Here I write a blog about change and yet I have been seemingly avoiding writing in the most critical time of my numerous changes. Ironic. I know. You see first it started with finals, taking my last exams proving I was worth a college degree. A B.S. in Mechanical Engineering even. That still boggles my mind and my gratitude is immense towards G-d for carrying me through such a challenging major. Then came farewells, see you laters and good byes to my classmates, peers, colleagues, friends and crushes. It is a devastating way to leave and yet there is much grace and beauty to knowing the strength in those strong bonds and the fact that I so often like to say; if we are meant to see that person again, we will. The wonder of technology these days makes this statement more real than ever. So maybe it’ll just be a sweet text or like on facebook but you’ll know they are still there. Doing what they’re doing and as my high school coach always preached they will, “keep on keepin on”. Those first weeks I was still in shock and very much enjoying the break from university stress. I immediately discovered this openness in my heart to love and be loved be those I am surrounded by. I found an ability to see the good. I was no longer blinded by the weight of stress, school and a degree waiting to be achieved. Its like all of a sudden my mind was cleared and I am allowed to see things for how they really are and to truly set and work towards an even healthier lifestyle that I had been wanting. Amazing isn’t it. However those weeks I felt too much. I was beyond elated by the love and light in the world and simultaneously distraught and sad that those relationships had suffered so much. Time had not waited for me to be done with school. Lives marched on. But I am grateful for what I had and what I have. I still feel like the richest woman in the world and my whole life, today, clearly packs into 48 different sized boxes. (I know it sounds like a lot…but it isn’t). The beginning weeks of being a university grad I nearly fell asleep in tears every night because of the overwhelmingness of everything. Of goodbyes and farewells and of “I don’t know when I will see this person again” or worse “or if I will see this person again” (G-d forbid, but I am just being real blunt about the reality I face. Amidst these intense emotions I found myself with tickets abroad heading on a trip that sounded amazing. I didn’t go. For the first time, I had found that for whatever reason their was not a clearly defined purpose to this trip. My friends and family supported me but all I heard was hesitation in their backing. I suppose I was listening for that. As I was not ready for this trip. My heart was not all in, as it should be. I’ve realized that is ok, and I am glad I listened to my heart as a compass. It often leads where I wish to go. Since then I haven’t done anything too crazy or out of the ordinary but being able to spend more time eating lunches with my dad, coffee dates with friends, random tea parties, macaron baking, museum trips and little hikes have been more than enough. Even just sitting in my room and making phone calls trying to set up things for my move have felt like a blessing. Enjoying sabbath dinners and walks with friends or conversations with my mom have felt worthwhile. I have even been battling a throat and nose phenom and yet it feels ok. I feel content and happy. I feel like as my world and my life was packed into boxes today it was “alles ok” or “hacol beseder”. My brother graduated high school and we celebrated as a family and just simply sitting in the living room all together and being all there was and is more than enough. It seems this time and this season is filled with new changes and much uncertainty but I am beginning to realize that it is part of taking a leap of faith and asking for G-d to provide each of the members of my family with the guidance, wisdom, discernment, decisions and preparations for the changes ahead. I am grateful for the 48 boxes of my life but I realize that those crates are simply things and stuff. They are not me nor do they define me. I look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman learning it is more than ok to just be me and do what works for me. To not worry about what others think or care if someone likes my posts or not. I am beginning to feel the comfort of the skin I have been blessed with and am learning that I see my soul in my smile more and more. I am grateful and happy because as Matthew McConaughey said, “Life’s not fair. It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not,”.
Hope your weeks have been as inspired and love-filled as mine. I have been continually finding new meanings and sights of love. Today I want to share such a powerful experience with you that truly touched my heart. I ran a 5k this morning that included “challenged” athletes such as those in wheelchairs, armcycles, amputees, etc…
I am really thankful to first off, be able to share that I won the female category…yes me! TBI, ripped soleius, broken face….all those days and years of pain and here I was able to run, and thank G-d even run fast! Back to the main story here. When the race had started, I quickly caught up to some of the challenged athletes as they start a bit ahead of everyone else, so that no one gets hurt. I tried to cheer everyone I passed along the way.
