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Life is hard. On a good day, we navigate with ease. On a bad day, we tread water and hope we can stay afloat. On most days, most of us have moments where the pendulum swings throughout the day.

What I am writing about below is where I have been over the last weeks. I am writing with transparency knowing that this will make some people feel uncomfortable, but the good news is that I make through challenging times by remembering that I have a tribe that is holding me.

If you are part of my tribe, thank you for being there.

May we all find our tribe.

~ ~ ~

When you’re down and trouble
And you need some love and care
A
nd nothing, nothing is going right
C
lose your eyes and think of me
A
nd soon I will be there
T
o brighten up even your darkest night.

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

Songwriter: Carole King

I have been blessed with a tribe that holds my spirit and reminds me that I am loved. All I have to do is let them know that I am in a dark place, and they show up.

The last weeks have been painful for me. In fact, I have been feeling crushed and struggling to breathe. All I have wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry. And yet, while I have had some really dark hours, I have been doing what I do. I have been taking one step and then another, and still another. I am not out of the woods yet, but I am doing what I need to do as I slowly emerge.

Day 55 - Tears Can Cleanse your heart and spiritI have cried. I have journaled. I have cried some more. I have sat in silence. I have stared at my computer screen only to get nothing done. I have painted my little cards with the wisdom I needed or sad truths. I have written some really hard pieces that can only be written when I am in significant pain. Did I say I have cried?

Last weekend, I wrote one of my closest friends and told her I couldn’t make her daughter’s wedding because I wasn’t able to get my shit together. I was honest. And then this past week, I blew the shofar at a climate change rally and spoke about how the shofar was a call to wake up; we need climate action now. Just showing up helped me get out of my own way for just a little while. I still went to sleep with tears in my eyes and a hole in my heart. But on that night, I slept really well for the first time in a while.

BTW, this is the first year in decades that I haven’t blown the shofar or rams horn nearly every day during the month of Elul, the month before Rosh HaShanah.  In Jewish tradition, we blow the shofar as one of the tools for inspiring us to to wake up and do the spiritual work of stretching and growing so that we are ready for the new year.

Instead of blowing the shofar, I have been allowing myself to be exactly where I am.

AND

My tribe is showing up.

One by one, my friends are reaching out and reminding me that they are holding space for me. The most impressive is my friend whose daughter is getting married. She offered to come to me anytime. I can’t ask, but I love that she means it. I wouldn’t be good company and I don’t know how to be taken care of when I want to bury my head in the sand. Another friend of mine who is busy beyond words offered to drive an hour both ways just so she could give me a hug. A couple of others called, some offered to listen, and others opened their homes to me whenever I am up for a visit. Living in Houston is hard because most of my loved ones live elsewhere.

And then a couple of nights ago, I asked my friends who live by the water if I could run away to their house even if I am dark. Of course, they said yes and then they called other friends who live close to them and texted me that everyone wanted to see me. And what I heard in that text is that they will welcome me however I show up. Unfortunately, I need to wait until after the Jewish holidays, but I think healing will happen by the water.

Over the last couple of days, I have started answering the phone or responding to text messages. Mostly, I am still hiding, but a little less than I was. I haven’t wanted to talk to many people, so I haven’t. But I have decided to be real a couple of times on social media and within my blogging. I have cried at work and felt loved even if I felt unlovable. I am being transparent. I am “living out loud” as Émile Zola would say.

The truth is that why I am sad doesn’t really matter. There are a lot of reasons and I think I have only shared all of them with one of my friends who called at the ‘right’ moment. I wonder if I chewed his ear off. Since he has kept reaching out this week, I don’t think I scared him away. I am really blessed And the beautiful reality is that I know that most of my friends would do what this one friend did for me.

I’ve also been blown away by the love texts, the sweet private messages, and even a couple of notes. I am allowing my friends to see that I am living in the messy middle. And instead of ignoring me, they are quietly showing up and letting me know that I am loved.

~ ~ ~

Growing up, I used to hear that we make plans and God laughs. #Truth

Last Saturday, a friend, who is also a congregant, called my cell phone. When I saw his name on my caller ID I decided to pick up the phone. I, incorrectly assumed something must be wrong because he generally doesn’t call me out of the blue. Looking back though, I realized that this friend always calls me out of the blue and it is ALWAYS a welcome surprise.  Fast forward, I am not sure how he started the phone conversation, but he quickly said, “I’d love to do karaoke with you. Let me get with my wife and let’s just do it.” This was in response to me saying on a silly Facebook questionnaire that I have wanted to do karaoke since my 50th birthday nearly four years ago. LOL! And then this friend made the serious mistake of asking me how I was. Ugh! And with that I could barely hold it together, so I started to cry. Damn!

