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Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Sun rise New Zealand May 5 Jai-Jagdeesh

Photo Courtesy of Jai-Jagdeesh via Instagram: jaijagdeesh

This I believe:

Illness and wake-up calls come when you need to listen to your body, your mind, and your soul. So when I finally listened to what my body was saying a few weeks ago, I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with bronchitis.

But 10 days later, I realized that I was still in bad shape and getting worse, so I went back only to receive the same diagnosis and a change in medicine. AND this time I realized that what I needed more than anything else was to stop and really rest.

But then something in the report caught my eye.

10/12/2017
Body Mass Index 30+ – Obesity; Bronchitis

Ouch!!!

As a past runner and someone who is totally conscious of my health, I am so aware that¬† something has to change; I’ve known this for a very long time. In fact, I started a serious health journey 45 days before my 45th birthday. That journey was amazing and changed my relationship with food. I took off nearly 65 lbs and I have kept nearly every pound off for over 6 years. But now I need to begin again and take the rest of my weight off.

As someone who is basically healthy, I strongly believe there is no excuse for “obesity”. This isn’t about looks (except that I HATE my double-chin); this is about becoming the healthiest that I can be. In fact this entire year has become about becoming the healthiest I can be.

Needing to have back surgery in early April was the first very loud message, but then there were others. So with that in mind, I am actively taking the words of my dear soul sister, Arlene Berger and the Torah, “Choose Life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). If I want to thrive and to be the healthiest that I can be, I have to consciously life into my realm. I love knowing that while Arlene and I live in different cities, we are on this journey together.

I have 123 days or 4 months between now and my 52nd birthday. And I have goals of what I want for my body, my mind, and my soul. I do believe that light is surrounding each and every step of this journey.

This health journey is not only about weight, although I do need to manage my weight better in order to be one step closer to better health. There is also such beautiful spiritual and emotional work that is calling my name.

I got this.

As I own my health journey, know that what is listed, is some of my current soul work and some new things based on my doctor’s notes and his feedback when we met this past summer. My goal is to be the healthiest I can be – body, mind, and soul. And while I am being transparent, I’d love to have your support, but I am conscious that too much good advice can be a bad thing. If I let you know that something I am choosing to do is a non-negotiable, please don’t try to convince me that I am wrong.

So, here is my list:

  1. Go dairy and meat free! I am considering whether or not I will continue eating eggs and fish. I think that I will be removing fish from my diet after tonight because we purchased salmon for tonight’s Shabbat dinner. (Note: I have been virtually meat free for many years so meat free is not a big deal. ūüôā AND I will be working with Weight Watchers guidelines.)
  2. Prepare three new vegan recipes a week. Take time to enjoy living a more healthy lifestyle.
  3. No added sugar to my diet. I will continue having fruit and sometimes fruit juices with no added sugar. I know this has sugar, but I am doing it anyway.
  4. Allow for more silence in my life. Breathe a little deeper.
  5. One of my favorite quotes by¬†Franz¬†Kafka is ‚ÄúWriting is¬†prayer.” With this in mind, I want to surround my life with more spirituality through my writing.
  6. Do more soul work! Hoping and praying that I can touch people’s lives with Door l’Door.¬†https://door-ldoor.blogspot.com/
  7. Exercise more – this includes walking 7-10 miles daily and/or finding a piece of equipment to do daily at home. I am thinking about an elliptical. Thoughts?
  8. Politically and spiritually, there is so much work that our world needs me/us to do. With this in mind, I want to listen to the wisdom of one of my favorite songs in the world, “Keep On Moving Forward” by Emma’s Revolution.¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtiXT5c5jBQ
  9. Live my truths without apology. Allow for my authenticity to shine.
  10. Chant, Drum, and Dance

By choosing to do this holy work, I am choosing to fuel my soul. I guess my soul sister can’t tell me I am ignoring her wisdom!

Time to get to work!

 

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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 . . . .]

Creating Your Makom Kadosh,
Your Sacred Place

pet-rock

As a writer, I have always fallen in love with sweet nooks that inspire my words to flow.