Then I looked up and saw something amazing! There was a petite but rather strong young woman pushing an older man in his wheelchair. She pushed him the whole race through. When I watched her stride to the finish I felt impressed, amazed and overcome. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t tell if they were related, she was a care giver, therapist or friend. Maybe that made it even more out-of-the ordinary. I recall thinking she must be one strong lady!
Later another woman was finishing and we were cheering her on and my mom commented, “when you can’t run with your legs anymore, you run with your heart”. I am tearing up as I write this. It was just such an emotionally beautiful day. Seems I can’t help but tear up as I cross the finish line and when I watch athletes of all ages, abilities and walks of life “compete” in the “race” or competition, I often find myself emotional. I find myself caught up in the glory of the moment. The fact that time stands still. That racers will high five and cheer complete strangers for the sake of sportsmanship. The running community is unique and a clique of its own. Today, though, I was reminded of the reason I choose to run when I am healthy enough and able. It is for those who can’t. That is literally what that woman was doing today for that gentleman in the wheelchair. I am grateful to have been able to witness such compassion, strength, courage, humility and love! Oh, how powerful it was! It is!
The biggest race we are face is that of life each day and once upon a time, I recall reading the latest Runner’s World magazine which highlighted “the human race”. This is the competition we must wake to and rise to the starting line. Whether that be the start of high school, college, a job, marriage, parenthood, etc…it is the beginning to something bigger than yourself. It is a race that will lead you through twists and turns, hills and vallleys. The journey of this race is what it seems to be about. Compassion, love and the simplest of signs of kindness, will not go unnoticed. And, in my mind, will be what changes the world and makes each individuals race just as important.
Thank you to the young woman in pink today who inspired me and cared for the man she pushed through a full 5k, all while running. Thank you for showing me the power of compassion and love. I hope that I can take that sight and transpose it into my daily actions to be even the slightest bit more kind to those who I interact with.
I am coming back to you with some more insights on what I have seen this past week and how it relates to the subject of LOVE.
1. Sometimes the people we love the most, who are so close, can also drive us away. Think about teenagers being rebellious against their parents wishes. Our parents love us to much that even when we don’t like them, they still love us. *I know this is not the case in all families, I am just bringing our one perspective which I see and have experienced. Maybe its that you are no longer a teennager, you have packed those rebellion colors away and now are in the transition into adulthood. Once again our parents love us so much that they hate to see us leave, yet, this is the very moment that they have been training and raising us for. Interesting how it is all out of love, yet, our young mind take this as control and we fight it (well some of us do, sometimes haha). Therefore even friends that are close, can also drive us away out of love because they want the best for us, and we sometimes, refuse to allow ourselves the best. Just remember it is all out of love.
2. Random acts of kindness may very well be the greatest acts of love. Yesterday I was at this event with my mom at which a speaker shared her encounters with people who have had near death experiences and she explained the common themes and encounters which he/she went through. It was interesting and the most essential quality I gained more inspiration and insight on, was that which regards kindness, whether random or planned. However, it is easily noticed that when situations of kindness are random it often takes more courage, effort and action. Whereas when you methodically plan out your next move of kindness, it may come across differently. The point is, it has light an inspiration flame burning deep within me to try to go the extra mile, to say the extra hello, to smile at strangers and to go a little out of my way sometimes, if its the right time and help is needed. Maybe the reason people love super heroes so much is because these men/women of strength and valor go out of their way for those in need. Sometimes its planned, other times its not. For example, I am thinking of a scene in the movie Spider-man, at which Peter Parker is in his spidey suit and off to save the world from the bad guys. Yet, out of nowhere sees an elderly woman trying to coax her kitten out of the tree. It is in this moment, that people stops from chasing the enemy and instead performs an ARK (Act of Random Kindness) to save the kitten and places him right back into the womans arms. Then before she knows it, Spider-man is back in the good vs. evil battle and the scene continues on. It is in that scene where members in the audience connect super heroes with acts of kindness. There are numerous other movies, scenes and instances where superheroes go beyond the call of duty. Then to brighten up the world a bit, we periodically see these everyday average people going beyond their limits and help a fellow out. This is beauty and brings inspiration to all.
