What can Av teach us?

Disclaimer: I am no religious expert, these are just my thoughts…and I hope this brings a different perspective + overall creates more dialogue around this concept.

Today is August 1st, our country is on fire, more and more people are dying because of COVID-19; a virus that is making us question everything: How did we get here? What can we do? How do we survive?

This is real, yes, we’re still living in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC..

When looking at the world and my place in it, I find some comfort and solace knowing that I am not alone. We’re not alone. As a Jewish American womxn, I have always wrestled with a part of my identity that sometimes is hard to admit. I am a Jew.

While the world is in a very uncertain, eerie, dark and unsettling place. The Jewish calendar opens our EYES to more than we were ever taught in Hebrew School (at least for me) and I can’t help but wonder: How do we mourn for this new way of living? What can we learn? How can we move forward? What can Av Teach Us?

As Jews, we follow a Lunarsolar Calendar. What does this mean? It means, we follow the Moon so we’re technically in two different universes, right? I like to think so. Again, no expert but this is quite interesting, isn’t it? The month of July-August is known as “Av” This month is supposedly all about mourning the great destruction of two major temples in Jerusalem. Not relatable? Exactly…same here.

The way I see it:

Jews from around the world are observing “Tisha B’v” July 29th-30th was the SADDEST day of the year. To show that we’re in solidarity, to mourn for the Holy Temple in Jerusalem…we’re called to fast from sundown-sundown. So basically we’re given permission to mourn?

What are we mourning in present day?

Not being able to see close friends, loved ones and family the way we usually do. Now we’re required to socially distance ourselves, stand 6 feet apart at least and wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking. Social gatherings more than 10 are prohibited, concerts and live music aren’t happening and the beloved vibrant and lively Red Rocks is empty. Complete silence.

It is quite an eerie place right now and probably will continue to be until we have a new leader running America again, have a vaccine and numbers have dropped. Basically, to fill out days and out times, majority of us (those who are able to do so and are privileged to have this) spend time at home, watching shows/movies, cuddling our animals. For me, I have watched House of Cards completely through, other shows, documentaries and discovered how weird and also freeing it is take time to slow down and take space to think, to grow and mourn. In addition, Zoom is our new way of connecting with others and we can meet people who don’t even live in America; which is pretty incredible.

What systems have been broken/shifted + will never be the same?

Social Services/Community Orgs/Mental Health: As someone who has worked in the field of social work with a focus on community organizations and social systems, I have had the pleasure, joy and really great privilege of being able to learn, to grow into who I am today and to DO MORE for the greater good of humanity.

Just like anything, when we aren’t living, breathing and doing this kinda work, we sometimes sweep it under the rug. America, teaches us instead of fixing the problems, a band-aid will do.

During the Global Pandemic, it’s becoming more clear that we are in a state of pure and utter insanity. One of my favorite musicians, Nahko and Medicine for the People came out with a new album called Take Your Power Back. “Dear Brother” is one that we all should be listening to and paying attention to. Give it a listen.

The American Dream:

At a young age, we learn about the founding principles of our country, who our founding fathers are and how important it is to get a good education, to work hard to work our way up to make more $, enjoy the fruits of our labor, turn a blind eye and very often just brush off our shoulders, the hate, the injustice that is always under the rug.

Now: Innocent lives are being taken from this awful virus. We still don’t know what caused it and how this happened. We do know, that there are MAJOR ISSUES that we have never fixed in the first place! The truth is, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. The 1% are profiting from billions and billions of dollars.

ALL our EYES to the reality of our country. Now, because of the pandemic and the unfortunate increase of deaths of in particular black, brown, indigenous, persons of color. We’re seeing a clear distinction on how BROKEN, how SEGREGATED we really are.

What silver lining can we see and what lessons can we learn from all of this?

Unfortunately, the virus is unpredictable (it does not discriminate and it can lead to death, which we have seen; numbers are sky-rocketing more and more.

What Can Av Teach us?

