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Posts Tagged ‘struggle’

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
~Rumi

No one heard me when I was younger. No one. I got used to it – so used to it that I nearly buried myself in drug abuse. With no way out and no one to hear my cries, I found solace in remaining wasted.

I started young and covered up the disarray  of my soul with more blankets of dysfunction. And no one knew; no one heard my cry for help. Instead I had to find my own way out. At 16 years old, I decided to leave the world of mind altering drugs behind and to build a new foundation.

The only trouble is that I never learned how to handle my emotions when I thought no one was willing to listen. Even now, I feel a deep sense of loss when I am not being heard or my thoughts are even temporarily being ignored.  Intellectually, I know that people are busy, but inside I am still the little girl no one heard.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yesterday, I wrote about how I was feeling drawn to listening to the quiet (https://wp.me/pthnB-3bP), but I do so with the awareness that my beloveds need to be seen, to be known, and to be loved as my spiritual mentor and writer SARK would teach.

Over the past weeks, I have been amazed at the silence I have needed to surround myself with, but I have been equally aware that I have had some friends that have needed me to be present. So, that is exactly what I did. I found myself taking a flight from Houston to Tucson so that I could nurture a friend who was recovering from major surgery. I also, connected with friends that were struggling with other challenges, and I almost helped a woman reunite with her 5 year old son by driving her four hours to pick up her son and then return to Houston. Fortunately, I ended up not needing to take the drive, but I would have.

Life happens.

AcknowledgeHere is the thing I have learned over the years. I am virtually alone. I have amazing family in Israel, but they are too far away to help without notice. AND I have the most dedicated friends in the world, but they are all over the map. Currently, I live in Houston and if it weren’t for barely a couple of people from my community and my sons, I would struggle if I really needed help; I just don’t have a support system here.

There is some really good things that come from feeling lonely and being virtually alone. I have come to understand that even when I know that my beloved friends and family are busy/distracted by life, I need to feel like I am seen.  Not all the time, but sometimes feeling ignored can hurt me deeply. Unfortunately, my childhood sense of alone-ness is never too far behind.

That realization is helping me become a better friend. If I need to be acknowledged, so do others. Everyone wants to be seen.

I am far from perfect, but I am improving over time. I am also getting better at telling those that I love, that sometimes I need a quick response with a promise that the other person will reach out as soon as possible.

My own loneliness has lead me to becoming a more beautiful friend; I think that is a good thing.

May we all show up the best way we know how; may we give those that need light, a spark from our own reservoir. And if you need me, please let me know. I am not a mind reader.

Onward with love and light,
Chava

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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 10 Elul or 20 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!

~ ~ ~

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…”
Steve Jobs 1955-2011

All of us will die; some of us will die before we hit old age and some of us will live into our senior years.  We don’t know when the end will come.

With that in mind, I am trying to live each and every day to my fullest.  I am actively trying to embrace a life that honors who I am and how I want to be.  Sometimes it feels like a struggle, but more and more I am becoming true to myself and helping my sons to do the same.

One challenge for me is that when I my job went to half-time and then nothing, I lost my health insurance.  For me that leaves a big gaping hole in my heart.  I fear what it means not to have a mammogram or not to be able to get something checked on my skin to make sure it is ok.   I try not to worry about my family, but I know only too well what can happen when your health falls apart.  My hope and my prayer is that all is ok with me and my family now and always.  And I am visualizing that we will have what we need in health insurance as soon as possible.

Life happens; death happens.

For now, it is my job to care for my family in the best ways I can.  That means nurturing my sons and caring for all of our bodies, minds, and souls.  And while I am at it, I will pray and visualize that we will all live a full and healthy life!

What do you need to do in order to best follow your heart?

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

 

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 Introduction http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

This is what it takes to create a spiritual home wherever you go.

This is what it takes to create a spiritual home wherever you go.