Until the last few years, I would plop myself down anywhere and write, but that isn’t the case now. But during my¬†two-year¬†Kol Zimra, Chant Leader’s Training with Rabbi Shefa Gold, my relationship to space changed. During this amazing series of workshops¬†in New Mexico, I began to appreciate how creating a spiritual space enhanced my ability to dig deeper within myself allowing me to¬†ultimately pull out ideas and thoughts worthy of sharing with others. I also began to understand that if I surrounded myself with beauty and calm energy, my entire¬†spirit¬†would soar.

My spirituality has developed significantly now that I am more cognizant of my surroundings. Today not only do I spend time writing, but I also take the time to chant, drum, dance, and pray. I think about my space when I eat, cook, read, and simply take time to breathe. Surrounding myself with what resonates within me enables me to a happier and calmer person.

Many moving parts¬†combined create a sacred space for me.¬†Over the years, I have learned that less is more. I wouldn’t call myself¬†a minimalist exactly, but I aspire to surround myself with only that which jazzes my soul. I want to love each of every fiber¬†within¬†my space. I am sensitive to colors, lighting, textures, smells. In¬†the background, I always have a sense of the sounds; sometimes I want to hear nigunim (wordless melodies), sometimes chanting, sometimes rock, sometimes folk, and sometimes the sounds of the outdoors is perfect for my spirit. There are times I want to listen and times I want to sing, but I creatively ignite¬†when hearing the songs and melodies that touch me deeply.

Years ago, I also discovered that life needs be part of my surroundings. Plants, flowers, herbs, and animals only enhance my mood. There is something heart-warming about being enveloped by life or by natural beauty.  My disposition tends to do better when I am around earthiness.

With all of this in mind, I am so looking forward to moving to Houston in ten days where I can establish a nurturing foundation that embraces who I am and where I can feel at home with my soul.

In my heart, I believe that in order to be content with what is, each of us need to love wherever we are standing or work towards whatever it is that we think we feel would be right for us.

Think about it, what do you need in order to make your personal space sacred.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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Note to Seeing the Door series:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Have you ever noticed how many different types of doors exist in the world?  Nearly each and every door leads to an opportunity.  Some doors are physical; other doors are metaphoric.  All doors lead to opportunity.

With the Rosh Chodesh Av (the first day of Av, the new Jewish month) beginning tonight, I have been processing how I can find meaning as we journey towards Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av? ¬†On Tisha B’Av, we mourn the destruction of the both the First and Second Temples as well as many other horrible¬†atrocities¬†that were done to the Jews on this date. ¬†Historically, this day is the saddest day in all of the Jewish calendar; on the 9th of Av, we remember, we mourn, and for some of us, we look for ways to make sense of this time.

How can you create an opening or doorway that will allow for new insight when darkness prevails?   For me, that means being reflective and finding lessons from the shattered remnants.

While many outdoor spaces offer me the most potent of spiritual places I have ever been, the most spiritual sanctuary and community has easily been Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland. ¬†There I found peace, spirituality, and community; it was and still is quite beautiful. ¬†So when I consider what a Temple could be to in modern terms, I return to Adat Shalom. ¬†That doesn’t take away what the First and Second Temples mean to the Jewish people, but it does help me find meaning in what the Temples could have meant to those that treasured them and all they stood for. ¬†Adat Shalom’s beauty quite literally takes my breathe away.

AdatShalomSanctuary

Over the coming days, I will be openly reflecting on what we can learn from the Destruction of the Temples.  One way that I gain a little empathy for a time that is somewhat beyond my comprehension is that I want to explore how my body is like a Temple both physically and metaphorically.  As sacred beings, we create sacred Temples/sacred spaces by how we choose to walk in the world.  Here is a working list of different ways each of us might be like a Temple.