If anything, Av can show us the importance of taking the time to slow down, to close our eyes and be here now. It can teach us how important is it to embrace everyday, every moment, every breath. To let go of the life we knew, to grieve and cry because life as we know it will never be the same and that’s okay.

Earth Day + The Power of Organizing

Today is the 50th Anniversary of EARTH Day….what does this even mean…fifty years…where will be in fifty more years? Where will we be in a few years? In a year? Where will we be? What will our Earth look like? Will we have listened to her..have we actually woken up?

I don’t know about you but I am pretty sad and depressed about where our world is now and how this whole covid-19 thing kinda had to happen for us to WAKE UP! However,  I could wallow and feel useless or I could take this time to reflect, to show appreciation to the experience I have had thus far and a lot of it has to do with the Power of Organizing and the Earth.  I do think that we all can do our part, what will you do?

If not now, when?

Also, I wanted to share this beautiful and timely song my favorite musician and band released today (ironically, I became interested and so connected randomly during my time with NEC and saw him first in 2016 during the Up To Us Tour (Boulder Theatre) in 2016 with Shailene Woodley, Trevor Hall and so many other incredible artists. It was definitely fate, enjoy!

http://www.wondercamp.co/dear-humanity

Ever since I was young, I have been a nature lover. I spent much of my childhood at a sleep-away camp in Charlevoix, MI called Camp Sea-Gull. While there, I was privileged to have a safe-haven and beautiful place to call home every summer. I learned how to backpack, took some really cool trips around Michigan and Canada area and found my love for nature even more so.

Fast forward years later, when I got involved and took a step into this wild world of social work. 2016, I was lost, I was not sure where my life was going. I was sick of the same old stuff and was looking for “wide-open spaces.” I was ready for change. I wanted to do more, I wanted to make a larger impact. So I applied to jobs and came across one in particular; working as a  Field Organizer with New Era Colorado NEC for registering voters across the state in the 2016 Election. Around the same time, I decided why not move to Colorado, nothing to lose.

So I picked up everything and made the move to CO.  I was excited, I was ready. A few weeks later, I had a few interview with NEC; video and in person. A few weeks later, I was on-boarded on to the team “Delta Force.” I met my team-mates, we learned the ins and outs of what we were going to do, how we were going to do it and what this all meant.  We learned about the issues affecting the state and being so new to CO, it helped me become educate myself on state level and locally, what actions we can take (many regarding climate crisis issues).  Shout-out to Delta Force!

For 9 months myself and the team, went across the state with our clipboards, pens and VR forms. There were days I had multiple shifts where I was charged to approach strangers and ask them, “Hi, how’s it going…are you registered to vote where you live right now?”  I remember during this time, I was exhilarated, my body was alive and my spark was alive. I also had some fears, “Could I keep up with the pace, am I cut out enough to do this, can I really do this?” I learned how to step outside my comfort zone even more, get more  + more comfortable speaking to strangers. Speaking to folx from all walks of life, all economic backgrounds, those that are homeless, disenfranchised, LGBTQ and everything else. Majority of the time, folx were interested in speaking with me. We had a great conversation and I got a number of VR forms filled out to get them registered to vote. Other times, it was disheartening and some people had no interest whatsoever or bashed the candidates. Some days were pretty tough, exhausting but you know what nothing comes easy from not taking the work we need to. 

You know what’s even harder, not speaking up. Not being a part of this beyond important time in HUMANITY. Voting and having the “access and ability” to VOTE is nothing to be taken lightly. We see those that are oppressed across the board, $ is not allocated enough to nonprofits and movements that can make some serious change. The most important thing we can do right now is speak up, to find our VOICE, become leaders, build movement and continue to lift those that are not part of the conversation.

Now in 2020 (big year for the election) it’s crazy how much I have grown from this experience. I will never forget and wanted to take some time to reflect and show gratitude for now only mother earth, being able to use my voice for the voiceless for those in the shadows and how this kind of work will literally be our saving grace, and for humanity.

