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Posts Tagged ‘SARK’

Life is really messy.

Around every corner there are ups and downs. Moments when you are soaring and moments when you are flopping around like a fish out of water. And if you are intense like me, it may feel like your life is bouncing around as quickly as some people can flip a coin.

Sometimes I wonder if I walk the world this way because my childhood didn’t teach me many tools for coping with life’s grit. And as a young adult and later a young mother, I learned to live as a chameleon. I buried many of my emotions and did what was expected of me. And for the most part I pulled it off fairly well. Or at least I think I did. Of course, what do I really know about how I was received by others.

To be transparent, my life has probably always been far from normal. As a young newly married woman, I faced nine miscarriages, several failed adoption attempts, an adoption, buried my parents, navigated serious illnesses for my children, employment struggles for the family breadwinner, and so much more.

Nonetheless, I engaged in living and doing whatever needed to be done to propel my family forward, support my community, and keep a smile on my face. I simply plugged away at living. I am not sure that I found it easy because interspersed with some really tough moments, but I had dinner on the table every night. We welcomed people into our home nearly every Shabbat. I cooked meals for those who were ill and organized our community to help families in the midst of health crisises. I even kept my home  clean, laundry done, and always held down a part time job.

I had an I can do ANYTHING spirit, only inside that is not how I felt. I used to wonder why everyone in the world could keep their houses clean, nurture their children, and have a full life.  Everyone seemed to do it with an ease that ALWAYS escaped me. It is only since I started following social media closely that I realized that I was never alone. All of us have our own personal struggles.

Fortunately social media, Oprah, and podcasts have helped me realize that I am so not alone in this very real struggle. Only over the last five or so years have I  been introduced to the wisdom of three people that rock my world as creatives because of how honestly they shared their struggles of living in the messy middle. They inspire people to:

  • Live in the “marvelous messy middle”. ~ SARK
  • “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

And to understand:

  • “Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.” ~Glennon Doyle

Each of these amazing women choose to share their personal journeys of living in the midst of life’s sometimes very challenging realities while being aware that moving forward doesn’t always present us with easy solutions for living according to what society deems “normal”. They continually inspired me (and still do) to show up in my world as authentically as possible.

Hiking BootsI feel blessed to now walk with ease in my own messy middle and the outer banks too. While it took me over fifty years to emerge fully as myself. I ultimately found my voice through writing, chanting, drumming, and only in the last year through painting little cards.  I am the woman I am because how I have chosen to navigate my own rocky paths.  I am so grateful that I learned to live out loud by sharing my life experiences without apology, accepting that I don’t fit into any box, and loving myself for who I am.

I have also done some really hard stuff including leaving the traditional Jewish community, moving cross country with my sons, divorcing my husband, and publicly changing my name when I realized my parents lost their right to name me.  I wanted a name that honored who I am today, so I gave myself one.  I am Chava Gal-Or. Chava means life because I am a woman who thrives regardless of what sh*t crosses her path and I become empowered by whatever life tosses in my direction. Gal-Or means wave of light; this is my reminder not only to be light, but to find the light in whoever and whatever crosses my path. Perhaps the hardest thing I am doing right now is sharing my life stories via my writing; I am not holding back, I am diving deep and navigating some really harsh realities that have lead me to rise as the woman I am.

Yes, I live in the messy middle. I feel deeply. I struggle to breathe when life overwhelms me. I often believe I don’t do enough to make our world a better place. I wonder if I love enough and do enough for my family, my work, my beloved friends, etc. I struggle with believing that I am worthy and yet I understand that the Inner Demon speaks loudly to me and it is my job to show up and keep showing up. On a good day, I quiet that voice and stretch my arms wide open to life. On a bad day, the demon wins, but I push forward anyway. I am learning.

Living in the messy middle has become a norm for me and I am OK with that. I am “perfectly imperfect” as Anne Lamott would say.  Hineini, Here I am!

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . 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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Have you ever felt invisible?

  • You know the moment when you have a FABULOUS idea and no one will listen.
  • Or perhaps, when you were waiting for a call from someone who simply chooses to disappear without warning.

For me, I think I was invisible for nearly my entire childhood until I went to Israel for high school when I was 16 years old. And even then, I wonder if I was mostly invisible until I was in my forties. I may never really know.

As a child, I am not sure that I understood how to engage in normal ways. I had no idea how to interact as others did. My guess is that I learned to fake it because I was an actress. In truth though, I was invisible. No one really knew me or much less saw me. If they did, they would have had to look inside themselves in order to understand why they stood by and did little or in most cases nothing for a thoroughly battered young girl.

