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Posts Tagged ‘step’

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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Polish-Slovakian border - Stephanie Randall

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Randall; Location Pieniny National Park in Slovakia

 

Elul* is a time for deep reflection.

For one entire month, I will share my sometimes arduous but ultimately transformative journey towards Growing my Spirit AND Strengthening My Soul.

Writing is how I process all that is happening within me and around me. While I can express myself beautiful in conversation, if you really want to know what weighs heavy on my mind and spirit, read my writings. As my soul friend, Renee Airya, recently wrote, “I’m liberated by this sharing- not burdened by it.”

With every ounce of my being, I believe that each and every word will lead me to a new and healthier Jewish New Year. In these writings, I will openly share all the strength and brokenness that is part of me.

My decision to unveil both darker and lighter sides of my essence is meant as a tool. By embracing who I really am, I will be able to become more grounded which will enable me to soar higher in the coming year. With each word or step, my hope is to become a more authentic and graceful me.

Onward with love and light,
Chava

*Elul takes place the month before Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year. During this month, we are given the opportunity to reflect on our lives and work towards our future hopes, dreams, and realities.

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If you do not breathe through writing,
if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing,
then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
~A
nais Nin

I am a writer. In the core of my being, I am most comfortable expressing myself through the written word.

Recently, I have been astounded by people questioning the transparency of my writing.  Is there any other way? I think not.

My teacher (who has no idea who I am) is Anne Lamott; she has taught me to write with complete integrity, to share fully, and to not be ashamed of my thoughts and feelings.  One of my favorite teachings that can be found in her book, Bird by Bird, and also in her CD titled, Word by Word, is that I have a right to share my story.  If people didn’t want me to talk bad about them, they should have never done the things they did.  So while, I generally refrain from giving a ton of the darker details of my life, I do have Anne’s voice as my guide.  And her voice resonates-always. Each of her books (and now Facebook status lines) is an example of someone who speaks what she feels from her kishkes (guts). Lamott shares the good, the challenging, the ugly; Anne is a beautiful work in progress. I aspire to have her voice as my guide whenever I am sharing my voice, my thoughts, my writing.

Each and every one of my  written (and spoken) words come from my heart and are part of my essence.  If I write them to you personally, imagine that I am giving you the gift of my heart and soul. Imagine that you are worthy of my truest love.

And for the reader that reads my blog. . . I am sharing with you my purest being. In the moment that I am sharing my thoughts, know that they are coming from the deepest part of me.

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

I am a writer. My words matter and have the power to impact.  My hope is to touch people in ways that make a difference in their lives; simultaneously I feel a positive energy with each and every letter and space that is part of my writing.  The rhythm of my soul is out there for anyone to treasure or to toss out.  Why would I want it any other way?

When I write, I am giving you, the reader, a part of my me.  With each word, I am weaving a personal idea, a thought, a dream; I am sharing the deepest part of the person that I have become.  And yet, what I write one moment, may evolve in another moment; I never stop thinking or growing.

With each breath, I have experienced the fullness that life has had to offer – sometimes with beauty, sometimes with pain, always finding sparks of light.  I am the person I am because of the life I have lived.  Life has blessed me with the ability to look inwards and to evolve as the trek emerges.  With each step, I write as a way to process all that was, is and will be. Capturing the many moving parts of my heart, my soul, and my mind is what I do.  Through writing, I allow the words to flow onto the page and to cleanse my being.  And sometimes, if luck will have it, my words can do something magical for someone else too.

My transparency is a gift.  I welcome you to experience a world that is mine.  Is it rational? Not always.  Is it precious? To me.  Are the moments when my emotions are intense? Of course.

May my words continue to be real –  now and always.
May my words help me stay balanced in a world that often feels off balance.
May my words inspire people in small and large ways.

May I always have the character to ‘say what I need to say’.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Morning Pages Binder

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Life is a journey full of ups and downs, mountains and valleys, ebbs and flows.  Life is simply full of curve balls.

lifes-curve-balls

The good news is that I tend to find the light in each of life’s journeys.  While I acknowledge that the challenges can be overwhelming, I ultimate embrace each and every turn.  And sometimes I struggle because while I am an optimist, I am also a human being.