The entire experience was beyond eye-opening, and I will never ever be the same. I am not sure when I will become back involved, what this will look like but I know at some point probably sooner than later, I will lace up my converse (maybe comfier shoes) I will knock on those doors, I will talk to everyone that comes in my path about the power of organizing and how this has completely changed my life for the better.  If you want to continue this conversation, please reach out to me. I am ready when you are.

Please take some time to check out NEC and consider donating, getting involved. If you have any Q’s, please lemme know! neweracolorado.org

 

BE HUMAN

As the WHOLE WIDE WORLD is in utter panic, isolation, lock down, complete uncertainty. I felt like this was good time of any, to start blogging again. Plus, I want something to refer back to and remember what this time was like. So here it goes…

About a week ago, there were reports that this thing called COVID-19 (a respiratory virus; worse than anything we have seen in 100+ years) was circling the globe. At first, I didn’t think much of it. I scheduled dates to look forward to and was planning on going to the mountains for spring break. I went about my day. The world moved on.

Fast forward to today, a lot has changed. In CO and much across the country, we’re not able to physically see each-other. This means, no going out to bars or restaurants, no meeting new people for dates, no gym, no hot yoga, no getting our hair or nails done. nothing. Thankfully, we can still go out for essential items like medicine, food, etc.

In addition, all schools are CLOSED until April 17 (many folx are saying it will be longer). The school I work at is in a very unique position, we’re already primarily online so adjusting to student needs is already in place. Since it’s spring break and we have now been told that it is extended to March 27th.

How do I spend my days and my time you ask? Currently, I am on FB a lot. I know it’s not great to be on social media so much but since I am not able to be physically distant with other people…this is what will become the “new normal.” Thankfully, I randomly joined a FB group and have since taken on some admin type role within it.

The group was started on March 12th. It was started by two awesome ladies when they felt like they wanted to do more with everything shutting down and knew people needed help. They were so right, the group is at 6K and growing by the minute.  It really is incredible and beautiful to connect with people that I may have never connected with before. The universe shifts, creating opportunities like this.  Technology is a big thing that is saving us all. It is giving us access to communicate virtually without every meeting anyone in person, perfect strangers.

https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/facebook-page-helps-connect-denver-metro-area-strangers-with-help-during-covid-19-crisis

We’re truly in such a weird, strange time but this is something worth sharing. I want to take a moment for gratitude and for having this moment.

Some take-aways: We need to give ourselves permission to SLOW DOWN. I am trying to learn how to be okay with taking breaks, with taking days off to cry or hibernate. To feel weird. To feel tired. To feel depressed. To feel isolated. To LEAN IN to uncertainty. To the unknown. To also remember this is temporary. To remember. We are all going through this. Also, music is everything. I have been listening to the usual jams: Trevor Hall, Mikey Pauker, Nahko and Medicine for the People, super chill/spiritual songs.

NAHKO, medicine. The whole NEW album and his older stuff is always very healing for me.

Trevor Hall, more medicine

Mikey Pauker, give him a listen (it’s quite healing) more medicine…

Dan Nichols to bring us into S h a b b a t

Until next time, BE HUMAN. Shabbat Shalom.

Screenshot for memories:

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Here’s some Q’s I am going to post to REFLECT on, perhaps it will inspire you do the same90064237_3186967947982217_3880601611629756416_n

Mountain Medicine

Habibi. Shalom. Hello!

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For a few weeks, months now, I have been itching to go the mountains. This time of year, no matter where you are the holidays became busier, more stressful and if you are alone, it becomes increasingly more difficult to feel good. Lately, I have been focusing more on my mental health, maybe the sun helps, maybe I am settling into my life here in Colorado. Whatever it is, it feels really good and I couldn’t be happier or more excited to share this post with you. Maybe, it will get me the spark to re-start my blog.

About a week ago, my friend Leah and I talked about going hiking. She reached out to me and expressed that her, her bf and two men from Africa were maybe going to join us.

