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Posts Tagged ‘strangers’

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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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 . . . .]

If You Want to Be Happy Be 2

Quote by Leo Tolstoy

I believe that happiness is a choice. Nearly every day, I wake up and decide that today I will be happy. That doesn’t mean I am happy every  day or that I am happy when life challenges feel daunting, but it does mean that as a rule I choose happiness.

During the many months and years of my son’s illness and his long recovery, I learned to find the sweet moments that happened at every turn. Amazing friends, some fabulous doctors, and even the weather could give me moments of joy when all seemed impossible.

Walking through the world this way means that I will always find moments of joy even when life feels overwhelmingly hard.

The last 15 months have been full of challenges. Yet nearly every step of the way I have believed that all would be ok and for the most part it was. There were days and weeks that I found myself struggling with the finances of life and taking care of myself physically when my schedule was too grueling. The beautiful news was that:

  • My friends made it possible for me to stay afloat; they supported me at every step of the way. Some friends gave me work, others gave me money, and two gave my family their home.  All of our friends provided emotional support in their own unique ways.
  • I fell in love with care-giving and treasured the relationships that grew from my initial place of desperation. I learned to take care of people during the most vulnerable times of their lives.
  • Strangers walked into our family’s life and made a difference for good; and this is still true for today.
  • We learned new ways to live consciously.
  • Playing board games brought us hours of enjoyment.
  • My writing improved.
  • My dreams became more vibrant.
  • I made decisions about what was important to me and learned to trust myself more.
  • I found blessings wherever I turned.

Being whole means navigating life the best ways that we can. For me, it also means finding joy in the small stuff and seeking happiness with each step of life’s journey.

While I am always seeking happiness, not every day is as good as today has been.

Today, I am totally humbled and awed by the love and warmth I feel. To each of you that are celebrating my new position and my spirit – thank you! I would not have made it without you in my life.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

(PS – Over the last couple of months, I have been thrilled to work with Lev Shalem Institute and hope to continue that work in some capacity of the coming months/years. And today, I am excited to share that as of July, I will be the Director of Congregational Learning for Temple Sinai in Houston. I feel like I may be going home.) 🙂

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Many of my friends know I really do love tie-dye!!! In fact my entire family loves tie-dye!

What I have grown to appreciate is that our friends actually acknowledge our love of tie-dye in a variety of ways.  Over the years, we have received a few special presents that included tie-dyes of varying types.  When my son Aryeh was sick, his friends made him tie-dye sheets that actually covered him and surrounded him when he was recovering from brain surgery.  On other occasions, friends have found great tie-dye shirts and even a scarf at a thrift shop.  And then last week a good friend found an amazing t-shirt at a Grateful Dead Weekend.  And guess what, he mailed me the shirt this week! Why do you think he did this? Just because. . . . .

TyeDye6

Over the last few years, I have thought a lot about how I can connect with people.  I am not the best in staying in touch, but I have been  intentionally trying to change my ways.  Still I know that when I am not staying in contact, it does not mean that I don’t love someone; it is because I have been honoring my need for quiet time in a world that is often too kinetic.  There is always something to do.

Yet, I have to say that I am profoundly touched  by those that somehow find the time to give in any way.  I love when friends and loved ones drop me a card, send me a small treasure, or give me a new rock/stone for my collection.  I never take the small and large acts of kindness for granted; I am in awe of each and every person that reaches out.

When my older son Aryeh was critically ill, people went out of their way to send cards, make us meals, or visit for just a few minutes.  People cared.  Once when Dovi, my younger son, was really sick, an acquaintance came over to give me a new Book of Psalms because she knew that I like to say/chant psalms as part of our healing journey.  To this day, tears come to my eyes nearly each and every time I use my book of Tehillim (Psalms); since I use it nearly every day, I am wondering if I should have saved those tears in a bucket. 🙂

Recently, a new friend took time to find chants that she thought would touch me and then she took time to create a few CDs for me to cherish.  Another new friend has been sharing some amazing musical compositions that he wrote, nearly every one of them takes my breath away.  They are beautiful!  People keep sharing, their music, their art/photographs, their words – Just because. . .

