[Shabbat Edition 021]

SHABBAT SHALOM Y’ALL. Happy Friday, it’s Finally Shabbat and yay!!

A small synopsis

Well, it’s just been one of those weeks I’d like to kind of (just kind of) write off because it seems the more I’ve tried to accomplish the less I have. I just want a do-over. For two evenings straight I hadn’t been able to do anything because of my blinding headache. Thank goodness it didn’t happen tonight, now I’m just sneezing my brains out. Is there a such thing as being allergic to one’s self?

Other things happening…
plans coming together,
boat show season is up on us (it really is terrible when I used to be BoatShowGirl and now my passion is so dead),
week 2 (or day 3, however you want to see it) of being sent scripts to read,
and that’s about it.

I’m just super boring.

Lessons Learned

A life stripped of all it’s joy is not a life worth living. Even while I am not feeling up to visiting or being me or out in the open trying to hide just because I’m tired….I need to continue the things that bring me nuggets of joy. Because, otherwise, might as well be in the bottom of a lake somewhere feeding off that coral.

A life without glitter and color is dead to me.

A life without matzo ball soup is, well, the biggest of all sins for a Jewish girl.

Events/Special Moments

Soup from my favorite place. <3

National Speak Like a Pirate Day was Thursday the 19th. I remember when I used to be Pirate enough. Now, another thing I’ve lost. Pirates are tough, Pirates don’t give up. I can’t believe I don’t identify with being a Pirate anymore. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. I know (or have read) there are Jewish Pirates… so maybe I’m not really breaking any rules if I can be Jewish but still stay partial to my Pirate roots?

Getting that random message from Elaine’s husband…. it was the best thing in a really long time.

Still finding out how amazing my new phone is, even though new technology scares me. Just don’t tell anyone (since I’m supposed to be that person that has all the answers, apparently).

What am I looking forward to this week? 

I guess these are my plans for Saturday: I’m going early a.m. with a friend to yard sales then meeting up with a different friend for thrift store shopping in early afternoon. Then we’ll be talking about our plan(s) to start our separate buying/selling businesses and chat business. With it being close to the end of the year, it would be nice to officially start in about 2 weeks when our new year starts.

I really need to work on some art and writing.

Maybe the boat show? I don’t know if I really want to go, but one of my guys told me we’re right next to the company that I used to work for, and they’re still family that I haven’t seen in ages… so maybe I might and should go and spend time with them.

More script reading!

More working on plans!

And hopefully, no more headaches.

And… counting down the days until I get to see all of my family at the big shindig theatre awards ceremony. I miss everyone so much. It’s a good problem to have (but kind of a sucky one) when you know so many people but everyone is so scattered (theatre life, it’s a weird one) and you rarely see each other except for shows or things like this because you can’t ever find the chance to freely get together… because you have opposite schedules, or, there’s just so many people to see and things to do that you give up. I have all of those problems. I need to find a reason to call people to certain restaurants and have a big gala again. Everyone actually pays attention to my calls for get togethers, so, maybe I should try it again some time soon.

I guess that’s really it. For now.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

PS – Have a wonderful Shabbat!

[19 Elul] Do you ever gossip?

Today’s middah is guarding one’s speech.

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Pay attention to your inclination to share gossip. When you feel the urge to gossip, do something else (count to 10, get a glass of water, etc.) to put a buffer of time in between you and this action. Pause and let the urge pass. Commit yourself to not sharing gossip.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

Do you find yourself sharing your negative perceptions or suspicions about others? I try my best to not gossip or put one person against another. This happening two times when I was indirectly involved (all I could do was watch it happen) and it pissed me off so bad. Of course, I talked to those people afterwards to share my disappointment. There is a huge difference between talking to your bff or someone you trust but letting it go to that person, bounce off / in one ear out another and be done with it. I’m smart enough to figure out (by intuition and facts) of who are the problems, so I tend to stay away from them and tend to stay away from when people start gossiping.

Do you try not to say things about others that could cause them embarrassment or worse? If I ever do this, it is not purposely malicious, it’s by pure accident or unintentionally not meaning to be harmful. I’ve learned you can’t tell certain people anything because they’ll tell the entire world, so, there’s that.

[14-18 Elul] Questions on: Humility, Trust, Taking Account of Oneself, Truth, Learning.

Whew. Mega catch up post starts now.

14 Elul – Humility

TODAY’S PRACTICE
Consider everyone you encounter in your daily life. Notice how you consider yourself in relationship to them. Consider if you are thinking of yourself as better or more elevated than another, or lesser or not as worthy. Let these questions help you become more aware of your attitudes so that you can work towards readjustment.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

How can we balance our power and privilege with humility? Not sure how to answer this q.

In times when we have abundance in our lives, are we able to remain humble? I believe so. For example, I was on high during the time of my conversion because I felt rich with happy when so many good things were happening and I told myself–no real celebrating until my work is over–or if we did go celebrate it was by a little and I didn’t let myself get caught in that roundabout of celebrating and not working.