Going into this, I wasn’t too sure what it would be like or if I’d even go. After all, I went to bed around 230 and woke up around 700. Needless to say, I was feeling tired, and just wanted to lay in bed all day. I mean who doesn’t?

In this life. We all have a choice. Opportunity really is not a lengthy visitor and we must take every opportunity we get.

On the weekend. I had a choice. I had an opportunity. Like many of us do. I could stay in bed, watching shows and lounging around, nursing my hangover (OR) I could go out in nature, I could meet new people and I could get some free therapy in the mountain air.  I knew if I chose the first option, I would regret it. I usually do. I chose to suck it up, to commit.  These days, it is so easy to be a non-committal person.

On FB, we now have the option of saying “Interested, Going, Not going or Not Interested. In a world where we have so many options of what to do. Who to see. Who to date. What to eat. What to wear. What kind of job we want. I like so many of us, are guilty of this, it’s not our faults individually, its the culture that we have grown up in. But guess what, we all have a CHOICE. It’s Up to US!

Committing to YES:

700 AM Alarm Goes Off

705 Snooze

710ish Finally get up

730-800 Rush to get my ISH together

815-Picked up to go hiking to Rocky Mountain National Park

815-1030 We drive to the Rockies

1030-430 PM

The morning air is crisp, the sun is shining and we’re making our way to the Rockies. We stop at Peet’s Coffee. We have some good sweets (Croissants, Blueberry Muffin) coffee and tea. Wanting to nap but also beyond ready to get out and hike.  We listen to some jams, talk and learn a little about each other.

Some Background: 

Leah and Jonathan are together and pretty adorable! I recently became friends with Leah through the Jewish community and I know Jonathan from it as well.  Before this day, I didn’t know them super well but after I feel a lot closer to knowing who they are. Like how they have traveled and know Spanish and are full of energy and light.

Jonathan works at Anschutz Medical Center and became connected with Joshua and Aladdin, two men from Africa.  Joshua has been here for a few weeks, he is a Nurse Practitioner and is here on a work visa to learn as much as he can to bring back with him to Cameroon. He tells me about the wars over there, all the violence happening. He tells me he will send me videos so I can learn more. He says he wants to stay in the US and is trying to make that happen. Aladdin (Alaaeddin M. Elzubeir, PhD)  is here for a whole year, he is a Fullbright Scholar and his focus is Pediatric Hematolgic Genetic Disorders. He loves children and is very knowledgeable about the body. He is married and he shows us pictures of the Blue Nile River, truly gorgeous.

I am told these are not very close in proximity and they did not know each other before coming to Colorado. I am from Michigan. Leah is from Colorado Springs and Jonathan is from Florida. So none of us are from the same place but it felt like we were, at that exact moment. Pretty cool!

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Google Earth Map of Aladdin’s village: The brown part is the Blue Nile River

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Joshua is Christian and follows Christianity. Aladdin (Yes, his name is Aladdin, pronounced Aladdin, is Muslim and practices Islam. Leah, Jon and myself follow the Jewish faith. Even if we may pray to a different G-d or higher being or whatever it is we believe in.

I like to think that we all share a lot in common, we all are seeking connection, belonging and adventure. I mean aren’t we all?

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Left to Right: Jonathan, Leah, Aladdin, Me, Joshua

The day:

It was pretty chilly. We stopped at Beaver Creek Visitor Center. We were told to go check out Cubs Lake Trail. After turning around a few times to find the road to take us there, we made it. We bundled up, we layered up and we went up into the mountains. Jonathan brought some extra clothing for our two new friends: Joshua and Aladdin to wear. After all, they have never EVER seen SNOW in their lives. Or worn a scarf before!

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Joshua and Aladdin 

Taking our first steps as a group was thrilling. The hike up to the lake was gorgeous. When we approached the lake, it was partly covered in ice. Our wonderful hosts: Leah and Jon prepared a scrumptious picnic: We had some delicious black and spicy Good Earth tea, apples and peanut butter, black beans with garlic/chilis, sandwiches with turkey, celery, tomatoes and taco bell sauce YUM! We prayed with each other, we laughed and we shared this beautiful day. It didn’t matter what race, what culture we were. All that mattered was the CONNECTION we created on that special, magnificent day.

