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gratitude

SURPRISE!!

When unexpected things happen it can be very hard to “go with the flow”. surprise-01Change is one thing; unexpected out of the blue blindsiding is completely another.  I welcome change, new beginnings, growth… But even really GOOD surprises have always been an issue for me. It’s as if my startle reflex kicks in and I jump in fear and react regardless of whether the surprise is ultimately positive or negative. This is not something I can explain other than I just have above. It is what it is and I try to cope with it to the best of my ability. Let me tell you it is not easy at times because life can throw you many a curve ball (even good ones that you do catch).

Now some people love surprises. These people baffle me as I am sure I baffle them. Today was filled with good surprises, but surprises none the less that had me reactive and fearful. Once I move past the reaction (which honestly can sometimes take a bit), the reality and essence of the surprise comes into the light and I can make a clearer distinction between a valuable and welcome surprise and a more negative unpleasant one. Honestly sometimes after stepping back for a while a surprise can be a bit of both simultaneously.surprise

I sit now and write watching a beautiful pink and purple sunset. The day has been eventful to say the least.  But once again I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the strength I’ve gained from coping with today’s surprises. When surprises are good, what strength is there to be gained? Because I was caught off guard it tried my emotions and it took while to put it all in perspective.  I learned from it and hence became stronger.

The need to bring food into this blog exists because I know there are some of you who read this because of the weight loss angle.  I think this topic is apropos.  We can compare this to the surprise birthday cake brought to your office. Here is a surprise that seems both negative and positive. So cake surprisehow do you react?  Unfortunately, given my nature I react quickly with fear. When I was actively trying to lose weight my internal thoughts might have gone something like this: “Oh my goodness,
what do I do?  I can’t eat this. I shouldn’t eat this, but I don’t want to offend so and so who remembered my birthday and went out of their way. I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” So the fear may paralyze me for a bit. But since this is kind of low down on the “surprise” scale, I probably could take that moment of brief fear, step back and be able to just thank the considerate individual and so as not to hurt their feelings take a small piece and let that be my cheat for the week.  There are harder surprises with food, more difficult to navigate; The surprise catered lunch from a client, the free dessert you didn’t know came with the meal, the caloric count of the meal you just ate at your friends’ house; these surprises are a bit harder to navigate for some of us. The holidays, parties, going out to dinner, etc., these can be somewhat “prepared” for.  But surprises catch us off guard and can make rational decision making very difficult

It’s helpful to know what triggers a person’s negative reactions. Whether you are a person who enjoys surprises or not I hope this blog was helpful in someway. I use this space to chronicle my journey with the hope that it may help even just one person.

Showing Gratitude and Giving Thanks

Whenever you struggle, stumble or fall those who really love you and care about you are there to help you dust yourself off and start all over again. Those people are the ones you must treasure throughout your life because they are the ones you can count on when the going gets tough and can see the real you. I am truly blessed to have many people like this in my life, some far away and some closer by, but yet all a blessing and for each and everyone of them I am truly thankful.

quotation-gratitude-1-853x1024Yesterday was the inspection on the house. I am sure like in all real estate transactions there will be things needing fixing and working through (especially since this a slightly older home, built in 1986) but I am feeling very positive right now given all the universe has recently bestowed upon me.  I am granted immeasurable blessings every day and I cant help but continue on this path of gratefulness.

All the profits, saints, monks, imams, priests, rabbis and pastors were all given callings to teach goodness.  All have said very similar things.  In Judaism the most important commandment is “to love thy neighbor as thyself”. Forgiveness is a foundation in many organized religions.  Outside of organized religion, in the spiritual community, I believe it is about appreciation and gratitude for what the universe provides us on a daily basis.  Acknowledging, finding and accepting our role within it and contributing in a positive way is the ultimate level of oneness and understanding. Ultimately this is what I believe the goal of the universe is; for all souls to learn the purpose of existence, to learn their individual purpose within the vast array of existence, and to return positive energy back into this realm to be “paid forward”. pay-it-forwardThose sent here by the source of all creation I believe were sent here to do just that. Teach us to accept and understand our place (albeit minuscule, yet powerful) within the universe, teach forgiveness, understanding and compassion.

