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Posts Tagged ‘Rainer Maria Rilke’

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.

Writing,
the song of my heart;
t
he meaning of my mind;
t
he feeling of my soul;
Is what makes me One.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Toe in Water February 2018
The only journey is the one within. 

~ Rainer Maria Rilke 

I feel with my entire being.

Every fiber of my body navigates wherever I am in any given moment. My mind, my heart, and my soul are interconnected.

In this moment, I am grappling with loss, darkness, and transformation. I am navigating with an open spirit and with the realization that I am doing exactly what I need to do.

This journey called life is full of moving parts. I don’t think I am alone when I say we maneuver as we need to, we find center, and then we find a sinkhole (sometimes). If we are blessed, we resume the cycle again and again. And if we are really fortunate, the sinkhole doesn’t always have to be so dramatic. Sometimes the sinkhole may feel overwhelming under our feet, but in reality it simply includes peaks and valleys over the course of life.

This past week, I realized that more than anything in my life right now, I crave the feel of holy or sacred ground under my feet. I know this is lofty, but I don’t have time for anything less. My heart is too full and my spirit is too aware. So when reality hits and holy ground is nowhere to be found, I am profoundly aware that I have to believe that what I am doing involves sacred connections or simply working towards doing tikkun olam, repairing the world, with the most godliness of intentions.

Join me as I actively dip my toes into water and open the window to my soul.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I love this reality. Tomorrow is too. . . and the next day and the next one after that.

The way that I navigate my wild and messy life is with the realization that each moment, hour, or day is just a beginning. I think that is why I often find the gifts even when I am challenged by life’s realities.

“Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
in ‘Go to the Limits of Your Longing’
by Rainer Maria Rilke

The last month or so has left me struggling with my breath and my spirit. But the good news is that even in my devastation, I have kept going and found sparks of light at every juncture.

A bunch of things hit me at the same time. Of course they did. Isn’t that the way things happen? My past crept up on me and punched me in the face leaving me battered and bruised. A loved one died. Many close friends are in a serious health crisis. And someone I love dearly has altered a connection that I thought remain as it was for a long time if not forever.

With each and every one of the challenges above, my heart splintered. Sadness really has permeated my entire being for past several weeks. AND I have always believed that I would ride the waves. Riding the waves has lead to my need to consciously shed the parts of my life that don’t work for me any longer.  The good news about new realizations and deep sadness is that in order to move forward, you have to move through it. Just like Michael Rosen says in his children’s book/song ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’:

We can’t go over it. 
We can’t go under it. 
We’ve got to go through it!  

As a way of navigating all that I need to embrace and some of what I am shedding. I am going to do a 21 day challenge for myself. And I will share this journey, sometimes in detail and sometimes with a simple selfie. While selfie’s are the tool, there will be other things happening just below the surface. After all, I am navigating towards new horizons. The sadness that has been marinating needs to be transformed even as some of the challenges remain.

Sending love, light, and blessings . . .

Day 1 - Chava Selfie

Day 1 Selfie: 3 February 2018

PS – One of the funniest realities of my selfie challenge is that I really have been into wearing all black or dark shirts and jeans. So I may look the same way every day. 🙂

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Elizabeth Gilbert rocks my world. She inspires me to look deeply at all that I am and some of what I am not. She makes me laugh and she reminds me that I need to strive to make my true spirit emerge.

Ever since reading Eat Pray Love, I have been transformed and I have continued to transform. Through reading it, I realized that all of us can create experiences that move themselves forward. And when I am really honest with myself, I realize that I am on that list.

About a year ago, maybe more, I became reacquainted with Liz Gilbert when I tripped over her on Facebook.  Each of her posts caused me to reflect as well as yearn to create. My life started to become even brighter because I entertained the possibility that I really could be creative, not only as a writer, but as a visual artist too.

With the book, Big Magic on the horizon, Gilbert teased her followers with her sayings, her teachings, and her podcasts; she personally galvanized me to reach inside myself and nurture my creative soul and even my spiritual being.

To say that I am feeling positively energized and profoundly more whole as I allow myself the space to become who I really am is an understatement. AND YET, it is really hard work. Sometimes it hurts to realize what you need to do and how far away I am from where I want to be, my roots.

Life is a never-ending journey. My job is to listen to the words of Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

By openly embracing the possibility of living ‘into the answer’ and by really doing the work I need to do, I can grow and be an even healthier version of me.

This mindset has caused me to go inward a lot over the last year. But sometimes I am surprised by ferocity that comes when I am struck by the right teaching at the right time. As I was writing a blog that I was calling, I Wish, Liz Gilbert posted a beautiful and poignant piece that she call NOT THIS on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/GilbertLiz/photos/a.356148997800555.79726.227291194019670/1002190543196394/?type=3&theater

My response to this piece was,

I needed to internalize this. . .