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The weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was sunny as ever. The sky was bluer-than blue. The wind has a nice hush. The exchanges we had were exhilarating, fresh, new, and really truly magical. We prayed. We ate. We learned. We connected. We laughed. We  meditated. We cried. We belonged. We became اصدقاء : Asdigaa: friends. and we saw freaking moose and carcasses. I mean how much better, can it get?!

We spent hours in the Rockies. Time went by slow but yet so fast at the same time.

We had an all American meal at good ol Wendy’s. The fries, the siracha sauce, the chicken, the cocoa-cola pop, it all was so refreshing and tasted so good.

CONNECTION.

We are human beings. We are programmed to gravitate towards one another. We gravitate to what and who is familiar. For me, I have always enjoyed meeting perfect strangers. I find it a kind of rush, a kind of high, a thrill. Maybe, that’s why I became a Social Worker, why I chose this path (OR) how it chose me. Being out in Colorado, in wide open spaces, I am realizing more that I am happiest when I am out in nature. Being surrounded around trees. It gives me comfort. It gives me hope.

So I ask you how will you say YES? What is holding you back from experiencing moments like this and how can we create more of these?

Words from Aladdin that sum up this moment:

The fairy tale will begin when the snow falls … Heartbeats increase..
You look up, and your face will be falling and immediately melting snowflakes.!!

You will smile and rejoice, because it is in winter you want to believe in miracles.!

It is at this time of year that you make a wish for the new year and hope that the fairy tale will begin right now , with you guys.

Love you all❤ “Aladdin”

I just keep smiling all the time when I remember those moments I spent with you guys.😊

It’s truly moments like this that take your breath away.

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#Blessed #MountainMedicine

blessings مُبارك : mubark

peace : السّلام : assalam

&

To many more adventures and saying YES!

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Rocky Mountain High- John Denver

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hanging by a song
But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changing fast and it don’t last for long
But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (Colorado)
He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept his memory
Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake
And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high
Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land
And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high
It’s Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high
Rocky mountain high
Modeh Ani ( מודה אני‎; “I give thanks”)

Return to Saturn

A pretty cool picture and definitely speaks to this feeling of being in this place of the unknown, of something bigger than myself and all the adventures that await.

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Explanation of Saturn Return: This is the notorious period of our life, which we hit every 30 years or so, where our life goes one of two ways — we either take off soaring like an eagle, successful, happy and financially free, or everything crumbles around us and we fall apart. Read on….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-kaiser/saturn-returns_b_4275974.html

With so much movement, so much uncertainty in my life; I made an appointment to see an Astrologist in Boulder, CO. Very apprehensive and not sure what to expect. I decided to go in with an open mind. Looking back, the session opened up a new awareness and understanding of myself and where I am in my life and actually was pretty helpful.

So here is what I have learned and how I will take this with me in my 29th year of life…

I was born on January 19th 1988 in California on my parent’s vacation; I was clearly eager and ready to take on the world, sooner than was expected (6 weeks early). I am a TRUE Capricorn.

So in each of our Astrological signs, we have a SUN Sign. So here is mine and the explanation of this cosmic stuff.

http://www.starslikeyou.com.au/your-astrology-profile/the-sun-in-capricorn

Capricorn: Cardinal Earth

Ruler: Saturn

Keywords: Authority, Mastery, Completion, Organization

Functional Expression: Capable, hard-working, serious, practical, prudent, trustworthy, grounded, fun.

Dysfunctional Expression: Miserly, dictatorial, restrictive, cold, unsympathetic, reckless ambition, fear.

Many astrologers consider Capricorn to be the most enigmatic and mysterious sign of the zodiac. All of the cardinal signs indicate seats of power and in a creature with the forelimbs of a goat attached to the tail of a fish, the abyss of the ocean is combined with mountainous terrain.