I suppose the main purpose of this particular blog post is to thank both the universe, and all of you who have supported, and loved me through this emotionally trying time. It is difficult to hand things over to the universe, but when you do you will find a joy  incomparable to anything you have ever known.

If you are reading this blog as part of your weight loss journey, know that if I had not lost this spiritual part of who I am the journey may have never needed to be embarked on to begin with. Had I had this knowledge and peace it would have made all the difference in cultivating my self-worth and self-esteem. This may have created a less difficult, more powerful, and uplifting journey and transformation. Being proud and self assured along your path, instead of only appreciating the end result can make all the difference.contribution

Being thankful for both the wonderful things, and the painful things – both of which I continue to endure is not always easy. But because I know there is a purpose behind all of it, and the universe will not throw at me anything I cannot endure or overcome, I persevere.

Having grown up Jewish I still have my ties to the culture and tradition albeit not the belief system per se. But one of the many traditions I have always held dear is the notion of being thankful each morning upon awakening. Traditional observant Jews recite a prayer when they wake called Modeh Ani (I Give Thanks).  I now wake up in the morning having created my own version with which I am comfortable reciting. I say it in Hebrew because it is a beautiful language and then again in English for my own thorough comprehension and absorption. I do not know if my Hebrew grammar and syntax are correct. If any reader can correct it, feel free to do so, LOL.

.מודה‏ אני לפניך יקום חי קים וכוח עלין שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה רבה אמונתך ונאמונתי. לא אבזבז את הזמן שבו בורכתי

I give thanks before you living eternal universe and supreme power for returning in me my soul with compassion, abundant is your faithfulness and my faithfulness. I will not waste the time with which I have been blessed.

The Power To Make Things Happen

the universeWell the universe and I are certainly working in consortium recently.  I try very hard to listen to what is being asked of me, and why I am here. I sit quietly with my thoughts because I have been granted a lot of time to do that. The process has been somewhat rejuvenating and awakening. Really listening is a challenge. I believe the gratitude is what brings about the positive forces along with positive directional thinking and mental imagery.  Believing in what you need and want, seeing it in your mind’s eye will bring about just that. It may not come at the particular time, or in the particular manner you would like or would’ve chosen if been given the choice, but it does come.

Since very early childhood I asked to be reunited with my birth mother and although I put much personal effort into that search the universe brought us together seventeen and a half years ago when I was 28 years old. Many people search for years and even if they are successful they are very painfully turned away.  I was one of the lucky ones. The universe helped me find my mother in a total of 28 weeks with a lot of help from others all of whom were brought into my life in the strangest of ways only to be explained by the powers that be wanting things to fall into place the way they did.  The number 28 as I have mentioned before is very significant in my life. There were many more instances of this number during my search and at other times as well.  I find it very interesting because the number 28 in Hebrew corresponds to the letters Chaf Chet כח. These two letters when placed together spell the word koach which translates into English as strength. inner strengthI find this both amazing and truly miraculous. It has taken much strength to get to the place I am right now and I know it will continue to require strength to keep going forward.  This is one of the things I ask the universe for daily after expressing gratitude, is to continue to give me strength.

Recently I have asked for a fresh start, for my house to sell quickly so that I could embark on a new path.  Just yesterday I signed the contract on my home and we will be closing quickly. For 30 years I asked the universe to please stop the abusive behavior of Mordechai Winiarz aka Marc Gafni, so that he could no longer hurt anyone else.  And now, only months ago thousands of people signed a petition on change.org supporting the truth about this sexual predator and his direct ties with John Mackey of Whole Foods.

Like I said, things don’t always come when you ask them to.  I pled as a child for my mother; and it took 28 years.  I implored the universe to protect others against a sexual predator who abused me; and it took 30 years, but positive thought and action will come to fruition if you keep the proper mindset.

Asking for a fresh start and being granted one is another proof positive in the universal connection to your hearts’ desire, and seeing it in your mind’s eye. I can picture myself granted with success, writing, creating, being in love, being loved, friends, family and giving back to the world in a positive way. Some of these have happened, or are happening or will happen at some undesignated point in time. But I can see it and feel it all.