I grew up in what many refer to as idyllic neighborhood outside Baltimore. Yet I will never understand how the neighbors growing up on Pikeswood Drive, my extended family that lived within 3 miles, and my school community could have closed their eyes to the child that stood in front of them, next to them, or within their worlds. Perhaps I was a fabulous actress, I doubt it. More than likely, the adults simply did what felt easiest for them. They closed their eyes, their ears, and their hearts; more likely than not they choose to stay disengaged.

With that disengagement, I had to learn how to navigate a world that made no sense. As a young child, I never wondered why folks didn’t show up. I do now, but back then, it was simply my norm. And that norm was so lonely to navigate.

I have a distinct memory of believing that all my screams were silent when I was a little girl. They weren’t. I have one distinct memory of seeing my mother passed out from one of her many drunks and me screaming at the top of my lungs.  There were no words just what I would describe now as a guttural cry. At a ripe young age, I learned that no one could hear my cries and no one really cared. As I got older, I remember creating a silent scream, I would feel my mouth open, my heart race, and my tears roll down my face, but no sound came. My life experience had taught me to hold my pain inside.

To make matters complicated, I was seriously hearing impaired as a young child. If my memory is correct, I didn’t really hear until I was about 5 years old. I am not sure how I communicated or even if anyone understood me before that time. While I remember other sensations, I don’t remember real communication.

And even when I did start to hear, I knew without a doubt that I spoke funny, everyone struggled to understand me, and besides I could barely hear what people were saying anyways. Somehow along the way I was blessed to learn how to read lips. And over time, I learned how to “act” normal. I even learned how convince my schools that I understood what was going on in the classroom, but that was another one of my lies; I was simply acting.

Reading lips opened up the door to real communication. I am not sure when I figured out that I needed to see people’s lips in order to hear them, but wow did my life get a little easier. While I have never read lips fluently, what I do does help me connect with people.

Lock EyesAs I got older, I learned that I could really connect with people by looking at their lips, reading their expressions, and really locking deeply into their eyes.

Eyes speak volumes and when you look deeply into the eyes that you are facing, you remind yourself and the person in front of you how present you are. When you are locking deeply into the eyes of whoever you are facing you are actually saying “Hineini/I am here”! Our conversation is the most important conversation in the world.

While I don’t always lock eyes, it truly is one of the most holy ways to fully engage with another human being. After a childhood of believing I was invisible, being seen and heard and doing the same for others feels INCREDIBLE.

SARK, my spirit mentor and teacher ends many of her letters with:

You are seen, You are known, You are loved.

After years of being invisible, I believe that the only way that I can see people, know people, and love people is by listening to both their spoken and unspoken words.

To this day, I still have brief moments when I feel invisible, the only difference is that all I have to do is reach out to my beautiful tribe of beloveds that are there for me.

Make sure you take time to lock deeply into other’s eyes. I promise you that it will by one of the holiest connections you will experience.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . 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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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Once I figure out my thoughts around those I love and what I believe, I tend to hold them deep within my spirit for what feels like eternity. The only challenge is that relationships change and so do the issues. Over time everything evolves and people or things that once seemed unimportant become more prominent in our lives. And what once seemed unimaginable becomes the image that invades your thoughts. Politics has continuously reinforced that last thought.

Transformation happens.

“To transform the world,
we must begin with ourselves.

~J. Krishnamurti

As an activist, as a woman, as a friend, and as a mother, I have had to learn to release my desire to hold fast to my ideas. Time and again, I have become enlightened by new information. Feelings change, circumstances change, and it’s my job to ride the waves and do the work of transformation.

As hard as it is for me, I have watched myself change so much over the years. While I have always been Jewish, the denominations I have connected to have varied from time to time; today I am much more grounded in a more ecstatic Judaism. Once I was married, now I am not. My sons have taught me since birth to honor where they are and  we all know that children are always changing; today my sons are on their own journeys as adults. And I have lost lovers and friends, but I have also gained some precious new ones.

The political environment in the US and in Israel have given me many moments of pause. While I was once silent and completely uninformed, now I am far from it. Most of my life I didn’t consider labor practices or the realities of climate change, now I can’t get them out of my mind. I never thought that I would feel compelled to become an ally for LGBTQ or a witness to such blatant racism within our society. And the devastating conditions that refugees are forced to endure at the hands of our government is appalling.

Day 14 - OnwardToday, I have to keep showing up to whatever is in front of me. Moving forward is not an option. If someone needs me or an issue is calling to my attention, I have to find out what I can do to make this world a better place.

My job is to live life fully and out loud. It is to remain empowered “to do the next right thing” (Glennon Doyle) even as I live in the “marvelous messy middle” (SARK). Yes life is not as easy as I’d like, but I am so blessed to be always be moving forward.

How about you? How are you moving forward in your life?

Onward with love, light, & creativity,
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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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Day 11 - Listen to the quiet voiceLately all of these messages are coming to me. There is a quiet voice guiding me with each step and nurturing me towards living a more authentic life.