The Sun in astrology symbolizes the core essence of who you are — your individuality and sense of self. It describes what is likely to motivate you, and why. The Sun Sign describes the prime focal point within the personality structure and is of major importance. Understanding and developing these aspects of self will help develop and expand your sense of authenticity. Understanding the house in which your Sun is found will give even greater detail.

I was told this and know this; I am a fiery person; I can be super enthusiastic about my life (especially when my employment and life, love relationships are in a good place). I am a hard worker, one of the hardest workers; through and through. However, when I’m not in a good place, or life hasn’t quite worked out the way I thought it would be, I get super frustrated and question everything in my life, every choice I’ve made so far. I become very impatient but also am able to handle it as long as I focus and fall back on my strength and resilience. In my line of work in the field of nonprofit/social work: I have a great quality that allows me to get calmer and calmer and handle very stressful situations. I was raised in Michigan, I had some great experiences; running a nonprofit, taking it to new incredible heights, being a youth advisor and getting my Bachelors and Masters in Social Work. When I was bored and felt unfulfilled. I applied all over the USA for lots of jobs. sooo many jobs…

Feeling pretty much not so good about my life. Have you ever experienced anything like this? How did you move forward?

After feeling pretty depressed and useless, I moved to Chicago. I got a hostess job, a few blocks away from where I was staying. I kept interviewing for more positions and out of pure luck, right on the spot, I got a Case Manager job at a pretty big social service agency, right in the heart of the city in Lakeview. It was the perfect job for me at the time. I would be working directly with low-income and homeless youth and adults with disabilities (mental, physical, emotional). I would be in a position where I can see direct results, change lives and feel good about the work I was in. On any given day, I could be helping a person connect to helpful linkages in the community (housing, food, clothing, etc.), linkages to resources and become employed to not rely on disability subsidies. Being in this job, I learned a ton about what it meant to be a Case Manager, how demanding and rewarding the work is. How broken the systems are and why there is the field of Social Work in the first place. Helping people: drafting resumes, cover letters. Pretending and faking it till I made it, growing as a writer, as a connector, as a guider and as a coach. I began to gorw into myself more.

After being there for a year and a half, I took on a new position where I was helping run the operations, programming and communication at the largest temple in the city. I left, after the job wasn’t what I thought it would be. I moved across state lines, to Colorado because it seemed like a place that I could be happier. A place where I could take a drive if I wanted to anytime and go hike the mountains.

I was told by so many people, you are so BRAVE to get up and move to somewhere where you don’t know many people and you can reinvent your life and who you are. I think for me, I needed to do it, to take the leap of faith, or else I never would. I would never know what I could be become and what my potential could be…


“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Brené Brown

 

So here in the mountains, 29 year old “the last year of my 20s”, I am taking on a lot of changes and it will continue. I am putting myself out there, more and more. I am doing big things and being in cool opportunities that I wouldn’t have normally had if I didn’t move. I am exploring a lot about myself, I am focusing on me more than ever before and I am reinventing who I am. I am living a little bit like the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” -Mahatma Gandhi

So here I am faced with many many lessons because I need to learn as much as I can before getting to the “top of the mountain.” By myself. I am at the mountains, metaphorically and in real life. I am right where I need to be but I need to embrace it, I need to present and accept this part of my life, in my Saturn return as a gift, as a blessing, as a mitzvah.

Definition of a mitzvah: a precept or commandment.

  • a good deed done from religious duty.
  • something along the lines of doing a meaningful deed; can be toward you, people you know or on a larger scale. It is entirely up to the person who is doing the “act” of kindness.

This is just the beginning of my true potential and I am happy to use this space to share my thoughts, to explore this more, as I move through this journey. I am hoping this experience helps others cope with their Saturn Return and where they are in their lives of the UNKNOWN.