Reflection

Over the past 4 days, since Rosh Hodesh Elul (the beginning of the Jewish month of Elul), I have been actively preparing for Rosh HaShana and loving every moment of it.  And then suddenly this morning as I sang some of the verses from Psalm 27*, I felt a bit bereft because for the first time in my life, I do not feel like I have a spiritual home.  As a professional Jew, I have previously had communities that were easier for me to be a part of spiritually, but I have rarely felt uncomfortable in a community I have worked.  Only one time, I heard a rabbi give a sermon on Yom Kippur in which he said that Tisha B’Av should be disregarded.  It was the one and only time I almost walked out of High Holy Day services with my family.

Judaism is a part of my essence.  I love how it fits into my life, pushes me to think, and creates a cocoon where I can live.

I am a God-Wrestler.  I question, I pray, I hope, I vision and I wrestle.  And on the days that I don’t quite know how God fits into my practice of Judaism, I let go and trust the universe.  And throughout it all, I try to live a life of Godliness.  Every place I walk is a sanctuary, so why in this moment should I feel like I have no spiritual home.  The mountains and the desert are seriously my sanctuary.  I love the earth; I love so many special spaces that exude God-like energy.  I used to have a yoga studio that felt like God’s sanctuary.  Today, there is no space that is calling me for the Rosh HaShanah, yet I have to take my kids to services for the High Holy Days.

And did I say, I literally have no money for the holidays or for much? What a concept for me.  The good news is that my old ‘congregation’ of employment wouldn’t turn me a way and I believe other congregations would open their doors too, but still it is sad for me.  I believe that if I weren’t a mother, I would choose to create a spiritual space by myself or with a few others.  I love Judaism and I love living it!

So as I take each day of Elul to create a stronger physical and spiritual core, I am grappling with feeling like I have no place to go.  And yet, in reality, I know that my sons and I will feel comfortable wherever we go.  Tucson is full of loving synagogue communities.  Can’t wait to hear the shofar blown as I sit within community.

Feeling blessed even as I struggle with some challenging realities.  The sun and moon always shine brightly in the desert.

With blessings & light,
Chava

*From Rosh Hodesh Elul through Simchat Torah, it is part of the Jewish tradition to say Psalm 27 two times a day.  Here is a link to the Psalm in Hebrew and English. http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2627.htm

 

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Yesterday, I was asked a great question during a job interview, “What is your favorite movie was and why?” For just a split second, I hesitated on how I should respond. If I was very wise, I could have responded by saying Milk, I was truly inspired by the Harvey Milk story, but that isn’t what I responded. I responded with the truth; my favorite movie is Flashdance.

My goal in each and every job interview is to be as authentic as I can be. So as I blurted out the name of a major chic-flick, I was mortified. Yet ever since I originally saw the movie in 1983, one line in the movie has been a grounding force for me.

“When you give up your dream, you die.”

That one sentence has contributed to me becoming the person I am today.  It sits in my toolbox at all times reminding me to thrive as a human being as I continuously strive to reach for the stars even as I am grounded where I am.  It was this saying that has kept me company at each and every crossroad of my life; in fact it is this saying that has moved me forward even when I should have fallen flat on my face.

Since the moment, I heard these words in the movie Flashdance, I have been making  dreams happen.  Giving up has never been an option.

Here are the five core dreams that have stood inside my soul for the last several decades.

  1. Writing: From the moment I could create stories in my head I have wanted to be a writer. Weaving words together has been a constant in my life since I can remember.   Today I realize that my words really can impact people, so I often share them via my blog.  At the same time, I am also actively pursuing my dream of publishing a book in the coming years.  🙂
  2. Raising my sons with love and compassion: My sons have taught me how to truly live and to be the mother I am.  Still it has been my job to nurture them so that they may emerge into phenomenal beings who are full of love and compassion for themselves and the world around them.  As they reach towards adulthood, I am blessed to see that this dream is happening as I type.
  3. Living Consciously/Walking Gently: Every aspect of the world matters and if I don’t do my part to walk gently and to make a difference for good then I am not honoring the universe and her many gifts. May gratitude course through my veins as I do the holy work of living consciously.
  4. Creating a healthier Israel: I love Israel and struggle with the many destructive actions of her government. My hope and my prayer is that I can work with others so that we see a truly democratic state that can live side by side with her Palestinian neighbors.
  5. Being a warm and positive Jewish presence: Living actively as a Jew is part of who I am.  May I be a person who helps keep Jewish people engaged in their faith and a positive Jewish connection for others.  Sharing my  love for Judaism and the Jewish people is a driving force for me.

