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Posts Tagged ‘words’

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud Maya Angelou

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There is so much power that comes from silence or from speaking the right words.

Over the last month plus, I have been loving and caring for people that have been facing enormous changes, pain, impending loss, and loss. Most often, there are few or no words to say.

Some people need to feel the love, some know it is there even if it goes unspoken, and some need to talk, to cry, and to be. This makes navigating these connections so very challenging.

Tonight, I received a call from a friend who suffered one of the most tragic losses one could imagine. She needed to talk, to pray, to receive words of comfort.

With little or no voice, I prayed with her. I offered her words of comfort, and I shared prayers and poetry to help her navigate her pain. AND most importantly, I listened. I was so grateful to be there for her and so grateful I answered the phone in my quiet and squeaky voice. (My voice has been on vacation this week.)

I wish I always had the right words to share at every moment and the supportive silence to flow at the right time. I don’t, but I really do my best.

In this moment, I am grateful when I can give what people need and sad when I can’t.

These past months have been humbling. As I have watched so many I adore navigate tough times, I have learned much about human nature and also even more about myself. One of the most challenging truths is that not everyone walks through the world as I do. Their tragedy or struggle is not the same for me as it is for them. My job is to meet those in pain where they are.

Another thing that has become crystal clear is that I need to emerge more authentically as the spiritual soul that I am. And yes, there is always so much to learn with each step. It is time for me to seek more environments/opportunities that allow my full spirit to shine.

Many years ago, I did a chant training in which two of my now dear friends created a chant that said, “Hineini (I am here); How can I serve YOU.” I don’t remember the chant as much as I’d like, but I the words still resonate.

This has been a time of deep reflection for me. I am learning; I am growing.

May I be blessed with the right words or the silence to support those I love and serve.

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“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

Writing is how I dance with the world around me. Through writing I navigate my deepest pain and my most radiant joy; I process my unrelenting tears and my heartfelt laughter too. And with each strike of the keyboard or stroke of a pen, I find my true rhythm and my soul.

As my younger son expresses so well, “Ima (Mommy), if you aren’t writing, you aren’t in a good place.” Dovi has been reflecting this truth to me since he was about 6 years old and 15 years later, he is still the one to who reminds me that as long as I am writing I am probably exactly where I need to be.

MY MOTTO

Poem by me; AWESOME & one-of-a-kind pen created by Steven Clark!!

Lately, I have been struggling to write freely which has left me at a loss. Since writing is how I process the world I live in, it means that I am wrestling with my life and allowing myself to experience some very deep feelings – not all painful either. I am someone who is always on the path – navigating, seeking, and simply being.

In this moment, there are two significant challenges that I am facing around my writing.

  1. After 8.5 years, I am facing the ending of a relationship that I thought could last forever. How stupid considering the father of my children is no longer my husband and barely my friend. Although, I am happy to say that that may be changing. While I know that this man is not meant to be my partner, I truly believed our connection would last as lovers and friends. As this man and I are building a friendship, I am aware that if I spoke from the deepest part of my heart all the time, I would crumble and/or I would never be able to find peace with the man that I am still hoping will be my life-long friend.
    Since I can’t have the fullness of what I want, I am faced with learning to silence my voice. AND to be honest, that comes at a cost. My writing around him is pathetic. I am afraid that my honesty would close the door to our friendship, so instead I have become an awkward. Whether or not he registers this is irrelevant, it is what I am feeling. And words have power so until now, I have been holding back even when I simply journal.

    My work is to trust my ex-lover knowing that we love each other deeply and we are emerging in a new and very different place. In the meantime, I have to keep putting salve on the wounds of my heart and that means I better go back to my journaling practice.

  2. As a community leader, I am often forced to face the insight of everyone that reads my blogs, my Facebook posts, my emails, etc. While that is the case for everyone, I am struggling. Even though I know that everyone reads my words through their own eyes, I am also so very tired of how people struggle with my transparency. I love being able to openly explore the world as I do.

    I am a writer who thrives by living out loud. I don’t want to be silenced in order to accommodate how other’s walk in the world. I have been silenced throughout so much of my life. I have found myself wearing masks to hide my beautiful face or to protect my loved ones. The good news is that my loved ones can handle me being exactly who I am and so can I; writing is how I embrace authenticity-always!

