Sunday, December 29, 2013

Good Things in 2013

What a year it has been.  I will likely refer to this year as the awakening.  Turning 50 has been joyful, empowering, adventurous, spiritual and fun.  And the greatest gift of all was that I worked very hard to be present and aware of these moments.  Here is a quick recap of all good things in 2013!

February - the big 50!  Instead of one big celebration, I chose to celebrate with several days of small precious moments with friends and family.  Some friends surprised me and other family and friends expressed their love for me in many ways.  I took the day off and spent it the way I wanted.  To be truthful, I don't remember what I did.  It just know that I did whatever I wanted.  It was a great month filled with love, friendship and great choices.

April - Vacation my mom and daughter to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and London.  As part of our school's Twinning program, my mom and I traveled to Israel and spent a week exploring Israel with my daughter's class and then my mom, my daughter and I stopped in London for the weekend on our way home.  My mother hadn't been in 34 years and it was the first big trip that we were all taking since my dad had passed away 3 years before.  It was amazing.  I had high expectations and this trip far exceeded anything I had envisioned.  My mother and I got to spend this time together which was memorable.  My daughter experienced Israel for the first time and I got to be a witness which was incredible.  And this truly was a birthday present for me.  3 generations of our family traveling around Israel, each of us with a different level of religion, spirituality and connection.  I was transformed after this trip.  My heart was full, I felt more connected to my friends, my synagogue, my mother, my daughter and somehow my soul had been moved in a way that I had not expected.   Walking along the streets in these different countries gave me a new appreciation for my life as an American Jew and a Jewish American.

June - Honored by my peers!  At the Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California's annual dinner, I was given the Excellence in Fundraising Award.  Growing up, my dad always loved going to work.  Though I didn't understand it then, I knew that I wanted to feel that way about anything.  So once I graduated, I chose to follow in my dad's footsteps to share his experience.  After almost 10 years, I found that I did not share his enthusiasm for the entertainment industry.   And it was then, I left to find my own fulfilling space.  And the Jewish world found me.   My job has allowed me to experience the same passion and joy that my dad had for his job.  And then to be recognized by my peers was like winning an Oscar.  Don't laugh, when I started my career, I had a friend who was just beginning her acting career.  Obviously, award ceremonies and salaries pale in comparison, but gratitude, joy, fulfillment and personal mission are in abundance and in that I am a billionaire.

September - We celebrate my daughter's Bat Mitzvah!  After a year of planning, it all comes down to one day and on this day, the reality far exceeded any expectation I had (and my expectations were high).   I remember every moment of the day.   My daughter stood up there as the wise old soul I knew her to be.  She chanted Torah with comfort and joy.  When it came to her speech, she spoke with confidence, determination, and ease.   Like many events, it wasn't just one moment that made the day great, but rather so many great moments linked together.  I wrote more about it in a previous post, so I'll keep it brief.

These are just a few of the remarkable moments and there were more.  I was awakened by these moments.  I was present, I felt alive and am truly grateful for these and many more.  I consider myself to be very lucky and I'm looking forward to 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Enjoy The Moment, It Goes Quickly

Do you feel it?  Can you share it?  Are you in it?  Did you miss it?  The moment is here and then it is gone.  

Today in meditation, I was struck by the passing of moments.  Some are huge - great or traumatic.  Either way they are so significant that we recognize it as marking major transitions in our life.

And then there are the subtle moments, so soft and gentle.  These can also be joyous or sad, and though we don't recognize it while it is happening and making an instant impact, weeks, months or years later, we recall it for its significance  to our present day issues.

It is these moments that I connected with this past week.  A committee reflected on a volunteer who passed away two years ago and it was the small things that he did that we shared.  We didn't mention his public philanthropy or the amount of his last gift.  Our focus was how he lived his life so naturally generous with his time and spirit and how that is still an inspiration to us today.

I heard beautiful speeches this week.  As we end our year, many people are reflecting with great thought and feeling.  Again, what I heard from these great speakers was examples of subtle impact, reflection of a personal interaction, visiting the sick, working with a friend, or learning together.  

It is easy to see or feel the big moments, your heart is either bursting with joy and love or breaking into a million pieces.  With meditation, I have learned to appreciate and be aware of the smaller and quieter moments.  With greater awareness, these blend into one another and often lead me to a place of joy and peace.  Being sad, afraid, anxious or angry will never go away completely, but understanding the moment can help move me to the next sweet moment.