chanaleh: (leila)
Bamidbar was actually last week's Torah portion, not today's, but this is a theme that's been much on my mind the past couple weeks, and then it was borne out further as follows:

This week, I actually managed to drag myself to shul for the 2nd morning of Shavuot. This was a bonus in a couple of ways: reading the Book of Ruth, and also they happened (presumably due to Yizkor) to be doing ASL interpretation during services that day, and I always find that fun and interesting (apart from having a mild crush on the guy who runs the program, but anyway).

In the rabbi's sermon, he started off asking: Why did the b'nei yisrael have to go to the wilderness in order to receive the Torah? What is the connection between wilderness and revelation? And he brought in a concept from the Midrash, which connects it to the notion of hefker, which is a Talmudic technical term meaning "ownerless", denoting a thing that is up for grabs -- like an item of lost or abandoned property, or like the dust of the earth. And apparently the Midrash says "Anyone who does not make himself hefker [open to all] like a wilderness cannot acquire wisdom and Torah." (Bemidbar Rabbah 1:7) You have to go into the wilderness, unmoor yourself, in order to become vulnerable to the wide spectrum of possibility... to make room for the revelation.

... And that's exactly what I have been feeling the last week and a half. Ownerless. But strangely liberated. Like there are suddenly a hundred possible paths, all of which will lead to good things. Expansive. Sometimes hit with torrents of feeling, yes... but mostly, fundamentally, at peace.

So yeah, it was one of those laser-targeted moments. You know it's reached me when I am sitting there in shul with tears streaming down my face... and in a cleansing way, not a bitter way. Somehow Rabbi Sebert manages to do that to me a lot.

After the service, I saw my friend C (the one who is [livejournal.com profile] justom's family friend and brought me there in the first place), and when she said "How are you?" I said, "Hefker." It took a minute to get the point across ("Wait, you didn't lose your job?" "No..."), but she got it. And that was helpful too.

Also, to answer the #1 FAQ, yes, I am staying in NYC for at least the next several months. )

Meanwhile, I signed up for a six-week Russian class, Tuesday nights starting June 4. And I'm also planning to try to make contra dancing tonight. (Though of course, I still haven't managed to see Iron Man 3 either. Sigh!)


ETA, 6/27/2013: In thematically related news, this article (which I first saw closer to its original post date, at which time it was at least equally relevant) just floated back up to the top of my Facebook feed, h/t [livejournal.com profile] shadesong. Yeah. This. Also.

NaNo...vember

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 10:42 pm
chanaleh: Henry VIII: "I'VE GOT 99 PROBLEMS, OF WHICH BITCHES DOTH COMPRISE 6" (bitches)
Huh. Interesting.

Yesterday morning, about 7 hours into the official span of NaNoWriMo, ergo obviously without yet having written a single word, I started noticing a flourishing backchannel of internal resistance.

The voices are fascinating, aren't they? )

So, really, I don't know. I think the next step is going to be pulling out the notes I have made over the years for the aforementioned various concepts and see which already is the farthest along, and see if that helps jump-start my motivation.

My other pet approach is normally to post an LJ poll ("Which of the following should I write this month?") -- but somehow even the idea of spelling out my four different premises for public consumption feels risky, and not like it would be much help in the end. :-}

... tl;dr Fear is the mind-killer. *sigh*

cheshbon ha-nefesh

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 11:10 pm
chanaleh: (breathe)
For sins between man and God, Yom Kippur atones. But for sins between a man and his fellow, Yom Kippur does not atone until he appeases his fellow. -- Mishnah Yoma 8:8-9

I just sat down and wrote two emails that I have been storing up in my heart for some months to send before Yom Kippur. (The practice, for those unfamiliar, is to contact people you've hurt over the past year and attempt to make amends... or at least, here, specific and mindful apologies.)

I think there is a lot more accounting and self-examination I could fruitfully do this season, because to be honest, it's been kind of a crap year on the personal-growth front. (Or rather, maybe, I've been trying hard to grow and finding it painful and not handling it very gracefully. I keep having the feeling that I'm just about to crest some incredible emotional summit... only it ends up being a small local maximum, and after a quick sail on light wings, I'm suddenly slogging uphill again.)

Maybe this means I need to figure out some kind of healing practice that is going to get me past it and start really being my best self again.

But for right this moment, I think it means that I can go to bed now.

