Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘storms’

Sometimes life hurts. There is no way around this reality. The question is not whether or not we will hurt, the question is how will we walk through the storms?

Turning my wounded heart towards living out loud has been my soul work.  Except for the times that my loved ones needed me to focus, I have always shown up in any way I can. I simply open my arms and do what needs to be done. There are a myriad of tasks that need my love and attention. Our country, my neighbors, my friends, my family, and our world.

In the last month alone I have:

  • taken care of a sick friend recovering from a double mastectomy.
  • called our politicians.
  • visited with friends who needed a pick-me-up.
  • picked up trash.
  • given mezuzot, ritual objects, to those who lost their homes to disasters.
  • mailed chai (life) clothes to people who were suffering.
  • wrote politicians as well as blogs and Facebook posts to make people think about things differently.
  • helped rebuilt a house destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.
  • donated money to several causes.
  • watched two different friends puppies so that they wouldn’t have to board them.
  • helped a friend who professionally needed the guidance.
  • rallied/resisted against Trump’s policies that allowed for children to be torn from their parents’ arms.
  • tried to help a young woman reunite with her son and find a stable home.

Did I miss the mark in different areas? I’m sure. But the point is that I have chosen to live differently as an adult than what I experienced and saw in my youth.

For me, my life challenges seemed to have been ingrained on a cellular level. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the moment of my conception was what started the train wreck that has often overshadowed me and in truth it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that on most days I have navigated life’s journey and embraced the hand that showed up. While I am not sure that I had a choice, from a young age I seem to have decided to wake up each day and take one step and then another.

Although there are moments when I wish that things could have been different, they weren’t.  For the most part, I have reached this time in my life and found a way to absorb the blessings reverberating from my soul.

Living out loudI am alive. I am thriving. And I have emerged to be the woman I am today.

Thriving or simply surviving has not always been a given. At each and every stage of my life, I faced some harsh realities. If it weren’t for my inner strength, I may have found myself devastated or worse destroyed.

I’ve been battered both physically and spiritually; I have seen violence and watched my children navigate ICU on multiple occasions and even sat by their bedsides expecting that no tomorrows would ever come. And yet they did come.

My heart has been shattered and sometimes trampled beyond recognition. And yet somehow I have found my breath. I have learned to inhale the light and exhale the pain and darkness. And nearly every time I needed, an angel showed up to make a difference in both small and large ways.

Much of my life, I have felt like I was rock climbing up extremely treacherous terrain. The only problem with that is that I was born with two left feet; I am a total klutz in every way.  The fabulous news is that even as I have struggled to find a healthy place to stand, I’ve have always found the solid ground I was seeking.

With my past as a guiding force, I find meeting new people challenging. My life is full of skeletons that are harsh for any person to absorb. Yet each and every story has opened doors for me and made me the woman I am. Instead of wearing a mask, I want to touch people as I transcend the darkness with my resiliency. And I want to take what I have learned from all the pain that has hammered my life and bring light into the world; in as many was as possible, I want to make our world a better place.

Today, I allow myself to ‘live out loud’. I share my thoughts, my pain, my politics, my soul.  I share my writing, my art, and my spirit without apology. Today I climb mountains and accept the fact that I may fall. I know that I am surrounded by my sons and other loved ones. I am not alone.

My inner wise soul has turned life’s monsoons into the vibrant beauty that often follows a storm. Instead of hiding behind the shadows, I have actively chosen to ‘live out loud’ in every aspect of my life by loving deeply and engaging in the world is what drives my spirit.

Hineini, here I am!

 

Read Full Post »

Have you ever had a false start? You know those days when you have prepared to start a diet, take on a new hobby, or create new life practices.

At first you are really excited. You have made a decision on how you want to live your life and now all you have to do is start. The first hour may seem easy, and maybe the second hour, but by the end of Day 1 or maybe Week 1, reality sets in and you realize that whatever you are working on has a mind of it’s own. 🙂

False starts are frustrating; so is falling off the wagon. I have done both and it never feels good. And yet, I believe that these realities are part of life (at least my life). In order to be the best me, I need to face reality; I stumble sometimes. Just because I revert back to old ways, doesn’t mean I should never try again. Although it may mean that. Mostly it means that I need to get up, figure out the best way to maneuver to a better place, and then do what I have to do to get to where I want to go. Simply put, I need to refocus and do the holy work of putting my puzzle pieces

In ‘Sweet Darkness’, David Whyte says it best:

 anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

With this poem and specifically this verse as my guide, I am going to do what I have to do. I am going to take better care of myself. Anyone that has read my blog knows that I thrive on walking consciously in the world; I also need to write as I take each step of the journey.