    I am so very tired of how people put ‘their stuff’ on me. And yet I know that while so many only find the darkness, others reflect the light. The challenge is navigating those that only focus on the darkness. I am so not about darkness.

    Throughout much of my life I have been silenced in various ways and for various reasons.  Ironically, it isn’t always about something difficult happening, more often than not it was simply that I didn’t know that I could speak up or that my voice mattered. For me, learning to share my voice, trusting myself to be articulate, and growing up though my writing was a process. Aren’t we all a work in progress. The more writing became a practice for me, the more I learned to value an intensity that I never knew existed. It was through that writing that I also began to adore the rawness of my spirit. I love my who I am and how I walk in the world. And it was through my writing that I was able to reach this place.

Writing is a sacred act that needs to nurtured daily if not more. I am committing to journaling daily, blogging weekly, and writing letters whenever I can.  If I want to be grounded in life and soar with each breath, I have to put pen to paper and fingers to keys.

Writing,
the song of my heart;
the meaning of my mind;
the feeling of my soul:
Is what makes me whole.

Looks like I may have some work to do so that I can honor my spirit a little more each day.

Love, light, & blessings,
Chava

 

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We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

Written by Elizabeth Alexander
for President Barak Obama’s Inauguration; January 2009
 

Words are powerful and empowering.  Whether I am reading them or weaving them together to articulate my own thoughts, words inspire me to explore what is and to make sense of what can be.
 
Words give my free flowing thoughts foundation; they ground me. When I read other’s thoughts, I realize that I am either not alone or that I am surrounded by both brilliant and limited thinkers. Time and again, I am amazed how all people can influence others by how they articulate themselves in speech or writing.
 
Personally, writing allows me to feel like I am being heard. As someone who has been marginalized, I have found that simply the act of writing my thoughts allows me to release the myriad of ideas that are sometimes trapped inside my head; the release also opens my heart space so that I somehow feel heard even if it is only the paper that is receiving my thoughts. In truth, once I have written my thoughts, I often feel more comfortable sharing them to anyone who will listen.
Lisa Libowitz Prescott, Arizona

Prescott, Arizona; Photo Courtesy of Lisa Libowitz

Have you ever heard the echo when you yell from a mountaintop? I love the exhilaration that comes with the responsive echo. That is the way I feel each and every time I take time to write what is weighing on my conscience and even within my subconsciousness.  The more that I write, regardless of whether it is my own personal journals, my blog, or my Facebook/Twitter posts, the more I feel at home within my being.

Over the last few weeks, I have realized:

  1. how important writing has become to my soul. . . . even more than before if that is possible.  This sweet realization is leading me to feel more whole.
  2. how I love to write notes and journal entries with my own handwriting. I love the feel of the pen or marker in my hands, the touch of the paper, and way the writing tools flow over the paper.
  3. how I equally need pen/paper and my  computer. I need both handwriting and electronic keyboard to articulate my thoughts; I also need my voice.
  4. being able to articulate my need for wrapping things in a box with all the words that I need to say before I can let go. Only once I give voice to my feelings am I am able to move forward. Just the act of releasing my thoughts or sharing my heart space allows me to let go. When I can’t do this for whatever reason, I tend to grow sad or frustrated that my purging of words does not always work well for others; I am learning to navigate this.
  5. if I am not writing, I must be in a dark place. Writing fuels my soul.

Words empower me to do what Emily Dickinson called  ‘dwell in the possibility’. I would not be the woman I am if I did not have my writing.

May all writing always exhilarate my spirit, give me wings to soar, and help me to navigate the many voices in my head.

Onward!
Now & Always

PS – Over the next few weeks, I will be playing with ways to my very own gift box of my favorite words. Let me know if you have any creative ideas for how to do this. 🙂

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Everything we say and don’t say matters; everything we do and don’t do matters.

Words and Silence – Action and inaction. . . .

Over the past many weeks, I have been more selective with what I say and what I do. Allowing myself to room for silence of voice and action has sometimes grounded me and has sometimes left me profoundly uncomfortable.

