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Posts Tagged ‘Tikun Olam (repairing the world)’

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 16 Elul or 14 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!

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We can change the world and make it a better place.  It is in your hands to make a difference. 
Quote by Nelson Mandela

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Today is September 11th, a day in which so many of us are remembering pain and feeling the destruction that happened 13 years ago.  While we all remember the pain and destruction, let us also remember how strangers were helping strangers, how people wanted to help, and how we supported those that lost their beloveds.  9/11 was  full of darkness that has lasted, but there were sparks of light that impacted the world too.

Many people did what they could to make a very dark world seem a little brighter.  We can learn from that; we must learn from that.

Let us all use our two hands (metaphorically speaking) to make the world a better place for good.  We may not think we can do much, but we can all do something.

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Tonight we counted Day 47 of the Omer, which is 6 weeks and five days of the counting. Day 47 is referred to as Hod sheh b’Malkhut,  Expansiveness within our kingdom.  A beautiful kingdom is one that is blessed with Shekhinah’s presence.  Only when God or godliness dwells where people are, is it possible for a malkhut or ’kingdom’ to exist.

Imagine opening your front door and peering out into your neighborhood, your community, your city.  And then imagine being to metaphorically open many doors as you walk into the larger world.

Expansiveness.

Each time we open a door or peer out a doorway, the world is wide open to us.  Knowing that gives us infinite possibilities to make a difference from where we stand.  All steps are important.  Baby steps count and when you are able to take bigger steps, they count too.

doorwayStairs

Doing tikun olam (repairing the world) and living consciously should be a given in life, may each of us find a way to embrace the expansiveness of our world, our kingdom, to make a difference for good!

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Tonight we counted Day 34 of the Omer, which is 4 weeks and six days of the counting. Day 34 is referred to as Yesod sheh b’Hod, Foundation within Expansiveness.

There is a huge world that surrounds us with infinite possibilities and enormous beauty.  Acknowledging that beauty within a larger foundation is only the beginning of developing a strong relationship with what is.  Foundations create order, in other words, ways to embrace the beauty that surrounds us.

As someone who consciously lives in the world, I can’t take the vast expansiveness for granted.  I am responsible for honoring the expansiveness by doing my part to make the foundation strong.

Yesod sheh b’Hod is a reminder to always live like I make a difference.  Walking gently on the earth by actively engaging in healthy life choices and Tikun Olam too.

May each of us built roots that carry all of us into all that is beyond us.

Remember like trees, our roots go down. . . . .

NakedTreeWinterEastCoast

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Last night we counted Day 27 of the Omer, which is 3 weeks and six days of the counting. Today is referred to as Yesod sheh b’Netzach, foundation within endurance.

Living life takes endurance; consciously or not, we endure the lives we live.  When we actively build a foundation for ourselves by meaningfully engaging in life, we are building a foundation within the lives we endure.

Breathing is not optional, yet most of us breathe unconsciously.  Try taking five deep breaths right now or when you have a moment ; to do this you will need to inhale slowly through your nose giving your entire body a moment to feel the breath as you take it in and then exhale through your mouth just as slowly.  Try to do this exercise evenly by taking as much time to inhale as you do to exhale.  Does this exercise relax you, give you more energy, or make you feel more centered.

Finding ways to more actively engage in life is part of building a foundation.

I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.  ~Isaac Asimov

For me, acknowledging Yesod sheh b’Netzach, foundation within endurance, is empowering.  There are so many ways in which I choose to build a stronger foundation for myself and for my family.  Each and every step we take matters and helps strengthen our cores.  Whether it is about how we breathe, eat, move or whether it is about how we relate to our interests, our money, or our role in tikun olam (repairing the world).  When I consciously develop how I do these things, I am creating a more solid foundation for myself and ultimately my family.

As we move through today, may conscious living empower us as we build a stronger foundation within our our lives.

Keep on Moving! Reaching!

 

 

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Last night we counted Day 24 of the Omer, which is 3 weeks and three days of the counting of the Omer. Today is referred to as Tiferet sheh b’Netzach, beauty within endurance.

Writers_Clock_ Black

To me there is nothing as beautiful as someone who is actively and passionately engaged in some aspect of life over a long period of time.  This could doing acts of Tikun Olam (Repairing the World) or an art form or maybe even someone who loves some aspect of physical movement.  Beauty comes from loving to learn and sharing that love with others.  Passion and drive take incredible amounts of endurance.

May we all find the drive and passion that fills us with beauty as we develop, grow, and move forward.

 

 

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(This blog was adapted from a blog I wrote for my work blog)

A new tradition has begun.  Each week, I will be sharing an environmental teaching to my students and then blogging about it for both work and then also on my personal blog.    My hope is to offer a bissel, a little, Torah and an insight on how to take the teaching home.

Teaching:

“It is not up to us to complete the task (of repairing the world).
Yet neither are we free to desist.”
~Pirikei Avot 2:16

In order to make this world the best that it can be, we have to begin by doing our part wherever we can.  While each of us has a job to do, we can’t do it alone.  In order to make a difference, we have to work as a team with others.  Essentially that means that while you have to do your part to make the world stronger, healthier, better, you don’t have to do it alone and you don’t have to complete the work you started.  Just take one step and begin the journey. Ultimately you will find if you are doing the work, others will join you.