With each passing day, I seem to be taking better care of my body, my spirit, and our world. Even this project #The100DayProject is fueling me as an activist, a dreamer, and a creative soul. More and more I am loving myself just as I am and slowly releasing the people and things that no longer serve me. In fact, I have begun to think of this time as ‘Shedding the Weight’.

The quiet voice is leading me to four social/political actions of varying sorts this week alone. There is so much work to do in our world and it can only happen if I am willing to:

  • perform “a simple act of caring”.
  • “believe that I can make a difference and then go our and do it.
  • take time to nurture my spirit and navigate what I need so that I can remain present for others.
  • be light.
  • feed the hungry.
  • trust the silence.
  • plant seeds.
  • love deeply.
  • wage justice.
  • listen to the quiet voice within.
  • and so much more. . . .(hoping for 89 more days worth.

The quiet voice is teaching me to take one step and then another. As I think my teacher SARK would say, I need to allow for the wisdom of the inner wise soul and allow her to guide me so that I can best show up and navigate all the moving parts of my life including repairing our world.

If you really took the time you need to listen to the quiet voice within you, what would you do differently? How would you change?

Onward with love, light, and creativity,
Chava

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years ago I was afforded the opportunity to remain silent for nearly 8 days. a dear friend of mine gave me the keys to his log cabin in the Berkshires which was located in rural western Massachusetts. the time was magical, challenging, beautiful, and wildly needed.

being alone in that silence was a powerful time for me and it became the most transformative time in my life. it was there I cried out the atrocities that I faced in my childhood and began to release the pain. it was there that I found the courage to change my name and allow for further transformation. it was there that I found the inner strength to ask Michael for a divorce (the first time). it was there that I realized that I had the spirit to accomplish what I wanted to in life.

with each step and with each passing day I became profoundly  aware that I am and always will be a work in progress.  each step allowed for stretching, growing, and becoming more grounded in the person I am. the 8 days lead me to new heights and allowed me to face some very real realities too.

Mendocino CA-Sandra G. Wortzel

Mendocino, California Photo Courtesy of Sandra G. Wortzel

moving forward. . .
until this afternoon, I hadn’t realized that I haven’t had real time alone in so very long, perhaps even years. I guess I now understand why I have been feeling like I am on overload; I need to allow for more quiet in my life. while I don’t currently have 8 full days, I will take as much time as I can over the next 11 days when my sons are visiting their dad and grandmother. with work and previously scheduled plans, I have decided to treasure the quiet hours I do have.

I started by canceling three sets of plans for today and tomorrow. 🙂 I bet you are wondering what I will do with the time. this is easy to answer. I will take time just to sit in the quiet, write without distraction, and breathe a little more deeply. I will also take naps, work on some of my art, and chant. and finally, the dogs, Maddie and Magic will get some undivided attention.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up
and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.
You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
~Anne Lamott

allowing for the sadness
the world has been dragging my spirit down a little bit of lately. how can it not?

once I realized that I haven’t had or taken the time I needed to center myself, I understood why I was taking the harshness as hard as I have. yes, life is not easy for someone who walks in the world as I do, but I do have the responsibility to find the light and the angels in this world. I can’t move forward in any are if I don’t take that time to nurture my own spirit.

I do have some reasons both personally and within the many worlds I exist to feel sadness. so with that in mind, I am allowing for the tears to fall. in truth, there is no container that can gather the tears, but that’s ok. I believe that tears plant seeds towards new growth. you can’t move forward without navigating the darkness. once through the darkness, all of us can slowly catch the sparks that will create more light in our worlds.

and in truth, my life has so much light too. I live in a world of angels that are doing all they can to make the world a better place. in fact, I am showing up to make our world a better place too. I, sincerely, feel blessed in the world I have and continue to create for myself.

as my teacher SARK might say, it is my job to embrace “the messy middle”; I am perfectly imperfect. so I am doing just that as I take time to listen to the quiet.

may we all move towards the light and do whatever we can to create more sparks.

with love, light, and blessings,
chava

 

 

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“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
~Rumi

No one heard me when I was younger. No one. I got used to it – so used to it that I nearly buried myself in drug abuse. With no way out and no one to hear my cries, I found solace in remaining wasted.

I started young and covered up the disarray  of my soul with more blankets of dysfunction. And no one knew; no one heard my cry for help. Instead I had to find my own way out. At 16 years old, I decided to leave the world of mind altering drugs behind and to build a new foundation.

The only trouble is that I never learned how to handle my emotions when I thought no one was willing to listen. Even now, I feel a deep sense of loss when I am not being heard or my thoughts are even temporarily being ignored.  Intellectually, I know that people are busy, but inside I am still the little girl no one heard.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yesterday, I wrote about how I was feeling drawn to listening to the quiet (https://wp.me/pthnB-3bP), but I do so with the awareness that my beloveds need to be seen, to be known, and to be loved as my spiritual mentor and writer SARK would teach.

