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Posts Tagged ‘stories’

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In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about our need to keep fear out of the driver’s seat. This is my daily work. Yes, fear is part of nearly every journey, especially when I am traveling in unknown territories. If I let fear drive me, I will either be stopped before I get very far or perhaps before I even leave the gate. Or I could end up making decisions that leave me treading water instead of moving forward.

As someone who has been significantly challenged by anxiety whenever I am starting something new, I often must do some serious self-talk as part of my kicking fear out of my way. Instead I try to welcome fear by greeting her with love and acceptance and then gently nudging her to the side as I do whatever is scaring me anyway. And in truth, few people know that I wrestle with uncertainty because I tend to embrace the world with two wide open arms and say, Hineini, Here I am! Fear rarely stops me in my tracks.

Since reading Big Magic when it first came out a few years ago, I have been able to better identify when fear has too much control. When that happens, I take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and proceed intentionally and usually without looking back.

As a young child, I learned that fear is what kept me safe. I was constantly aware that landmines surrounded me wherever I turned. At home, my mother was a loose cannon that could erupt without notice, my neighborhood bullies often left me afraid to go outside, and the realization that I was alone left me with a deep seated need to make safe choices. There was no one to pick me up if I stumbled.

And then for a few years when I was a teenager, I shoved fear out to the way so that I could jump moving trains, embrace all sorts of street drugs, and basically make some of the stupidest life choices possible. Isn’t that what many of us did back then? Life didn’t matter much so I pushed the envelope and did whatever caught my attention.

The self-destructive behavior continued for decades. I would push through fear by doing things like hiking by myself, driving too fast, and inviting people into my life that maybe should stay out of it. Only in the last few years have I begun to understand that these actions were fear driven in a different way. I was afraid of growing old and being alone so I was living like there was no tomorrow or like my last breath could happen at any time.

Today, fear comes from a different place. I fear sudden death or serious illness of my loved ones. I fear abrupt endings of any type. I fear deep sadness when I lose a friend who has simply decided that what we have is no longer what they want. I also fear the devastation that comes when loving partnerships end. I always believe I can’t take it, but I do. Although I must say that another part of me has come to understand that my broken heart can’t take too many more breaks or losses.

My work is to push through my fear when I start telling myself stories that perhaps I am  unlovable or too intense. For the most part, but not always, I am learning that if I feel that someone is backing away from me, I can ask directly if there is truth to the story that I am telling myself or if it is something else. Usually it is something else altogether. On a rare occasion, I need to accept the inevitable and move forward.

In the coming days, I am going to take an idea from one Liz Gilbert’s readers. I am going to start writing my many fears on a chair by gluing or mod-podging strips pieces of paper with actual fears written on it. This way, I can metaphorically place my fears on the chair instead of letting them take up space in my spirit.

I got this – one breath at a time!

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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13 years later. . . . .

Let’s get one reality out of the way.  My father was a deeply flawed human being that made significant mistakes over the course of his lifetime especially when it came to raising and protecting his little girl, me.  Yet, I am blessed that I can celebrate another side to a man I love deeply.  A long time ago, I chose to let go of the pain, to move forward, and to spend a lot more time remembering the extraordinary parts of my father.  And regardless of some of the challenges, he was an amazing Zaydie to his grandchildren and a loving soul to those that crossed his path.

Everyone that knew my father loved him.  Everyone.

While he struggled with my mother and the challenges that she posed, he was able to leave most of those feelings behind once he walked out our kitchen door.  Morry loved the world and much of what it had to offer.  He was a passionate reader, a lover of music, and a kind soul.

I am who I am because Morry Bloomberg was my father; he raised me to love people, stories, and music.  A day has not gone by without me thinking about my father and the many legacies he left behind.

My father guided me to walk in the world with a deep appreciation for each and every person in the human race while sharing brief words, stories, or jokes with all.  To this day, I feel guilty if I don’t want to interact with a cashier or someone holding the door.  My father taught me to be better than that, he taught me to acknowledge each and every person that I made eye contact with.

Sharing Stories and Jokes

I loved how my father had a story or joke to share with each and every person he met each day; he never hesitated to talk to any person that crossed his path; he always had a small offering to share. I was especially struck by his knowledge of everything going on in the news and how he would share information from all that he was reading at any given moment.  He was always reading.

Morry loved all people. Cashiers and family/friends were on equal footing; the doctor and the guys that took care of our yard were each human beings.  No one was better than anyone else.  And if anyone needed his help, he would do whatever he could to help.