How do we make room for others? I think time is really it.

How do we pull back to shine light on those we love? When they have good news or bad news and just need a friend… any of those times. I’m guilty of getting so caught up in my own life that I do forget, however, if I’m working close to you–I make sure you’re celebrated.

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15 Elul – trust

TODAY’S PRACTICE
When you feel worried, remind yourself of Nachman of Breslov’s words.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

What blocks my access to trust? First, is strong intuition and initial gut feeling.

Do I find myself holding on to feelings of mistrust? Only when bad vibes happen or if someone gives me a reason for it.

Can I find glimmers of hope? Yes, as long as there’s none of that bad vibes attached.

Can I cultivate trust to counteract my sense of worry and mistrust? As long as bad vibes aren’t attached… I mean, that’s basically raw right there, so.

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16 Elul – take an honest account of oneself

TODAY’S PRACTICE
Take an accounting of your strengths and weaknesses. Act on an area you wish to improve.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

What are some areas that you see in yourself that could use some development? Sincere focus, completing my plans before making one thousand more.

What are your strengths? I am very loyal. Even though commitments scare me and I get bored with x amount of years, I do commit for the long term as long as I’m enjoying whatever it may be and if I have a chance to still make a difference and enough changes come along to keep it rich.

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17 Elul – truth

TODAY’S PRACTICE
Be silent for a period of time each day. Observe your internal responses. Allow silence to help you listen closely and tune in to yourself and world around you.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

Do I find myself stretching the truth to make things easier on myself? I don’t know. I yell at myself a lot.

Are these mistruths convenient in the moment but hurtful in the long run? I suppose they are.

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18 Elul – learning

TODAY’S PRACTICE
Look for hidden lessons in your everyday encounters, in what you read, in your life history and in the world around you. Seek opportunities to grow in wisdom.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

From whom do I learn? Everything and everyone, even animals who don’t speak.

Whom haven’t I yet identified as a teacher who has something to teach me? Not sure…

What lessons are hidden in my life experience? Every day is a lesson, you just have to be willing to be the student.

[13 Elul] Does your space feel cluttered?

Today’s middah is orderliness.

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Focus on ridding yourself of unnecessary clutter of one kind or another. Ask yourself what is getting in the way of a more orderly life.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

Do I feel my life is out of control because my living space, my schedule, or my mind is cluttered? YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. Enough yeses? Maybe add a few more times a million trillion.

What do I need to get rid of in order to streamline my priorities and bring about a sense of order? This is actually what I’ve been working on since August–getting my living space cleaner, sorting through and selling/giving away things I no longer want, purging any writing/ notes or anything to do with that sort of thing… trying to say yes/no to the right things I do, purging negative thoughts / behavior and anyone in my life who brings that sort of energy, and all that sort of thing. There just comes to be a point in one’s life where enough is enough and time to do something about it and here I am.

(Happy Friday the 13th! Finally got my new phone last night and was too occupied trying to set that up that I completely forgot today was Friday, I will be very late with the Shabbat Edition. Sorry.)

[12 Elul] What do you do solely for the benefit of others?

Today’s middah is lovingkindness.

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Do an act of lovingkindness each day. Embrace these acts as a part of who you are and how you express yourself in the world.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

What acts can you do just for the benefit of others? Be helpful, loving, caring towards others–every situation is different–of what you can/should do. Check up on others if we haven’t spoken in a while. Reach out to strangers. General mitzvahs.

What stops you from engaging in acts of lovingkindness? Deceiving behavior or pure disrespect, and when they definitely show that they obviously don’t care.

[11 Elul] Do you go out of your way to make others feel like they belong?

Today’s middah is hospitality.

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Open your heart towards someone in need of hospitality. Take concrete action towards being a more welcoming person.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

Do you find yourself ignoring those who clearly could benefit from being welcomed? Nooooooooooo, I mean I try my best not too. I hate it when people ignore me, so why would I do it to someone else? I try my best that whenever I am (say working a show or event or just in a class or whatever) to reach out to those who seem like outcasts, that may need a little bit of help or may even need a friend. I love seeing new faces at theatre auditions because I’m all like “WELCOME TO THE FAMMMMMILY! If you stick around, get used to this being a family reunion.” No joke. That’s how I know so many people.

What stops you? I’m not sure I understand the question, but if it is meaning – what stops you from reaching out – sometimes I am too preoccupied in whatever I’m doing at the time and I don’t mean to ignore but sometimes I have to stay focused and that’s what happens… and sometimes I am shy too.

Can you remember a time when you felt truly welcomed by a stranger? Any of the places I would later call home: May 2016 (2nd home), January 2018 (3rd home), June 2018 (CBI).


Loss of the same kind.