 

We all are. We are all survivors. We have all overcome adversity. We have all had our share of battles. We have all had our moments when we’ve fallen so low we questioned if we could lift ourselves up.http://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-youre-stronger-than-you-think/

Yet we have. We’ve gotten smarter, bolder, braver, and wiser from the struggles we’ve endured. Maybe not right away, and maybe not easily, but we’ve bounced back from hard times, and we’ve proven to ourselves that our spirit is stronger than anything that could threaten to break it.

Today, if you question what you can change, handle, or overcome, remember: You can do amazing things when you decide to get strong.

So are you in your Saturn Return, what have you learned? What can you share with those that are going through theirs right now?

What about passing a budget that supports ALL Human Rights?

Cheryl Wallington (right) participates in a rally at the Thompson Center against budget cuts to mental health programs on May 13, 2014.

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As an Employment Counselor and Case Manager at a social service agency in Chicago, I want to bring attention to this serious matter that you may not be aware of. For over 120 days (nearly 5 months) Gov. Rauner has yet to make a decision on the budget for the entire state of Illinois. Instead of making corporate businesses pay higher taxes, social services are cut left and right. This Monday, was MORAL Mondays which is where activists some together to use their voice to speak up about Rauner not passing a budget and how the rich should be taxed.

In my current role and bring in this field, I knew being in tough and can be exhausting at times but I won’t give up. I will never stop fighting for the rights of humanity because if I don’t, who will? All the time, I think about the lack of resources and how if there were enough resources to go around or if people were educated and everyone was given equal opportunity to succeed—what would our world look like. Will we ever be close to this image?

It’s been 5 months and people who are in similar jobs are faced with the unfortunate reality that our work could be shut down if no budget it passed. If there’s no money passed that allocate $ to specific programs, more and more people will be on the streets and there will be an uproar even more, a major revolution. Just today, there were several activists arrested for protesting against Rauner and his decisions to cut program and funding to social service, child care and services for individuals with a disability.

In Judaism, there’s a term called B’tzelem Elohim that means in the image of G-d. Imagine, if we each treated one another like we were an image of G-d…I know the perfect world doesn’t exist but we can each use our hands, voice and heart to make our own worlds more perfect and more just. http://www.reformjudaism.org/btzelem-elohim-gods-image

Here’s one of my favorite songs from the legend, Jewish musician Dan Nichols. When I was younger and in temple choir we sang it!

Came across these articles and thought I’d help shine some light on the current budget imposse in Illinois:

Rahm Emanuel:

“I would just say this to the governor and the governor’s office: You’re 120 days behind budget, $6 billion and counting in not paying bills,” Emanuel said. “Stop name-calling and just do your job.”

I couldn’t agree more Rahm. Us in social service are barely getting by and could be without jobs making ourselves be in the same position our client are in. This is just WRONG.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/30/rauner-emanuel-feud-over-budget-unions-reaches-new/

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and look forward to posting again soon 🙂

Even after a tragedy of someone passing, the world still moves on….

The strange reality is that although we’re living, breathing, and enjoying this world is that nothing is certain and nothing is completely guaranteed. In a second, our lives could all change.

As I grow into this proud woman that I am becoming and have become, I am realizing more and more that I must live this live to the fullest every single day. Yes, it is really hard. Some days I just want to sleep and not contribute or help solve all these broken systems-but I can’t. It’s crazy to think how people who just simply let their lives pass them by and don’t do as much good as they could do..will live to be 100 or more. Life isn’t fair but like people have said lately to me, things like this happen (amazing incredible people (angels) come into this world to bring more peace into it at the right time and sometimes they are here for a moment and sometimes they are here for years. We have the power to be those angels, to bring more peace and love into this world and for this time I have here on earth, I will continue to spread light and peace into the homes and hearts of those who need it most.