With each step I take on life’s journeys, I pray for the strength and fortitude to live with integrity.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I do not.  That’s life.

Lately, I have found myself needing to gravitate to a more silent place giving myself some space between written words and chit chat.  While I am a genuinely happy and forthright person, I am aware that sharing too much of what is in my heart will lead me to a dark place.  Have you ever noticed that the more you talk about something the bigger the issues loom?  With that in mind I am practicing the art of silence; I am facing my feelings in a more insular fashion.

Life’s curve balls are very real, but they also have the ability to strengthen me as I climb each mountain or even if I fall down with my two left feet.

The key to moving forward is to open up my heart and soul by allowing for myself to just go with the the flow as the curve balls  propel me to the place I will ultimately go.

I am doing what I have to do.  Living with what is; navigating the curve balls.

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Tonight we counted Day 40 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and five days of the counting. Day 40 is referred to as Hod sheh b’Yesod, Expansiveness within our Foundation.

When you are truly living expansively, your creativity soars and the strength of your foundation grows.

hammer_silhouette-svg-hi

A good illustration of this comes from Pete Seeger, who celebrated his 85th birthday this week.  Seeger’s song, If I had a Hammer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSWQfCkduu0 has touched many of our lives and compelled many of us to reach outside of ourselves to make a difference in the world.  At nearly every rally I have ever been to, we have sung that song.  Good folk music like that of Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Phil Ochs, and Emmas Revolution-among others-inspires people to actively engage in tikkun olam (repairing the world).

With each step we take, may our world expand for good.

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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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If you want to succeed, you have to open the door. ~Chava

For me is is profoundly clear that in order to move forward within life you have to open doors.

Over the last year, I have been drawn to the metaphor of the open door.  So much happens when you walk through a doorway.  Each step can lead to infinite opportunities and answers to questions both known and unknown.  Each step is also filled with gifts and challenges.  Sometimes you get to where you think you are going and other times you find a horizon you weren’t quite expecting.

The journey’s dichotomies reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books/songs.  Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it.  Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

With each step there is a child-like excitement and then a little trepidation as I realize that the only way to succeed is to go through the steps that will help you reach success.  And success isn’t always going through the doorway; sometimes success is the journey itself.  Either way, when you are taking any trek, you really do have to go through it!

Every day, I am faced with the decision on how to walk through the doorways of life.  While I tend to smile a lot and find humor when I can, I also struggle with finding balance.  Intensity courses through my veins as I struggle with my own perfectionist tendencies.  I embrace life journey’s but I also struggle with many of the steps I take.

The benefit of being aware is that  in this stage of life I can now take a deep breath before I allow the struggle for perfectionism to hurt me.  I haven’t always been that way and the consequences of my behavior will always be a thorn.  In my early twenties, I destroyed much of my writing and my paintings.  The realization that I was much less creative than I wanted to be hurt me to the core; I wondered if I had anything to offer the world (even my small world).  In response to the pain, I destroyed my work.

For me, I often find gifts within the struggles of realities.  So while I ultimately destroyed my works and in the process broke my own heart, I also learned from my actions.  I probably will never destroy my work in the same way again.  I also learned that I can handle loss and move forward to create again.  Loss is always profoundly painful.  Yet I know that if you allow yourself the time to heal and the space to do the work, healing is a strong possibility.

Walking through any door, metaphoric or real, takes not only courage but wisdom to discern what derekh, path, is best.  And the work doesn’t end there; with each step we need to keep reflecting honestly and tweaking how you move through each open door.

One of my core guiding principles is that I have to find light within each journey even the darkest ones; finding light is not optional.  The light, even when it is just a small ember, helps me to remember that there is something both within myself and outside of myself to keep my spirit alive and enlightened.

May we all find light and ways to grow with each and every step we take.

PS-Over the next few days, I will share some of the doors that I am moving through currently.  Life is a journey.

PPS – I would love it if one of my good friends would happen to have a good camera AND would like to go drive around Tucson and take photos of doors, tunnel entrances, bridges. . .photos that represent doorways.

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