Posted by: Leah | May 19, 2013

Welcome to Holland

I think many of you may have seen a beautiful writing by Emily Pearl Kingsley that describes experiences of giving birth to a special needs child and adjusting to that. It is called Welcome to Holland:

http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html

When I first read it, it resonated with strongly, not in a way of having a special needs child, but arriving somewhere in life where I completely did not plan to be. I arrived in Canada with my husband, full of plans, guidebooks and anticipation, and very shortly after that well, I realized that I in fact had arrived in Holland.

I had to go and learn the whole new thing of making decisions, and providing for myself, and being independent and learning to appreciate what the new environment had for me. Now, some seven years later, I should tell you I like Holland so much more! I feel grateful I ended up there, and not in Italy.

I think in life there are so many situations when we do not end up where we thought we meant to be, and were preparing ourselves to. And I bet there are times when we look around us and say: what the hell? I completely do not want to be here, and neither am I ready for it, and sure it takes lots of grief , adjustment, doubts, and anxiety.

But yet, being able to adjust the sails and work with what you have, and not what you would like to is one of the best life skills. If you feel you have just arrived in Holland, hang it there. Holland is not bad at all as it may seem at the beginning.

Have Sunday my friends. Spring in Toronto continues!

bloom5

Posted by: Leah | May 18, 2013

Just Be You

Friends that you lost touch with and past relationships are the best reminders of what a long way I have come. When some time ago, I met with my ex-boyfriend, the first comment he made – have you not become feisty!

Feisty? I was a tad surprised. I have always been this way.

Lemme do some explanation here though. I used to long for acceptance in general, and in Jewish community in particular. Acceptance not in terms of people accepting who I am, but in terms of being accepted as an integral part of the community. That was not happening though. I was, and I am a little different – from my upbringing to my accent, from my views on life, LGBT and family to my ways to practice. Instead of allowing myself just be myself, I spent considerable time and effort pretending and acting appropriately. I should say that I achieved considerable success in pretending and being appropriate part, and it looked good on the surface, but I was never happy or pleased with the results.

Fast forward couple of years, I did not have a turning point that made me reconsider and reevaluate. I simply got tired of pretending and not being true to myself. I stopped trying to blend and be one of… Instead, I focused on being who I am and being the best person I could possibly be, and if that means feisty, and at times inappropriate, that is who I am.

Really, if we allow ourselves express our colours, quirks and imperfections with passion and zest for life, the community will only win by having people who do not feel they have to hide,  smoothen and act.

“The snow goose does not need to bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself”. Lao Tzu.

Happy weekend my friends. Shabbat Shalom. Be happy today and always.

Posted by: Leah | May 11, 2013

Perfection of Imperfection

I can spend hours and hours in bookstores in the Arts, Photography and Fashion books section. I look for interesting ideas, pretty pictures or something unusual that will prompt me to do research or appreciate the beauty on the whole different level.

This past Wednesday, as I was browsing Photography books, I came across a book with the photos of Israel. I became excited for a second, but as I was flipping through the book, it did not do anything for me. There were only stones, monuments and historical facts. How much better would it have been to have there Israelis in all colours and shapes, every day life, street fashion, food, nature and of course the sea! This could have told readers the whole other story of Israel.

That made me think though that recently I have started to value imperfection. Hence, my newly acquired interest in street fashion. I can watch the crowd for hours, looking at outfits, liking certain ideas or thinking how I could change some others.

I should be honest though and admit that I do not strive for imperfection in all aspects of my life, there are some, where I do not let myself go easy, and if I do not achieve closeness to perfection, well I learn, move on and resolve to do better next time.

There are other areas of my life, where I enjoy being imperfect. There is nothing more boring to me than leading a life where I would be trying to catch up with prescribed milestones, generate certain income or make sure I measure up to others. I am in full appreciation and awe of what my imperfect life has to offer, and I would not trade it for something else.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

― Marilyn Monroe

And now to my Instagram photo dump! Spring is in the city, and nothing says spring more than flowers and frozen yogurt 🙂

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Menchies

Posted by: Leah | May 5, 2013

Do not count your days, make your days count

I used to get uber-excited about some future happenings: in six months, my friend will come and visit, in two months, I am going to a b’day party, in ten months I am going on a trip. I would count my days until the events, but then aye sometimes the thing itself did NOT deliver.