Each and every person that I have met over the years believed that they were close friends with my dad.  He always had time for the person that was in front of him.  One of the reasons, I never use a cell phone in front of a cashier is because I believe he would quite literally have a cow if I every ignored a human being that was in front of me.  I can almost hear him expressing his dissatisfaction if I had chosen to disregard any person in front of me.  My moods didn’t count; I believe he taught me that I was here to serve, to bring joy into people’s lives for just a moment.  A kind word, a sweet story, or a smile makes a difference.

Turn Table and record (vinyl) - Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman

Turn Table and record (vinyl) – Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Loebman (who never stopped loving music or vinyl)

Music and Records

Another one of my favorite things about my father was his love for music.  He shared that love with everyone.  All of my friends loved that he knew more about vinyl and shared what he had with anyone that wanted.  But for me, I treasured how we used to take rides to any of his record stores and spend the entire time singing together.  On the rare occasion, that he could keep me out of my house for days on end, we would sing, share stories, and connect in ways that I will miss forever.  With him, I could find peace for as long as we were together.

Dad took me to my first concerts sometimes with my friends and often times with just the two of us.  He even took my friend Elizabeth and I to a KISS concert; he couldn’t hear for a week after that.  (And for the rest of his life, he never let me forget what he did for Elizabeth and I.) Our seats were center and close to the stage; I think he was as excited as we were to provide this opportunity for us.

My father introduced me to all music and many people in the music business.  I met musicians, sound men (they were all men back then), managers, producers.  I heard and learned about rock, country, bluegrass, pop, classical (although not much), and whatever was popular at any given moment.  My father taught me love of all music. Not only did he teach me, but he introduced music to everyone.  He was particularly kind and loving towards my friends and our neighbors on Pikeswood Drive outside Baltimore where I grew up.  Sharing music made my father feel happy and whole.

Today and every day, I remember how my father walked in the world and I realize that the apple didn’t fall from the tree.  My hope and my prayer is that I am nearly as loving and kind as my father was.

I miss him, but feel grateful for the gifts he did give me.

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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.  

Don'tForget

Usually I am so thoughtful.  A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about where I came from and about the life I lived with my family.  I remember the physical environment, the smells, the gifts (believe it or not), and the challenges.  I remember the music, the stories, and the tears.  Lots of darkness transpired in my childhood, but my father always brought music and stories into my life.  Until the day my father died just over 12 years ago, he filled my life with stories and music.

For those of you that know me well, you know that my childhood was scary in nearly every way, but there were moments when a story or music transformed my darkness into light.  My father loved both and transferred that love to me.  For that I am blessed.  After all these years, I am glad that I can find blessings somewhere in all the muck.

At this point, some of you might be wondering why am I bringing this up tonight.  Well, it is simply because over the last couple of days, I kept thinking I am missing my dad’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death.  Well today I finally did a double-checked and I realized that his yahrzeit was Thursday night and Friday.    Funny, I am a little stunned at the realization.  I could make any number of excuses, but perhaps the simple truth is that in this moment, I don’t care.  Perplexing is the only word that comes to mind.

After a lifetime of letting the memories of my childhood affect me and sometimes torment me for a period of every day, I have now moved forward.  While I remember, the memories no longer absorb my daily thoughts.  Wow. . . now that is a gift!

So, now that I remember, should I light the yahrzeit candle in memory of my father or should I just let go?  While I am not certain what I will decide, I feel some sense of peace knowing that a part of me has truly let go of the intense darkness.

For those of you that know my love of storytelling and music, take a moment and say thank you to Morry Bloomberg.  I am so grateful for the gifts he bestowed upon me by example.  Just by example, my father opened many doorways within my life.  My stories, like his stories have allowed me to interact with people wherever I go; there is no such thing as a stranger.

May Morry’s memory be a blessing for good.

Good-bye Abba – I am so sorry I forgot your yahrzeit.

Next Day’s Addendum:  Tonight I will take a moment and light not a traditional yahrzeit (memorial) candle for my father, but a candle I made . . . .  It feels like the right thing to do.  A special thanks to those of you that took the time to share your thoughts.

Abba'sYahrzeit

 

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“Friendship is one soul dwelling in two bodies.”
~Aristotle 

Topsail 2011 - Surrounded by lifetime friends - I miss them every day!

Topsail 2011 – Surrounded by lifetime friends.                   Think about them each and every day!

I have been blessed with friends, good friends, loving friends.  Both new and old friends have touched my life again and again sometimes for years and sometimes for moments.  Some of my friends have touched my life since childhood and some since moving to Tucson less than a year ago.