I made some very challenging NOT THIS decisions in the last few years. . .it is hard to get up and breathe deeply when facing the fears, and yet. . . .I am exactly where I need to be in this moment EVEN as I have a few more NOT THIS things going on in my life.

Tears are running down my face and I am SO OK!

When I say that Liz’s original post took my breath away, that is not an understatement. Since yesterday, I have not been able to shake the feeling that instead of writing I Wish, I needed to write my own version of NOT THIS!

There are some non-negotiables that are shaping up in my life. My comfort zone is not as comfortable as I’d like. While I am fortunate enough to be in the perfect place for me at this time, I am also realizing that I need to make this place even better.

NOT THIS! has to become more of my motto even as I do the work of becoming more grounded in the person I really want to be.

Rocks from Sedona

Rocks from Sedona

One thing that I love about my life is how doors open exactly when the time is right and messages unveil themselves when I need them most. If Liz Gilbert’s Facebook note was not enough, I also received a gift that caused me to cry even more.

Rocks!!!

Many of my friends know that I love rocks because I often ask those who are traveling to bring me home or mail me a rock that they find on their vacations. Rocks remind me to stay grounded in the beauty of what is as I reach for what will be. So when I opened the mail to find my friend Carol’s gift, it reinforced that I really do need to remain grounded even as if the growing pains sometimes feel overwhelming.

Looking forward to turning more of NOT THIS! into more of YES – THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT!

May we all find the messages we need at the right time! I got this!! Do you?

 

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Chava's Shadow 17January2016

 

“. . . have patience towards everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms or like books that are written in a remote foreign language. Do not search now for answers that cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And everything has to be lived. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually live your way, without noticing, into the answer some day.  Perhaps indeed you have the capacity to educate and develop others as an especially happy and pure way of life; train yourself for this – but accept what comes in great trust, and as long as it comes from your will or from some innermost need, take it on yourself and hate nothing. ”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Today, I am 50. I know more about myself than I knew a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, five years ago, and so on.  I know that I do not have all the answers, but I wish I did.

Life’s journey has not been easy and yet my life is really quite beautiful. I often get in the way of myself; my intensity leads me into some challenging shadows, but the light that often follows is worth it.  Life’s wounds have healed and loved ones have helped and continue to help me emerge even if I have to do most of the work.

In so many ways, I have chosen to walk a very different path than my friends and family.  My choices have not always been good ones, but they have lead me where I am today. In spite of some of my decisions, my sons are amazing young men that are following their own derekh, path.  I trust most of how they choose to walk in the world; as a ima, mother, it is my job to wonder, reflect, and hope that things go as good as they can and that they make the ‘right’ decisions for themselves.

I have traveled many miles, both in distance and spiritually. With each step, I find my footing, but sometimes I slip and hurt myself (and others) along the way. That doesn’t always mean I have taken a wrong turn and yet the truth is that I often have a lousy sense of direction. Sigh.  Yet, the good news is that I climb mountains that some find insurmountable, but I do it! And each mountain leads to new insight and a stronger me.

There is so much more  work that I need to do in this world. My gut is telling me that I will make a difference for good! I just have to remember to do the work and nurture my body, mind, and soul so that I can do the holy work.  I wish I knew how I could make the most positive impact, but that answer seems to elude me at this time. So I am following Rilke’s advice (above) and living into the answers.

As I take the time to treasure where I am, I also feel the need to look at what more I need to do for me so that it is possible for me to be the healthiest I can be.

My body needs some serious revamping. I have no choice, but to listen to the messages that are speaking so clearly to me. It is time to sleep more, exercise, eat better, and allow for the quiet to nudge me to where I need to go.

I also need to make more time to read great books, go to fabulous museums, hike new pathways and sit in cafés; one of my favorite things to do in this world is to sit in cafés while drinking my tea latte, people watching, and writing.

Stretching means that I need to leave my comfort zone a little bit more often and reach for new heights and become more open to hearing that which makes little sense to me.

My soul aches for the quiet as much as it aches for meaningful interactions. For whatever time I have left on this earth, may I allow for the quiet while navigating towards meaningful relationships and spiritual work.

I seem to always be seeking balance.

My spiritual work is inspired by climbing both real and metaphoric mountains so that I can create a sanctuary wherever I am.  May my energy and light spread out into the world while still warming my very own heart and soul.

Happy 50th to me!

Louisa - late winter 2015

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~Lao Tzu

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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 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 . . . .]