I came to realize though that by doing that I miss many important gifts that everyday life has in store for me, that by rushing my time I miss much more that I get from the BIG happenings.

The beauty of life is not in vacation trips and enormous parties. It is in small things: taking your time to meet somebody you have not seen for a while, cinnamon waffles :))) ( I am a cinnamon addict) in the morning, spring flowers and awesomeness of not having to rush anywhere.

And big things, well, they will be with me as milestones, but not something I count my days to.

Happy Sunday, my friends, enjoy it.

Posted by: Leah | April 21, 2013

On Caring: Walk of Shame

Aye, let’s face it – we all have stories we are not willing to share with others because we did not have our shit together, made a mistake or did not care and now are deeply ashamed of that.

I do have my Top 3, that I may share with somebody who is about to make the same mistake but otherwise nah, not mentioning about that. Shame has a deep profound role though. It is meant to make us feel the lesson with all our hearts and resolve to change things.

So I did. At some point of time I have resolved to never give a wrong impression that I care about somebody more than I do. Translation: if I don’t feel connection. don’t think we match and going to be friends, or do not care about the cause, I will not suggest anything enthusiastically. I will not plant false hopes in your heart. Don’t worry – I will not say no or act like a crazy bitch. I will keep my cool and act friendly, but will never pretend I am your best friend. If I know something, it is that realization that somebody has suggested something just to be polite or nice hurts like hell.

Speaking about the shame. I felt a deep shame yesterday night, when on my way home I saw a homeless guy digging into the garbage and finishing off food from all takeout containers there. People were passing by, not even looking at him, and I could not help but wonder when exactly we learn to block off these situations and pretend nothing is happening. This could have been me, I thought, and then I thought some more and the words of a girl I know, and who used to work for a homeless outreach program rang in my head: Never ever give them money. They will spend it ALL on drugs.

I did give him money. Not, not enough to spend on drugs but enough to get a meal in McDonald’s. And you know what? I realized that even if he spent it on drugs, I do not care. At the end of the day, I did not add to my Shame List, and he may have gotten some none garbage decent food. Win-win if you ask me.

Posted by: Leah | March 31, 2013

If You Are Looking for The Sign…

New Year Resolutions is such a funny time. It is amazing to see how much enthusiasm we show in our plans to make our life BETTER this year.

I know people who write huge lists of resolutions, and actually follow through. Meticulously.

I  know people who write lists and forget all about it the following week.

I also know people who are waiting for some sign to change their lives. I was one of them. Whenever I was presented with ideas and options, I found one million excuses of why and how not to. I would say: no, I am not ready yet. When I am I will know I will see the SIGN.

Months came and went, and I was watching my life go by, still with those wonderful ideas that I did not even get started on.

Then I realized that probably that sign may never make its appearance in my life. Waiting for it does not really help. Making changes and sticking to it does  This is how I made progress with my learning, fitness and nutrition.

And now, when new neighbiurs moved into my area and the first thing they put in the window was a sign: “If you are waiting for the sign – this is it!” it always makes me smile as I pass by. In fact I now try to chose my route so I pass more often, and when I think if I should be doing something now, I always tell myself: well you saw THE SIGN today! This is it.

Posted by: Leah | March 24, 2013

Jews Unchained or Reflections of a Toastmaster

I should tell you guys upfront  – Passover is NOT my favourite Jewish festival. Every year before that you can hear my traditional annual bitching and moaning on how the hell I am going to survive 8 (eight!!!!) days without any leavened products when my diet relies heavily on them! I make it through every year. I am a Jew. I kvetsch.

I also get asked (traditionally so) why the hell I keep torturing myself by observing this festival. My answer is simple: as a Jew, I don’t feel I can let go of certain things – and letting go of going leavened free (but not rice free hehe – I follow the Sephardic tradition) would be more devastating for me than observing this festival. So. I persevere, I moan but I do it.

I have thought of pretending I like Passover but I like to be my authentic self, and if my authentic self dislikes Passover, that is ok. Not perfect, but I am not striving for perfection, rather for progress.