Allowing myself to love life as I do happens because I actively engage in making my dreams  come true.  If I didn’t actively engage in making my dreams happen, I would not be where I am today.

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Listening To My Body: Allowing it to Heal

This week I got slam-dunked with a virus.  In truth, I know that illness came to me not because I stood near someone with a virus, but because I needed to have some time to sort out my feelings and heal from all that has been going on in the last few months.  And perhaps, I got sick because I needed to just stop moving for a little while and rest.

Yesterday, I don’t think I left my bed for more than 20 minutes, maybe even less.  As my fever remained a solid 101+ degrees (I normally run about 97.1), I was fairly miserable and I physically could not move.  Today, my body’s temperature seemed to be quite normal, but my body wasn’t buying it.  Today’s activities included showering, laying down, going to the chiropractor, laying down, taking Maddie on a short walk, laying down. Each activity took no more than 15 – 30 minutes, each nap or resting took about 2 hours. . . .and I am still wiped.

Sick June 2014Stop. . .Listen. . .What a concept

My body is telling me something. It is telling me to stop and frankly it isn’t giving me a choice.  Even if I wanted to go for a long walk or to work, I couldn’t do it.  Even my time on Facebook or blogging has had to be short, I simply do not have the energy or ability to do much more than rest.  And in truth I fear the results of me ignoring my body.  I fear serious illness.  So, while I can’t afford to refrain from working now that I am paid hourly; I also can’t afford to wipe myself out.

This week, I needed some time to process all that has been going on in my world and to make some decisions about how I will proceed professionally and emotionally.  My body is making sure I listen to my need to process by not allowing me the opportunity to move.  The last 7 months have been hard, really hard.  In fact much of the past several years have been a struggle.  I have never focused on the challenging times or allowed them to control how I walk in the world, but that doesn’t mean all has been ok.

There is a plus side to all of this.  In this moment, I am feeling optimistic and clear; my life and my children’s lives will be good.  Whatever we do, wherever we go, life will be good.

While I believe I will go to work tomorrow, my guess is that I will be gone no more than 5 hours and then I will return to rest until I am ready to move again.  And for this weekend, I have already said no to working so that I can continue my healing journey.

This week’s virus has allowed me the time I needed to take a deep breath, stop, and listen to my body.

For next time, it is my hope that I remember to breathe, stop, and listen to my body before my body tells me it has no choice.

 

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In any given day, we have many decisions to make.  Decisions include choices in:

  • Clothing?
  • Food choices?
  • Exercise?
  • Making free time or not?
  • Books to read or not?
  • Schools?
  • Synagogues/Churches?
  • Causes to support with time or money?

Life is full of choices and so many of us abdicate making choices.  Often, we tread the water of life and stick to what we know without living consciously.  Life feels overwhelming; it is what it is.

Big Lake  Photo Courtesy of Libby Quinn

Big Lake
Photo Courtesy of Libby Quinn

Last month, I made a decision to actively engage in life as I am.  With my humor in tact, I decided to emerge from some of my struggles and decide to change my personal approach to reality.  I learned to take deep breaths and focus on each moment instead of life’s big picture.  And the beauty is that once I made that decision, my entire foundation felt stronger and little by little I was able to shed some of my intensity and unhappiness too.  Dealing with moments in time as opposed to the big picture all at once was fundamental in making life a lot more manageable.

As much as Intensity is part of my being, so is sharing my bubbly energy with others.   Both qualities are part of who I am, but for a brief time I was stuck trying to navigate my intensity instead of shining my light into the world.  Once I realized that I was doing this I had to figure out how end a vicious cycle of struggling with all that needed to get done or dealing with my thoughts about what I needed to process.  Every aspect of life didn’t need to be challenging.  Learning to honor my spirit became a key for re-establishing inner peace.  Realizing that I was not being authentic in how I walk in the world allowed me to act and react a little differently; I began to find balance.

Deciding how to walk in the world allowed everything else in my life flows with a little more ease.

Three mornings ago, I woke and was blown away by two realizations that I posted on Facebook.

  1. Isn’t it great to wake up in the morning & realize that something that has troubled you for a long time ceases to be so important?  Moving on….. Letting go…..
  2. Don’t you love when you realize if you stop, slow down, and ease into something – it goes so much better than when you force it.

And then yesterday, I woke up to realize that I had to cancel some of my activities for not only today, but this week.  I don’t want to constantly be moving against the tide; sometimes I want to be able to sit quietly and enjoy the tide without being in the middle of it.

I had been so busy struggling against the tide of life and how I walk in the world that life had become a struggle.  Little by little, over the last month, I found my footing or maybe my wings.  I stopped struggling and started doing each and every task as an individual exercise before moving onto the next task.  The act of moving a little more consciously and multi-tasking less has helped my spirit and allowed me to focus more and tread less in one place.

Feeling enormous gratitude for making a conscious decision to move a little differently and to finding my wings again.

And then today, I found this saying that seems to say everything in a much more concise way then I could.

“Do your thing.  Do it unapologetically.  Don’t be discouraged by criticism.  You probably already know what they’re going to say.  Pay no mind to the fear of failure.  It’s far more valuable than success.  Take ownership, take chances, and have fun.  And no matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing.” Asher Roth

l’Chayyim, to life!

 

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For many reasons, the summer of 2001 was absolutely one of the darkest periods in my life.  For 6.5 weeks, I sat watching my father struggle for life and then let go of life.  Exactly 6.5 weeks after discovering he had brain cancer, he was dead.  For the first five weeks he fought valiantly for his life and then he let go.

Watching him beat up his dying body with radiation and then chemo nearly killed me.  I loved my father.  While our relationship was extraordinarily complicated, I hated watching him suffer.  While he couldn’t always take care of me as a child, he loved me and he really did try. And the good news is he came through as a zaydie, he was an amazing grandfather to my children.

During his final week, I looked at my Abba (father) and said, “I am so sorry you are going through this.’ And with that he responded with five simple words that have since become my life’s motto. “It is what it is.”

MugItIsWhatItIs2

Those words have helped me manuever life for over 12 years.  They provide comfort and allow me to accept reality without going crazy.  Sometimes life is beautiful; sometimes life is less than beautiful.  There is nothing simple about life; there are hours, days, weeks when life feels challenging or even crippling.  And there are times when my spirit soars and inner peace fills my soul.  It is what it is!

‘It is what it is’ helps me navigate the world with a little more ease.  While I am still one of the most intense people I know, these words allow me to be present in wherever I am at any given moment.  These simple words remind me to breathe deeply,  to hang on for the ride, to seek the gifts within reality, and to be ok with what is!

What a gift this little phrase has been for me!! Yay!!!  Perhaps in these five words I found the greatest legacy that my father left me.  How surreal that it came during his last days or maybe even last hours of consciousness; 12 years after his death, that thought is resonating with me.

A couple of months ago, two close friends send a gift; this gift was a surprise in every way.  It wasn’t my birthday or even a momentous occasion; my friends were just being the thoughtful and loving people that they are!  As I looked in the box I was so jazzed by what the mug in the box said and then I realized that while the mug came in three unexpected pieces,  the message was still the same.  How ironic!!!  It is what it is!  I love how my friends ‘got me’ !!  The  knew that these words inspire me to walk through the world as I do.  Broken or not, this mug is still making me smile.  How cool is that!?!?!

May we all learn to honor what is even as something different then expected comes our way.

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