  1. Spirituality doesn’t happen without a practice.
  2. In order to grow, I need to take care of myself, my community, and the world.
  3. Nourishing my body with good ingredients will ultimately lead me to be the best I can be.
  4. Surrounding myself with positive energy will create a healthy environment.
  5. My carbon footprint matters.
  6. Knowledge leads to wisdom.
  7. Choosing to live with integrity is a way of honoring my essence.
  8. Sometimes what appears to be lifeless, stagnant, or even dead, is actually within a time of rebirth, re-visioning and ultimate growth.
  9. Gaining insight often comes from trusting that the silence will us to the answers.
  10. Taking care of yourself physically leads people to appreciate and take note of your beauty.  Similar to the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah.
  11. Taking care of myself leads me and those that work with me to be part of the holy work.nd with this list comes a responsibility to take care of our bodies so we can do the holy work.

All that we do for our bodies makes a difference and ultimately leads to a better makom, a sacred space. ¬†And yet it is important to remember that nothing is permanent; impermanence is a reality for all even that which is remembered in our collective memory. ¬†While both a sacred being and a sacred place create an imprint and potential impact the world in which they exist, it doesn’t mean that it has a permanent place within that existence. ¬†Yet each still has the possibility of being impact-ful during and exceeding their time. ¬†How each walks in the world matters.

Much beauty exists around the exploration of how are body can be like a Temple. ¬†One of my most empowering teachers, Lauren Rader, had her students create an art project that responded to that very question. ¬†Here is the link to the amazing insight that was created by Lauren’s students.¬†https://www.facebook.com/LaurenRadrArt/media_set?set=a.412319202480.182023.692372480&type=3

May the sacred beauty we develop within and around ourselves be parallel to how we see the Temple or any of the sacred places in our lives.

Coming soon: Part 2 if ‘How is My Body like a Temple?’¬†will explore how can gain insight through Jewish Texts and prayers.

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The world is full of infinite possibilities, but still I have to take the first step. ~Chava Gal-Or

My hope is to relive my running days by beginning a new running/jogging journey with these awesome new shoes. Took the first step by purchasing the shoes…now for the rest of the journey. . . .

Writing Elul Reflections has been a profound practice for me.  Thanks for joining in my journey and sometimes sharing your thoughts.

One of the most precious gifts about this journey was taking the time to actually reflect thoughts that often surface for me.  Grappling with these thoughts has been huge for me; taking the time to write about my thoughts has also helped me to feel more balanced as I go into 5773, the Jewish New Year.

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

Through Elul Reflections, I have begun to realize that I have three non-negotiables in my life:

  1. A writing  practice needs to be part of my daily life.
  2. Whenever possible, I need to spend time with people that nurture my soul.
  3. There is enormous power in silence and solitude.

With that in mind, I will be taking some time over the next 10 days, Yomim Noraim* to build these three practices into my daily life.  My guess and my hope is that I will appear a little more silent in all areas of my life and that I will become a little more present for myself.

Balance doesn’t just happen. ¬†In order to¬†achieve¬†balance, you need to create the space that makes it possible to occur. ¬†My hope is that by continuing my Elul journey and doing more of the sacred work as the New Year begins, I will create the space that allows for more harmony within my life.

May it be so.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.  May you and your loved experience an abundance of blessings, good health, and light as you embrace 5773.

With love and light,

Chava

*The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur. (http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday3.htm)

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The process of counting for Elul and sharing my reflections has been humbling.  People have been reading my thoughts and my stories.  What touches me deeply is the way each person has interpreted each of my reflections with their own open hearts.  It has been really interesting to hear how some people respond to a teaching or a reflection as warm and positive while another person will ask me if I am really doing OK. I am.  I am someone who loves to openly grapple with what is going on around me and within me.  It really is all good!

The below reflection keeps me humble and sometimes helps me remember my power as a human being.

Our rabbis speak of a person carrying two slips of paper – one in the right pocket and one in the left. On one paper is written: ‚ÄúThe entire world was created just for me‚ÄĚ (Talmud – Sanhedrin 38a). On the other paper is written the words of Abraham:¬†‚ÄúI am but dust and ashes‚Ä̬†(Genesis 18:27).

May each of remember our role in this world.  May we stay humble as we also believe in our powers to do good as we walk in the world.

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