Passover is of course a festival of freedom. We were slaves in Egypt, but now we are free. We have to talk about this story and reflect, think and never again. The latter, however, is easier to say than to do. Slavery for me is a very broad concept. We were slaves in Egypt, but now are we really that free? Many would say: no, we are slaves of mortgages, bosses and freedom 55. I would not try to mix up commitments with slavery. Having commitments is healthy, being enslaved into beliefs is not.

For me, the worst salvery comes from being forced into being somebody else, from following someone else’s dreams, living up to somebody else’s expectations and pursuing somebody else’s goals. Every now and then I get this rush: oh my do I have property yet, do I have kids yet? What am I thinking? But then, I say to myself: Leah, chill, what do you really want? What does your heart want? Do what really matters to you, not to the society.

Freedom now has more to do with being free in your heart and your mind. The hardest thing. EVER.

You may want to ask me what Toastmasters have to do with all this. Lemme explain: I have been attending Toastmasters for almost four years (oh my!) – over this period of time I have seen amazing progress and disappointments – as everywhere else. The Toastmasters program is very tricky though. The projects you complete give you skills, but everybody else around in Toastmasters gets the same information – the same gestures and suggestions for improvement. Some people follow the suggestions are bit too closely, become robotic, trying to cram 1,2,3 and gestures, and moving around the stage and vocal variety into their speeches. The more I stick around Toastmasters, the more I think that you can only do quality speeches if you show your real self, but to do that you need to understand who you are, and what you are all about. If I am to show who I am, I need to be free. Toastmasters are also about freedom. Freedom to implement helpful tips and suggestions, but stay yourself.

I would like to wish you a Chag Kasher v’Sameach if you are as me entering Pesach. We will be free. One day. If you are not observing Passover, I would like to wish you and all of us freedom of soul, mind and heart. Happy Sunday.

 

 

Posted by: Leah | March 17, 2013

The Concept of Busy-ness

My boss once asked me not to use the word “busy” when referring to him because busy has a negative connotation. When you are too busy to do something, you are not planning carefully, slacking off, or simply just do not care. As opposed to using the word “busy”, I was suggested to use the expression “booked solid”.

This brings an excellent point, and so relevant to my life now. I am well, sometimes feel I am hellish busy, and often find I do not plan my time well enough to do activities I enjoy. Instead, I fall behind seeing my friends, communicating with my family, emails, cleaning and educational goals. Sometimes I feel like sitting at home and staring at the wall.

Yes, you may say – overworked and tired. That may be a part of it, but not the whole thing. I have come to realize that I often hide behind saying I am busy, or I am exhausted and instead of taking extra time to plan my day to make sure I balance work and school with some love, I go with the flow and end up being frustrated and even more tired.

That many times I said to myself – I will start posting my Instagram moments here, but have done that only once.

Tired no more is my resolution for this spring. I would like to make effort and time to do things I love. After all, if I make time every single bloody day to work out, I can make time for other things.

And here are some of my insta-moments. Happy Sunday.

My all time favourite grumpy cat in Starbucks 🙂 and the view from the library.

grumpy Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine I bought this Friday. Love it. It has such a distinct coffee taste,

and a new frozen yogurt place I have recently discovered in Toronto – called Yogurt Spoon. The flavours there are incredible.

Wine yogurt spoon

Posted by: Leah | February 10, 2013

Book Review: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

 

dovekeepers

I must admit I had been skeptical before I started reading this book: I don’t like books that describe ancient times, because I can rarely relate to them. Yet because this book describes Masada, which I have always been fascinated with,  and because it has a Jewish theme, and I am always on the lookout for excellent books describing my people, I decided to give it a go.

It was an excellent read that kept engaged from page 1 to the very last page. The book follows the life story of four women: Yael, Aziza, Revka and Shira. All of them are extraordinary and strong women. All of them had to make sometimes uncomfortable and maybe not so right choices.

This book tells the story of a very painful time in Jewish history: the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. The lives of these four women intersect during that time. I loved how honestly the characters are described: these are not some imaginary heroic women who are concentrated on being perfect and helping the nation. Of course, they want to help their people, but they also love and hate fiercely. They make mistakes and follow their hearts, and that helped me to relate to this book.

