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Posts Tagged ‘work-in-progress’

Oncoming storm - Chesapeake - Paul Zeitz

Incoming storm on the Chesapeake Bay.    Photo Courtesy of Paul Zeitz.

My Inner Demons have been busy over the last few days. They have been telling me all sorts of harsh things:

  • You don’t do enough for humanity.
  • You need to push harder.
  • You really do feel too deeply.
  • Why can’t you let go of _________.
  • Why aren’t you able to save more money?
  • And so much more. . . .

My journey (always) is to quiet those Inner Demons. Because these demons are a storm raging inside of me that can only become destructive if they get out of control.

Fortunately, they aren’t telling me what they often tell me like:

  • You are limited.
  • You’re so f*cking fat.
  • You are nothing without good hearing.
  • What do you have to give to the world?
  • Why can’t you be more articulate?
  • After all of the writing that you have done, your grammar sucks.

UGH!!

Here is the good news here, I know that these Inner Demons aren’t really helping me nor are they being truthful; they are simply distracting me from being my best me.

These are the voices of my childhood. This is what my mother said every day. Some of this is what the neighborhood boys told me as they bullied me. This is what I heard when I closed my eyes at night.

Silencing those voices has been my life work. As an adult, I have been blessed, but the damage of childhood hell runs deep. I have to keep reminding myself that I am awesome just as I am, but I at times the struggle is real.

On a bad day, my Inner Demons hang close. The most frequent time they visit is when I am having a bad day at work because I have made a mistake or I have a challenging moment with a co-worker or a member of my congregation. Every time a friend decides they no longer want me in their life, the demons visit. Each time a relationship ends with a man that I believed would be part of my life forever, I know that I will spend the rest of my days alone. Who would want a person like me? The biggest challenge comes from tough moments with loved ones. The good news is that I can usually remember that moments happen, but sometimes I forget.  Sigh.

Fortunately,  the Inner Demons only visit me initially when I am feeling challenged, really hurt, or super sad. With some real soul work, I have been able to find amazing tools to help me navigate. Sometimes it is as simple as taking a deep breath and then another. Eventually after enough deep breaths, the demons silence themselves and I accept life’s challenges with a little more ease. I also chant, dance, walk, drum, paint, get quiet, or do whatever I need to do in order to change my childhood and earlier adulthood patterns.  Altering patterns is my work, I am ok with that.

I am a work in progress (WIP).

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

PS: Thanks for reading what will likely be part of my memoir which at this point is being called, Thriving: No Option. . . . If you like what you are reading, please take a moment and like it on WordPress or any social media site, And if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.

 

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At this point, my beautiful village is probably wondering why I would ever have called myself a loser, but I am. Or at least I have been and sometimes it is still my reality.  The good news is that I do some very holy work; I am always trying to become better person and more healthy too. What I know and trust is that I am definitely a work in progress.

Reflections:
You see I have been known to love the wrong person, to value a connection that has outlived it’s benefits, and to hold on to beliefs that stopped serving me well. My guess is that we all have these moments, but lately I seem to be feeling it more intensely than I have in a while.

  1.  A few mornings ago, I awoke early and found myself reading a new Julia Cameron book. In each of her books, Cameron inspires her readers to begin writing what she refers to as Morning Pages.  Morning Pages are stream of consciousness hand-written writings to help jump start your spirit and often allows you the room to work through some of your own garbage without a need to filter each word. (Who has the wherewithal to filter what you are writing first thing in the morning?)

    This morning, I found myself processing the wounds that my original Morning Pages brought me years ago when someone I should have been able to trust went through my writings. I never quite got over that open wound even though that person is no longer part of my life. But it is time and today, instead of writing the three mandatory pages I wrote six pages of long hand writing and released some of the pain that has been getting in the way for years.

    Taking the time to write Morning Pages helped renew my spirit and give me balance.

  2. Holding too tight to Barbed WireAnd then later in the morning, my friend posted the following photo on her Facebook page. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spend a lot of time making it.”

