With hope, I rise up

I have written before about those very human moments when we feel the distance between what currently is and what should be. That discomfort reveals our goals and dreams and puts them in order for us.  Without that feeling, we would be complacent and unchanging and the future would not entice us.

For some, that painful discrepancy is the career we dream of but haven’t yet achieved, or even the state of a world that seems darker and more confusing each day. For some of us, it’s the sting of infertility, or the absence of the life partner we have been yearning for. Our hearts reach out of our chests to the future, trying to bring it close.

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I read this quote on Instagram the other day and was so touched by it. Comparison is a seductive path. It fools you into thinking that you can find a shortcut, that it’ll help you figure things out for yourself. But truly it just makes you feel like you’re losing a race. We women seem to do this a lot, in the privacy of our own thoughts. We worry that we are falling behind, that we aren’t as accomplished, beautiful, useful, or needed as our peers. The imposter syndrome is strong in us. When we see our friends enjoy the blessing we fervently pray for, we are happy for them, AND we feel one other thing. Either that other thing is hopelessness for ourselves, OR it is exhilaration at the discovery that our dreams are indeed possible. If we choose exhilaration, we choose gratitude. There is the light that we have been waiting for in the darkness! There is our permission to keep working hard because success is possible.

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I have been focusing so hard on rising up. Extraordinary people accomplish what they must IN SPITE of the ache. They are not discouraged by the success of others, it spurs them on! Their feet are lighter even if their heart is heavy and sad, because they have seen it. They know it is possible.

Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks differentiates between optimism and hope. Hope is the belief that we can make things better. That these two hands can accomplish what is needed, even if our hearts ache every step of the way. What differentiates us as human beings is that discomfort need not stop us. We were created to feel the pain but to courageously do what must be done anyway.

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In her song, Rise Up, which I quoted above, Andra Day writes “all we need is hope, and for that we have each other”. We must give each other hope– the belief that our actions can make a difference. Instead of comparing, we must take courage from each others’ successes. We must reach back to those who stand where we once stood. We must feel the pain, recognize the bravery it will require of us, and still do it “a thousand times again”.

That’s my wish for each of you , my friends, on this spring Friday. May you continue to rise up. To shine like a beacon of hope when you succeed, and to glow like a pearl when you struggle. Because you are beautiful, each and every one of you, in your victories and your gratitude, in your pain and your exhilaration. May you receive every single blessing you pray for.

 

 

On Perfection and Self Worth

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We all experience highs and lows in our confidence and sense of self worth. We go through seasons of doubt and phases of exuberance, and that is all part of being a complex human being living a rich and complex life. We think we have ourselves all figured out, and then the shifting sands reveal something we didn’t know was there. Sometimes it’s something we are happy to find (“I had no idea I could do that!”) and sometimes it can be a little disappointing (“I thought I’d conquered that, and here it is again.”) We seem to always be in progress.

The traditions of Chassidut teach that God recreates the world in every moment. We do not live in a “set it and forget it” universe. Rather, the world is in a constant state of regeneration and divine intention. It is a piece of art that is never finished. Doesn’t that bring you courage? Continue reading

Currently: February

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Listening to This is Your Fight Song Scottish mashup. On repeat, really, really loud. Because sometimes in this life you need something to help you take up the fight with courage and grace.

Wearing Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector. This mousse BB cream is keeping my skin moisturized and blurs everything out just enough.

Proud of my first paycheck from my new freelance writing gig!

Trying to get back in the habit of taking photos every day. I can’t seem to get photos I’m excited about right now! Do you have any tips or links to get me back on track?

Baking chocolate chip pumpkin cake. Because I think we’ve all finally had enough distance from October to like pumpkin again.

Disappointed that my Jacquard Dyeset faded my painted silk scarves! Has anyone else tried another method to set dyes, without investing in a pricey steamer?

Planning a Shabbat with family. Maybe this and this for dessert?

Dreaming of bare feet and coral nail polish!

What are you up to lately?

 

5 Pick-Me-Ups for Difficult Days

No matter how lovely the day, or how happy you are with your routine, there will always be moments when you have the mean reds, the Sunday night blues, or feel deflated and tender. Sometimes you can trace the reason why but some days you’re just out of sorts and need to be treated gently. Here are 5 places to begin.

  1. Hang a bulletin board where you can see it and cover it with all your favorite things. Cut out ads from magazines, tack up your favorite photos, display those beautiful clothing hanging tags that you never like to throw away. It’s so satisfying to do something that doesn’t have to be perfect, and seeing all these items that represent you will give you a real sense of well-being without costing a thing. I’ve found that bad days are sometimes caused by a disparity between who we are and who we hope to be, and this project tends to bridge that gap a little.

Continue reading