My favourite character in this book is Yael. Her story is a bit hard to stomach: the death of her Mom in childbirth, her father not paying much attnetion to her, her Dad and Brother being assassins, the story of how she met her Son’s Dad. But everything that is described there is a story of a strong woman, the woman who does not ever give up, and follows her instincts, and I loved that about Yael.

The descriptions of Masada in the book are excellent. They are so vivid and portray what I have always imagined: a fortress, almost a symbol of strength and holding on, a strict schedule and beauty of it. I could almost see the every day life described.

My only slight disappointment in the book was its ending, and where Yael ended up living. As a Jew, I had a bit of hopes for her staying with the Jewish people and being a symbol of hope and promise for the nation. Yet  I guess this is a very honest book about life, not only about the history,  that is why Yael started her life somewhere very far from the Jewish nation at the end of the book.

The story itself however is an amazing insight into the Jewish character, life and spirit, and I am immensely thankful to the author for it.

Posted by: Leah | February 7, 2013

How are you feeling, Leah?

Since Facebook has changed its interface once again, I find it funny that one of the questions they ask in heir status interface is: How are you feeling, Leah?

Little do they know that this is the question I can answer any time of a day with a scary precision in describing my feelings.

Here is the story: growing up as a teenager, I lived in a rough ghetto-like neighbourhood with fights, gangs, alcohol, drugs, sex and rock’n’roll. Well, maybe not rock’n’roll. As I hit puberty, as pretty much anyone in my school, I started to show a pretty aggressive behaviour, not because I was violent and aggressive by nature, but mostly because I had no idea how to express my feelings. As I was from a good family and a good student, the last thing in the world my teachers wanted is me expressing this kind of behaviour and going down that road so many of my classmates went – fights, fights, police and other crazy stuff.

I was referred for counselling. My counselor was a university student Veronika, who was pretty damn serious about her assignment. When I first saw her, I was explained that I was to keep a diary, where I was to write an entry a day about my feelings and emotions. I was to identify situations that made me angry and figure what exactly triggered me. I was to remove myself from those situations and do something that made me happy. I was to describe my feelings with details, not just I was happy, or I was sad.

Easier to say than do. Especially for a 13 y.o. Do I need to say that I hated Veronika, that stupid diary and counselling?

The first couple of months our weekly sessions were like that:

Veronika: read out your diary Leah, please.

Leah: That day sucked, I was angry.

Veronika: Not good enough. Let’s go back to that day and think what exactly made you angry. Now write it down here.

Leah: I hate this stuff!!!!!!!!!

But, by month 3, I got into it and was getting better and better at it. By the end of that academic year, I was able to control my behaviour and was terrifying my parents with phrases like that: Mom, when you said I am not allowed to go out, I started to feel very frustrated and disappointed. I was looking forward to that. Let’s discuss what we can do.

Now, it was my parents’ turn to hate that stuff!

I should say that that experience was a blessing. Not only I did not go down that aggression and violence road, but up until this very moment  I am able to identify my feelings and what triggers me. I do it subconsciously.  Up until this very moment, I remove myself from situations and distance myself from people that make me unhappy, miserable or sad.  This is very important because I have PTSD, which is  under control now, and you will never know I have it unless I say, but still, I know my triggers so well.

It is a very good exercise, to identify your feelings. Maybe you should try. And please do not ask me how I am feeling unless you want to hear it all!

Posted by: Leah | January 11, 2013

Leah, the Joy Killer :)

I am such a joy killer sometimes. Whenever I become skeptical about people’s abilities though I always remember the story of Hannah.

I met with her at Dachau, during the youth international camp where Jews and non-Jews from Europe and Israel spent two weeks learning about Holocaust. So, Hannah was a bit heavy set girl, but she was a lead dancer in her Israeli group of students.

When I saw her dancing the first time, I thought well, this is nice, but she is too heavy though, why could not they ask some other girl to be a lead dancer? Well, fast forward several years, I have heard from Hannah last year. She dances for one of the modern dance shows in Israel, goes on tours around the world, lost some pounds and very happy with life, thank you very much for asking. Obviously her dance teacher saw something my eyes were not able to see.

