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Posts Tagged ‘reality’

Your energy introduces you. . . .Truth.

While I am far from perfect, I tend to walk into almost any new environment with warmth and love in my heart. I can’t help but smile at babies or any child, seniors, and animals. Beauty always brings tears to my eyes and authenticity jazzes my soul.

With each step, I remember that my energy is what people meet first.

I love that people are drawn to my energy. My only hope is that I wish I could be healthier, more vibrant, and even more inspirational. And yet, I also love that even if I am not all of these things, I still have the ability to make strangers smile, dogs wag their tails, and children play with me.

On a good day, I make new friends wherever I go and sometimes, I am blessed to connect with a new soul friend with barely a word spoken.

Beauty surrounds me.

On a bad day, I can become hyper-focused and forget that regardless of what is happening, life is not all about me or what I need to accomplish. My hope is that when I get like this, I can turn it off quickly. Sometimes I am lucky enough to do just that.

A few years ago, I visited one of my congregants post surgery. As she laid surrounded by loved ones in ICU, I walked into the room. With tears in my eyes, I was instantly transformed. I remembered another time and place when I had no words for my own family who painfully and awkwardly stood vigil for one of our loved ones. But within moments, I asked the family if I could pray with one of the most beautiful souls I knew. And when they said yes, I found myself chanting and praying with an intensity that felt right for that moment. Fortunately, this horrific chapter had a happy ending; my congregant was able to not only live, but thrive again.

Pain and memories are part of life.

For some reason, the above hospital visit touched me deeply. Walking into this congregant’s hospital room nearly paralyzed me. And yet, I quickly realized that there was no time for self-absorption; this was a time for unconditional love. In fact nearly every time I walk into a new environment, I find myself propelled towards warmth and love.

Over time, connections evolve and become grounded in a beautiful reality. But it is always my hope that when you meet me, you will meet a sweet energy that makes you want to get to know who is walking through the door.

 

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Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself come from, and where you will go.” Written by Rebecca Solnit, in A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Walking into a total darkness over different terrains is the epitome of sweetness. The darkness soothes my battered spirit, invigorates my entire being, and allows me to go quiet, to get real, allowing me to eventually to emerge a bit more whole.

Only when I go through the ‘open doors’ and into the darkness do I find the light that I am so often seeking.

Chava's Shadow 17January2016

The seeker in me knows that finding the right doors can often be a challenge. I need to find the space that allows for the freedom to move, to think, and to curl up into a ball so that I can simply be. There has to be enough softness to hold my shedding soul or to cushion whatever is being birthed. I am always birthing a feeling, a thought, a belief, and sometimes a new reality.

Only when I allow myself to face the darkness can I find the light. As Leonard Cohen said so beautifully, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

As I get older, I have begun to realize that I am more fragile than I once believed. The skeletons in my closet are at times overwhelmingly heavy. And happiness is an elusive emotion that is always just beyond my reach. Although I can smile broadly and feel momentary exhilaration, I am filled with a deep intensity that often leads me feeling alone in a crowd even when I am surrounded by my closest friends.

Life isn’t easy. All relationships have their challenges. This is reality.

Have you notice how complicated love can be? Over time, I have learned that love is not necessarily everlasting. All relationships evolve and sometimes we are blessed to evolve in ways that work for everyone and often we are not.  This is true for lovers and friends, family members and colleagues. I love as intensely as I live life; that means that there is no protection for my heart. There are times when it will shatter or break. And yet, I love connecting with people even as I understand that all relationships develop in their own unique ways and differently than I think they will.

Butterflies have always excited me. Perhaps this is because they emerge only after they have had their time in a cocoon. Burrowing in the dark allows me to face my deepest, darkest truths; it allows me to face the realities without interruption.

