Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘walk gently’

Polish-Slovakian border - Stephanie Randall

Polish-Slovakian border: Courtesy of Stephanie Randall

Not all those who wander are lost.’*

I wander a lot; I explore the world with every movement and every breath; I seek answers to questions that seem insurmountable, only to find the answer in a prayer or a chant.  On many of my excursions, I am not sure where I am going or how I will get there. Other times I think I know where I am going only to be end up somewhere completely unexpected.

All I know for certain is that I am on a journey. All of us are. With each step, I am trying to walk gently while being the most authentic that I can be. In those same moments, I am fumbling to understand the world I live in with all the wild landscapes that encompass each step.

While I often feel like I have a choice on how to get from point A to point B, more likely I am guided.  My feet may appear to move as if they have direction, but that is rarely the case. Mostly I look at my life as moments of Lech Lecha-ing; a gentle guide or teacher emerges to make sure I make it to the best possible place.

Sometimes I feel like I am tripping over my own two feet, but what I am actually doing is finding solid ground in the best way I know how. There is no straight and smooth path to take me from where I am; the path is rocky and sometimes quite daunting.

Just when I think I can’t take another step, I remember to breathe. Only once I take a deep breathe do I find that I have what it takes to continue with yet another step. Breathing deeply reminds me to see the beauty that surrounds me wherever I am.

I am alive; I am thriving; I am reaching; I am being exactly who I am. Halleluyah.

*”Not all those who wander are lost.” – probably inspired or written by J. R. R. Tolkien for his poem called “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter” for his fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.

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 . . . .]

Lake Louisa - Spring 2015

“The calm mind allows one to connect with the inner self, the Soul,
the very source of our being. That’s where the music lives.
That’s where my music comes from”.
~Clarence Clemons

Honoring My Journey Towards Wholeness means that even as I accept life’s many moving parts, I also need to take the time to quiet my body, mind, and soul.

So, tonight I decided to take a long walk and many deep breaths which ultimately allowed for sweet nigunim (wordless melodies) to fill my soul. The calm winds blowing over the lakefront offered my spirit exactly what it needed.

After my hour or so outdoors, I felt so much more connected to my breath and balanced too.

May nurturing our spirits become a norm within our lives.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Read Full Post »

Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

Pantano Wash on the Rillito River

“The Bridge”
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Bernie Taupin

I’ve seen the bridge and the bridge is long
And they built it high and they built it strong
Strong enough to hold the weight of time
Long enough to leave some of us behind

[chorus:]
And every one of us has to face that day
Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away
And every one of us that ever came to play
Has to cross the bridge or fade away

Standing on the bridge looking at the waves
Seen so many jump, never seen one saved
On a distant beach your song can die
On a bitter wind, on a cruel tide

[repeat chorus]

And the bridge it shines
Oh cold hard iron
Saying come and risk it all
Or die trying

[repeat chorus]

I am a profoundly fortunate soul.  While I have faced enormous challenges throughout my life, I am blessed to continually find the bridges I need to cross over so that I can emerge from life’s tough spots.   Since this past June, I have been facing some intense fear even as I was moving towards resolving the stark realities of feeding my family.  I am someone who rarely gives up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of fear or darkness.
Over the last weeks, I have been feeling held by so many beautiful friends that are nudging me forward and offering complete support with each step.  With each passing day, I realize that a new chapter is being written sometimes by yours truly and sometimes by yours truly’s beloved friends.  My friends haven’t let me down as they have worked and advocated for my success.  My sons and I are not alone, we are surrounded by people that are willing to help us in a myriad of ways.  Light seems to always brighten my life when I need it most and today that is no different.  The light is illuminating our family even as we navigate these tumultuous times.

Every day, new possibilities surface just as I am entertaining self-doubt. And with each step I find myself feeling hopeful, anxious, excited, & alive.  My head and heart are bursting with gratitude as I embrace crossing the bridge.  I am consciously aware that I want to walk gently and remain cognizant of the power of each step.  It may ok for me to slip, but I really don’t want to lose my footing.  While faltering for moments in time is sometimes a reality, success is not optional.