What makes me wonder these days now is where the line is between not seeing and not having, between hard work can help you out and don’t waste your time on that, between being encouraging and giving false hopes and between believing in somebody and giving out empty promises. And you know what? I have no answer to that. What I know for sure is that having somebody to believe in you is important, and even more so having somebody who is very honest to you.

Quoted from http://wartornmusings.tumblr.com/

“don’t give me false hope.

I am perfectly fine with accepting the reality of the word “impossible.” Impossible means impossible. Unattainable, preposterous, futile, useless, pointless, no-chance-in-hell, black hole, when-pigs-fly, might-as-well-be-dead. It’s dead. I can bury it, mourn it, step over it and move away from it.

But if you give me the faint hope that it’s possible – well I won’t give it up.

And if I find out you were lying to me for the sense of some emotional stability or false encouragement or fake niceness, then I will hold you responsible for murdering that piece of me.

The truth isn’t offensive, it’s a foundation on which someone can stand. Or sit, or kneel or lie down. The point, though, is that it is firm and will steady my thoughts. But if you let me build my ideas and thoughts and energy around false hope, I’ll sure as hell come after you when my house starts to crack.”

Posted by: Leah | January 5, 2013

On Volunteering and Inspirations

I had this conversation with my inspirational friend Sarah, who you can find at http://amuslimahwrites.wordpress.com/

We were talking about volunteer work, its challenges and blessings, and the way I feel about it now. If you know me in real life, you know I used to be a hospice volunteer. Let me tell you this: up to this very moment, I miss this kind of work dearly. I am seriously thinking of going back because there are two types of people: people who can’t work in palliative care, and people who can. I belong to the second category. I always like to say that if I ever enrolled in that nursing program, I would become a palliative care nurse. Not because I have no heart, but because my heart can take this type of work.

This being said, one of the reasons of me stopping my volunteer engagement was the fact that I felt I was trying to take a shortcut to the Heaven. Once people heard what type of volunteer work I did, I saw that my ratings in their eyes were sky-rocketing. I did not feel I was entitled to this recognition.

I also feel now that there is a special type of people who do not need to do any social projects or volunteering. They live the way that inspires you by just watching them walk, talk, smile and do work they love. By only observing, you feel like something wonderful has just happened, and you also want to be the same. You want to be better, kinder, and more inspirational.

My resolution for the upcoming year is to try and become a little better and a little closer to being inspirational myself if only half step closer, and while I am working on it, I may go back to hospice work.

 

Posted by: Leah | December 28, 2012

Early Happy New Year to You

I am one of the people who stopped making NY resolutions. Not that I have nothing to resolve, but I also like to be surprised. These past two years, I just said: life, please surprise me, then I sat down and watched things unfold. This does not make me less goal-oriented or determined to succeed. I just stopped defining success with numbers, but rather with moments I get to put in my memory box for each year, and 2012 was particularly generous to me. Thank you.

As I was going through ups and downs of 2012 (thankfully more ups then downs), I have learned-  if you are really busy, you stop caring. You are more – I don’t care,  just do what I want rather then I know where you are coming from, and why you behave like that. I don’t like the first at all.

I have learned the importance of being in the moment (still learning how to do that) and importance to step down to come back again.

I have learned that it sometimes takes a bit of courage to say hello, but then amazing things happen out of it.

I have also learned that being in touch is the hardest thing ever.

I would like to wish all my readers, including the ones, who never say anything (I would love to hear from you though) the very best for 2013. I hope we will all get surprised in 2013.

Love you now and always.

Posted by: Leah | December 24, 2012

The Particular Sadness of Ikea Monkey

Two weeks ago Toronto made international news: a cute and adorable monkey in a faux shearing coat was  discovered strolling in Ikea on its own.

After that, the Ikea monkey was picked up by animal services, sent to a primate sanctuary and the owner’s pursuit to return the monkey has started. She has admitted to be the monkey’s mom and said the monkey belonged to her home.

http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/court-says-ikea-monkey-must-spend-christmas-at-sanctuary-1.1087905

I am not here though to discuss the legal challenges to return the monkey, but I am here to talk that I find the whole situation with humanizing animals and pets particularly sad. As we call our pets children and try to give them more human features that they will ever possess, we miss out on opportunities to connect with people. We use and if you wish even abuse animals to fill voids in our lives. We call our pets our children, and if they misbehave we blaim it on their bad behavior  We hold birthday parties for our pets and weddings.