How awesome is that?!?!?!!!!!

With all this in mind, I have been sending ‘thinking of you’ cards to people for every occasion.  The funny thing is that I sent out a ton of cards over the last few months and I am not sure that all of them reached their destination.  Unless people acknowledge them, there is no way to know.  (BTW, I believe a large stack was lost by the mail service; but I can’t know for sure. LOL!) And you know what? I love that I am learning to give just because. . . 

Through watching the many people that have touched my life through giving in large and small ways, I am learning to be a little more thoughtful.  Sometimes I pick up the phone and call an old friend, just because it feels like it is time to do it.  I really do love forever; I care in profound ways.  Today I am trying to show those I love  and/or those that I care for how much I do by taking a moment to reach out.

To give and to receive is such a gift (physical and/or emotional). I love when people do something just because they can, just because they care, just because. . . .

One thing I don’t want to leave unsaid is the power of giving to a stranger.  When Aryeh was really sick, I was blown away by the strangers that reached out to help us over the years.  Why did they do this? Just because. . . . And now as I am in the midst of reaching out and asking for people to help us in our journey to move east by giving to our Go Fund Me account http://www.gofundme.com/g8o220, I have been completely humbled by the lovely souls that have given to the fund without having met me.  I have also been brought to ‘happy’ tears by those that know me. I really never expected that people were give.  I was praying and hoping they would, but not expecting. Wow.

Whether we send cards, give tie-dyes, make meals, or ________ (you fill in the blank), know that giving always makes a difference in the lives of those we touch.

May I remember to always give in a loving way,  just because. . . . .

With blessings & light,

Chava

PS – When I buy Tie Dye for my family, I only buy from Milky Wave Tie Dye in Opal, Virginia; it’s our family tradition.  We found this Tie Dye shack years ago; it was a gift in every way.  The moment my family walked into the store, we became a tie dye family and the family that owned Milky Wave Tie Dye became our family too.

PPS – Take a moment to like Milky Wave Tie Dye on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/milkywavetiedye?fref=ts

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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 28 Elul or 2 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!

~ ~ ~

Breathe!

~ ~ ~

Regardless of how much I need to navigate, I am determined to take time to breathe-deeply.  Lately, I have been taking time each day to take three to five breaths; my hope is to feel the breath flow through me to every part of my body.  And for those few minutes that I am taking the time to breathe deeply, I feel myself grounding and feeling centered.

My life is busy, crazy busy.  Still I believe it is in my best interest to nurture my body, my mind, and my soul.  Breathing is just one tool I use; I also take time to stop and do things that inspire conscious breathing.  I:

  • watch the cycle of the moon
  • write
  • smell flowers
  • connect with friends
  • actively enjoy my sons
  • pet my dogs until they become mush in my hands
  • remain present with those that need me as a care-giver
  • take long walks
  • chant
  • hold the door open for strangers
  • see the beauty surrounding me
  • read spiritual and books poetry
  • etc

The bottom-line here is that while I am sometimes overwhelmed by the life I am leading, I am able to endure when I connect deeply to the earth and the things I love to do.  Only through breath, can I be fully connected to the world I live.  So. . . .I am learning to take more time to breathe.

With blessings & light,
Chava

pet-rock

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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: Humility

Humility doesn’t mean one is weak, cowering and silent! Humility involves “limiting oneself to an appropriate space, while leaving room for others.” (Everyday Holiness) Being humble does not come from negating one’s worth. In fact, to be truly humble, one must become aware of one’s own strengths and then choose to use those strengths in a positive way.  www.gojcc.org/jewish-life/jewish-values/tikkun-middot/

Humility is being open to the fact that you don't have to do everything.  Sometimes you need a little light from others to open you up.