To say I feel humbled by the love and care that my sons and I are continuously receiving is an understatement.  Each moment of love, sweet gifts, financial support, and kindness  is like a loving embrace.  I can’t  believe how held I am feeling  Perhaps for the first time in life I am not feeling alone; a village is not only surrounding us, but carrying us across the bridge.

With love, light, & gratitude,
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 7 Elul or 23 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!

~ ~ ~

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 — David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press

This has been a challenging few days or maybe even a few months.  I have been in a cocoon of  darkness while sorting out how to navigate my job journey, my parenting journey, and my soul journey.  It has been hard, but it has also been necessary.

What has been profoundly amazing is that I have felt held by loving friends that are waiting with outstretched arms to hold my spirit and nurture me just as I am.  I am feeling so blessed even as I face some very real darkness.

While darkness has been my companion, I realize that light always burns deep inside me and radiates throughout me and into the world.  Still I have to navigate what is and trust that everything will be good.  Time and again, I have learned that in order to see the full spectrum of colors, I have to be willing to face all the parts of me.

Knowing that I am surrounded by precious beloveds and faith can make it possible for the darkness to be quite sweet.

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 the third day following Rosh Hodesh (beginning of the month) Elul; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move forward.  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!

שמע קולי – Hear My Voice

Have you ever noticed that the same words can have many different meanings depending how they are said, to whom they are said, and when they are said?

Words have power.  When we use them wisely and with intention, they have the ability to impact those that hear them and those that speak them.

The two most significant or empowering words in my world are  שמע קולי – Hear My Voice.  They have guided me for over five years in each and every human interaction I have.  And while I mostly say them silently, they remind me on how I need to walk through life.

Initially these words came to me in a chant that helped center me and made me feel whole.  It is a chant that I wrote when I needed deep medicine to heal my sad and mourning soul.  And the beauty of it is that as I have grown so has this chant.  The words are still helping me to grow into the human being that I want to be.

שמע קולי (Hear My Voice) has three parts:

  1. When I am first chanting these words, I am saying the words to me.  I need to hear my voice; I need to listen to my thoughts, my beliefs, my needs, and my dreams.  With each repetition, I have to accept what I really feel and find a way to manage what I know in my heart, my mind, and my soul. It is my job to not only listen to what is on my mind, but for me to wake up and navigate where I am in the most honest ways that I can.
  2. When I am chanting this second part, I am focused on my relationship with others.  If I am navigating a soulful relationship with a beloved, I concentrate on what I need and what the other person may need of me.  My prayer is that the two of us (whoever we are) are working towards our connection together in whatever ways we need to do this.  I also use part two of this chant practice to work on all the dynamics I have with everyone I interact.
  3. Finally, in the third part of this chant, I am concentrating on how I walk in the larger world.  I want to have integrity in all that I do and in all the thoughts that I have.  In a perfect world, I want my heart, my mind, and my soul to be aligned with one another.  I want to live actively and consciously with the values that I hold dear.  I want to walk with the godliness that guides my spirit.  When I write a blog or work on my book, I want the words to be meaningful and truthful.  I believe that I am part of the universe and everything I does matters in some way.

When I begin and end this chant practice, I do all three parts; however, in the middle I focus on whatever relationship needs the most work.

Creating healthy relationships is holy work.

As my Elul Journeys continue, may I take the time I need to listen to my voice and to create healthy interactions with the world around me. May I nurture my love of life and feel inspired to walk fully within the beauty that surrounds me.

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 the second day following Rosh Hodesh (beginning of the month) Elul; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move forward.  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 GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
    translation by Coleman Barks

Ever noticed how many balls get tossed at you at any given moment?

Over the years, I have come to realize the importance of dealing with all that comes at me with warmth and a smile.  Life happens.  Cars break down.  We lose jobs.  People in our lives have bad moments.  Each of these realities affect our lives.

While I strive to stay even-tempered, it doesn’t always happen. I am, after all, human.   🙂  What I love about the Rumi poem above is that it has become a gentle reminder that I should embrace all the emotions and realities that are happening in life and find a way to move forward with what is.

