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Posts Tagged ‘sacred’

“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.”

~Joan Didion

Writing is how I dance with the world around me. Through writing I navigate my deepest pain and my most radiant joy; I process my unrelenting tears and my heartfelt laughter too. And with each strike of the keyboard or stroke of a pen, I find my true rhythm and my soul.

As my younger son expresses so well, “Ima (Mommy), if you aren’t writing, you aren’t in a good place.” Dovi has been reflecting this truth to me since he was about 6 years old and 15 years later, he is still the one to who reminds me that as long as I am writing I am probably exactly where I need to be.

MY MOTTO

Poem by me; AWESOME & one-of-a-kind pen created by Steven Clark!!

Lately, I have been struggling to write freely which has left me at a loss. Since writing is how I process the world I live in, it means that I am wrestling with my life and allowing myself to experience some very deep feelings – not all painful either. I am someone who is always on the path – navigating, seeking, and simply being.

In this moment, there are two significant challenges that I am facing around my writing.

  1. After 8.5 years, I am facing the ending of a relationship that I thought could last forever. How stupid considering the father of my children is no longer my husband and barely my friend. Although, I am happy to say that that may be changing. While I know that this man is not meant to be my partner, I truly believed our connection would last as lovers and friends. As this man and I are building a friendship, I am aware that if I spoke from the deepest part of my heart all the time, I would crumble and/or I would never be able to find peace with the man that I am still hoping will be my life-long friend.
    Since I can’t have the fullness of what I want, I am faced with learning to silence my voice. AND to be honest, that comes at a cost. My writing around him is pathetic. I am afraid that my honesty would close the door to our friendship, so instead I have become an awkward. Whether or not he registers this is irrelevant, it is what I am feeling. And words have power so until now, I have been holding back even when I simply journal.

    My work is to trust my ex-lover knowing that we love each other deeply and we are emerging in a new and very different place. In the meantime, I have to keep putting salve on the wounds of my heart and that means I better go back to my journaling practice.

  2. As a community leader, I am often forced to face the insight of everyone that reads my blogs, my Facebook posts, my emails, etc. While that is the case for everyone, I am struggling. Even though I know that everyone reads my words through their own eyes, I am also so very tired of how people struggle with my transparency. I love being able to openly explore the world as I do.

    I am a writer who thrives by living out loud. I don’t want to be silenced in order to accommodate how other’s walk in the world. I have been silenced throughout so much of my life. I have found myself wearing masks to hide my beautiful face or to protect my loved ones. The good news is that my loved ones can handle me being exactly who I am and so can I; writing is how I embrace authenticity-always!

    I am so very tired of how people put ‘their stuff’ on me. And yet I know that while so many only find the darkness, others reflect the light. The challenge is navigating those that only focus on the darkness. I am so not about darkness.

    Throughout much of my life I have been silenced in various ways and for various reasons.  Ironically, it isn’t always about something difficult happening, more often than not it was simply that I didn’t know that I could speak up or that my voice mattered. For me, learning to share my voice, trusting myself to be articulate, and growing up though my writing was a process. Aren’t we all a work in progress. The more writing became a practice for me, the more I learned to value an intensity that I never knew existed. It was through that writing that I also began to adore the rawness of my spirit. I love my who I am and how I walk in the world. And it was through my writing that I was able to reach this place.

Writing is a sacred act that needs to nurtured daily if not more. I am committing to journaling daily, blogging weekly, and writing letters whenever I can.  If I want to be grounded in life and soar with each breath, I have to put pen to paper and fingers to keys.

Writing,
the song of my heart;
the meaning of my mind;
the feeling of my soul:
Is what makes me whole.

Looks like I may have some work to do so that I can honor my spirit a little more each day.

Love, light, & blessings,
Chava

 

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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.

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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Sacred Vessel

“it was when she dipped deep inside,
and scooped out her very essence –
and then stretched her arms outwards
with her hands full of stars –
it was when those stars passed thru
her fingers and out to the world –
it was then she understood she was a sacred vessel.
that we are all sacred vessels –
with the entire universe flowing thru us –
and all we need to do is open and be.”

© Terri St. Cloud

Elul
The treasured time between now and the new year.
Days, hours, minutes, pass. . . .each moment brings me closer to Rosh HaShana.
This is my last chance to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of my soul.

I will never experience this passage of time again. While I am in awe of how I emerged with the love and devotion of many this year; I am also aware of how much I was forced to renegotiate life as I knew it. Thriving is a non-negotiable, yet I am navigating loss and mourning what was lost; I am also celebrating how the tides turn and  the many ripples soothe my core.

Now comes the holy work of grounding myself. Finding a new rhythm, processing the experiences of the last year, and creating a new spiritual space in Houston and more importantly within my nefesh, my soul.  The work is a little overwhelming, but incredibly sacred too.

Over the last year, I have felt like I was standing in quicksand on more than one occasion. And yet, I never went down. While the trek taught me a ton, it is not one that I wish on anyone else. And yet, I stretched and I grew. . . how beautiful is that.

I love that I always find good within the challenges; I love that I find beauty in nearly every chapter of life. And yet, there is a cost.  I have decided that Elul is the perfect time to go inward, to reflect, and to allow for healing.

What does a true Elul Journey look like? I seem to be in a quieter place allowing for the silence to penetrate my being. Taking time to connect with people that want to see my soul; reading writings that touch my core; and writing from the deepest parts of my heart.

My body, my mind, and my soul is reaching for the stars, clearing the fog, and striving to settle into a new rhythm.

Emerging
Thriving, reaching, living
Becoming the woman I was always meant to be.
I am making it!

Inside and out – I am trusting each step as I reflect where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going.

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“The most significant gifts are the ones most easily overlooked. Small, everyday blessings: woods, health, music, laughter, memories, books, family, friends, second chances, warm fireplaces, and all the footprints, scattered throughout our days.”
~Sue Monk Kidd

Chava.cake

All of life has a rhythm.

For me, the rhythm comes from an inner light that radiates out and allows me to honor the beat of my heart and the song of my soul. With each step, I feel myself become more and more grounded to the earth.

Yesterday, I celebrated my life; I found joy in the love that surrounded me and in the peace within the storm of life.

For the days prior to my birthday, I was considering ignoring my birthday, removing any mention of it on Facebook and closing the door to my bedroom so that I could ‘lick my wounds’ from a challenging last year.  And then I realized that the last year does not define who I am as  a person.  But if it did define me, I would be a woman who defies darkness by always doing what it takes to succeed.

With each breath, I navigate the very real realities of life’s journeys, where I am, and where I want to go.  I dream big and then work towards making my dreams happen.

One of the most treasured gifts came from my friend and poet Susan Windle who said, “Love to you in your birthing time, dear Chava”.  Those sweet words reminded me that not only am I loved, but I am actively becoming the person I want to be.  This sacred birthing process is empowering me to grow in ways that would not have been possible in the not very distant past.

Authenticity is flowing from the core of my being.  I am seeking simplicity in all that I do; I am working towards living a life of transparency and integrity.  I am weaving words together and finding center by speaking with the fullness of my voice. Vulnerability no longer is filtered by the bravado that I don’t really feel.  I have learned and am continuing to learn how to use my voice in all of it’s forms.

Over the last year, I have been expressing my most purest of feelings without holding back from those closest to me. Sometimes tears fall down my cheeks as I try to cope with deep sadness; sometimes passion flows from my lips and from my fingertips. And then there is my laughter the reverberates the core of my being.  While I have always been real, I am trying to remove the shield that has sometimes protected me from my deepest of feelings.

I really do believe what my friend Marc Hershkowitz said, “I know it’s going to be a great year!” I am determined to shine and to be the best person I can be.

While life has been a little harsh of late, it doesn’t have to put an edge into my spirit. I am alive and I intend to celebrate the gifts that surround me with each and every rhythm that is part of my journey.

May this year be the year for my writing to inspire people, my creativity to flow, and my heart to emerge in new and beautiful ways.

This is my year to thrive; I hope you join me!

 

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(Note: Recently, a very dear friend of mine questioned me about why my blog is important or why it was vital for me to share my writing. To say that the question felt like a violent blow to my soul may be an understatement.  I was profoundly stunned that someone close to me could wonder about the importance of writing and sharing my writing. This friend is really one of the best kinds of friends I have ever had, but time and distance has had an impact.  I wrote this because I wanted to respond the best way I knew how.)

Feb 12 Close UP

 

Hello Friend

I hope your day is going great in every way.

After we hung up today, I realized how many miles apart we really are.  We haven’t spent time together in years and it shows.

You really don’t know me or know what jazzes my soul.  You don’t listen to what my hopes and dreams are. You and I love one another because we have 22 years of history, but it has been over 12 years since connected for more than 24 hours and the one time we did for hours it was lovely.

Let me be clear with you. . . .I want you to know what nearly every other friend knows about me.  I live with a deep authenticity; I am happy in my own skin and with my own needs/desires.   And I know that my voice matters whether it is verbal or written.  There was a time in my life that I was silenced and today I am blessed that that is not the case!

When I say that the act of writing and sharing my writing is a non-negotiable in my life, you don’t seem to grasp the power of my writing to me and to others.  For me, writing has kept me moving forward and grounded as a person.  For others, there seems to be beauty in how people connect with my experiences and the way that I think.  My writing impacts others deeply. The more I write, the more I am asked to write.  AND the more I write, the more I am driven to write. Whether I am writing about my personal journeys, the way that I walk in the world, or the way I see the world, I touch people’s lives; sometimes I even inspire people in some small ways.  And the bottom-line is that I love that my writing touches others, but I also simply write because it centers me and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Writing has always been part of my life.  This is a love affair that has nurtured my soul, given me hope, and held me when I was feeling a sense of loss.  This love affair has kept me close at times and also pushed me over the edge.  I have been forced to navigate deep emotions with this lover and to sometimes let go.  I have been writing to and about this lover since I can remember.  This is the only lover, I have fully trusted with my entire being.  At 14 years old, I wrote. . .