Guess what I am doing to do tonight.  Karaoke. Of course, he and his wife meant it when they said that they would arrange something and get back to me. At the time, I was hoping it would be months away, but no such luck.  And you know what, it is time for me to do something like this. While I don’t know if I will have the guts to sing in front of others, I am going to spend some time with friends. It’s time for me to move forward differently.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking I need to start having fun. I know that I am too serious. My spirit is wrapped up in making the world a better place through activism, writing, other forms of creativity, and even my work. And while my creativity brings me real joy, I don’t really think of it as fun. While people tend to see me as someone who smiles and laughs easily, I am also someone who needs to work on having fun. More on that later.

Living authentically these last weeks has been hard. I want to hide, but somehow this hasn’t been an option this time around. My broken spirit is out of the closet. And while I am (somewhat) working and showing up in life, I am also being real with every step I am taking.

My loved ones are an AMAZING testament to what it means to be in my tribe. All I have to do is be me and they love me just as I am. I better stop here before I cry yet again.

Hineini, Here I am! I am doing the holy work of healing.

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

We all have excuses for why we don’t do something.

  1. If I had a little less stress in my life, I would start dieting.
  2. If my art room was clean and organized, I would have the space I need to do my art.
  3. If the weather were cooler, I would walk.
  4. If I weren’t so busy, I would volunteer more.
  5. If I had more time to create a vegan meal plan, I would stop eating cheese, eggs, and fish.
  6. If I had an entire day to write, I would start writing my book.

Day 21 - Lose the word ifWhile we all know that we can conjure up excuses to keeping us from what we believe is right thing for us to do, but the question is what solutions can we discover so that we can lose the word “if”?

All of the excuses above are “real”; I have made every one of those excuses at one time or another.  I  am slowly reframing the above statements and creating new opportunities by losing the word ‘if’.

  1. Life is really full right now, but I am worth taking care of. In fact, since June I have been eating so much better and lost +25 lbs. or so.
  2. My art room (or creative cave) as I call it needs constant attention to keep up with the organizing, but I can always find a corner to work in. I am so loving the time I am taking to create #The100DayProject/#ActivistCardsByChava.
  3. While the weather is still wicked hot, I have come to appreciate my early morning walks before it gets to hot. I am so excited that I am walking five miles a day at least five times a week.
  4. There is so much in the world that needs my attention, so while I am doing less than I want, I am taking time to do what I can. Today, I took time to visit with two different people that were facing health challenges, reached out to people that will hopefully be joining me for Project Lifeline, and I made a small donation to Beto O’Rourke’s campaign to defeat Ted Cruz for the Senate seat.
  5. With a hope to be completely vegan by October, I have mostly given up cheese and fish. I am also taking the time to occasionally make new vegan recipes whenever possible.  And in truth, I need to grow a stronger conviction and just stop eating the foods that are not vegan.
  6. Taking time to journal every day is a non-negotiable; writing is what nurtures my spirit. As I write, I am slowly coming to a better understanding of what I need to do so that my book can get written.

I am not alone when I say my world has too many moving parts. In this moment, I am treasuring the small moments to transcend my crazy busy schedule.

How are you going to get out of your own way and lose the ‘if’?

Onward with love, light, creativity, & action,
Chava

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

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(Note: If this is your first time you are stepping into my Elul Reflections 5776, please read the Introduction to this series at http://wp.me/pthnB-1Nm.)

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun - Easel

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun – Tucson, Arizona

There is one way that you will know if I am in a spiritually grounded place. Just one. . . . . If creative projects fill my time or even my mind. I am probably exactly where I need to be.

As long as I am taking time to write, drum, paint, doodle, chant, or move, you can assume life is good. AND when I take time to go to museums, check-out cool neighborhoods, or people watch, you can also make an assumption that I am doing well.

My spirit needs to share space with sizzling energy and emerging innovations.

Creative souls jazz my world. If someone is passionate about some form of creativity, I usually fall in love with them, energetically that is.

Over the years, I have often found myself tearing when I witness beauty or creativity. I can’t seem to stop the release that comes when I see or hear something that deeply touches me.

When I lived in Tucson, I used to go to the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun which was literally around the corner from my house. Every time I saw the easel above, I would want to curl up into a ball and weep. I believe that some of that comes from my sadness that I want to be more of an artist than I am, but it is also because I adore that worn look and obviously beloved easel.

In the last several years, I have begun to go to museums alone so that I can take the time to fully appreaciate the energy  (and yes cry without navigating the reaction of others). Most recently, I have felt the incredible wave of emotion nearly everytime I see one of Mark Rothko paintings or when I go to the Rothko chapel close to where I live in Houston. I am not such an art connoisseur that I understand exactly why I have this reaction, but nonetheless it is what happens. Another time, many years ago, I couldn’t contain myself when I was at a Salvador Dali exhibit in Philadelphia.  The only  way to explain what seems to be happening is that my heart simply breaks open.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Quote by Henry David Thoreau

May we all me inspired by the beauty not only surrounds us, also what comes from within.

Onward with love & 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 . . . .]

Book-The Colors of Life

“When I don’t have red, I use blue.”
Quote by Pablo Picasso

Making the best out of life is what I aspire to do.  Without question, I strive to find solutions for all life challenges.