For the most part, I have found that sweetness abounds. Darkness may be part of some of life’s interactions, but not all. My life is full of beautiful connections. Surrounding me are so many beloveds who are doing the holy work of making this world a better place. (Sadly, I lost two friends in the last 14 months; both were engaged in the holy work of living consciously; both lost their lives tragically cut short way too soon.) There are also children that shine their light and give delicious hugs; and there are animals that embody unconditional love. All of this and more make a difference for good.

I am so profoundly aware of the many blessings that surround me at every turn. Inner contentment is often a very real feeling in the core of my being. I love the world I have made for myself and I do not take that for granted.The world I live in is full of beauty; I have learned to treasure that which is worthy. So while I may not be ‘happy’ in the traditional sense, light does fill my world.

Feb 2015  Walking from behind

Darkness and light are always being navigated. My work is to find the light in the darkness and the darkness in the light. Listening to the shadows that emerge may be the only way to make the world a better place.

May blessings keep us from getting stuck in the valleys and grace keep us from soaring too high from solid ground.

ONWARD
with love and light!

Chava

 

 

 

 

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Have you ever had a false start? You know those days when you have prepared to start a diet, take on a new hobby, or create new life practices.

At first you are really excited. You have made a decision on how you want to live your life and now all you have to do is start. The first hour may seem easy, and maybe the second hour, but by the end of Day 1 or maybe Week 1, reality sets in and you realize that whatever you are working on has a mind of it’s own. 🙂

False starts are frustrating; so is falling off the wagon. I have done both and it never feels good. And yet, I believe that these realities are part of life (at least my life). In order to be the best me, I need to face reality; I stumble sometimes. Just because I revert back to old ways, doesn’t mean I should never try again. Although it may mean that. Mostly it means that I need to get up, figure out the best way to maneuver to a better place, and then do what I have to do to get to where I want to go. Simply put, I need to refocus and do the holy work of putting my puzzle pieces

In ‘Sweet Darkness’, David Whyte says it best:

 anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

With this poem and specifically this verse as my guide, I am going to do what I have to do. I am going to take better care of myself. Anyone that has read my blog knows that I thrive on walking consciously in the world; I also need to write as I take each step of the journey.

Life does have a few too many storms; my nature is to see the rain as cleansing instead of the alternative. So, even if I have to dry a few tears, take time for moving in healthier directions, and creating time to write – I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I am living consciously and embracing  the aliveness that is who I am.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS – Keep your eyes open for my next blog series, Dance of Emergence: Amazon Woman is Born.

Raining Day - Time to Refocus - David Cooper March 6, 2016

Berkeley on a rainy day; Photo Courtesy of Rabbi David Cooper

 

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Imperfection is reality

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.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” –  Salvador Dalí 

I have a challenge; I am hard on myself when I don’t complete tasks that I wish to in a way that I believe they should be done.  And yet, sometimes it has to be reality.

Finding the saying of Salvador Dali is a gift because it absolutely helps me keep perspective and reminds me that I will always keep growing.  Striving for improvement makes so much more sense than striving for perfection.

When I was a teenager, I used to paint as much as I could; I loved art, all art.  And  often I would find my self reflecting about Salvador Dali with each stroke of the paintbrush; he was my hero.  So many of the pieces of my younger years were inspired by him.  Years later when I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a good friend, I was again  reminded of the power of Dali’s work.  He touched me like no other artist has ever touched me before or since.  Again after seeing his exhibit, I tried to find my artistic place although that time it was and still is with writing.  Although, after meeting my hero’s work again, I did start to pick up markers and colored pencils so that I could try to doodle on my journal books.

While I was at Philadelphia Museum of Art, I purchased the a mounted poster of the below painting; it reminds me that I can navigate through time, I just have to keep pushing through, doing what I dream of, and believing that I will succeed.  Not everything happens when I want it to, as I hope it will, or even at all.  Sometimes I fail and sometimes I don’t.  I just need to remember to keep on moving forward and doing the best that i can do.

Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory  Courtesy of http://www.themost10.com/famous-salvador-dali-artworks/

Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory
Courtesy of http://www.themost10.com/famous-salvador-dali-artworks/

Imperfection will always be a reality, the question is will I find the gifts that are part of the journey?