Vision Your Journey
Create Your Future

The only journey is the one within.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Life is a journey.

With that in mind, I have to be willing to take My Journey Towards Wholeness with a full heart and a willing spirit. Instant gratification will probably be a wish and not a reality.

On April 1, 2010 – I had to face surgery to end debilitating pain and also to hopeful keep me from becoming a statistic. The surgery worked with flying colors and my life has evolved substantially since that time. Reflecting back, I believe that that journey propelled me to new places and opened my mind to new possibilities.  I also love that when I look at the goals I had just 12 days post surgery, I am blessed to be able to say that my vision for myself then is pretty much where I am today.

Today, I am in a much healthier and spiritually stronger place as I continue to grow as a person while honoring what I believe.

With that in mind, I am sharing my writing from this time and hoping that some of you become inspired by The Chava Project.

Sending love and healing thoughts to all!
Chava

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Originally this post was written April 12, 2010 following what could have been serious surgery. The good news is that all went well and healing went well.

The Power of the Chava Project

Vision Board for Chava Created March 31, 2010

Vision Board for Chava
Created March 31, 2010

Approximately a month ago, my friend Jennifer Judelsohn suggested that we create the Chava Project http://journeycircles.blogspot.com/2010/03/chava-project.html by having people send a word to her post office box.  The word would represent a prayer, a hope, or a vision you had for me.  We probably had about two-dozen words mailed via snail mail and then another two-dozen words emailed to us.  Each word was mounted on a painted canvas that was meant to become my vision board and to inspire me as I journeyed towards a stronger physical and spiritual essence.

The beauty of each and every word,  the embellishments,  and the intentions was that they were transmitted to me in a very core way.  With every fiber of my being, I felt the love and warmth that surrounded my healing and my growing journey.  I couldn’t believe that so many people cared enough to take the time to let me know their word for my evolution.

In my life I have had times that I felt completely alone, but not any longer.  I feel loved, cherished, and cared for.  Today, I know that many people are my soul friends.  They celebrate my journey towards physical and spiritual health.  And nearly all of my beloved friends would help me in any way if I let them know my needs.

There are many people who empowered me and continue to support me as I move through my journey.  Both family and friends from all over as well as those that are specifically part of  my CAJE friends and my Kol Zimra/Jewish Renewal friends, you know who you are.  I’ve been blessed to be surrounded world-wide with people that illuminate my world and the world that they live in too. Through my friends, I have been granted the space to explore the roads that I currently travel.

Many voices are in my head at any given time.  Most of the thoughts begin with the overarching wisdom of Theodore Herzl, “Im tirtzu, ein zo agadah. If you will it, it is no dream.”  There is so much that I want in my life and most of it is within my reach if I admit my feelings and do that which needs to be done in order to make things happen.  Only through action and consistent discipline will I attain that which I desire to have a more fulfilling life.

My life is somewhat complicated and also quite simple too.  I love life and I consistently strive to reach for the different goals that are continually emerging.  There is much to strive for-always.  Mountains to climb; valleys to descend. With each step, there is a plethora of new options that come into view.

Each step leads to beauty.  Sometimes I see myself as the young girl looking out to the ocean of a Dali painting I love.  The vastness of the water or the life potentials surrounding me is endless; all I need to do is to make a decision on what step or stroke needs to be my next.  As simple as that sounds, limiting the options that surround me is not an easy task.  I want to do it all; I want to feel the rhythm of each and every desire, but I can’t do it all.

Nearly two weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy.  It wasn’t traumatic in any way; it needed to be done, so I did it.  The beauty of the hysterectomy is what happened before and after the actual surgery.  Initially, my friends and some strangers supported me by sending me a word/prayer/hope to put on my vision board.  The artwork sits with me as a reminder of the work that I have left to do in this world.  There are so many things I want to accomplish.  At the moment though, the goal is to be healthy!!!!!! And while it is taking more time than I would like; it is happening nonetheless.  And other friends offered me prayers and meditations, chanting and drumming; one friend mailed me a self-guided visualization to prepare for the big day.  And since coming home, a couple of friends stayed in the house to help, other friends have been as present as I would like them to be.  Two friends came out of the way to sit with me in the hospital the day of surgery as I was fairly sick and less than fun to be around.  And since coming home, I have received, cards, emails, Facebook notes, calls, and plants/flowers.  Wow. . . I feel loved.

And through each and every step of my healing, my boys have been taking care of me.  Whether it is about being with me as I heal or supporting me as I make decisions and work towards all my many goals.  It is amazing to live in a family that honor where each and every one of us is.  My children know that Michael, their father, and I are trying to explore how work will evolve for both of us and how my creative and intellectual pursuits will be nourished.

