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Posts Tagged ‘smile’

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 26 Elul or 4 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!

~ ~ ~

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of  difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall
Primatologist, Anthropologist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace

~ ~ ~

(Note: Before you read this blog entry, know that I am fairly hard on myself.  I believe that everything I do in life can impact the world for good and for bad.  Every interaction I have with people or the environment can make a difference.  So I try to walk in the world knowing that I need to be mindful at all times.  And since I am being brutally honest, I try to surround myself with people that embody conscious living as they walk in the world.  I want to connect with people that believe in their power and actively want to make a difference for good.)

Everything we do matters.

AND we cannot sustain equal intensity in all areas of our lives.  Sometimes we have to decide what focuses we will have.  My hope is that each of us decide on 3-5 actions that can impact the world in positive ways.   And while I am at it, let me throw out the idea that living positively needs to begin at home.

Each of us will define home according to our own uniqueness.  For some of us, it is simply our own little family unit; for others, it could be their spiritual community; and for others, it could be their neighborhood, their community, their spiritual community, their ethnic group.. . .the list can go on and on.

Take a moment and consider what you can do in your life to make the world a little bit healthier than it currently is.  Below I will share a few things on my family’s list.

  1. Take a moment to smile or have a sweet verbal exchange with nearly everyone I meet.
  2. Make time for the people and things that jazz you.
  3. Always consider your carbon footprint.
  4. Conscious eating and shopping – organics, local, human rights, fair-trade
  5. Adopt rescue animals
  6. Recycle, Reuse – Try to obtain and pass on as much as we can at thrift shops, free cycle, Craig’s List, friends, etc.
  7. Share your views/listen to others’ views
  8. Listen to music that inspires living positively
  9. Connect with people who share our beliefs/values – interest groups (political, environmental, social, spiritual, human rights, etc.)
  10. Spread light

In truth, I am in the midst of thinking what I need to focus on so that I can make a positive impact in our world.  I am fortunate that I can do a ton, but I do believe it is time to focus a little more heavily in one area of my life.  I will let you know once I decide.

How about you? “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of  difference you want to make.”

With blessings & light,
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 21 Elul or 9 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!

~ ~ ~

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Quote by Fred Rogers

~ ~ ~

Sometimes life is hard.  Murders.  Tsunamis.  Job loss. Terrorism.  Genocide. Domestic violence. Homelessness. Unanswered prayers.

And yet, with each loss and with the drama that can sometimes be part of life, there are angels that make a difference for good.  There are people that will drop what they are doing in order to make the handling of a disaster a little less painful.  There are people that are in the midst of suffering that will still try to help others.  Some of us show that we care by offering money, a smile, a hand; some of us do nothing, but many of us do what we can.

Throughout my life, I have been supported and loved by strangers as well as loved ones.  My life wouldn’t be what it is today if people hadn’t helped me along the way.  Even today, I am feeling myself held as I need to navigate some difficult struggles.  And even today and throughout every stage of my life, I have done and continue to do what I can for others.  It really is an amazing gift to be on either side of this scenario.

At some point in our lives, we may need someone to help us navigate life’s harsh realities, may we be blessed to have that person appear with a large enough net.  And may each of us make a difference for good when someone needs us.

With blessings and light,
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 the second 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.

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!

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
    translation by Coleman Barks

Ever noticed how many balls get tossed at you at any given moment?

Over the years, I have come to realize the importance of dealing with all that comes at me with warmth and a smile.  Life happens.  Cars break down.  We lose jobs.  People in our lives have bad moments.  Each of these realities affect our lives.

While I strive to stay even-tempered, it doesn’t always happen. I am, after all, human.   🙂  What I love about the Rumi poem above is that it has become a gentle reminder that I should embrace all the emotions and realities that are happening in life and find a way to move forward with what is.

With blessings 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 me, it is a time to actively reflect on different middot (character traits) that will lead me to my own rebirth..

Middah (character trait) focus: Perseverance

Life happens.

Each and every day we wake up and we get to decide how we can walk through the world.  For me, regardless of what is happening in my world, I am someone who chooses to move through life with a smile on my face and a positive disposition.  While I am far from perfect, being grumpy just doesn’t work for me.

As part of the living, each of us experience trials and tribulations, gifts and challenges, joy and heartache.  When we push through the tough stuff, we open ourselves to the possibility of making it through what is and maybe even finding sparks of light along the way.

Living in the desert has opened up my mind to how perseverance can appear; one such example is a cactus that rarely receives water, yet still has the ability to flower.

Cactus Flower

May each of us find the tools that allow us to perservere when we are faced with adversity in whatever form it takes.