 

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Sometimes life can feel brutal with all the relentless curve balls.

My life has been a little too full of darkness; it is a reality.  Yet, I have always chosen to find a way to find sparks of light as I have dealt with the trials and tribulations (even the earth-shattering ones).  The bottom-line is that I have never let the darkness or hard times shut me down for long, instead I use many different tools that have helped me to navigate since childhood – here are a few:

  1. Smile – Smiling helps me feel more centered and it calms my spirit too.  Smiles also make those around you feel more at ease which ultimately helps you.  While a smile can’t erase the challenges/pain you may be feeling, it can ease some of the sting.
  2. Notice the angels that come your way – When you least expect it people show up in your lives to offer a moment of comfort.  Sitting in ICU is always rough; losing relationships makes us sad; and moving cross country only to become unemployed isn’t ok.  Find the sparks of light in each painful moment.  I will never forget the friends that made sure we had food even though one of Aryeh’s hospitals was over 1.5 or more hours from where our friends lived.  Or the friend that shared with me a song he wrote to help heal my breaking heart.  And of course, as I am facing unemployment now, my friends are rallying to help me land on my feet.  There are always angels that show up to help you navigate even if they are only there for a moment in time.
  3. Inch by inch – When the to do list overwhelms you, just do one little thing at a time. Try not to get lost in looking at the big picture and all that you have to do to move forward.  Always remember to keep moving forward.
  4. Allow yourself the space to mourn or to feel sadness – Just because I move through life with a smile on my face, doesn’t mean I don’t take time to cry or to scream. . . I just try to give myself the space to do what I need to do.  And then as much as possible, I allow myself to find small sparks of light that will ultimately help me through the darkness.
  5. Quiet time is a good thing, but don’t shut the world out for too long – Most of us need to be surrounded by silence at some point in time, but remember that ‘it really does take a village’ to navigate life.   Let the right people impact your world for good when you are ready to come out of your cave.
  6. Don’t allow those around you to bring you down unintentionally – When Aryeh, my son, was critically ill for a few years, I had two amazing friends that tried to connect with me every day, the only problem was that the connection was not always good for me.  They wanted to know the play by play happenings, but they didn’t come to see us; they supported us with their love and even financial support, but it didn’t help me to share what was going on each and every day.  I also grew weary of hearing about life outside our world.  I just didn’t know if our lives would ever be happy and healthy again.  So at some point, I let go of the daily connections again until they worked for me.  And the good news is that not only did Aryeh heal, but our friendships survived too.
  7. Say what you need to say – Ask for what you need and set the parameters of how human interactions work.  When we are in crisis, we have the fundamental right to set the environment that works for us.  Hopefully our loved ones can honor that.
  8. Take time to write/journal – Writing is the way I come to understand what is truly on my mind and in my heart; writing helps me process the world around me.
  9. Sleep – You can’t take care of yourself if you don’t find the time to sleep.  If you need help, ask; there are medical and natural remedies that can make a difference.
  10. Believe that all will work out in some way – In the midst of a crisis, we don’t always think that things will get easier or work out.  And sometimes they don’t work out as we want them too, but in time new norms evolve and healing begins.  While we don’t always heal from the pain, we do often find new ways to thrive.

These tools allow me to walk through the world as I do, my hope is that one of these ideas impacts your life for good.  Let me know what helps you maneuver life’s challenges?

Remember, if you look real hard, you might be able to find the light in nearly every dark moment.

December 24

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Death happens.  Sometimes we see it coming; sometimes it hits us by surprise.  But in the end, no one lasts forever.

When I consider the reality of death with broad strokes, I find myself in a quiet and peaceful space.  Death happens and that is really ok.  Mostly.

And then reality strikes.  Someone you love is dead and you can no longer talk to them; unspoken words are left unsaid.  After someone dies you can no longer hold them in your arms, kiss them on the forehead, or touch them gently in passing.  After someone you love dies, you can never physically do the the things you used to do with them.  Memories help you through the loss; while you can’t be with those you love physically, you can treasure the memories.