Low-carb update

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 08:29 am
chanaleh: (tigerstudent)
After about 4 weeks, I basically ditched the Primal regime (LJ | DW) as of a week ago Sunday, making fantastic banana-cinnamon-walnut-flaxseed-chocolate-chip pancakes and sweet potato home fries for brunch, and ending later with a fantastic burger from the Harlem Tavern which was (if slow in coming) exactly what I wanted.

So now I've had about 10 days off, to compare with 4 weeks on.

Things I have noticed:

Groceries: Expenditures up about 50% from past few months' average, no joke. My previous set of normal cooking habits has been heavily based for years on BEANS AND GRAINS ALL THE TIME. Guess what? Fresh vegetables (especially nice salad greens), fish and meat, and organic eggs? Cost a lot more. At, like, Passover levels -- not by coincidence, of course, since Passover is also a meat-and-vegetable-heavy time period.

Conversely, my impulse spending on outside snack food (not proper meals out or actual groceries) went way way down, because guess what? 90% of grab-n-go food options are sugar- and starch-based crap. And I'm including pizza and burritos in that basket as well as pastries and Clif Mojo bars. Which brings me to...

Planning: Again, this approach requires Preparedness at near-Passover levels. I have never been so scrupulous about bringing exactly one day's worth of meals and snacks to work every single day (rather than keeping the usual stash of chocolate, nuts, and Luna bars in my desk). And I have a new appreciation for the convenience of pouring out a bowl of Cheerios every morning, or pulling a quart of homemade bean chili out of the freezer as food for the next few days. (I'm sure there are other food categories one could pre-make and freeze, but I haven't really gotten a handle on them.) It eventually occurred to me that I should maybe hard-boil some eggs as instant/travel food, but in all seriousness I got stumped on: how are you supposed to check them for blood spots? But anyway.

More observations )

The major conclusion I draw from the experiment is that it is way easier to feel well fed on 1800-2000 calories/day if that intake comprises at least 75% proteins and fats and less than 25% carbs (or else, perhaps, when all of those carbs are green vegetables and a little fruit). In other words, perhaps what I really need is guidelines that ensure there is more FOOD in my food, and to acknowledge that the maple oatmeal scones of the world may certainly be Treats, but are not themselves to be confused with Food, even if they come out of the Food budget (in both a money and nutrient sense).

And it's easy to laze out and make suboptimal choices unless I have that "program" mentality actually reinforcing my commitment to the better choices.

So we'll see. For today, it's still back to lentil salad and quinoa pilaf for lunch. :-)

Shiny!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 12:29 pm
chanaleh: (leila)
Things which I, like anyone, end up having to buy on short notice while out if I have not had the foresight to bring them:

1. Snacks
2. Beverages
3. Warm clothing (e.g. sweaters)
4. Lip balm
5. Nail clippers

Moral of this story: Be prepared.

Things which, on seeing them, I invariably have a strong craving to impulse-buy unless I am already physically wearing instances of them:

1. Toe rings (in season)*
2. Scarves
3. Hats
4. Other jewelry (rings, bracelets)
5. Nail polish

*I.e., sandal weather, which for me is approximately May-October

Moral of this story: I should make a more concerted effort to use and enjoy the pretty things I already have.

A bit at loose ends

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 01:07 am
chanaleh: (kaylee/simon)
There's an ice cream truck that sporadically takes up residence down the block in the late afternoon. Mercifully, its beepy little tunes actually comprise quite a nice repertoire, ranging from "Für Elise" and "Greensleeves" to "Moon River" to "Morning Has Broken" and "The Sound of Silence"...

But last time I absoutely swear heard it playing "Dona Dona". A Jewish folk song about a calf being led to slaughter? Really? I mean, really?

Only in NYC, I guess.

... You guys, I'm actually starting to get a little bored here in week 3. )

On the plus side, today I went out and had a nice lunch date with [livejournal.com profile] justom's sister-in-law, who was passing through Midtown, and then I walked around and window-shopped (successfully getting all the fun of trying on clothes without actually succumbing to buying anything). And I got a library card, which means many more new books and DVDs in my immediate future.

And don't forget we have our housewarming this Sunday night!

And now I think it's really bedtime.
chanaleh: (2005)
(test post via email, public)

I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has offered comments on my last entry. I am sort of stunned that the overall themes are so consistent; I guess I expected a wider range of small stuff, but this way was perhaps even more worth hearing. It's helping me. Thank you.