Today, when the world is really hurting, I can tell because the weather is awful and it keeps raining and constant gloominess. The unfortunate thing that I want to focus on for my blog post tonight is that a woman who has contributed to this world, made her mark and made the world a better place passed away this week. It kills me that someone so incredible who I didn’t personally get the opportunity to meet- I will never meet here on earth but perhaps we will meet beyond earth. A woman by the name of Rachel Jacobs who I didn’t know personally passed away this week in a tragic accident that is beyond explanation. She was heading home to her husband and 2 year old son when the amtrak she was on back to Philly de-railed and tipped over completely. I can’t imagine what she was thinking about before she was seriously hurt, I can imagine that she was thrilled to be going home. Before this awful tragedy, I heard of her here and there growing up in the same community she was from the Metropolitan Detroit-Jewish community. It’s very possible that I might have met her briefly or seen her in passing at some point but I wish I would have been able to spend time with her and get to know her. Rachel, like me is someone who has a passion for using her hands, heart and voice to help make the world a better place. I definitely agree that it has to do with how i was raised and how I see myself as a Jew. Yesterday, I connected with a few people I know who knew her and wanted to reach out to them to show that I was there for them. I couldn’t stop thinking about her and the mark she left on the world that I spoke to my mom about how upset I was. She suggested that I write a letter to the family expressing how inspired I am from what she did and how I would like to help carry on. Here’s an article that showcases Rachel and her life’s work:

http://www.thejewishnews.com/2015/05/18/profound-impact/

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The best way we can honor people who pass away is to be more of who we are:

-to be more grateful

-to be more mindful of the good we put into the world

-to tell our loved ones we love them

– to appreciate where we came from and those who came before us

-to share their mission, vision and zest for life

-to shake off the small stuff

-to breathe and appreciate being alive

*May we all become better people because she was in this world*

Healing Prayers Peace & Love,

Elana

What’s in a name?

I have a confession to make. I wrote this draft a few months ago but didn’t actually publish it. Let’s be honest, it’s so easy sometimes to put stuff off or say I am too tired to write but I know that what I am doing will become very important so I am making a vow to myself to get to work and start my blog FOR REAL!

For my first post, I think I will talk about how I’ve been wanting to start a blog. Scratch that, I did have one years ago but never regularly updated it. It was during my Masters in Social Work where I realized that I have so much to say and needed a place to express myself. Over the years, especially NOW I post at least 20-30 times a day. Most of the time, the posts are about something in the world, health, judaism, religion, spirituality and things that really strike a cord with me. So today’s the day, I have decided to finally dive in and begin this journey of blogging. I know that some days, I won’t want to update it but I will at least once a week and I think it will help me to not post as much on Facebook. Before writing my first post, I couldn’t decide what the name of my blog should be but I knew I wanted it to do something with using my voice to heal or repair the world in some way. After some people suggested I use tikkunelana, it stuck and I know that I wanted to use this name for quite some time…it was only a matter of jumping in and starting this journey with myself and with the world. Many people who know me, know that I identify as a Jew.

Names in Judaism:

The naming of a Jewish child is a most profound spiritual moment. The Sages say that naming a baby is a statement of her character, her specialness, and her path in life. For at the beginning of life we give a name, and at the end of life a “good name” is all we take with us. (see Talmud – Brachot 7b; Arizal – Sha’ar HaGilgulim 24b)

Being Jewish for me is not just a religion, it’s a way of life for me and how I live in this world. Values and morals I use in my daily life (in no particular order and in my words):

  1. To be good to one another and treat others the way you should be treated
  2. To use my hands, morals, voice for good
  3. To carry on what my ancestors instilled in me even if I never met them before

Hebrew name: Elana, which means Oak Tree, Light and Happiness

To me, my name does a really good job of describing who I am and who I am becoming. I see myself as a tree, I am always growing and reaching for more to get more connected to the world everyday and I will never stop growing, physically and spiritually. Bringing more light into the world and more peace.

Named after Ethel, my father’s grandmother’s mother

I imagine that I was named after her because she was someone who had deep inner desire to use their abilities in leadership and did much for the world. I hope that if she could see me now that she would be proud that I have used my name for good.

I think that’s it for my first post…onto the next one!

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