Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Encouragement for Your Day

I found myself responding to a post elsewhere and realized that, as usual, the medicine that flowed from my 'pen' and intended for another, was indeed meant just as much for me. I thought I would share this with you too, perhaps it is just the medicine you need to strengthen you throughout your day.

"Dearest, how many of us have shared this pain and had these exact thoughts. It seems to be the plight of the human existence. Expectations tend to lead to disappointment and yet, how can we not hope have expectations. It is what wakes us in the morning and drives us through our day. Voices call out to us from the past, voices that urge us to move forward and to go on. On the wall in my room is a voice, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined." (Henry David Thoreau). Another voice tells me to "be the change I want to see in the world." (Ghandi). And lastly, another comforts and urges me in one full breath by reminding me "All beginnings are hard, because you need to swing things around from one direction to the very opposite. But once you have made a start, you will soon become accustomed to your new direction and it will no longer be so difficult. Therefore you must marshal all your strength and steel yourself to make an energetic start." (Rebbe Nachman)
Know, that no matter how you feel, there are those who love you dearly and within this love is where you must find the energy to move and continue on. You are correct, you either make an impact or you don't. Do not underestimate the power of the sleepless night. It is when the mysteries of the Universe reveal themselves. Do not underestimate the power of a pebble thrown in the river, or the flap of a butterfly's wings, tidal waves and tornadoes have been the result of such seeming trivialities. You are doing it, you are accomplishing. Right now you are resting, recharging and learning. Although they feel passive and even sad, they will empower you to move forward and with even greater light. Step by step, you will make it. You were meant to shine, and although I am not sure of a whole lot in my life, of this one thing I am most certainly sure."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chana Laila in Concert!!!

If you happen to be in the Philadelphia area or surrounding vicinities be sure to check out this very happening event at the local Chabad Center! Chana Laila is from Amherst, Mass. and has music with cool grooves and a deep message. This is a special treat for all of here us and we would be THRILLED if you, yes YOU, would come on over and join the jam with us! It will surely be an evening of serious soul lifting! Bring a friend or group and be sure to come say HI to me! I will be there with drums and dance!

PS. Be sure to check out Chana Laila's myspace and home page.

Bio from Chana Liala's myspace page:

"Chana Laila grew up in the NYC area, and has been playing and writing music all her life. She began studying music on piano at age 6, flute at age 9, guitar at age 13, hand percussion at age 16, and has studied voice throughout her life as well. She graduated from Hampshire College with a BA in Music Performance and Composition in 2002, and has been working with her band Kindgroove since 2004. Her solo project "Lion of Judah" is the culmination of many years of hard work, faith, and love for music. Having composed all original music and lyrics for her solo album, Lion of Judah incorporates her positive and conscious message with strong reggae grooves, roots-rock, hip-hop, jazz, and more! Lion of Judah features Chana Laila on vocals, guitar, flute and hand percussion. She is fortunate to have worked with so many talented musicians on the recording of her album at Northfire Recording Studio. All are excited to bring this original and soul-full music to fruition, from dream to reality."

While Crossing the Narrow Bridge...

... I met up with an old and unfortunately faithful companion. His name is Fear. I do not really like Fear very much, although admittedly at times he can be a very good friend. In fact there have been several occasions that he really kept me from making huge mistakes or getting very hurt. But unfortunately, more often than not, he has prevented me from traveling forward on the bridge. He is not too interested in me progressing. He tends to get attached to a situation or a place insisting that danger or pain lurk further along. Sometimes he has blocked my way, bullying me into submission. Other times he wants me to just stay put with him, immobilized in his dark and warm embrace. I even remember once he tried to convince me that the bridge was probably out, in utter disrepair further along and I would end up falling into the abyss below, so why risk it. He always appears to be so large and so much stronger than me.

This time and on this particular stint of the journey, as I am crossing the narrow bridge, I decided to try to shove Fear out of the way. It took much of my strength and has taken some time, but I finally got past him. Strangely enough, once you really take a look at the bastard, he's not so big at all.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Searching for the Hidden Joy

Adar is a particularly interesting month. We are taught that Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B'Simcha, when Adar arrives our joy increases. Adar is about what is hidden, concealed and Adar is about potential. The potential to grow and to change darkness into light. It seems appropriate to have this month at the very beginnings of the spring when the earth is just beginning to wake from her long winter slumber. Seeds and plants that have been resting all winter are beginning to peek their heads up out of the earth and buds are appearing on trees everywhere. I suppose this why 'When Adar comes our joy increases', because the joy has always been there, it was just hidden. It was resting and nourishing that which it needed to and now the time has come for it to slowly spring forth!

The Hebrew letter that is associated with the month of Adar is kuf. The kuf is the one letter that decends below the surface and symbolizes that in adar the potential is there to go deeper. The letter kuf is the the proverbial "eye of the needle". It is the absurd difficulty before us, 'trying to get the camel, elephant, (pick your animal) through the eyes of the needle. The kuf also stands for "Kof" or monkey and symbolizes laughter.

The astrological sign of Adar is Dagim or Pisces. Have you ever gone to the river's edge and gaze into the water at first seeing nothing and then all of a sudden tiny fish appear everywhere! Fish live hidden beneath the waters. Fish swallow by their prey and According to the gemara in Esther Rabbah 7:11, "Fish swallow by their prey, but can be swallowed too!" It is a continual cycle of nourishment, of life and death and dark and light. All neutral and necessary.