Free as a bird!

Alright alright, some of you might think I’ve been “free as a bird” for the last five years or so (right Jason?), but in reality, for the last five years I have worked like a dog, taking care of myself, and the community to which I belong at that time.  In the last 5 years my hair has fallen out, (grown back, and fallen out again), I have lived in California (in 3 different homes, 2 Moishe Houses and my Aunt Jodi’s house – thanks Aunt J-Dawg, you da best), started the Raw Bar at Whole Foods Market – Venice, moved to Portland, OR – working as the Healthy Eating Specialist at WFM – while also living in the Moishe House there, and then moved home to Denver, CO – working as a private chef and health food coach.

All of these moves were significant in my life, because I knew I needed to take the necessary steps, to make me feel confident in my own skin, wondering the world alone.  I decided to book a completely selfish, one way ticket to Israel where I would fly like a bird, come and go as I’d like, and live out of my backpack.  Instead, I ended up volunteering in one of the most unknown towns in Israel, teaching children English.  For a trip that was meant to be selfish, I ended up being almost completely selfless for the last five months.


Immediately after my trip ended, I went to Zichron Ya'akov where I went wine tasting, and ended my day watching the sunset :)
Immediately after my trip ended, I went to Zichron Ya’akov where I went wine tasting, and ended my day watching the sunset 🙂

But alas, my volunteer time has come to an end, and now it’s time for ME.  And to be quite frank, this feeling of being completely free, having no physical space to call home, and having nobody waiting for me, is scary as hell!  I realized I have been so busy taking care of everyone else for the last five years, taking care of myself, and figuring out exactly what it is that I need, for ME, is really confusing and overwhelming!  I was walking on the beach yesterday, and while I should have been completely relaxed and serene, my body was not allowing me to feel that way!  I was so frustrated that my mind was still running, thinking about my next move!

Thank G-d I never need to worry about having a roof over my head, (I have family in Israel who have taken me in so graciously  and I am beyond thankful for them), as well as friends located throughout all of Israel who have invited me to stay in their homes.  But the real work I am doing now is inner work.  I realized, I have spent so much time giving, that when I try to give to myself, my mind wants to take control, rather than letting ME, truly feel the freedom.

‎”Rather than living a life of resistance and trying to disprove our basic situation of impermanence and change, we could contact the fundamental ambiguity and welcome it. We don’t like to think of ourselves as fixed and unchanging, but emotionally we’re very invested in it. We simply don’t want the frightening, uneasy discomfort of feeling groundless. But we don’t have to close down when we feel groundlessness in any form. Instead, we can turn toward it and say, “This is what freedom from fixed mind feels like. This is what freedom from closed-heartedness feels like. This is what unbiased, unfettered goodness feels like. Maybe I’ll get curious and see if I can go beyond my resistance and experience the goodness.” – Pema Chodron

I have been reading the book, The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, and I came to a part of the book that talks about our immune system.  This book shares that we all have an inner light, our own light that is ALWAYS a part of us, that never ages.  If at all times in life we take a minute to feel our inner light, and essence, we will not appear to be aging as rapidly as happens for some.  When we lose sight of our own light however, our immune system is weakened and our body begins to degenerate.  Alopecia, my hair loss, is an auto-immune disorder, so this section of the book really touched home with me.  Prior to this reading, I had focused on the immune system from a more physical perspective.  After eating food, our digestive system goes to work.  When our digestive system is tired, but more digesting is needed, our immune system comes to the rescue, using our stored energy to help continue breaking down whatever food we put into our mouths.  I have consciously focused on the food I eat, since my hair first fell out, but have not spent enough time focusing on my inner light.

The beach in Tel Aviv
The beach in Tel Aviv

So that, is what these next 3 months, of true freedom, will consist of for me!  I am currently in Kfar Saba, with my family, and tomorrow I will be headed to tzfat for two weeks.  I have a home I will be staying in, where I will finally, after 5 years have a space that is all for me!  You might wonder how I have the money to sublet a space for so long.  Well, I don’t have that money 🙂  I do however, have years of experience with chef-ing, and have skills that people are willing to trade for!  For the owners of the house, I will be preparing them food for when they return.  Their fridge will be filled with delicious, gourmet, Chef Raw Raw delights!   Bartering is the way the world should be.  Everyone is happy this way!

So for now, I will bid you adieu.  My head is held high, my faith is becoming stronger, and I feel excited to embrace what is to come.  Shabbat is coming, and I will welcome her with an open heart.  To a restful, restorative Shabbat, filled with easy breathing, and a new awareness of the inner light that exists within us all.

And I remind myself, it doesn't cost a thing to smile. I don't have to pay to laugh.  I better thank G-d for that.
And I remind myself, it doesn’t cost a thing to smile. I don’t have to pay to laugh. I better thank G-d for that.

Shabbat Shalom!

Love and light,



5 thoughts on “Free as a bird!

  1. Juju,

    Wow! Your insight and ability to express yourself so eloquently is amazing.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and insight. I truly can relate to the impact of not listening to your inner light as I have only started to listen to mine at 55.

    I love you Juju and I am honored and blessed to have you as my “bichora”, my oldest daughter!

    Love and Shabbat Shalom!



  2. Have fun Julie, and enjoy getting to know you 🙂 And anytime you want a place to stay in Englewood, NJ, we’d gladly barter your chefing skills!


  3. So incredibly proud of you! You truly amaze me with your insight and strength.
    We have plenty of room for you here, in Michigan, and would also gladly barter for your chefing skills and to have the ray of sunshine that follows you around!
    Wishing you the very best and sending you lots and lots of love, Aunt Sharon!


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