Tomorrow is never a given.

What I know is that life matters; each and every moment makes a difference.  If we are lucky we live fully and learn from both gifts and challenges.  Each step will ultimately lead us to where we are heading.  My hope is that I always live in a place of kindness and good intentions with not only those I love, but with the world around me.  Most of us don’t know when the end of our days will come.  Knowing that I live fully now and that my loved ones know they are loved is critical in my life.

A Moment of Reality

Nothing in life is perfect.  None of us are capable of being on our best behavior every moment of every day.  We are human beings; we have good days and more challenging ones.  May I always walk gently and may my spirit  be full of light.

You just never know what tomorrow will bring. . . .

Nearly two weeks ago, three families/people that I love faced the death of a loved one. The first death was for a young woman who’s entire energy reverberated life; she had so much to give and a rare illness stripped her of her life.  She died tragically after enduring tremendous pain.  The other two of the deaths were both tragic and sudden.  There is no words that I can say to help my beloved friends, all I can do is listen and surround them with loving energy.  My guess is due to the tragic nature of each death, sadness will quite possibly permeate the survivors for a very long time.

As a spectator in watching my friends experience grief, I find myself considering my  life and whether or not I am walking with integrity and light. Since you never know what tomorrow might bring, I want to know if I am making a difference in the life I live.  Will my children remember me with a spark in their eyes? Do I make people smile? Have I done enough to change the world? What more do I need to do to make a difference?  Should I reconsider some of my views and open my eyes a little more widely?  Have I made a difference in the lives of those I love, my friends, my students? Am I being the best person I can be?

I’ve made some mistakes in my connection with some people that I have loved.  Over the past few years, I have had to look deeply inside myself after navigating some very painful interactions.  Losing friends never feels good.  With each loss, I struggle to come to grips with with the fact that connections sometimes end and each ending feels like death.  Only you can’t sit shiva (mourn) for the loss of a good friend, not when they are alive and thriving outside of your life.  What I have learned in the last few years is that death can be both the finality of life and at times it can be the finality of a connection.

Life incorporates so many realities and few of them are simplistic.  May I always take the lessons I learn from life and from death and incorporate them into our life.  And may those that lost their loved ones find blessings in their memories.

ripples[1]

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Last night we counted Day 28 of the Omer, which is 4 weeks of the counting. Today is referred to as Malkhut sheh b’Netzach, shekhinah within endurance.  Shekhinah is a way of looking at Malkhut (meaning kingdom).  When God or godliness dwells in one central location, you have a kingdom.

Netzach Image - Reaching for all that is within life. Courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her Sefirot collection of paintings.

Netzach Image                               Reaching for all that is within life.
Courtesy of Jennifer Judelsohn from her Sefirot collection of paintings.

Wrestling with life is what I do.  I seek answers to questions that lack responses and I often feel alone as I navigate the current realities of life.  Throughout each step of the journey,  there is always a choice about how I navigate wherever I am going.  When I walk gently, the shekhinah can be felt within the struggles, within the questions, and even within the answers.  All of this ultimately is my personal endurance.

With each and every reality, I openly endure what is and for the most part I have found gifts within the challenges.  As a seeker, I am constantly exploring the questions and answers within life.  I am moving forward. I am reaching for clarity, for understanding.

Malkhut sheh b’Netzach, shekhinah within endurance.

Counting the Omer has become a powerful way to personally guide how I walk through the world with the daily and weekly teachings.  As long as Godliness is part of my journey, the shekhinah will ultimately prevail within life’s interactions, within the malkhut.   

My hope is that I am one of many who are on this journey.  To create Malkhut sheh b’Netzach, shekhinah within endurance, we need to be actively engaged in making the world a better place.  And when and where this occurs, we will find the shekhinah in our midst, within our kingdom.

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