Over the past weeks, I have been amazed at the silence I have needed to surround myself with, but I have been equally aware that I have had some friends that have needed me to be present. So, that is exactly what I did. I found myself taking a flight from Houston to Tucson so that I could nurture a friend who was recovering from major surgery. I also, connected with friends that were struggling with other challenges, and I almost helped a woman reunite with her 5 year old son by driving her four hours to pick up her son and then return to Houston. Fortunately, I ended up not needing to take the drive, but I would have.

Life happens.

AcknowledgeHere is the thing I have learned over the years. I am virtually alone. I have amazing family in Israel, but they are too far away to help without notice. AND I have the most dedicated friends in the world, but they are all over the map. Currently, I live in Houston and if it weren’t for barely a couple of people from my community and my sons, I would struggle if I really needed help; I just don’t have a support system here.

There is some really good things that come from feeling lonely and being virtually alone. I have come to understand that even when I know that my beloved friends and family are busy/distracted by life, I need to feel like I am seen.  Not all the time, but sometimes feeling ignored can hurt me deeply. Unfortunately, my childhood sense of alone-ness is never too far behind.

That realization is helping me become a better friend. If I need to be acknowledged, so do others. Everyone wants to be seen.

I am far from perfect, but I am improving over time. I am also getting better at telling those that I love, that sometimes I need a quick response with a promise that the other person will reach out as soon as possible.

My own loneliness has lead me to becoming a more beautiful friend; I think that is a good thing.

May we all show up the best way we know how; may we give those that need light, a spark from our own reservoir. And if you need me, please let me know. I am not a mind reader.

Onward with love and light,
Chava

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(Note: Reflecting about life and how to best move forward is what I do. One of my favorite teachers/writers, SARK, often talks about living in the “marvelous messy middle”. I think we all do that, but only some of us open the windows or doors for others to peek in. Hineini, here I am in all my rawness and passion. Hang on for the ride. If your interested, here is where this series begins.   https://lightwavejourney.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/time-to-heal-building-a-stronger-foundation/)

No one wants to be misunderstood or told that they are limited. I am no different. Most of my life I have felt the need to defend my thoughts and my feelings. But something is evolving at this point in time. I am learning – slowly – to say what I think without having to pound it metaphorically into anyone’s head. I do like to be heard, but I am becoming ok when people don’t see things my way.

Day 20

The last year has challenged me on a daily and sometimes on an hourly basis. My views on the political climate in the United States and Israel are not always on par with what others think or believe. With Trump and Netanyahu in the leadership of the two countries I profess to love, I struggle with the venom that they bring out in me. The good news is that I am blessed to have a fabulous village of people that share my beliefs. Unfortunately though, not everyone is as enlightened as we are.  :/

This has caused me some grief. Only in the last week or two have I begun to see a shift in my attitudes. I am learning to share my opinions without feeling explosive when I learn that I am not preaching to the choir. In return, I am learning to hear the views of others and usually find an ounce of wisdom if not more.

My intensity is impenetrable at times. With passion overflowing, it is hard for me to cope with how I feel. This must mean that others have found me impossible at times.

In my need for calmness, I am seeking balance in all areas of my life. I am also accepting that while I may believe that I am ‘right’, I need to take time to hear those I respect.  When people share their proofs and articles, their documentaries and diatribes, I am trying to take time to listen– really listen. And sometimes, I am even blessed to gain a new insight.

The key to me is that I automatically shut down when the name calling or nastiness begins. And I am trying to disengage with kindness or at least without being nasty too.  To be honest, a part of me believes in karma…..so I better watch myself. 😀

Over the last few days, I have found a dramatic increase in political arguments. With the tensions in Gaza being what they are, I am struggling with all of the variables only to realize that what’s happening is beyond complicated. In my devastation, I began to understand that some of my views needed to be negotiated differently which means I needed to listen more intently to views that often rubbed me the wrong way.

In truth, I am not evolving too dramatically, I am still liberal in my politics. I am, however, realizing that there are so m any narratives in this world. And if I am going to build bridges and relationships with others, I need to learn to embrace the challenging conversations with a little more openness and respect.

Relationships are complicated – always. Yet if I want to develop healthier and more beautiful connections, I need to remain conscious and mindful that what I say and how I say it makes a difference.  And I have to remain on the path to really listen to what others have to say.

Hineini, Here I am – I have a lot more work to do. I am on it!

Feel free to join me over the coming weeks as I continue to unveil some of the moving parts that I am navigating and myriad of ways I hope to stretch, to grow, and ultimately to heal. My hope is that as I share some of my story, I may inspire you in some small way.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

(Note: If you read to the end and if you like what I have to share, I’d love it if you would let me know by liking or commenting on my post.)

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