Life does have a few too many storms; my nature is to see the rain as cleansing instead of the alternative. So, even if I have to dry a few tears, take time for moving in healthier directions, and creating time to write – I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I am living consciously and embracing  the aliveness that is who I am.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS – Keep your eyes open for my next blog series, Dance of Emergence: Amazon Woman is Born.

Raining Day - Time to Refocus - David Cooper March 6, 2016

Berkeley on a rainy day; Photo Courtesy of Rabbi David Cooper

 

 

Read Full Post »

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 . . . .]

Western Minnesota Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller           Location: Western Minnesota

The only journey is the one within.
Quote by Rainer Maria Rilke

For the last several years, I have been seriously impacted by the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke.  His words touch me deeply and inspire me to reflect inwardly while trusting the insight that will come over time. Rilke’s wisdom seems to be telling me how to walk in the world.  To be fair, most of what I have read has been in his book, Letters to a Young Poet, which can often be found next to me or in my computer case when I travel.  (Note to myself: This year I will take time to read more of his works and perhaps his biography too.)

Within me a storm is constantly blowing. As someone who never stops thinking and feeling the rhythm of the world that surrounds me, I often think or wrestle with what is happening around me.  And as I grapple, I sometimes have trouble silencing my mind so that I may be able to relax or shut down.

In this moment alone, I am thinking about the 150 murdered Kenyan students and their loved ones, the fatal shooting of another African-American teenager, Justus Howell, by a Illinois Police officer on Saturday, how the water crisis in California will affect so many people, the bi-partisan reaction to Iran deal, and how to make chickpeas without leaving too much of a carbon footprint.  And then there is my work, my future work, and my sons to consider.  And finally, I am pondering about my writing – What shape do I want my upcoming blogs to take? Should I take the time to work on my book this week? The bottom-line is that these thoughts have been racing through my brain over the last several hours or maybe the last 10 minutes.

If I am totally transparent, I am also struggling with Facebook conversations. How I personally relate to people who see Israeli politics so much differently than I do? What do I do with the “friend” that referred to those that like Obama as morons. (I did delete his message and wrote him a gentle note back.) How can I make the last days of Passover meaningful? And finally, hoping to remember to send cards to the couple of friends who lost love ones over the last week.

What I am thinking about doesn’t end there. I am also deliberating on how to best make a positive difference for the slaves within the chocolate industry. (That came up during our 2nd night Seder) And I am also wondering whether J Street would be interested in letting me create a cabinet or focus community of educators. And then there is a personal issue tugging at my heart. Sigh.

The beautiful reality of the storms that happen within my head and my heart is that I am consciously intertwined with the world. I find joy in walking outside, spending time with loved ones and friends, and chanting or drumming by myself. With every ounce of my being, I am alive and thriving in the world I live. 🙂

May each of us find peace within the storms of life and within all that fills our minds.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Read Full Post »

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
Quote by Aldous Huxley

I am an optimist.

By nature, I find the good in bad and strive to rise above whatever shit comes my way.  I also notice the rainbows after the storms – both metaphorically and figuratively.  I love life and I tend to make the best out it.

I don’t usually kvetch, whine, about human nature, but tonight I will.

So many well-meaning people feel inclined to tell people how to feel or how despondent they should be when difficult situations occur.  And guess what, none of them enlightenment; they need to be given room to feel exactly how they feel. That goes for me too! 🙂

Years ago, my seriously ill son was heading into his second brain surgery when he had a reaction to the lights and sounds of pre-op.  The lights and sounds physically and desperately caused him pain; in fact, his pain was beyond anything anyone expected for the then 14 year old Aryeh.   At one point, after unexpected hours of trying to prep my son for surgery, a doctor turned to Aryeh and said, “I need to give you a shot, but I promise you it won’t hurt.  Really.  I promise.”  At that, Aryeh started screaming, “Don’t tell me what I will or won’t feel; you don’t know.” To my amazement, the doctor responded beautifully when he said, “No, I don’t know. And I have no right to ever tell anyone how they will feel.”  Instantly, Aryeh calmed down and allowed the doctor to again explain what would happen while sharing how he may or may not feel, but not how he would feel.  And with each word, the doctor spoke with integrity and in the end, Aryeh told him how it felt.

From that very real life experience, I learned never to tell someone how they feel.  When I meet someone who has lost someone they loved or has been sick or whatever, I do not make any assumptions. Each and every one of us handles pain and sadness in our own unique ways.