    Wow, this saying forced me to consider all of the ramifications of not only the challenging relationship that took away my love affair with my original Morning Pages and the relationships that were crushed from that betrayal. That experience  literally changed the course of my life.

    Regardless, my job is still to move forward. Being stuck for years did not serve my future writing, it did not allow me move forward from the relationships that I saw as being non negotiable parts of my life, and it didn’t allow me to build trust with new people who would value all ot even most of the moving parts of me.

  3. One of my more significant challenges has been how I care for my body through food, exercise, and sleep.  This is one of those areas of my life that I need to build a stronger practice of self care. And in truth, I am doing the work, but I have so much further to go.

    Sleep and exercise seem to be faltering behind, but my eating habits are improving by exponentially.  The last few years I have made a ton of changes for good and now I am making more. Except that I am humbled by how often I backslide.

    Even this past week when I was really sick with a virus, I made sure I had some Coca-Cola nearby. As a child and into adulthood, I have always believed that drinking the caramel flavored ‘stuff’ could make anyone better. It is OK to laugh at me now. . . we know:

    • Coca-Cola can corrode a battery.
    • The sugar in Coca-Cola is a huge contributor to obesity.
    • For me, Coca-Cola causes urinary tract infections or UTIs and it feeds into my sugar addiction.
    • Coca-Cola Company has questionable business practices with many human right violations.
  4. How many times have I created friendships with people that I Believe what People tell yousimply adore even though they have told me something that should have been a red flag. I really should embrace Maya Angelou’s insight, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Had I embraced these words, I may have saved myself so much pain over the years.

    A few years ago, I had a friend who I loved deeply.  She used to voice that she felt like she was living in my shadow. She would say things like, “Chavale, you are so strongly rooted in ethical choices”; I don’t know how you do it.  She seemed to love my strong spirit, but in the end she voiced that it also made her feel  inept in some way. One day, she closed the door and ended a friendship that I believed would last a lifetime. Today I realize that I am happiest when I surround myself with conscious individuals who live by their values.

Going Deeper
May I surround myself with those that inspire me to be a better human being as they seek to be the best they can be too. Let me also remember to live with integrity always and to strive to be authentic as I walk in the world not only for myself, but for the world I live.

Life is full of many moving parts. Individually, each part can appear to be overwhelming and if I don’t watch myself, I may see myself as a loser. My job is to look a little deeper, if I do I will most definitely see myself as the work in progress that I am.  Conscious living means giving myself the space to stretch, to grow, and to evolve.

May I always be blessed to see the world clearly and not clouded by my own spiritual low – Keeping perspective and remembering to take one step and then the another. There is always more work to do.

 

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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 . . . .]

IMPERFECTION OR I’M PERFECTION:

PERHAPS. . .A LITTLE OF BOTH

In every way, I am a work in progress.There is always so much to do. The beauty of my journey is that it feels absolutely beautiful to walk in the world with the self awareness that has become part of me. Sometimes it is a challenge to accept how imperfect I am; I really do wish I was wiser, healthier, more thoughtful, and more attuned to the earth.  Yet it is because of my reality that I have the opportunity to do some awesome work and to grow as a human being.

In my own world! February 2015 - darker letting

Photos by Aryeh Grossman – Artistic layout by Marty Johnston

Each and every day, I focus on all of the areas that need my focus:

  1. Walking gently with the earth
  2. Making healthy lifestyle choices
  3. Acknowledging MY inner and outer beauty
  4. Seeking truth at every turn
  5. Strengthening my knowledge base as a Jewish Educator

As someone who is actively engaged in living consciously, I often hyper-focus on how to honor the person I am while positively impacting the world I live.

Each area above intertwines with the others. There is not one part of my journey that is an island. Becoming a healthy soul means making choices on how I interact with the earth and all of her inhabitants. As much as I love the moments when I am alone, I will never be an island. None of us are. We are all part of a much larger world even when we choose to disconnect.

The journey is not always easy, it is full of gifts and challenges. Sometimes it is scary and some time liberating. And for me, it is always intense.