My encouragement for the week is this: whether someone sees or not, always do what is right. If you can, go beyond.
I awoke to this beautiful song sent from a good friend and its calming melody brought joy to me throughout the day as I kept finding myself humming it. It reminds me how and what beauty is. It’s interesting because I feel like its a topic of conversation that has come up alot in the past couple months, I just somehow seemed to be missing the message. Or like the message was more hidden until today.
There was a conversation a few weeks ago where my cousin was telling me a story about my grandma, my bubie, and how she would and still does say, “oh its just so beautiful. you are so beautiful. this is beautiful. beautiful. beautiful…” you get the point. The funny thing, is the way he imitates her voice, it just cracks me up and makes me smile. It makes me smile because my bubie, is an artist and has traveled much of the world. She has been through incredible pain and she has loved. She loves so much. She sees so much beauty in all that is around her. I like to think that I’m like her. She is strong, sensitive, positive, filled with energy and joy. And she goes out of her way for you and treats you like you are the most important person in the world. At least she does that for me and I’ve seen it when I’ve brought friends to her house to try her famous crepes or shnitzel or anything of her. To see her house filled with pictures of her family and her paintings. Oh my her paintings. She is quite talented! The thing that stands out most to me about my bubie, is not anything she has or gives me, its who she is. I have always seen so much light and joy in her. I’ve also always seen so much beauty and blessing in her. I think its because of who she is and it just shines through. Don’t get me wrong, I know she is not perfect. She is very human and I’ve seen that side of her too. Maybe its the way she is even while being human that makes me love her and want to tell her just how beautiful she is!
Next conversation that pops into my head was with my friend KA and she mentioned how she is trying to be a more beautiful person. Not by what she is wearing but by just being a more beautiful person. To live a life that is beautiful. I am inspired by her desires. She is honest, open, and real. She is also a true friend and will be there in your time of need. I feel blessed to have met her and grateful to call her a friend. I recall over summer when I got sick and like family, she took me to the nearest Urgent Care just to make sure that I was ok. The next couple days she came over just to watch tv with me as I rested. It was sweet. It was beautiful.
The following conversation was with my good friend JP who I serve homeless people with. We also have been trying to get groups together to go swing dancing and its been a blast. JP is like a brother and we can have open conversations. We’ve had conversations about how girls think and how guys think. Its always interesting. I guess the thing that surprises me the most about him, is that his personality shines through beautifully. JP is not a student currently, yet works just as hard if not harder to save money and figure out when to go back to school. JP’s heart for the homeless is inspiring. However his compassion extends past the homeless and fills into the individuals who he chooses to spend his time with. He is a friend who is willing to invest in time with you. JP goes far out of his way for people he cares about. I know his circumstances are not the best but I am inspired by the way he does not allow his brokenness to consume him. Instead, he has a heart of service and is compassion example which I try to follow especially when dealing with the homeless. He has a beautiful personality and friendship with anyone he knows. AND, he knows a lot of people and has introduced me to even more of his friends who are just as awesome and beautiful.
I now find myself thinking of a billion and one things that are beautiful and the conversations which I have been having that have been reminding me just how beautiful life is and how beautiful the people I am surrounded by are. I feel inspired and my heart feels as though it is gaining droplets of love through the compassionate and beautiful souls which I am allowing myself to see with clearer eyes now.
I am thankful for GTB: good, true and beautiful philosophy.I’ll have to go into Mr.C’s GTB conversations back in high school another time. As for tonight, I am ending on the note by adding in that today the most beautiful thing I experienced was realizing that my peer was also my friend.