With blessings and light,  Chava

Read Full Post »

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!

 

Read Full Post »

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
~Rabindranath Tagore 

Intensity permeates my being at nearly every moment.  It is what is – my essence.

Recently, I made a decision.  I needed to choose a state of being that would allow me to walk a little more gently with myself.  With the help of my coach, I developed a new way of thinking and a respect for one of the most beautiful creatures on this earth.

Phot courtesy of Jack Kanis

Photo courtesy of Jack Kanis

Butterflies.

Butterflies are absolutely breathtaking; they touch what they need and then flutter to the next place, never seeming to stay in one place for very long.

As part of my mission to simplify life and how each moment affects me, I imagine my energy being similar to that of what I think a butterfly might be.  Instead of allowing my intensity or anxiety for life’s realities to wrap me in a cocoon, I am breaking out and doing what I need to do with a purpose.  There are tasks/actions that need to be accomplished, so I do them and move onto the next thing.

With the butterfly as a guiding metaphor, it is helping me function better with daily life tasks like dishes and laundry.  At work, I am being more successful at completing the administrative tasks that often hang over my head.  And as I simplify, the butterfly image is allowing me to clear away space by space, instead of becoming overwhelmed by the entire picture of what ultimately needs to be done.

By utilizing the butterfly as a state of being, I am finding that many personal interactions are also evolving.  My relationships are improving or perhaps I am choosing to navigate them differently than I ever have; they feel healthier.  As I spend less time needing to explain myself or make things right, I am letting go and moving forward much quicker than I have ever done before.  If it isn’t about me, I am not owning it.  At the same time, if it is about me, I am dealing with things much more directly and then letting go.  I am learning to accept the dynamics that each human interaction brings – some are good; some are more of a struggle.

Seeing the butterfly as a state of being that I can capture is transformative.  Slowly I am learning to find the nectar that exists in each and every moment without needing to capture it in a permanent way.  While instant gratification would be amazing, the butterfly takes time to work itself outside of her cocoon.

Courtesy of Karen Judin

Photo courtesy of Karen Judin

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

(Disclaimer: Long-winded diatribe)

Life has many moving parts and it is our job to navigate each and every one of them.  Even when the journey is challenging, we really have no option.

Those of you that know me well,  know that I use writing as a means of working out all that goes on in my brain.  It is what I do.  If I am not writing, it usually means something is seriously wrong; only rarely does a busy schedule keep me from what I love second only after mothering. This is one of those times that I am working towards figuring out what I really think, so here it goes. . . .  So here is the quiet voice that sometimes goes unspoken. . . .

Loving life comes naturally to me.  I love animal-kind, the earth, and all that surrounds our world.  Yet I struggle on a very deep level; I struggle because so many people make choices to live their lives in ways that I find questionable.  And while I am not perfect; I openly grapple and when I do get thoughtless, I have my sons who remind me to follow by beliefs.

The reality is that life is a finite amount of time.  Death is a given; we will all die at the end our journeys.  My hope is that at the end of my journey I will have made a difference for good.  With every ounce of my being, I pray that my words are always thoughtful, that my actions exhibit kindness for the world I live, and that I live a life with integrity.  I truly want to be the best human being I can be.  And whether I am alive or not, my hope is that my life has touched people and made a difference.

Climbing towards the beach -Topsail, NC  Photo courtesy of Wendy Harris Delson

Climbing towards the beach -Topsail, NC
Photo courtesy of Wendy Harris Delson

As someone who lives consciously that means I have to consider the world around me and the ramifications of my actions.  While there are many non-negotiable in my book, I also realize that I have a lot to learn and I can always be better.  I also believe that we are all a work in progress; it takes time to change.