I struggle with my imperfections. . .there are so many. And yet what I am coming to love that each imperfection leads me to climb the metaphoric mountains allowing me to strive to be the best human being I can be.

A few days ago, I realized that IMPERFECTION is actually I’M PERFECTION. I am sure someone came up with that one already, but it made me smile. Perhaps, just maybe, I am perfect just the way I am. 🙂

Hineini, Here I am!

May we all strive to be the most perfect people we can be without the guilt to shadow over that which is good.

With love light, and blessings,
Chava

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“We are all here for some special reason.
Stop being a prisoner of your past.
Become the architect of your future.”
R
obin Sharma, Author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Each year during the Jewish month of Elul (usually in August) through Rosh HaShana, we take the time to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an inventory of our soul.  For me that means taking the time to reflect deeply about the gifts and challenges of the last year, but this is also simply a kinetic time of year. As a Jewish professional, I am working to prepare the community for new beginnings which include the High Holy Days, school, and new programming.  As a mother, I am helping my now mostly grown sons begin their next chapters.  And in the midst of all this, I am usually feeling the need to write and look inward.

The holidays themselves are not easy for me because it is challenging to stay in a spiritual space when you are in charge of so many logistics. Yet the moment Tashlich occurs, I realize that I need to take time to go onward and allow for reflection.  Tashlich is a ritual which usually takes place on first day of Rosh Hashanah in the late afternoon.  During this time the participants symbolically cast off their sins by gathering along the banks of a river, stream, or the like and reciting prayers of repentance.  While many people choose to do this ritual in community, I love to do it alone.

And this year, I have decided to create Tashlich moments again and again.  This is a year of letting go, of saying good-bye to what was and embracing the beauty that is. In the last several months, I have been blessed to rethink my career path, my relationships, and much of my life.  None of this is easy, but it has been made easier because of my private journaling, my very public blogging, and some very beautiful friends.  I haven’t been alone and yet I have needed to spend a lot of time alone as a way of giving myself the room to gaze deeply into my soul.

On a good day, the journaling strikes chord after chord, but this doesn’t happen all the time or even most of the time.  More often than not, I am left with a rhythm that isn’t quite working for me.  I am a work in progress. At times the work has been bitter sweet; sometimes it is actually heart wrenching; and once the puzzle pieces come together, it can be beautiful.  Soul-searching is an art form and I am learning with each breath I take.

Writing  is the most profound tool that helps me find center, but that isn’t my only means to finding balance.  My world is full of chanting, drumming and physically moving (sometimes dance and sometimes hiking).  In the midst of all the soul work, my sons keep me grounded and remind me that while I have a lot of work to do, I am actually doing well!  My world is in fact quite amazing; I have all that I need and much of what I want.

As fortunate as I am, there is still work to be done. One way of moving forward is to create Tashlich moments by letting go of all that is holding me back.  Last night, it meant that it was time to get rid of a ton of clutter; I deleted thousands of emails from personal and professional relationships that no longer served me well.  In most cases, it was simply about not needing those particular emails; in other cases it was time to say good-bye to old connections. The delete button became a co-conspirator in propelling to close some doors as a way to open new doors. The goal is to make room for my next chapters and to celebrate what is.

As I woke up this morning, I was acutely aware that there was a shift within me.  The rays of sunlight were slowly warming me up and nudging me toward the many gifts that are very much a part of my life today. I am feeling (perhaps) like a butterfly as it begins to take flight.  Last night, I said good-bye to the cocoon that was binding in a myriad of ways.  With each passing moment, the bindings release and my wings are spreading; there is no turning back for me.

Support for my Tashlich moment when I opened up Facebook this morning to find the photo of  the Topsail Island beach where a group of my close friends are gathering this week.  While I am not with them physically, the photo reminded me that I am not alone.  Once I saw that photo, I realized that outside my front door is the space to create my own Tashlich moment.

Onward with love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Topsail, NC Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

Topsail, North Carolina – Courtesy of Tamar BenArdout

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(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.

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