Living in the moment and being thankful for just that moment makes the process easier. When I am writing I am so thankful that I am being given the time, space and mind set to be doing do. When I am talking to my children I am thankful that they are around to listen.  When I am meditating I am thankful for the time I have, the gifts I’ve been given and the nature around me.  meditatingWhen I am exercising I am thankful for all the strength I was given to persevere, and get to a place where my body is healthy and able to exercise and participate in active undertakings. When I am working around the house I am thankful for the roof over my head and what it took to get this roof all on my own almost 8 years ago.

You may not even know what it is you are seeking, silence and alone time may help you figure that out.  Once you do, YOU have the power to convene with the universe to make it happen; through gratitude, through belief in the universal power that exists, through positive thinking, mental imagery, then strength and action.

New Beginnings

Look inside to find the answer.  You hear this all the time.  But, your inside can at times be very noisy, it can be difficult to hear what your heart is trying to tell you.  Your mind can interfere with what your heart and soul speak.  To look inside and connect with yourself, with the source of creation to find answers is not an easy enterprise, but one very worth your time. Taking pause to reflect is important, to be thankful and to connect with creation. My question du jour is how to use my creativity, talents and abilities to help others and bring success into my life. So I have begun to meditate again.  Something I have not done in a very long time.

new beginningThis morning I sat very still and very quietly outside and thanked the source of all creation for everything I have and everything I am; for protecting those who came before me so that I could have this “now”, this moment to connect, thank, be, question and reflect. I expressed gratitude for all the love I now have in my life and for the inner strength and knowledge I have gained.  I sat quietly for twenty minutes and listened to the nature around me; the birds waking up, the wind rustling through the branches and the leaves. I asked to continue to be given strength to find my path and stay steadfast upon it. I asked to be given the strength to forgive. I asked to be forgiven.

So after reflection, and now doing this same exercise with some frequency over the past month or so I believe I need to write.  I need to do it to help others, but in this digital age so few people take the time to read anymore.  Maybe I need to write in order to read aloud.  This may sound crazy, but my past experiences with this have all been positive. Many of my close friends and loved ones who do not particularly enjoy reading or cant for one reason or another have asked that I read aloud to them. I could be reading a novel, a child’s book or even something I have personally wrote – it seems to be a connecting experience, sharing a piece of work simultaneously.  You can laugh together, cry together, have an adventure, travel the world together – fiction, non-fiction, poetry – its limitless.  So maybe a pod-cast?  I don’t know yet, I still need to meditate further to figure out the correct path.

blank pageEven through all my recent turmoil,  pain and upheaval I have been truly blessed and need to remember to remain in a constant state of gratitude for this. Not every one is loved, not everyone gets another chance.  My journey has just begun.  Once again I am staring at a blank page – a new beginning, frightening but exciting.  But, this beginning is different.  It has emanated from a place of strength, resilience, growth, forgiveness, self-acceptance, perseverance and joy.

I couldn’t ask for a better, fresher, healthier start. I am going to blossom.  I can feel it.

1986 and forward…A mix of extreme clarity and tumultuous emotion

flashback2Flashbacks are happening more frequently now. I assumed they would. Seeing his photo on all these articles is part of what triggered it all, I’m sure. I see and hear the same thing over and over again.  Mordechai standing in the door frame of my basement bedroom in his white undershirt and tighty whities (to be exact). And that one phrase that won’t leave my head: “You know what you want.” It’s something I will never forget. I am almost 46 years old now and half the time I don’t know what I want. How is it possible a naïve vulnerable 16 year old back in 1986 when asked such a question by a man in authority – her Rabbi, mentor and father figure no less standing in front of her almost naked to have an answer to such a question. I wanted him to take care of me. Not sexually, but spiritually and emotionally.

Why is it that that scene above all other traumatic ones repeatedly return? That scene and everything following up till my fetal position on their dining room floor in front of the rack stereo system with a knife by my side – ignored entirely by his second wife when she literally walked right by me – having already been brainwashed to believe that I was crazy – making up stories –and delusional.

flashbacksEach of these scenes play in my mind with perfect clarity down to the clothing we were both wearing. I can’t remember all the years that my 5 children were born mind you (I have to think about it), but this shit stays perfectly formed in my long term memory.  How fucked up is that?