At this point you may be wondering why am I sharing this now?

Many of you know that the last year has been often overwhelming and sometimes just down-right painful.  Under-employment, Unemployment, loss, and . . . .  well I am sure each person who knows me will have an opinion of what my year must have felt like.   But, I want everyone to stop telling me what I must feel or how hard it is or was.   Instead, take a moment and listen.  If you want to know how I feel, let me share it with you.

In my heart I know that nearly every person who is telling me how they think I am is actually sharing their empathy and how much they care.  But my challenges are my challenges; your challenges are your challenges.  Let us both listen to each other and share what is in our hearts.

While I know that I have been having some hard times; I have also found sparks of light in the darkness.  At any given moment, I may feel anxious or peaceful, sad or happy, joyous or frustrated.  I don’t need someone to enlighten me on how I should or do feel.

Each of us navigate life in the best way we know how; we all see those realities through our own lens.

Someone obviously thought this was a congested area; I saw it as an oasis of solitude.

Someone obviously thought this was a congested area;  I saw it as an oasis of solitude.

Read Full Post »

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 25 Elul or 5 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!

~ ~ ~

The happiest people do not have the best of everything they make the best of everything?
Unknown/Anonymous

~ ~ ~

Life can be hard.

Have you ever noticed how storms can appear scary and full of beauty at the same time?    Perhaps this vision is a metaphor for life.  Even when bad things happen, there can often be sparks of light that help make the tough stuff easier to navigate.  Here is a beautiful story, I feel compelled to share:

HOLY WOW MOMENT: Today I met a beautiful soul who was absolutely inspirational!!!  She walked into where I was on unsteady feet with a white cane, a stick that blind people use to help them navigate.  While she struggled ever so slightly, her energy was full of light, so I consciously found a way to connect with her.  We kibitzed (joked) for a moment before she shared her story.

Judy was a visual artist before a medication took her sight totally away; after 6 months, she recovered a tiny bit, she sees color & shadows with her limited vision AND she has found that she is even happier with her new art form.

We can all learn from Judy; I know I did.

May we each find the light that often engulfs us during the storms of life.

With blessings & light,
Chava

Read Full Post »

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 24 Elul or 6 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!

~ ~ ~

“The only way to get it together . . . is together.”
Quote by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
(1924-2014)

~ ~ ~

As we go into our last Shabbat before Rosh HaShana, I am feeling grateful for the world I live.  Time and time again, I feel comforted by the village that continues to sustain not only me, but the world of Tikun Olam (Repairing the World).

In my own life, I continue to feel loved and supported with each and every step I take.  Earlier this week, I shared in my blog how things really are, the realities of my life http://wp.me/pthnB-Fg – Following that blog, I heard from quite a few people that were profoundly loving and supportive in a multitude of ways.  And even though, nothing has changed much since I wrote the blog, I feel a bit stronger because of the softness that surrounds me.

This week, Tucson has been surrounded by all sorts of clouds from what some see as the looming storms.  Whenever I see the clouds, I reflect back to the metaphors of nature.  The clouds provide a soft support for me, a cocoon of sorts.  And whenever I have moments of darkness, I frequently find the light shining through the cloud at what seems to be the perfect moment.  Angels appear to lift me; friends call to show they care; more hours of work emerge so that I can better make ends meet.  There are so many wonderful people in my life that surround me and support me in a myriad of ways. In truth, somehow I always feel cushioned from life’s blows and the soft-looking clouds remind me to trust that I really am ok!

Together we can make a difference.  I love how people work together to make a difference for good.  Does it always work – no, but it often does.  And when it does work, the forces feel beautifully aligned with the universe.  Being part of a world that people work together for good is one of the things that always makes an impact on me and puts a warm smile on my face.

As we move into the holiest time of the Jewish year, may we all remember to support those we love and the larger world too.  Together we can make the world a better place; we can impact those close to us and those farther away.  Let’s work together to make a difference for good.

With blessings & light,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Middah (character trait) focus: Think positively: find the rainbows

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.

mid-June tie dye

As I was looking for a photo I have of  a double rainbow, I tripped over this one of myself  in a rainbow dress. While this wasn’t the best photo, it definitely shows off a beautiful rainbow tie-dye created by Milky Wave Tie-Dye.  Plug over.

For me, there is no option for finding the rainbow.  Life happens with all of the good and the bad.  My hope for all of us is that we can find moments of goodness even in the darkest moments of our lives.

May we all find the rainbows that come after the storm.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »