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(Note: To learn more information on #The100DayProject which is also known as #ActivistCardsByChava, you can see https://wp.me/pthnB-3cH.)

Life is full of opportunities for us to stay engaged. Texts often come at a breakneck speed. Emails offer us a chance to make purchases, support important causes, and connect to family, friends, and work too. And then there is social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.); some of us use it to stay in the loop professionally, socially, or both. We are incessantly being called to stay engaged with our family, our community, and our work.

My guess is that I am not alone in how I am feeling and seeing things.

Day 24 - Do the next right or best thingWith so much noise surrounding us, we have to remember that we can’t do it all. For me, I am learning to prioritize and simply do the next right or best thing. Since I can’t possibly do it all. AND most importantly, I am learning that self-care needs to be a priority if I am going to be able to accomplish much of what calls to me.

Remember, I can’t do it all and neither can you, but we can all do the next right or best thing. And maybe then will we find empowering ways to make a difference for good.

Onward with love, light, & action,
Chava

PS – I’d love your feedback on my blog, my writing, my thinking, and/or my Activist Cards!!! Feel free to like or comment. I will try to respond to all comments to this blog. Input is always welcome.

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Chava looking at large canvas 3

Rothko Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts;             Photo Courtesy of David Cooper

Last night, I learned to listen to that quiet voice that reminded me to remain silent when what I really wanted to do was share the thoughts racing around in my head. Somehow I knew that I needed some time to reflect before expressing myself in any serious way.

Communicating is easy. At any moment, I can pick up my phone, send a quick (or lengthy) text, quickly shoot of an email, blog from my soul, shout out to my Facebook/Twitter community, or scream at my sons. I could do that, but I didn’t. At least, I did not do that last night.

Instead of going for instant gratification, I took a deep breath, a long walk, and a shot of vodka. I decided to refrain from major conversations, long involved letters, intense blogging, or even small talk. While I wrote a few quick responses on Facebook status lines, I did not pour out my heart, make any major decisions, or say something that I would later regret.

For once in my life, I (mostly) listened to that quiet voice that provided a shadow over my soul. Sometimes it is better to allow for the quiet.

When I was a little girl, my father used to loving put his hands over my ears and give a gentle squeeze. As he did, he would whisper the words, “Listen to the quiet.” I believe that act may have been the most loving act my father ever did. He knew that when I was sad, tired, sick, or struggling that I needed the cocoon of silence. I probably also needed his loving hands to remind me that I am loved.

While I don’t have my father’s hands nurturing my spirit with his gentle touch and loving words, I do have the ability to remember that sometimes, I need to listen to the quiet. And sometimes, I simply need to allow for the silence before finding and sharing my voice.

Writing is how I best communicate. If you want to know what I really feel, don’t ask me to tell you, ask me to write. Years ago, I learned:

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at,
what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
~Joan Didion

Through writing, I share the deepest part of who I am. And while I know how to use my voice, I am a much more honest writer.

So when last night’s darkness loomed, I did the only thing that made sense. I allowed for the silence, refrained from making any ‘real’ decisions, and I sat in my sadness, my frustration, and my anger. And the hardest thing that I did was refrain from writing. I didn’t send words out into the universe that could never be taken back.

At this point, you may be wondering what was feeling so heavy. Was it that one of my sons was acting out? Was it an internal struggle I am having? Was it that I have an upcoming meeting that is reminding me of my many vulnerabilities? Yes, it was all of those things. AND it was the sense of foreboding I feel with the upcoming election that was intensified by this week’s AIPAC conference. It is also the growing rift I see in the larger Jewish community. Maybe it has always been there, but in the last few years I feel the rift growing. Whether we are talking about Israel or the Jewish people, politics or immigration, human rights or the environment, each and every issue seems to create clouds over our people and the larger world too. And with each serious challenge being brought to our attention at break neck speed, the struggle is inevitable.

Last night, I did my best to take a deep breath and to listen to the silence. I chose to go inward, to cry, and to sleep for a couple of hours. It helped.

I am not sure that the world is a better place or that the elections will bring out the best in people. I do know that this morning I have a little more clarity about what I need to do today, tonight, and in the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Mostly I know that I have to sometimes trust the silence and sometimes trust my voice. And perhaps, what I need most is to:

“Step out today not seeking to be in the spotlight but seeking
for a spot to light
– be a blessing to someone.”
Bernard Kelvin Clive

 

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Every day is a birthday; I really believe that.

Deep inside, I truly believe that I should be celebrating life each and every day.  I also believe that I should celebrate the lives of those I love each and every day.  Life should never be taken for granted; life is not a given.

This year, my birthday came without any real fanfare except that Facebook friends reminded me that I matter.  How beautiful is that!  I was also blessed to be remembered by a few friends that went out of their way to text me, send my cards, and call me.  One family even brought me a gift basket that literally brought tears to my eyes.  Another friend made me a gluten free cake which has now ruined my sons ever making me cake again; hers was too good!!!!  One gift that I always treasure is the phone call I receive each year from my brother; this year was no exception.  Finally, I was also able to hang with one friend in the morning and another friend in the evening.  Life is and was truly good!

Spiritually, today was a day of reflection; with reflection comes both gifts and challenges.  Today was a day to think about what I want over the coming year; it was also a day to not only remember the many losses that are imprinted on my heart, but to celebrate my life.  Today was not easy, but that’s ok.  In order to grow, we sometimes need to reflect. Accepting the realities of life and reaching for dreams takes work, hard work.  When you admit your dreams, you are also admitting that there are things you want and areas that you are falling short. Ultimately, reflection can be a gift you give yourself.

Today, with today’s reflections I reminded myself that:

  1. My voice matters and I don’t want to be silent when I have something to say.
  2. Chanting brings calmness to my entire being.
  3. When life is busy, I still need to take time for the things I love.
  4. Family dinners aren’t a choice, they need to be a given on most nights.
  5. Being a good friend means being more present than I have been over the past months.
  6. My body is craving time to move, time to drum, and time to write; I need to do the things that make my soul sing.
  7. If I want to be creative, I have to find ways to embrace the journey of skepticism from not only those that surround me, but from myself too.
  8. Judaism brings me joy, but I have to make time not only to work in a Jewish environment, but nurture my own Jewish soul.
  9. Moving through my short-comings is humbling, but also necessary.
Photo courtesy of Simon Rosenblatt. Being called up to the Torah for an aliyah is amazing, but it is time for me to read from the Torah again.

Photo courtesy of Simon Rosenblatt. Being called up to the Torah for an aliyah is amazing, but it is time for me to read from the Torah again.

I am alive! Living life fully means embracing all the parts of my being.

Today, I lived my life fully according to the way I walk through the world.  My hope is that I always remember the words that my friend Joe Laur always tells his beloved friends on their birthdays, “Dream Big, Dance Hard, Laugh Loud, Love Deep, Live Long!”

Will you join me as I move through the coming year.

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