Too much is going on in the world. Every day, we are bombarded with information on the Iran Deal, US politics, climate change, the illness of loved ones, poverty, racism, human trafficking, refugees, immigration, gun control (or lack of control). The world feels really dark and painfully out of control. Opinions, prejudices, and biases emerge as if they are fact. And the facts are skewed by whoever is sharing them.

While each of us may see or hear about the same event, we tend to interpret what is happening based on our life experiences and views. I am no different. And I am realizing that so many people lack the power to discern what is happening in the world because they are being influenced by whatever sunglasses they are wearing instead of by interpreting the facts with the openness to really embrace the facts.

With so many human travesties and a feeling of hopelessness, I find that I am doing less than I should. I am not visiting the sick, helping teens navigate the world; I am not taking the time to care for others or the environment as much as I should.  Instead I am feeling stuck; I am unable to process the world as I once did.

Add the above to life’s normal challenges and some not so normal challenges, I have been feeling paralyzed and unable to make a difference in the world.

With all of this in mind, over the recent period of time, I have found myself going a little more inward and looking for quiet ways to care for myself more. This week alone, I have slept more, read a little more, taken some amazing yoga classes and listened to some amazing podcasts. I have allowed myself some time to invest in close friends and my sons. This time has brought core exhaustion to my core, but it has also brought about some intense realizations.

When I allow my momentary sense of hopelessness to surface, I live in fear that the world can never recover from the human conditioning that exists today. And then. . . just as I settled in myself sparks began to emerge, so many beautiful moments. There are people that are really trying to address the horrific issues of our century. A couple of days ago, I received an email with the following link http://www.globalgoals.org/prayer-for-everyone/.  Open it up and allow yourself to dream, to believe, and then to join those that have created Global Goals, those that have yet to give up on the human atrocities. There is work to do; we can make a difference.  At the same time, that I woke up to find the above link in my mailbox, a couple of new friends and old friends alike have found ways to let me know that my voice matters.

A day doesn’t pass without me looking deeply into the world.  With that responsibility comes the opportunity to listen and to share; we can learn from one another.  Listening and sharing leads to action and sometimes inaction. There are things we must do and sometimes we simply can’t do it all.

As I move towards 5776, I am aware that my voice matters so I need to find my voice even as I listen to all of the voices that surround me. In the coming year, may I leave the very tight cocoon I have woven for myself and be the butterfly that brightens the world around me. May I truly make a difference by impacting the world and doing things that make improve the lives of not only my family, my community, but the larger world too.

Can I be a butterfly that makes the world a little more beautiful? Courtesy of Karen Judin

Can I be a butterfly that makes the world a little more beautiful?
Courtesy of Karen Judin

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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 . . . .]

Silence 1

Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

In this moment, I can almost hear Joan Rivers asking, “Can we talk?” And I know that my answer would be a definite “NO”.

Most of my life, I have been someone who has felt the need to share my thoughts through writing or talking. But what I have learned over the last year or so is that sometimes it is a good thing to allow for the silence. And if I am really honest with myself, sometimes not.

This moment, I am wanting to focus on the power of silence.

There has been a shift in me that has become more comfortable with the silence. Conflict happens. Relationships evolve. Opinions are diverse. I am slowly losing my need to:

  • always enlighten those that are so certain that I am wrong.
  • navigate the difficult connections when someone believes wronged them in some way.
  • convince others that whatever point I am expressing is far from par for the other person’s thoughts.
  • ____________. (You fill in the blank.)

I have found out that silence can be an amazing tool when used right. I think the line of right and wrong is often intuitive. Currently I am learning to trust my intuition and to allow for the silence without always needed to prove my point.

In the last two weeks alone, I have seen the results of letting conflict go without needing to keep discussing my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the continuous conversations lead to more and more conflict. Or to a more difficult parting of the ways if that is in fact what is happening. We really don’t need to make endings more difficult. Sometimes relationships or connections have taken their course and the time has come to simply let go.

And then there are the political conversations. Sometimes we can learn from those we are talking to and sometimes all parties are so clear that the discussions will go no where.

Most of us generally know when we are ready to be a partners in the conversation. There are beautiful moments when the power of conversation is palpable. There is absolutely an amazing energy that occurs when adversaries, if you will, can find the rhythm to talk, listen, debate, argue, etc. And there are times when the cutting conversation loses the ability to impact in a good way. Those are the moments that silence has it’s place.