At the end of that entry I included the mantra "Growth. Love. Connection." I think that constitutes a good picture of my goals for the current crucible, but it's become clear to me over the past two nights that I also need one for the process at hand, and that looks more like: Kindness. Patience. Grounding. Courage.

I think I can assert literally that this right now is the hardest emotional work I have ever done. I feel myself swinging back and forth between doing it well (embracing it) and doing it poorly (fighting it tooth and nail) -- sometimes within the same conversation. But when I am embracing it, I feel that I am working to support my core values, rather than against them, as I have felt (deep down) at some other difficult times in the past. This awareness gives me strength, when I let it.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
chanaleh: (sleeping)
Wow. I just lived through one of the longest, emotionally hardest nights alone that I have had in at least a year. But amazingly, I feel better today. Cleaner.

It seems that one of the things I need right now is some extra validation. You all are my community and, as such, one of my great richnesses. So I turn to you to help me hold the mirror up:

If you please, tell me something about me that you love. Not respect or admire; I'm feeling a little too over-thought these days as it is. What do you see in me? What strikes you as quintessentially me that makes you smile?

Comment anonymously if you want (lurkers can sign their comments or not). You can email me separately if you'd really rather, but I would find it more fun to keep everything here. Deep comments are appreciated, but frivolous ones are enjoyable too.

And, in asking for this, I am not sure how to handle responding to comments; I rather think I would like to *refrain* from responding to them, or otherwise I will feel obligated to come up with something similarly insightful to offer in response to each of you, which is also a valuable exercise but more taxing than I can commit to right now. :-} So, please know that I will value anything you share with me, and that if you could use some similar validation, I will do my best to return it later.

repeats to self: Growth. Love. Connection.
chanaleh: Snoopy in a Santa hat (xmas)
Every year around Thanksgiving, I say to myself, "This year is going to be different." This year, I did my first gift shopping the first weekend of December and I thought, "Hey, I'm on track, look at me, I could actually have some gifts shipped out early this year." Yet at 4:30pm on December 24, there I was, still wrapping family gifts. )

Sigh.

I wrote a blanket apology for this phenomenon two years ago, most of which is still generally applicable. The question is, *why*? )

Well, at least my mom called me this afternoon to say that they got my package today (in California! w00t!) and were really pleased and touched. (Also yesterday, when I called my dad, he reiterated how much he absolutely LOVED the book I sent him last month for his birthday, which he is still finishing reading... so I felt happy to have done well by him on that one. It's always nice to actually hit one out of the park.) So... happy Boxing Day!

I'm supposed to be at a party right now, but... I woke up with a sore throat this morning, and though it wore off by midmorning, it's generally the sign of an incipient cold. Which I don't want to (a) share around nor (b) make worse, on top of being generally run-down from the preceding week's medical adventures. Despite the 2-hour nap I took this afternoon, I'm still tired enough that by 7:30 I was actually in tears at the idea of mustering the koach to go out and spend even an hour at the party. :-} It's rare enough for me to run out of energy, particularly social energy, that I really have to listen when I do. So, I'm sending regrets with [livejournal.com profile] ablock to the hostess and host, and likewise to the rest of you I would have liked to see there.
chanaleh: (eleanor)
I have (no surprise) been thinking a lot lately about my medium-term goals in life, and had the insight that many of them (buying a house; traveling) are limited, at this point, more by finances than by waiting for a partner I can successfully do them with. associated ruminations )

So, between that realization and the fact that the moving (and resettling) process has been wildly expensive, I've started myself back on the discipline of tracking every single penny I spend, so as to better manage my finances on a daily, monthly, and ultimately yearly level. I did this for years on paper (I still have several volumes of "budget books" dating back to my old Prospect St. apartment), but for this round I've built a Google spreadsheet which keeps running totals per category and all that. It's already fairly enlightening.

I expect to spend a couple months just tracking my normal or baseline spending habits (modulo the observer effect in which the very act of writing things down makes you evaluate your choices more consciously, as with a food diary), and then figure out where the biggest changes should be made. -- Yeah, I know, things like "cook dinner at home more" and "bring leftovers for lunch" are no-brainers, but it's a lot more motivating to actually see the bottom line!

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