Recently, I have run into somebody I used to see so frequently in my gym, as we nodded to each other, I saw the hesitation in this person’s eyes – should I come to talk, should I not? Will I disturb  I went and talked to him myself, but it has occurred to me that we seem to be losing this ability to connect and sometimes are even afraid to say hello – because it may inconvenience somebody or may seem intrusion.

No, I am not a mom to my cat, and I will never be. I recognize that a cat is an animal, and sometimes behaves so not because he is a bad child but because he just follows his nature.

As we enter the holiday season, I would like to wish you meaningful human connections. The void if any in our lives can only be filled with people, and not with however cute and adorable but animals.

Posted by: Leah | December 15, 2012

Connecticut

Today we woke up in the world that is a little bit colder, rougher and  unfriendlier. If you come from a less fortunate part of the world, like I do, you understand that many of us are still very alert – you enter the subway, you look – left, right, any unattended bags, and where I am going to run when the men will come. You enter a restaurant, you look left, right, any good hiding spots for when a bomb will explode. Being alert does not mean being ready, but I can’t imagine how it feels when a tragedy strikes in the perfectly safe world.

I grief with all families in Connecticut who lost their precious. I can’t even express how sorry I am. Your children, and your moms, and your courage will not be forgotten. Baruch dayan ha-emet.

 

dstNews_37698_storm

Posted by: Leah | November 18, 2012

Israel Under Fire

I have been trying to avoid by all means posting here and was hoping to reserve my opinions to Twitter, but realized I can’t possibly do that.

It is often said, that us, Jews of diaspora are passive and not interested in Judaism. There are various reasons, or if you may excuses for that: membership dues we have to pay and uninspiring clergy are a part of that. Yet  I have yet to see a Jew, who when confronted with a negative opinion on Israel won’t go ballistic. I have yet to see a Jew, who won’t express support for our brothers and sisters in Israel, especially now.

Many, especially on social media tend to present the recent Israel vs. Gaza conflict as a conflict of horrible Jews on innocent Muslims in Gaza. This is not true, and I don’t think  this should affect Jews vs Muslims at all. My opinions of Islam are unchanged. However, my heart aches and I have lost sleep thinking about Israel and my people having to spend hours in bomb shelters. Any army targeting civilian objects is wrong, any army hiding behind their population is wrong, and any government not building enough bomb shelters knowing anything may happen is wrong.

I think we should learn to distinguish between well-meaning people from both sides, and ill-informed or brain-washed people from both sides. We mourn all losses, but yet there is civilian population that should not learn to live with frequent rocket launches and air raids.

I hope and pray for peace and compromises from both sides. I also pray that our boys and girls from IDF return home alive and soon.

And whoever is in doubt, please watch this video. It explains a lot:

http://youtu.be/I-9wgoaHT34

Posted by: Leah | November 11, 2012

On Being Emotionally Independent

I have been privileged to hear a great Toastmasters speech this week, the one that was a bit close to home than I would want to, but nevertheless remarkable.

It had to do with advice on growing up, and one of them was being emotionally independent, that the only person that will always be with you is YOU, and the less your emotions depend on other people the better for you and for your well-being and a happy life.

I can say a thing or two (or maybe even more) on the topic. I used to be a girl, who would become either too attached to people, and thus all my being depended on their mood. I would also reflect if anything had not gone the way I expected: well, all these people have a great boyfriend, families, universities, friends etc What about me? Why is it so unfair?

I have heard numerous advice that being emotionally unattached is either for psyhopaths, yogi or people who simply do not care. I am neither of these three categories. Not a yogi. Just practice a fitness component of it. Yet, I do believe being emotionally independent is a very attainable goal.

This is what helps me:

– realizing I have to me, and only me, and doing what makes ME happy, not what others think would make me happy and being myself

– welcoming new people into my life and being grateful for their presence but learning not to be afraid to let them go (this might be a tad painful)

– realizing that in most cases I am my best friend as I know what I like the best, thus being not afraid and practicing being on my own, without having to always be surrounded by people

But most importantly, learning to depend on myself. Being independent and self-sufficient is very addictive, I should say, that is why there are many cultures that deny this to girls. Once you tried that, there is rarely going back.