Writing,
t
he song of my heart;
t
he meaning of my mind;
t
he feeling of my soul;
I
s what makes me One.
(
Note: Today, I sometimes write Whole instead of One.)

Nothing has changed since I wrote these words nearly 35 years ago.

My writing is sacred.  I choose what to share and what not share, but I write every day of my life.  If I am not writing, you know that something is seriously wrong.  While you may not like my transparency, my nonfiction nature, or my writing style, I have many people that do.  And even if I didn’t, I love it and I love doing it!

Over time, I have begun to treasure the people that stop into my writing life.  I love that one friend periodically tells me that it is time to deepen my writing or watch my grammar.  I smile that I have about 4 or 5 religious leaders that follow my blog even though I am not from their tradition.  And then there is the distant friend, that let’s me know that one particular blog has transformed how they look at the challenges that they face.  Finally, I am touched that strangers and friends alike find the gifts in what I write.

Each and every day I grow as a writer.  I look back to what I have published over the years and I laugh.  How could anyone have ever published my articles? My writing is a work in progress. Each and every day I  continue to grow as a writer and pray that I do until my last breath.

Sharing my writing is the gift I give myself and the world (or those that choose to read).  🙂  The impact that my writing has on many others is humbling and beautiful.  So while you have no reason to see my writing as impactful, many do.

Taking a deep breath. . . . I was really stunned by your questioning my writing and your subsequent attitude.

No need to talk about this again. . . .Just wanted you to know.  There are two non-negotiables in my life. . .Loving my sons and my writing journey.

Hope we one day can spend time knowing each other better. . . it has been such a long time.

With love,
Chava

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

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 5 Elul or 25 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

Last week was a challenging week with many gifts interspersed.  Yet, I have been struggling internally with how I should best take care of my family.  As a rule, I never stay in darkness too long, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my moments.

As luck would have it, I have noticed that the blog entry below continues to be read multiple times every day.  Today, I decided that I should reread what I wrote a long while ago and see if there is a message there.  And you know what I found?  A message that is perfect for my Elul Journeys.

Looking forward to hearing if the message touches you too.

With blessings & light,
Chava

Reposted from January 13, 2013:

Never Take Life for Granted: Tomorrow is Not A Given

Finding peace within the storms of life makes it possible to ride the waves with a little more ease.  ~Chava

With each breath, I wonder. Where will life’s journey take me and those I love?  I don’t take even a moment for granted.  I love deeply; I feel deeply; I live deeply.  The intensity is part of my soul and with that intensity I choose to live.

Tomorrow is not a given; it is a hope.

Tragedy can touch us at a moment’s notice; sometimes it does.  And tragedy is not only simply about loss of life; sometimes it can be about loss of what was.  We have all suffered loss of some sort or another.  A friendship is severed; a beloved becomes suddenly ill; a moment changes everything.  And while loss can penetrate our being, it doesn’t have to define our every step.  Or if it does, may it be for good.

I am no stranger to tragedy.  I have experienced pain, violence, sudden loss, and seriously ill children.  Years of my life have been altered by events that should never have been experienced.  And yet today I smile freely and I appreciate the gifts that life offers.  Life jazzes my soul; every turn leads to an open door full of possibilities.

With the knowledge that things can change in a moment, I actively engage in life.  I don’t allow frustration or anger to dominate my inner peace for any length of time.  I strive to surround myself with people that put a smile on my face, warm my heart, and inspire both myself and others to grow.  And when tough moments come, as they undoubtedly do, I meet each moment head on and let it go as soon as possible.  Life is too sacred to wrap myself in darkness.

Living life fully is not optional for me.  With the knowledge that life can’t be taken for granted, I try to honor my soul and the soul of those around me.  One of the people I admire most in my life, I admire from a distance.  This person actively engages in life; he does that which excites him and he pushes himself to the limit.  While I do the same in different ways, I do not choose to do it physically.  Unfortunately, I really can’t any longer; I used to.  The good news is that I navigate other amazing roads and new journeys at every turn.

The words below resonate for me.  While life is not a given and tomorrow might not come, I can still keep moving forward in whatever way works for me.

“If you can’t fly then run,

if you can’t run then walk,

if you can’t walk then crawl,

but whatever you do,

you have to keep moving forward.”

~Martin Luther King Jr. 

 

 

 

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Middah (character trait) focus: Creating a safe/sacred container

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.

In the last month, I have had four separate people need me to listen as they fell apart.  This is not a middah, character trait, that I do with ease.  I am someone who prefers to offer solutions or ideas for how people can navigate whatever is happening.  And reality is that some people really need to embrace where they are before they are ready to navigate to a different place.

My teacher, Rabbi Shefa Gold, teaches her students that each of us in a group has a different role.  Leaning how to create a sacred container for people to express themselves is becoming my new personal mission.  It really is amazing to let people totally express themselves and to simply respond shemati, I hear you.

Last night, my son turned to me and said, “thank you for letting me lose it in a safe space” – Once those words were spoken I knew I had finally learned what it means to create a safe or sacred container.

May I continue to develop the power of silence and supportive energy as tools for creating sacred containers for those in need.

Metal Buckets

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