Over the past weeks, I have been blown away by the love and connections I have felt surrounding me.  From all over the globe I have had moment after moment where my friends have touched me or reached out to me at exactly the right time.  New friends and old friends have reminded me of the power of friendship.

In the last week or so alone:

  • Received a gift in the mail – a mug that said “It is what it is.” While the mug broke, I LOVED it nonetheless.  This is the one motto that has guided my life since 2001. . .These are some of the last words I remember my father saying before he took his final breath.
  • Another friend told me she was trying to book a ticket to see me just because she thought I needed her.
  • Learned from a friend about new possibilities for embracing my newest dietary journeys/struggles.
  • Meanwhile, a childhood friend told me he needed to send me a product he loves because he thought it would be good for my health.
  • A bunch of friends called at the perfect moment just to surround me with a cocoon of love.
  • One friend emailed me ideas with tools to re-ignite my non-profit dream.
  • New friends emerged with ideas to grow the religious school experience my students have.
  • My writing was acknowledged by friends who want me to keep writing because my words make a difference in their lives.
  • Love notes/emails from members of my community that are happy I came to Tucson.
  • Text messages reminded me that I am both thought of and loved.
  • Laughter, fun, stories, and song. . . .all with friends.

The melancholy that is filling me at this moment does not come from sadness, it comes from awe.  How can I be so blessed to have friends who love me and reach out as they do?  My hope is that I am am truly worthy of the love and warmth I receive.

May the love of old and new friends touch us now and always.

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Every one of us has stories to share.  While stories might have clear story lines; reality and relationships are rarely that simple.  Very little in this world is black or white; gray flakes are scattered everywhere.

Ten years ago, my father died.  He was kind and loving; he was the most amazing storyteller I knew and he never met a stranger.  My father was also weak and emotionally unable to keep me safe as a child.  And somehow, I learned to detach from that last part of the story; I learned to love him for who he was and to value the endless gifts he did give me.  In order to have a relationship with him, I chose to de-emphasize the struggles.

Tears trickle down my face when I recall the torment that my father suffered as he dealt with his own demons.  Financial, emotional, and physical challenges plagued him from my early teen years.  I wonder if he knew just how horrible my mother was to me; he should have seen the bruises around my neck, the black eyes, or the many cuts.  Somehow, I am not sure he realized how bad it was; he was never home and when he was, he hid downstairs. Just the same, he did have some clue, if anything; he knew the realities that surrounded my mother’s physical and mental life.

At the same time, the nature of my life with my father gave me the foundation for who I became as an adult.  I love people; I generally get a long with most every soul that I meet.  I walk down the street and make friends with homeless people, animals, and children.  My 14 year-old son, Dovi, frequently asks me if someone I just met has become my close friend.  And for that moment in time, the stranger becomes my closest confidant or more than likely I have just heard their life story because I was willing to listen.

Music is part of my daily life.  I listen, I sing, I chant, I drum and on a good day I can hold a tune or rhythm and on a bad day, I enjoy myself nonetheless.  Dad used to own record stores and a wholesale record house.  As I got older, my dad would let me work with him and there I would find friends and have a good time being surrounded with music and people that loved music.  My childhood had tolerable moments because of my father’s profession; when his business was able to sustain our family, I was a little safer. I loved that his work got me out of the house and that I could work with him too.

During the weekends and sometimes the summers, my father and I would go for long drives.  We would eat whatever cravings I was into that month; we would sing the popular hits, oldies, and anything that was playing on the radio.  We would laugh and share stories too.  When we were together, it was mostly great fun; the dark shadow was close by, but it didn’t detract from our time away from the house.  When we were working, driving, and just hanging out, we had fun.

Dad taught me how to smile, to share stories, and to live in the present moment.  He also taught me how to live when darkness loomed close by.  I don’t think I would be able to navigate the world or go with the flow the way I do if I didn’t have my father as a role model.  Yes it is sad that he stayed with my mother, but perhaps he felt like he had no choice.  I can understand that.  It wasn’t good for me, but in the end I made out OK.

My hope is that I take all the wisdom that was part of the man I knew and treasure it; and that I acknowledge the realities, but let them go.  Peace comes from knowing that I can do things differently than my father.  So, I will quietly (and sometimes loudly) navigate this world and I will do the best I can do with the tools my father gave me.

Ten years later, I think I may miss him more now because I have learned to let go of some of the pain and to treasure the memories.  I also believe I am a good storyteller because I was blessed to hear my father tell stories to every person that crossed his path.

May Morry Bloomberg’s memory be a blessing for good.

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