With love and light . . . . Chava

 

 

 

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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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Tonight we counted Day 49 of the Omer, which is 7 weeks of the counting. Day 49 is referred to as Malkhut sheh b’Malkhut,  Wholeness within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

Reflection:  In Hebrew, the word shalom means peace.  If you take the root letters from shalom, you will also have the word shalem which means completeness or wholeness.

The counting of the Omer has been a spiritual journey for me.  I have actively been trying to strengthen my foundation by doing the work to make myself a little more complete, a little more whole.  Only by doing the holy work of taking care of my being, do I have a chance of finding inner peace and creating outer peace too.

While I have chosen not to share the specifics of my journey over the past 7 weeks, I have been directly paralleling the journey of the Israelites from slavery to liberation.  While it takes more than 49 days to become free of the challenges that have troubled or enslaved any of our hearts and minds, the 49 days can still be used to travel towards greater spiritual liberation.

My journey will continue, but I am feeling more centered and complete now than I did 49 days ago.  Navigating inner and outer peace for me and for the world I live can be intense.  While I often smile and laugh, I also never stop thinking.  I struggle with how to navigate so many aspects of life.  Each and every person matters; the world matters.  Child slavery still exists; global warming destroys; natural castrophies exist; senseless people find ways to cause war; gun violence never stops; terrorism happens.  And each and every time I walk out my door I pray that I will return to love my family.  I take NOTHING for granted.

Earlier this week, a friend was having a bad day and accused me of lacking consideration for that was important in the world.  Little did he know that I have to find laughter and moments of joy or I will crumble.  I have to celebrate my journey to health, my yoga class, my ability to hear.  Life matters.  Intensity courses through my veins, but if I don’t breathe deeply sometimes and acknowledge the gifts, I would crumble in the face of the disasters and potential disaster that surround all that is. Courage, strength, and hope matter.

CafePasseNeeds

As we count Day 49 of the Omer is my hope and my prayer that each of us are ready for the end of the journey from slavery to liberation.  May we feel whole in the core of our being; may peace radiate within us and around us.

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My mind, quite literally, never stops.  Yet I often have the ability to push forward in a state of inner peace and contentment.  I notice everything, I feel deeply, and I live passionately.  Still even as I grapple with the background called life, I am motivated by a higher challenge: Living in the present moment and absorbing the beauty of what is or what could be.

Living an intense  existence doesn’t negate the value of finding the gift in the challenges and seeking inner peace and contentment through life’s storms.  Yes I feel deeply, but I also strive to find the light and reflect it back into the world.  It’s what I do.

A day or two ago, I saw a couple of amazing and thoughtful posts on Facebook.  Both reinforced how I try to walk through the world.

With each step, I walk through the world with an inner warmth and a gentle step.  I believe in goodness even though the first sights I experienced were that of darkness and pain.  I love life, truly love life.

The funny thing about the two posts I saw were that they came during some incredibly dark days when I was navigating the deepest of pain.  Even with that, I felt empowered by the timing of each post.  I was struggling, but I wasn’t crumbling;  I was actively facing intense pain and challenges. I wasn’t giving up; I never have.

The first posting was shared by a very deep friend who told me that this post reminded her of me.

ToDoList

Regardless of the darkness I am navigating, I am am fairly good at following the above list.

  • I always look to find the gifts within the challenges.
  • I love people so I show it.
  • I struggle with trying to let go of what I can’t control, but I try. . . I really try.
  • My heart guides how I walk through the world.
  • I consciously keep moving forward regardless of what I am navigating.
  • Breathe is written on a plaque I made for my 40th birthday and it is one of my mottos for living a healthy life; I value it now as much as I did when I created the plaque.

pet-rock

Life is a blessing with many challenges.  If I ever give up for too long, it means that something must really be wrong and I might be in need of spiritual help.

The other fantastic posting I saw on Facebook listed 12 Things Happy People do differently:

12SignsHappiness

Without discussing each of the 12 points, I found it fascinating that in some way I negotiate at least 10 or maybe even 11 of the above list. Yay!!! At the same time, I can always do better.  Seriously.  I am a work in progress; I am always striving to become a stronger and a more positive human being.

The bottom-line is that life is a journey and each of us needs to decide how to walk though the journey.  Positive energy and thoughts propel us to a better place than does the looming fear and sadness.  I have learned to seek silence when I am taking difficult journeys; if I keep fueling the darkness with empty words, I will crumble and fall.

Behind the smile there is a deep intensity that moves my soul.  I am consciously maneuvering the world around me and trying to navigate the long roads ahead.

Gotta keep on moving forward. . . .

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