and melodies fill my brokenness with what often becomes a burst of light.

I am alive. I am thriving. I have made it to this time.

Onward with love, light, & blessings,

Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Living Out Loud. 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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sunset beginning bayIf we open our eyes to possibilities and listen to the messages that surround us, the universe sometimes has a way of giving us tremendous gifts.  Gifts come in many forms, we just have to be willing recipients.

Just over a week ago, I wrote a blog with one of the most important realizations I have had in years.

Given time, healing happens. Hearts mend.
Cleansing tears dry. Insight emerges.
And moving forward becomes a reality.

Somehow I found the guiding voice that had seemed just beyond my grasp a few days earlier. And while I may have thought I believed that all of this was true, it wasn’t.

You see, I had convinced myself that I was in a good place around life’s challenges and losses, but I was lying to myself. My body and heart knew what my mind was trying hard to ignore. When I couldn’t take deep breaths or sleep, I knew that I wasn’t yet where I needed to be.

And then came the year anniversary of a loss that shouldn’t have crippled my spirit, but did. Reflecting back, I know that whatever had happened to me a year ago was simply the ‘a final straw’ that included a decade of pain and saying good-bye.

pelicans - bay sideJust as my spirit was landing in a better space, I was given the gift of a lifetime. My friends who live on South Padre Island, just 360 miles from Houston, invited me spend time with them. At the same time, my amazing boss and loving sons were nudging me to take some time. The universe conspired to have me take time for myself. And everything from the drive to my arrival worked with ease. And my friends have been gracious, loving, and kind with their home and their generosity too. I can’t believe how blessed I am.

I have been given the gift of time to walk for miles near the water, paint, write, doodle, read, watch AWESOME movies, eat good food, and even consume alcohol knowing I didn’t have to drive. And whether I was in solitude or spending time with my friends, I felt the weight of the world lift and pain dissipate. I even made a couple of new friends that I can not wait to see again!

closer up selfie - relaxed on the waterFinding some inner strength, becoming more grounded, and taking some well needed to simply breathe and enjoy life was AWESOME. While money may be tight, I should have taken this time a long time ago. Maybe all I needed was a vacation.

Onward with gratitude, light, & love,

Chava

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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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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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L I V I N G is holy work.
 

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

 
Life is so profoundly full
My body craves less
My mind would love some emptiness
My heart desires just a little more.
 
Dance is the hidden language of the soul. (Martha Graham)
Stretching my entire being
Reaching for the stars
Allowing my body to sway to my own rhythm
 
Losing what I don’t need
Addictions, loved ones, and inner turmoil
Body weight, too much stuff, and lots of old stories
Wanting to celebrate what was
while letting go of what is no longer needed
 
Craving what I need:
Writing time
Creative experiences
and spiritual moments
 
Chanting
Drumming
Journaling
Moving
 
My body
My mind
My soul
Needs so much less and so much more
 
Each time I reach inward, I find more that I want
He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. (Nietzsche)
My soul yearns to make a difference
My body and mind yearn to see the world through a different lens.
 
Let go of the old, make room for the possibilities
 
In front of me is a bridge
Only once I shed what I don’t need
Release what no longer serves me
Take one step and then another
Only then, will I be able to cross the bridge
 
L I V I N G is holy work
So I will do ALL that I have to do.
Hineini
Here I Am

Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

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Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

“The Bridge”
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Bernie Taupin

I’ve seen the bridge and the bridge is long
And they built it high and they built it strong
Strong enough to hold the weight of time
Long enough to leave some of us behind

[chorus:]
And every one of us has to face that day
Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away
And every one of us that ever came to play
Has to cross the bridge or fade away

Standing on the bridge looking at the waves
Seen so many jump, never seen one saved
On a distant beach your song can die
On a bitter wind, on a cruel tide

[repeat chorus]

And the bridge it shines
Oh cold hard iron
Saying come and risk it all
Or die trying

[repeat chorus]

I am a profoundly fortunate soul.  While I have faced enormous challenges throughout my life, I am blessed to continually find the bridges I need to cross over so that I can emerge from life’s tough spots.   Since this past June, I have been facing some intense fear even as I was moving towards resolving the stark realities of feeding my family.  I am someone who rarely gives up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of fear or darkness.
Over the last weeks, I have been feeling held by so many beautiful friends that are nudging me forward and offering complete support with each step.  With each passing day, I realize that a new chapter is being written sometimes by yours truly and sometimes by yours truly’s beloved friends.  My friends haven’t let me down as they have worked and advocated for my success.  My sons and I are not alone, we are surrounded by people that are willing to help us in a myriad of ways.  Light seems to always brighten my life when I need it most and today that is no different.  The light is illuminating our family even as we navigate these tumultuous times.

Every day, new possibilities surface just as I am entertaining self-doubt. And with each step I find myself feeling hopeful, anxious, excited, & alive.  My head and heart are bursting with gratitude as I embrace crossing the bridge.  I am consciously aware that I want to walk gently and remain cognizant of the power of each step.  It may ok for me to slip, but I really don’t want to lose my footing.  While faltering for moments in time is sometimes a reality, success is not optional.

To say I feel humbled by the love and care that my sons and I are continuously receiving is an understatement.  Each moment of love, sweet gifts, financial support, and kindness  is like a loving embrace.  I can’t  believe how held I am feeling  Perhaps for the first time in life I am not feeling alone; a village is not only surrounding us, but carrying us across the bridge.

With love, light, & gratitude,
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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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.  

Photo courtesy of Ann Cameron Siegal!

Photo courtesy of Ann Cameron Siegal!

Like the bears above, I love ice cream. Pure and simple. I don’t allow myself to eat it often, but I do love it!!! So when I had a craving last night, I decided to share it with my friends on Facebook! So often I am both intense and reflective on Facebook, but last night I just had fun sharing my ice cream journey with others.  And people responded.

After writing that “I think I need ice cream,” my friends had a discussion lasting 18 comments to date.  The next comment was a little less well received, but certainly made me giggle – I was proud of myself when I asked everyone if they thought it “would be too obnoxious to knock on a neighbor’s door and ask for ice cream? I really don’t want to go out (as Simon suggested); I do want instant gratification.”  When 19 people liked, “How many people believe eating ice cream can be a holy experience?” and another 13 comments were made, I knew that ice cream is indeed a holy experience for many.  🙂

In a little more than 6 months, one of the holiest days of the year will arrive.  The day encompasses intense joy for those that celebrate; the sweetness permeates even the most bitter of moods.  And no, I am not talking about Yom Kippur, or Xmas, or Ramadan – the day is International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.  On Saturday, February 1, 2014, those that find ice cream to be an ultimately holy experience, will join together and have ice cream for breakfast; some will even partake in eating ice cream all day!

As for me, I will plan a celebration with lots of ice cream and fair-trade chocolate treats; many flavors and toppings will add to the delight!!!.  We will also serve the alternative options for the vegan and allergy sensitive folks among us; did you know that coconut milk ice cream is amazing!   We will dance, play music, sing, tell stories, and eat ice cream and then eat more ice cream.  For those in need of real food, we will have some of that too.  The key is that my family will take time to open our door and flood it with good food, fun company, and a warm environment.

So last night, as I lamented to my Facebook friends and community that I wanted ice cream and I didn’t want to leave the house to get it; an idea was formed.  The time has come for me to finally have an International Ice Cream for Breakfast Open House.

So, who’s coming and what instruments, songs, and ice cream will you bring to share?  Time to start planning for some holiness!!!

Our door is always open! C’mon on over! February 1st really isn’t so far away!

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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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