I can almost picture the very modest outfit I was wearing that day as I had already adopted the Jewish law of modesty.  The long straight skirt, the white knee highs, the ¾ length sleeve shirt and the over shirt I put on for some color.  It had a turquoise pattern on a white background. By no stretch of the imagination was my outfit inviting sexual advances or seductive.

And why do I still feel the need to justify myself?  Because I had early release from school for the holiday weekend that day? Because I was a scared, vulnerable, needy teenager?  The adult knows none of this matters. I was a child. I see my now 16 year old daughter and understand. And 16 in 1986 was not what 16 in 2016 is either.

So here I lie awake once more wishing when I closed my eyes I didn’t see him standing in that door way. Running and rerunning those scenes in my head certainly doesn’t help, but it won’t stop once the rest of my brain stops and tells me okay it’s time to sleep – that’s when they creep in. Or in the middle of the night as a nightmare which then has me awake till the morning because I don’t want to close my eyes and see it all again.

I was stronger back then than I realized, and poor Susan I guess was not as strong as she presented to me so that I would have someone to count on. It was just too much for her, his behavior and the rabbinical response. We stopped talking a few years later because I was still so needy and broken after everything.

I need time to process alone. But I know that’s probably not ideal either. I’ve been in and out of therapy since the abuse and keep thinking I’ve compartmentalized the memories that I know will always be there.  It’s just that my story and the stories of other Winiarz/Gafni victims emerge and reemerge every few years with the hope that finally someone is listening – so again I speak out and it all comes back. Maybe this will be the last time. With people like @DavidIngber1, @Markopp1, @lmcshanenydn, @StephenDinan,@EMSorvillo, Rabbi Shai Held and so many thousands of others now supporting the victims it feels like the universe is finally on our side. My blog has been viewed over 10K times by people from 81 countries since it began. I once again want to express my gratitude to these people even if it took 30 years, the wait will be worth the outcome I hope.

With Gratitude and Overwhelming Emotion

Countless acknowledgements are in order, and although many of them are to be extended to my close friends and family, the majority of them seem need to be directed to those I have yet to meet. It took 30 years of repeatedly trying to be heard, never wavering, or changing my story, to finally reach people who listen and believe. The following particular Facebook post brought tears of vindication to my eyes.

shai's thankyou
An AMAZING Sentiment from Someone I Have Yet to Meet

I want the world to hear my THANK YOU, my THANK YOU for finally listening. So here is my public THANK YOU – a follow up to my thank you on Facebook. After everything I have been through the value of all the supportive “comments” on this blog, and the incredible explosion of readership since the release of the New York Times article has just blown me away.  As of this moment there have been close to 6,500 views on the blog.  This may seem inconsequential to some who have thousands of friends and followers on their Facebook pages alone, but to me the value cannot be measured. The comments and the readership mean more than anyone will ever understand. I could be crass, – say “too little too late”, or “long time coming”, but no, I understand that EVERYTHING happens when it does because the universe has a reason for things to transpire the way they do. From the bottom of my heart, soul and spirit I am truly humbled by all the support and immensely thankful to each and every one of you. (I know much of this is redundant from Facebook, but I wanted to be sure to reach all who deserved a thank you.)

Thank you note with smiley face , isolated on white

Getting my hopes up is not something I am willing to do after years of frustration, silencing and disappointment, BUT I feel like the universe is starting to line up, and karma is starting to catch up.  And, when that does…beautiful, holy things can happen.

Maybe Mordechai Winiarz or Marc Gafni or whomever he is right now will no longer hurt others – maybe the universe will see to it.

If some influential powerful person(s) is out there is reading this blog, please make sure my story reaches the right people.  The right people could be the media (press, television), politicians, high powered CEOs (Mackey comes to mind), etc.  There are already such people working in the background Elizabeth Sorvillo who has helped beyond measure, but continuing to get my blog out there can only be positive.  Here are links to the relevant posts:

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-6X       Not Just a Man with a “Troubled Past”… A SEXUAL PREDATOR

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3s        The Cycle of Insanity a Brief Follow Up

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3A       Don’t Silence a Cry for Help

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3M      Reopening the Wound

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3Z       Returning to Me & the Beginning of the End

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-4k       The Time For Change is Now

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-5s       Achieving “Closure”

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-72       Some Time to Process and Respond

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