When I asked our students how they would do their part to take care of the environment, I heard a lot of great answers.  I was touched by the engaging conversation and the fact that many wanted to respond.  Our students care.   I was especially touched by the children that said that they always ride their bike to school instead of taking the bus or a car.  I also loved that many children carry a bag with them to pick up trash when they are walking outdoors.

With that in mind, I began to reflect, how can I refine what I am already doing?  And I came up with some ways..  Walking or biking more would be good; I will start walking or biking to work one to two days a week if not more. I will cook from scratch more often; I am pretty good now, but I should do better. And finally, the boys and I will start turning off electronics for an hour or so each night so we can read together, cook together and walk Maddie, our dog, together.  The goal is to nourish our relationship while also using less energy.

Another idea is taking shape for my family on a personal level even though it was inspired by my new Religious School Initiative, Turning Trash into Treasure.  For school it is simple, turn trash into art projects and school supplies.  What could that same initiative mean to our home.  Well here are some ideas and I’d love a few more.

  • When you are done with a book or other household object, pass on or pay it forward.
  • Old plastic containers can be used to collect water from rain showers; the collected water can be used to water plants. Recycling costs in many ways; if you can use without recycling – yay!
  • If you have an old towel, wrap up your next gift box with the towels.
  • Old towels can be used as cleaning rags.
  • Compost – I need to finally start doing that!
  • Use what you have instead of wasting or ignoring it.

There are many other ideas that I am missing; I’d love to hear your ideas.

All of the ideas above help minimize your carbon footprint.   You can also do things,

  • buy local produce
  • shop close to home
  • grow your own produce
  • bike or walk as often as possible
  • limit how much trash you create
  • enjoy life from where you are

For more information about minimizing your carbon footprint; there are many links on the World Wide Web for you to explore what it means to consider your carbon footprint and how to calculate your carbon footprint.  Each of us can easily and sometime with challenge do so much more to help strengthen our environment.  All you have to do is take one step in order to make a difference.

One of my favorite songs is The Garden Song written by David Mallett song by many of my favorite folk artists:

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
‘Til the rain comes tumbling down

This song reminds me that we are all on the journey of life; my hope is that most if not all of us take time to consider what little and large things we can do to make the environment healthier than it is.  All we have to do is take one step or many steps.  While you don’t have to complete the work yourself, living consciously and thoughtfully can ultimately make a difference for our world and repairing what ails her.

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sugar1

Making significant changes in my life, in any of our lives, can leave us self-absorbed.  Changing behaviors that are often ingrained in our being takes time and energy; we become totally fixated by the task at hand.  Becoming too focused on the journey can also create challenges; it can create obsession.  While I have chosen to share my journey towards giving up added sugar and other sweeteners to my diet, I am not feeling overly indulgent of this journey.

I love to write; writing soothes my soul and helps strengthen my foundation and conviction to live and function as I do.  I wouldn’t be the person I am if I couldn’t write.  But writing is only part of who I am.  I am also a fierce believer in human rights, love of the earth, and education of all sorts.

And lately, I am feeling blessed to be taking care of myself as I am.  My life is a blessing; so taking care of it is not optional.  Having said that, there seems to be a magical energy that comes from thoroughly attending to my needs and honoring them.   And as that energy is ignited I seem to soar in other areas too.  I am more centered.  Both my sons and my work benefit as I  become more aware of how I walk in the world.   Feeling more centered is a great springboard for connecting more with the world around me.

The mental clarity that is coming from eliminating sugar is leading me to a spiritual shift.  Perhaps I was headed there anyway.  I know I have been feeling more connected to my dreams/hopes for Israel; I have also been cognizant of my carbon footprint; and considering my role in national and/or local politics.  My voice has found some ways to reach outside of myself and is seeking a stronger platform.  My goal is to be steadfast in my desire to be an active participant in making our world a better place.  It always has been, but something is shifting.  As my body starts to settle into my new routine, I am feeling more equipped for engaging in the causes that I hold dear to my heart.

Many of you know that chanting moves me like nothing else can.  Chanting leads me towards empowerment in nearly every area of my life.  With that in mind I wanted to share this chant which is created and sung by Danya and Eyal Rivlin.  The Rivlins refer to their chant as the Multicultural Peace Chant:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring peace into this world by chanting together. Perhaps we should try to start connecting with one another through music. Music really does heal the soul; perhaps it could work magic in other ways too! Hari, Om, Sat Nam, Shalom, Salaam – Peace begins with me!

In this moment, I believe peace does begin with me; it begins with my willingness to be present with others and to listen to their voices, their thoughts, their dreams.  With each breath, I also believe that taking care of my body is allowing me to embrace the soul work of doing real tikun olam (reparing the world).  In reality, I can only begin to take care of the world if I am taking care of myself too.

May each of us take care of ourselves, reach outside ourselves, and have this the above chant in our souls.

With light and blessings, Chava

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