I am doing so much better. I have stopped reflecting on what other people have. There is no point in it. I need to learn to deal and react to what I have. What others have is their lives, not mine.

I also learned not to become tragically attached to people. If I have attachments, they are mostly happy ones.

As Coco Chanel said: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Happy November Sunday to you all.

Posted by: Leah | October 28, 2012

On Embracing Your Fears

I find that my life is like a tangle of web, the same conversations get thrown at me several times during a week, probably to reinforce, or probably because I have things to learn and note.

These past couple of weeks were conversations about fear. Halloween time, right?

As a teenager, I was pretty fearless, and now I would not repeat most of the things I did then. As I grew older, but not necessarily wiser, I still have pretty much retained the ability not to fear. And if I have a fear, I react to it differently. I always hear about that paralyzing kind of fear when you are not even able to take a concept in. The most common example is death. When a child raises up a topic the first time in the life, the most common approach is to reassure – everything is going to be ok.

Even as adults, if somebody even palliative talk about it to us, we tend to say: oh, don’t talk about it, why are you thinking about things like that? Think positively. However, this does not allow us to come to terms with our fears. When we discount what others and we feel like that, it stays inside us and there is no way out.

When I hear that somebody is not afraid of anything – I don’t believe in that. We all have things we are afraid of:

– fear of changes

– fear of unknown

– fear of death

– fear of helplessness

– fear of being forgotten

– fear of losing power

– fear of gaining too much power.

The question is what we do what all these fears? Do we bottle them in? Do we let them out?

For me, I ask myself two questions: why and what can I do? I also distinguish theoretical fears and practical fears. Yes, I am sometimes afraid to be walking alone at night in a not great area – just because this is common sense. I don’t try to deal with that fear. I try to eliminate the situations that bring this kind of fear.

But the fear of unknown, I embrace it. It does not mean I change everything in my life in one day, but some fears are given to us so we can make positive changes. Instead of trying to resist to something, I give in and go with a flow, let it go and see what happens. Being able to recognize my fear is half of the problem gone. After all, a brave person is not somebody who is not afraid of anything, a brave person is somebody who acts despite fears s/he has.

Posted by: Leah | October 27, 2012

Mood Zero

I should I admit I get VEEEEEEERY (yes, like that) excited easily. I fall in love with events, people, cities, coffee shops and views. The negative side of that is that like in a swing after being upwards, being a bit downward comes . I don’t mean a downward dog. I mean feeling profoundly down. Luckily, that does not last, but regardless it does not feel good.

I am trying to retrain myself little by little. When I wake up in the morning, I say to myself: Leah, mood zero. Every day is a new day and a new possibility, and as I work my way up (or sometimes down) every day, I start with a feeling if not balanced then a bit detached from yesterday and grounded. It feels refreshing to meet and transition with a new day the way it is without carrying expectations, disappointments and excitements of yesterday.

Happy Rainy Saturday night to you all.

Posted by: Leah | September 30, 2012

On Doing the Best You Can

Rosh HaShana came and went, and then Yom Kippur, and with it positive resolutions and decisions to do better.

September this year, however, was the most unusual. First of all, for the first time in my life I had BIG troubles fasting. Before, I would not even be concerned – I lasted for 24 hours easily, and then the last hour I would be a tad uncomfortable. Not this year. The world was spinning around me for the most of the fast, I was incredibly hungry, had a massive headache – in other words had a REAL Yom Kippur experience.

I also find it challenging to appreciate small things. I have been so good with it really. But this time in, cosy environments, random acts of kindness, postcards do nothing to me.

This is a learning curve, definitely – to do the best I can – in fasting, in maintaining relationships, in enjoying the life to the fullest. I do believe that the life is a mirror, and you get what you see. So am I ever learning – to take a step back, to breathe, to keep a fresh perspective and always remember that I have more capacity than I think.

After all, the best things in life I received from people who really did not have to do anything for me, and they took the time from their work, families and social responsibilities and gave it to me. And that I will always remember.

My motto for now is to do the best I can and remember that the best portion of a good man’s  (or maybe even a woman 🙂 ) life – his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.  not my words – ~William Wordsworth!)

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