Humility is being open to the fact that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Sometimes you need a little light from others to open you up.

Sometimes I tend to take up a lot of space; sometimes I am better at walking gently.  What I love about growing older and perhaps a little wiser is that I now appreciate the silence of my voice.  I am becoming happier to listen and happier to refrain from having the last word.  While I appreciate that I have wisdom at times, I also appreciate that I have so much to learn from others.

Humility for me has also meant learning to ask for help.  Over the past few months, life has thrown me some punches.  Asking people to listen to me as I process my sadness, darkness, and sometimes anger has been humbling.  Asking for friends and sometimes strangers to proof my resumes has also been a learning experience.  Reaching out and asking for what I need has helped me to become more aware of both my strengths and weaknesses.  Each step of the way, friends and acquainces have opened themselves up to helping me; I have never felt like I was imposing on them in any way.  I am extraordinarily lucky woman to walk in the world that I do.

Having humility is actually good for my soul.

May each of us have the humility we need so that we may ultimately thrive.

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Moving across the country to a new city is far from easy.  We left behind many friends and some family too.  In many ways, our family lost our security blanket.   With each mile to the southwest we traveled further and further from our those folks who have been part of our beloved family of choice.  In so many ways, my boys and I are wondering:

  • Will we make friends?
  • Will we have help when we need it?
  • Will Tucson jazz our souls?

Of course we don’t have an answer yet, but I imagine Tucson will be amazing. The people I work with and the people on the street have all been full of kindness.

With each passing day, I find myself amazed at the warmth that surrounds me.  There have been large and small gifts at every turn.  People have opened their doors and invited us to stay.  We have yet to meet someone on the road or in a store that was less than pleasant.  People are offering insights of where to eat, where to fix our bikes, and what doctors to consult with.  And tonight, we were touched a totally unsuspected gift.

Tonight, the people in front of us paid for our ice cream.  Wow.  The gift touched me deeply.  Moving is expensive, tonight was a splurge that I probably shouldn’t have considered, yet it was something I needed to do for Dovi, my younger son.  He needed Imma (mommy) time and he loves ice cream!  We were having an amazing time together and schmoozing with strangers along the way.  We went to a recycling center to drop off recycling; we went to Barnes & Noble to look at books; and finally, we went to Coldstone for ice cream.  The best part of our evening is that Dovi and I really had fun together and we met cool people along the way too.

I am filled with gratitude.  The universe has been great to us.

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Connecting with friends and those that are not yet friends

Anyone that knows me knows that I love people.  I love to interact with everyone no matter where I am. And when that interaction is positive, I am the happiest person in the world.

The funny thing is that I can connect to a stranger anywhere I go.  There really are no real strangers to me.  If I meet someone in the grocery store, in the library, on the street or in a park, it doesn’t make them any less important than if I meet them in a more familiar setting.  Each and every one of my interactions leads me to a new friend if only for a moment.

Making initial eye contact is the best!!! And when eye contact leads to a conversation, I am often in heaven.  (metaphorically speaking of course) I love the look in a stranger’s eye when I have actually made eye contact and when I am able to connect for a moment.  Most people love that moment; some people would prefer to keep to themselves.  I am happy to honor whatever people need.

Lately, I have noticed that more and more people need a moment, a kind word, and a validation.  Including myself.  We all need to be heard, whether or not it is by a friend via email, a phone call, or within a conversation.  When people ignore my emails or phone calls for a long time, it drives me nuts. On the other hand, everyone is so busy.  I am far from perfect, but I am fairly good at getting back to people within 72 hours; I am working on responding within 48 hours except for work if it is my day off.

The bottom-line is that everyone can use a kind word, a compliment, loving energy.  When you speak with both warmth and integrity, you not only illuminate your own soul; you bring light to others.

The below youtube is a gift that one of the kindest people I know shared on her Facebook  links.   Take a few minutes to watch this video in it’s entirety, you won’t be disappointed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao

With light and blessings,
Chava

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