Have you ever noticed that what often feels impossible is rarely so? If you are creative and you can find a way to navigate almost any situation.

This is what I refer to as creating the artist within. An artist has to be flexible with every stroke of a brush, with every fiber, and with whatever medium they are using. Rarely does a project or creation work exactly as planned.

When I paint, write, or cook or when I drum, chant, or dance – nothing that I do works as I initially expect it should. Now to be fair, I am a novice in all that I do. But even if I were a master, I think the same thing would be true.

The most important lesson that I have learned first as a teacher and then later as a parent is that the best made plans need flexibility or a willingness to change course.

Learning how to go with the flow has helped me in every way. Mostly I do this with ease, but sometimes I just want things to work as I think they should. Aren’t we all like that?

In my journey toward wholeness, I am striving to trust the universe a little more and to play with life by not having to control each stroke, each rhythm, or each movement.

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 . . . .]

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller: Western Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Randall Miller:
Western Minnesota

So much has happened to me in my life. On a good day, I always push through without thinking about those who may have hurt me or those I may have hurt. And I remember what Anne Lamott says, “Sometimes this human stuff is slimy and pathetic…but better to feel it and talk about it and walk through it than to spend a lifetime being silently poisoned.”

Healing from the tough life experiences happens only by giving myself the time to feel the pain, to write about my experiences, and to sometimes share what has happened with those that are willing to listen. Since I am a work in progress, that means that I have to allow myself the time to heal. And I have to allow myself the space to let go.  While, pain may return for moments, I don’t have to let in own me.

Beauty happens when you realize how grateful you are to having had experiences that may have broken your heart, but also gave you wings to fly.  Not all the challenging things that have happened in your life have to leave you broken.  It fact, learning from life’s hard moments is a good way to grow.  For me, that is a non-negotiable.

So I have been hurt; sometimes by others and sometimes by my own actions.  I get to choose how I move forward.  With that in mind, my goal is to ALWAYS allow for healing.  Life is too precious to do otherwise.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

Always Healing

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“Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.”
~Julia Cameron,
The Right to Write: 
An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

December Sunset

LightWave Journey, my blog, was created as a tool for finding light with each step of life’s journey.

I love the power of weaving words together.  Each word has the power to supply food for thought.  I actively strive to be impactful. Sometimes I succeed; often I don’t quite make it.  But the power of blogging is that I can go back and edit my thoughts and openly rethink my ideas. The bottom-line is that it is all about writing.

Mostly I don’t know who reads my blog; on a rare occasion, a post I have written gets 100 or even 200 hits. I am always touched when someone stops me and says that my writing has been inspirational.  Or when someone stops me and shares a story that they just needed to share.

My fingers have always helped me to explore the wild web of my thoughts.  I am a seeker who aspires to find sparks within the world I live.  Challenging times happen; tragedy and pain emerge with and without warning. My hope is to always find sparks even if only in the briefest of moments.

I was a born writer. From my earliest days, I remember dreaming that I would touch people with my words.  I used to think I would write children’s books, later I wanted to be a powerful journalist. Most of my life I have kept journals and today I dream of writing two books.  One of the books is being rooted from my blog and the other one is in the midst of being birthed; I will share more when the time is right.

Today writing is a springboard for the holy work I hope to one do and perhaps that I have already begun to do.  With every ounce of my being, I want my written voice to inspire others that are on their own journey. Sometime in my  teens, I figured out that each of life’s storms gave me kindle to ignite my words which would ultimately become my strongest tool towards healing.

My earliest years were filled with destructive storms and impenetrable darkness; my adult years included blocks of health challenges for people I adored. Life is what it is.  The gift is that I have ALWAYS strived to find the gifts within the challenges.  That is how I walk through the world; may I always do so!

Being transparent about my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes, and my memories is what I do! My fingers are the tool that I use to dig down deep into my soul and allow my being to emerge.

Many years ago, my journals became compromised due the the act of someone close to me.  The devastation left me unable to write again for many months; I just couldn’t do it.  Until the day that Dovi, my then 9 year old looked at me with tears in his eyes and told me that I needed to write.  My little boy knew that I would not emerge from my then darkness without taking my time to write.

For many months following that time, Dovi would check in with me daily to make certain that I was taking time to write.  As time moved on, he would ask me if I was writing whenever I had a moment of the grumps.  Forget when I was still having PMS, I had to spend my time acting like I was writing or my son would become crestfallen.  I love how Dovi intuitively knew that my writing had a core role in my mental health; both of my sons know that now.

The funny thing is that my kids have rarely ask me details about what I write.  They trust that as long as I am taking time to write that I am balanced and feeling at peace.  I know that Aryeh sometimes checks out my blog.  And Dovi will sometimes ask me to share my short children’s stories or ask me what I am creating.  Guess I will have to always continue to write if I want the guys to be ok. 🙂

May writing, like breathing, always be an active part of my life.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

 

 

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