I have begun to fall in love with the quiet.

May each of us allow the power of the silence to serve us in the best possible way.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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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 . . . .]

Vision Your Journey
Create Your Future

The only journey is the one within.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Life is a journey.

With that in mind, I have to be willing to take My Journey Towards Wholeness with a full heart and a willing spirit. Instant gratification will probably be a wish and not a reality.

On April 1, 2010 – I had to face surgery to end debilitating pain and also to hopeful keep me from becoming a statistic. The surgery worked with flying colors and my life has evolved substantially since that time. Reflecting back, I believe that that journey propelled me to new places and opened my mind to new possibilities.  I also love that when I look at the goals I had just 12 days post surgery, I am blessed to be able to say that my vision for myself then is pretty much where I am today.

Today, I am in a much healthier and spiritually stronger place as I continue to grow as a person while honoring what I believe.

With that in mind, I am sharing my writing from this time and hoping that some of you become inspired by The Chava Project.

Sending love and healing thoughts to all!
Chava

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Originally this post was written April 12, 2010 following what could have been serious surgery. The good news is that all went well and healing went well.

The Power of the Chava Project

Vision Board for Chava Created March 31, 2010

Vision Board for Chava
Created March 31, 2010

Approximately a month ago, my friend Jennifer Judelsohn suggested that we create the Chava Project http://journeycircles.blogspot.com/2010/03/chava-project.html by having people send a word to her post office box.  The word would represent a prayer, a hope, or a vision you had for me.  We probably had about two-dozen words mailed via snail mail and then another two-dozen words emailed to us.  Each word was mounted on a painted canvas that was meant to become my vision board and to inspire me as I journeyed towards a stronger physical and spiritual essence.

The beauty of each and every word,  the embellishments,  and the intentions was that they were transmitted to me in a very core way.  With every fiber of my being, I felt the love and warmth that surrounded my healing and my growing journey.  I couldn’t believe that so many people cared enough to take the time to let me know their word for my evolution.

In my life I have had times that I felt completely alone, but not any longer.  I feel loved, cherished, and cared for.  Today, I know that many people are my soul friends.  They celebrate my journey towards physical and spiritual health.  And nearly all of my beloved friends would help me in any way if I let them know my needs.

There are many people who empowered me and continue to support me as I move through my journey.  Both family and friends from all over as well as those that are specifically part of  my CAJE friends and my Kol Zimra/Jewish Renewal friends, you know who you are.  I’ve been blessed to be surrounded world-wide with people that illuminate my world and the world that they live in too. Through my friends, I have been granted the space to explore the roads that I currently travel.

Many voices are in my head at any given time.  Most of the thoughts begin with the overarching wisdom of Theodore Herzl, “Im tirtzu, ein zo agadah. If you will it, it is no dream.”  There is so much that I want in my life and most of it is within my reach if I admit my feelings and do that which needs to be done in order to make things happen.  Only through action and consistent discipline will I attain that which I desire to have a more fulfilling life.

My life is somewhat complicated and also quite simple too.  I love life and I consistently strive to reach for the different goals that are continually emerging.  There is much to strive for-always.  Mountains to climb; valleys to descend. With each step, there is a plethora of new options that come into view.

Each step leads to beauty.  Sometimes I see myself as the young girl looking out to the ocean of a Dali painting I love.  The vastness of the water or the life potentials surrounding me is endless; all I need to do is to make a decision on what step or stroke needs to be my next.  As simple as that sounds, limiting the options that surround me is not an easy task.  I want to do it all; I want to feel the rhythm of each and every desire, but I can’t do it all.

Nearly two weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy.  It wasn’t traumatic in any way; it needed to be done, so I did it.  The beauty of the hysterectomy is what happened before and after the actual surgery.  Initially, my friends and some strangers supported me by sending me a word/prayer/hope to put on my vision board.  The artwork sits with me as a reminder of the work that I have left to do in this world.  There are so many things I want to accomplish.  At the moment though, the goal is to be healthy!!!!!! And while it is taking more time than I would like; it is happening nonetheless.  And other friends offered me prayers and meditations, chanting and drumming; one friend mailed me a self-guided visualization to prepare for the big day.  And since coming home, a couple of friends stayed in the house to help, other friends have been as present as I would like them to be.  Two friends came out of the way to sit with me in the hospital the day of surgery as I was fairly sick and less than fun to be around.  And since coming home, I have received, cards, emails, Facebook notes, calls, and plants/flowers.  Wow. . . I feel loved.