I remember way back when I was in middle school and my first few years of high school, on thanksgiving day my dad, my brother and some family friends would all wake before dawn and go fishing and this man made lake. We would just set up some chairs pull out the hot cocoa and begin casting out. I’ve never been good at casting out when we went fishing and it used to frustrate me. Sometimes I still try, others I just let someone else and I’ll hold on to it. One of our family friends is like a second dad to me and I remember this one year when none of us kids were catching fish but just then MM got a tug. Just when he started to realize he caught something he called me over and walked me through how to reel in the fish. It was incredible and terribly gross. I was excited to have caught a fish but was taken a back while seeing it as squirming fish. It did make me feel bad that soon we would be cutting it up and it would be tomorrow dinner. Somehow I got past that and didn’t become a vegan.
Later that morning it came time to gut the fish. MM was trying to get me to gut the fish first since I was the only girl and the rest were boy scouts around my brothers age. Naturally none of the boys wanted to dive in first. So I took the plunge and MM walked me through how to gut the fish. I remember blood, guts and slime. I then proceeded to play with the head and act as if the fish was talking. Weird, silly and goofy memories from my childhood came rushing back this morning. When once again my dad, brother and MM woke early and headed to a different lake, this time with a boat. We didn’t catch anything but being awake to watch the sunrise over the glassy water was worth it. The silly stories and valuable advice I gained out on the water today, attempting to fish reminds of the beauty in traditions even if it changes over the years. Today I’m grateful for fishing and all the fun and relaxed memories that go along with it.
Shalom is hebrew for hello, goodbye and peace. On Shabbat, the sabbath day, we (meaning jews) say Shabbat Shalom. Have a peaceful sabbath. For me, I have always struggled with the concept with Shabbat. That is until recently. I know life is all about finding balance and I am definitely working towards that. Something that I have been realizing more and more is how Shabbat can bring about a serenity that the rest of the week cannot. I find myself at one with myself, with G-d and with others on Shabbat for many reasons.
Here are a few that I have noticed recently when I do embrace Shabbat and stop doing homework for sometime. Whether its an hour, two or a full 25 hours without homework and without concern of school or the rest of the world, has done me good.
1. Disconnecting from the rest of the world, slowing down and taking time to reflect on the week.
2.Time to read, play and learn something other than school.
3.Sleep and rest.
4.Get outside and be active, enjoy the sunshine, ocean waves, the climb up the mountain and even walking around the block.
5.Enjoy a good meal whether its by myself, with friends and/or with family.
Either way Shabbat has a power that cannot be described, you just have to experience it. It seems to me as an opportune time to grow, slow down and embrace the moments. Stop and smell the roses. Not every shabbat is peaceful for me. However shabbat is peaceful when I allow it to be. When I allow myself to enjoy it, the people and the experience around me. I am a work in progress at enjoying Shabbat and finding the right balance. And I am perfectly ok with that.
Today I feel grateful for my family. My family has always meant so much to me. Although there were always little quarrels or disagreements while growing up, I am thankful for the strong morals, values and standards which my parents practiced and instilled in me. I am grateful that my dad taught me how to work hard and that life is not easy or fair. My dad also taught me to treat others right even when they treat you wrong. I realize how compassionate my dad is and how he has given me that gift. I am thankful that my mom taught me to care for others, to go the extra mile for others and that everything will work out. My mom is really patient and calm and sometimes I wish I could embrace these traits a little better. My parents bless me with so much love and support and are really awesome!
With my siblings its different in an awesome way. Somehow all of us are very similar and yet extremely different. My sister challenges me to grow and take risks. She is part of the reason I studied abroad. She is smart and works hard. She is probably part of the reason I worked as hard as I did in high school. I was trying to be as good as she was. She is really awesome and I am thankful to have her as an older sister! My brother is just as awesome. We have been friends since we were little but after my accident things changed between us. However, I am grateful to be at a point where we hang out again and can have deep life talks. He also wants to be an engineer however I think he is way smarter than me! I know my brother is going to be successful. I am grateful for his friendship and his jokes. He makes me laugh alot and is such a light.
G-d has blessed me into a beautiful family and I feel like we are family to support, encourage, love, laugh and work through life together!
PS. WE love to sing some Frankie together!!