There’s a lot of things that have me thinking about everything–to the point where my brain wants to explode–and we’re barely 10 days in Elul. Of course, the wonder of it all, doing anything Jewish just makes me happy and attending my monthly class tonight lifted my mood despite the circumstances. And, of course, we were talking about everything this month is about in prep for the new year…. in between listening and my brain accidentally going somewhere else…I had some thoughts.

At the beginning of my Jewish journey, I lost my aunt Patsy, the one I talked to the most. I’m not anywhere near the end of my journey now, but, just a few months after I convert, I lose my aunt Joan, who I was close to at one point but had drifted away over the years due to family issues/nonsense. My aunt Patsy’s death was nearly the same as aunt Joan’s –very sudden–both in the hospital, but different circumstances. Aunt Patsy knew her time was limited and had a chance to say goodbye and spend time with all of her family. I got to talk to her a few minutes on the phone (and my cousin relayed the message about my interest in Judaism to her). Aunt Joan’s death was a surprising one, as she was fine that night (but had her moment talking to my uncle about how much she loved everyone, in good spirits) and passed away in her sleep. (From what I heard) she knew she was getting sicker and something was going to happen, she had the opportunity to reach out the last couple of months to tell all of us, however, she didn’t. I also felt that something was going to happen to her two months prior to the date she actually died. I meant to call her and send her a birthday card. But I didn’t.

I have to wonder why I have lost both of my aunts, and I only had two. Both gone while I’m 32/33. Just like losing my last grandparent at 16. Not only losing both of my aunts, but in this time period of becoming Jewish. I know for a fact that aunt Joan’s death has one thousand lessons wrapped in that one with this being the month of Elul, and the promise/secret of mine that aunt Patsy took to her grave made me even more determined to accomplish becoming Jewish not only for me, but for her.

I’ve always questioned things my entire life, but I’m questioning them even harder now.

Love Always,
Ahava

[10 Elul] What makes you look at the world with wonder?

Today’s middah is awe.

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Pursue experiences that might lead to a sense of awe. Try to notice beauty around you. Be present to the moment and let wonder in.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

When have you felt awe? Sunsets, especially. Little moments like meeting people unexpectedly (the ones that change your life forever), when something just absolutely magical happens, when a dream or goal finally comes to fruition, when someone out of the blue tells you that they care and you had no idea, when people remember things you wouldn’t expect them to.. moments like that.

What experiences have made you feel life grow heavy with meaning? Basically the above. I question everything, even I question the question, so I find meaning in everything or try to… everything happens for a reason, so there’s that.

[9 Elul] What are you thankful for today?

Today’s middah is GRATITUDE. 

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Try to notice 100 blessings in your life each day. Give thanks for even the smallest kindness your receive from others. Give thanks for what you are able to do for others. Give thanks for life itself.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

Do I feel unsatisfied? Sometimes, and sometimes not. I think 99% of my dissatisfaction has to do with my goals, or where I’m at in life.

If so, can I locate that which I am taking for granted? I need to turn see the problem(s) and turn it towards happiness a lot quicker. If I’m not appreciating certain moments, I should… I should be more in the moment than I am sometimes.

Do I pause and appreciate the large and small gifts that I have in my life? I really try to, sometimes more than others, if I’m not purely buried.

Do I express my gratitude to others? I try to very much by doing what I can.

[8 Elul, SWFS] What makes you happy?

[UPDATE: I have updated 2 Elul and 5 Elul at the bottom.]

Today’s middah is joy.

TODAY’S PRACTICE

Pay attention to moments when you experience a sense of wellbeing. Allow yourself to experience this fully. Think about how this sense of wellbeing cultivates joy.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

What blocks my ability to access a sense of well-being and joy? Stress, or if I’m too preoccupied with something that is troubling me. Too much clutter and nonsense. Being around negativity. Problems with no solutions. Situations that last forever with no end in sight.

Can I cultivate joy? Yes, I have many practices for that, even though, sometimes, there’s times it doesn’t feel like it works.

How do I share joy with others? For example, while I was stage managing the one acts, I created 6 different parties for everyone to attend if they wish just to celebrate our show, kick back, relax, talk and laugh a little. It really did work, and I even enjoyed it very much myself.

When do experience joy? The little moments, at the theatre, when I’m with friends/family, the feeling after accomplishing a dream, when someone else smiles at me, hugs, any celebrating, hearing my favorite song on the radio, when I’m with any animal (especially my crabby babes), evening walks to see the sunsets, writing, reading, etc. etc. etc.

Can I bring more of it into my life? Absolutely. Lately I have not had any joy except for very small random moments. I want my Shabbats back. I want to see all of my families again. I still have some things to check off my list before I go back to stage managing again in November (like seeing friends play music at John’s Pass, meeting up with others around here, etc). And, I need to find time to travel again, because I really miss some friends down south and I’d like to go see them one day soon in the fall.