And through each and every step of my healing, my boys have been taking care of me.  Whether it is about being with me as I heal or supporting me as I make decisions and work towards all my many goals.  It is amazing to live in a family that honor where each and every one of us is.  My children know that Michael, their father, and I are trying to explore how work will evolve for both of us and how my creative and intellectual pursuits will be nourished.

Creating a list of 100 things I’d like to do before I die is not difficult, my top pursuits include:
1.    teaching from my soul.
2.    writing about my life journeys.
3.    creating a series of Jewish retreats for survivors of childhood trauma and their loved ones.
4.    becoming a rabbi.
5.    physically thriving.
6.    growing my hair just a little longer ☺.
7.    kayaking and hiking throughout the spring and summer.
8.    finding my own path for doing Tikun Olam (repairing the world).
9.    living consciously and with integrity.

Waking up from anesthesia, I said the words that I say upon waking up in the morning “Modah ani lifanecha. . . I thank You, living and eternal Spirit, for restoring my soul. What an awesome responsibility I now have to choose to live life in a healthier way while honoring my spirit as well as the spirit of the world around me.

The vision board with all her words is a reminder that I am striving towards honoring myself and working towards incredible growth.

With love and light,
Chava

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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 . . . .]

Nurturing My Create Soul

what is creativity

Writing takes guts. Drawing takes guts. Letting yourself go in creative way takes guts.

AND. . . .

For many of us, we don’t have a choice. Being creative is in our blood. For me, if I stopped being creative, a part of me would die. Metaphorically, I would become dead inside.

Many years ago, I had a painful episode with my writing.  Unfortunately, my younger son Dovi walked in me having a melt down and destroying my writing. It really was a sad state of affairs brought on when I found out that my writing had read by someone who had no right. With deep sadness, I destroyed my writing and silenced myself for many months.

Being an intuitive, Dovi knew that if I wasn’t writing that something was terribly wrong. Each and every day for the weeks and months that followed, Dovi would curl up on my lap and plead for me to write. I couldn’t do it. The pain of being invaded was too great. And yet, not writing caused an even deeper wound. It was both beautiful and profoundly sad to see the sensitivity that was embedded in my precious son.

While a part of my soul was dying as I mourned my inability to write, Dovi’s persistence forced me to work my way back to the writing life. I’ll never forget the first day he saw me sitting at my computer and writing, he sat down next to me, stunned and quiet. He asked me with all the sincerity of a seven year old if I was better now. I wasn’t and I think he knew it, but he supported me in my journey back to my happy place.

Since that episode in my life, Dovi has checked in with me each and every time I am dark or quiet for too long. He has this beautiful way of reminding me that I may need to have a writer’s date. He also loves to sit quietly watching me write. In fact, even though Dovi is often in his own world, he will ALWAYS ask me what I need to drink and eat while I am writing. He loves nothing more than to nurture my spirit by making me my favorite drink, a mint tea latte; he is clear that writing is sacred time for me and he doesn’t want me to lose my train of thought by getting up from my writing.

There are days when I don’t know how to pull my thoughts together. There are days when my writing is so poor that I am surprised if any of the words I have strung together make sense. And there are days, when my writing cleanses my heart and fuels my tears.

On other days, my words flow seamlessly and my heart beats faster and faster with each written word. Every part of my body is soaring with inner peace and contentment as the words come together to weave inspiring thoughts together.

Regardless of whether I am content, challenged, or joyful, writing is the only way that I find inner balance and connect with the world around me. If I am not writing, there is no way that I am ok.

Writing is the one love of my life that has been with me since I was a young child. It has supported me and kept my spirit at nearly every moment in my life. While I may have lost my writing for moments of my life, it was always within my grasp. Almost nothing makes me happier than writing.

May each of us remember to allow our creativity to flourish and develop for all the days of our lives.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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