Creating a list of 100 things I’d like to do before I die is not difficult, my top pursuits include:
1.    teaching from my soul.
2.    writing about my life journeys.
3.    creating a series of Jewish retreats for survivors of childhood trauma and their loved ones.
4.    becoming a rabbi.
5.    physically thriving.
6.    growing my hair just a little longer ☺.
7.    kayaking and hiking throughout the spring and summer.
8.    finding my own path for doing Tikun Olam (repairing the world).
9.    living consciously and with integrity.

Waking up from anesthesia, I said the words that I say upon waking up in the morning “Modah ani lifanecha. . . I thank You, living and eternal Spirit, for restoring my soul. What an awesome responsibility I now have to choose to live life in a healthier way while honoring my spirit as well as the spirit of the world around me.

The vision board with all her words is a reminder that I am striving towards honoring myself and working towards incredible growth.

With love and light,
Chava

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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 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 . . . .]

Western Minnesota Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller           Location: Western Minnesota

The only journey is the one within.
Quote by Rainer Maria Rilke

For the last several years, I have been seriously impacted by the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke.  His words touch me deeply and inspire me to reflect inwardly while trusting the insight that will come over time. Rilke’s wisdom seems to be telling me how to walk in the world.  To be fair, most of what I have read has been in his book, Letters to a Young Poet, which can often be found next to me or in my computer case when I travel.  (Note to myself: This year I will take time to read more of his works and perhaps his biography too.)

Within me a storm is constantly blowing. As someone who never stops thinking and feeling the rhythm of the world that surrounds me, I often think or wrestle with what is happening around me.  And as I grapple, I sometimes have trouble silencing my mind so that I may be able to relax or shut down.

In this moment alone, I am thinking about the 150 murdered Kenyan students and their loved ones, the fatal shooting of another African-American teenager, Justus Howell, by a Illinois Police officer on Saturday, how the water crisis in California will affect so many people, the bi-partisan reaction to Iran deal, and how to make chickpeas without leaving too much of a carbon footprint.  And then there is my work, my future work, and my sons to consider.  And finally, I am pondering about my writing – What shape do I want my upcoming blogs to take? Should I take the time to work on my book this week? The bottom-line is that these thoughts have been racing through my brain over the last several hours or maybe the last 10 minutes.

If I am totally transparent, I am also struggling with Facebook conversations. How I personally relate to people who see Israeli politics so much differently than I do? What do I do with the “friend” that referred to those that like Obama as morons. (I did delete his message and wrote him a gentle note back.) How can I make the last days of Passover meaningful? And finally, hoping to remember to send cards to the couple of friends who lost love ones over the last week.

What I am thinking about doesn’t end there. I am also deliberating on how to best make a positive difference for the slaves within the chocolate industry. (That came up during our 2nd night Seder) And I am also wondering whether J Street would be interested in letting me create a cabinet or focus community of educators. And then there is a personal issue tugging at my heart. Sigh.

The beautiful reality of the storms that happen within my head and my heart is that I am consciously intertwined with the world. I find joy in walking outside, spending time with loved ones and friends, and chanting or drumming by myself. With every ounce of my being, I am alive and thriving in the world I live. 🙂

May each of us find peace within the storms of life and within all that fills our minds.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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

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 the first day following Rosh Hodesh (beginning of the month) Elul; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move forward.  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.

One of my most favorite sayings in this world is:

“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”

 

Book

This one saying is a guide that stays with me each and every day.  In fact, I often carry Rilke’s book with me wherever I go; I need this reminder that while the steps of life’s journey can be overwhelming, I know that I am not the only one who is trying to wrestle with the questions of what is unsolved in my heart.  Nearly every day, I ask myself:

  • Am I following my heart?
  • Am I impacting people/the world for good?
  • How can I be a healthier person?
  • With all that I have done for my sons, is it enough? In what ways did I and do I fall short?
  • Do I walk gently in the world?
  • What do I need to be more whole? more beautiful?
  • Can I find a way to support myself financially while following my passion?
  • Is there a way to make writing an active part of my professional life?
  • Have I done all that I can do in order to repent for any wrong-doings I have done?
  • Am I remembering to count my blessings and to find light as I walk through the world?

The questions that plague me are never-ending.  And yet, I am fortunate, instead of letting them trouble me, I use them to empower me so that I may move forward with an open and loving heart, mind, and soul.

Today is Day 1 of my Elul Journey.  I am excited that while it is only 10:45 AM, I have accomplished nearly all of the six daily goals Yay!

Don’t forget to ‘live the questions now’.

Make today a great day!

With love and light,

~Chava

 

 

 

 

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