Now to share how I really feel:

  1. When you shop for anything consider those that have done the work to bring the product to you.  Are they treated fairly? Buying fair-trade makes sense; We should all do our best to shop at stores that pay their staff living wages.  I do realize this isn’t always easy or economical, yet shouldn’t human beings be safe both physically and emotionally.  Possible offenders of not treating the workers fairly include Walmart, world-wide sweatshops, the chocolate industry-to name a few.  Know as much as you can about the products you purchase; know that child slave labor is still alive today.
  2. We aren’t doing our best to create an accessible world.  We can have the best programs, but if our communities are not made in a way that is as accessible as can be that it doesn’t matter what we service or product we are offering.  And as consumers, it is important for us  to make it not-optional that all of us are responsible for making our environments work for as many as possible.  One challenging example is clothing stores:  Wheelchairs need to be able to me freely through the store.  Another example is to provide ASL interpreters when requested for community events; community events should be opened to all.  We need to create better mechanisms to be more inclusive to meet the needs of as many people as possible.
  3. All human beings should have been born to equality.  And it is human beings that are not always operating with that premise.  How sad! And yes, it frustrates me and even angers me too.  Marriage equality for all should be a given.  In terms of religious choices, I respect nearly all religions, but they need to be kept within their houses of prayer.  While some of our teachings do not accept homosexuality, our country should not be guided by religious principles. The Boy Scouts should be accepting leaders that are good human beings; the leaders should not be chosen by their gender preferences.  I love that so many of my Eagle Scout friends have made the choices that they have made; some are trying to change things from within and some have reversed their affiliation with the Boy Scouts.  Making conscious choices is a good thing.
  4. Our carbon footprints matters.  Why are we so wasteful?  I love how people say they recycle, but do they not realize that recycling takes energy.  We are literally wasting paper reams every day.  We are not considering all of the issues of product packaging and how the products come to us.  How far do the products have to travel to make it to us?  Can we go to the store once instead of going 10 times over the course of the week.  Can we walk or  bike to the places we need to get to.  We really can make a difference by learning about how our carbon footprint impacts the world around us.
  5. I love Israel; I do not like her government.  I despise when people think I hate Israel because I don’t like her actions.  Wrong.  I have a right to speak my mind and to make conscious choices in how I live with the knowledge I learn.  I also have to hear what other sides of the story are saying.  Human beings matter and I have the responsibility to care about all humans.  Darfur, Bangladesh, China – I need to be caring about all human beings; if I know governments are making poor choices, I need to use my voice in order to make a difference for good.  This is not just about Israel, this is about taking care of and sometimes supporting those who’s voices aren’t being heard.
  6. If you tell a story long enough, it becomes your truth (even if it is a lie).  The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether or not the story we are telling is in fact the truth.  I have watched how stories and lies have been woven to become truths; and for the first time in my life I am watching people’s positive reputations become altered because of partial stories being told for the purpose of destruction.  I wish some of the adults I knew would get out the high school mentality and stop talking about people.

I am trying to walk gently as I share how I feel.  We are all a work in progress, but I wish that more people cared a little more than they already do.  The good news is that many people are doing amazing work to make our world a better place.

Silence speaks words; so don’t sit in silence.  While we have to navigate the many moving parts of our lives, don’t forget about that we are responsible for making our world what it is. .  Conscious living is a practice; it takes time to develop.  Being thoughtful in our how we walk in the world, our consumption choices and in our activism will ultimately lead to a better world.

May we all choose to live consciously and consider the world that we live in with each and every step we take.

Read Full Post »

Wherever you go, possibilities surround you! By opening both your eyes and your heart, a door will always appear.

Tucson-fav

Each door, path, and journey offers infinite gifts and potential challenges.

My friend Shay Seaborne reminded me of image of Alice in the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. Alice couldn’t see the little door when she was big; only wnen she was reduced could she see it and ultimately go through it too!

We often struggle to see that which is in front of us, yet life is full of openings if only we open our eyes a little wider.  Discovering the doorway takes insight, sometimes from within and sometimes from others.  The key to moving forward is to trust that anywhere you go will lead you towards new experiences and/or opportunities.  There are doors everywhere you go.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Choosing which way is to navigate takes a certain amount of trust.  The bottom-line is that we grow from each and every experience, even the tough ones.

Over the coming weeks or even months, I will use my blog to explore how each step within life’s journeys is synonymous to moving through a doorway towards insight, wisdom, beauty, and opportunities.

May each of us walk gently and honor ourselves completely as we navigate through the many doors of our lives.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »