About @happedancing

the purpose of life is to enjoy every moment! - (random fortune cookie wisdom)

cheers to you!

The year has just begun. It is full of possibilities and adventures and we are really looking forward to all that 2018 has in store. Not long ago we posted this little message:

the 91 rewind: cheers to you

To that effect, we would like to re-introduce ourselves as The 91 Rewind

The 91 rewind: cheers to you

Don’t worry! We are keeping all the content you enjoyed on HebrewDawn, but this time as a joint project between two friends who’ve known each other almost forever. We appreciate all of your support so far and we look forward to bringing your more stories, pick-me-ups, and good vibes.

Crystal and I became friends in 1991 when I moved to Smoketree South. We have been besties since then, and although we have both grown and changed, a lot is still the same. When someone knows you like you know yourself, it can help you stay grounded. When the road gets rough, connections like these can help you get back to your authentic self.

Crystal and I are very different but we are both honest to a fault. Our friendship has endured the test of time; probably because we have always kept it real with one another. We continue to help each other see the best in ourselves, accept what cannot be changed, and find the motivation to keep going on.

We started this blog as a way to share-with everyone-the little pep talks, comic relief, and good conversation we have been sharing with one another for years. If our friendship has taught us anything, it is that sometimes sharing your story with someone else helps to lighten the load.

The 91 Rewind is our version of a digital treehouse. It’s a place to get away for a moment, catch your breath, and find silver linings. If you need a refresh, a reset, or a “rewind and try again”, you’re welcome here. Come on over for a bit. Listen, share, but more than anything, just be yourself! We’re happy to see you¬†ūüôÉ

cheers!

C+E

you survived…celebrate that!

HebrewDawn: you survived...celebrate that!

Here we are…down to the 11th hour in the year 2017. Social media is rife with emotional diatribes and reflections of the past year. Some include a laundry list of accomplishments, others include a giant list of things to never do again. No matter what happened this year — good or bad — it seems we all want to¬†talk about it. Soooo, let’s talk! How did it go for you? Was it the #bestever? Was it totally forgettable? Perhaps it was somewhere in between…

Full disclosure-having a winter birthday has made me into one of these wistful wintertime wonderers. Around the beginning of December each year, I start this little scorekeeping activity. Did I do everything I said I would? Did I do it well? Did I suck less at some things and excel at others? Did I completely change my life for the better? If I didn’t, do I still have enough time left to make my mark?

I gotta tell ya, as important as I feel it is to self-evaluate, I generally feel pretty awful about myself after this little exercise. Why? Because I’m always so disappointed. I’m really good at finding room for improvement, everywhere, all the time. This is a great habit for productivity and goal setting, but pretty miserable for self-esteem. Sometimes the accomplishment is survival. Sometimes, like my best friend Crystal says,¬†done is enough.¬† So that’s how I feel about this year. It’s almost done,¬†y’all!

As long as I can remember, I have tried to “figure it out”; tried to equate what I have with what I feel I deserve. And guess what always happens? Since I am the common denominator in the events of my life, I¬† have to blame myself for all the shortcomings. I resent my multitudinous bad habits. I am envious of what others have done that I believe to be better or more important than my own accomplishments.

This is all negative reinforcement and I find myself asking why I do this? What is the point in keeping score? Tallying arbitrary accolades that mean very little to anyone else and say very little about the person I am. At some point, will I accumulate enough positive life events to win something? Will 365 days of AWESOME bring me to some amazing place of clarity and self-actualization?

The logical part of my brain is laughing at the mere thought of this. If we know perfection does not exist, why do we still expect it from ourselves? The purpose of life is not to be perfect, but to live; to continue experiencing one moment to the next for as long as we have moments on earth. In order to do that, we must be present. We have to participate in all the moments fully. We have to find the best in every moment/day/year…even the really sh*tty ones.

Through my yoga teacher training, I have come to accept that we can only control our reactions and responses. From this latest year on earth, I have come to learn that life really isn’t fair. It is from this place that I offer my conclusions on the year 2017

  1. Some sh*t happened.
  2. Some of that sh*t was positive – YAY!
  3. Some of that sh*t was negative…but it provided a chance to learn/regroup/restrategize-still a YAY!
  4. So far, I’ve managed to survive every day..even the really sh*tty ones.

Whatever happened this year, be grateful for it and then let it go. It hasn’t taken the breath from your lungs, the love from your heart, or the thoughts from your head. Celebrate every d@*% thing that you went through this year because it made you tougher, stronger, better. Bad things help us know and trust ourselves more. They make us resilient. Good things help us stay motivated to continue doing more. They empower us. So really, all things are good things, if you want to see it that way.

We are ALL strong. We are ALL overcoming. We are ALL brave. Let’go into this new year with a goal to make it through the whole stinkin’ thing, NO MATTER WHAT!

I believe in you guys…

xoxo,

E

HebrewDawn: you survived...celebrate that!

the lies we tell ourselves

HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

So I completed the inaugural Race Across Durham Trail Marathon, last weekend. My third marathon, but my first true trail race of this distance. It was a great day overall; the course was awesome, the volunteers were amazingly supportive, and the weather was perfect for spending the day on some technical ass trails. My awesome pals, Amy and Liz, and I just kept stepping and sharing encouraging thoughts with another. We made jokes about how slow we were moving. We celebrated when there were cookies and Pepsi at the aid stations. We pushed past a barrage of crazy feelings along that soul-crushing course all the way to the finish. The race was a lot more challenging than we expected, and we all had to keep the positive mental attitude strong to get through it.

The truth is this: for moments in the race, I was absolutely lying to myself. For only the second¬†time in my amateur¬†“I-like-to-run-for-long-periods-of-time” career,¬†I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to complete the race. Parts of the course I could barely hike without tumbling ass over ankles, much less run. I didn’t know if we’d ever make it out of the woods. I was in way over my head, but acknowledging that uncertainty would only make matters worse. I had to make a choice to banish my doubt and pretend it was going to be¬†perfect. I had to monitor my inner dialogue and speak only kind words of encouragement aloud to Amy and Liz. I crafted lie after lie so I could stay focused and be supportive of the process.

When we finally stumbled out of the woods six hours later, it was revealed that my friends and I experienced the same exact thing. Each of us had doubts and worries and concerns, but we all made a silent vow to keep it positive for every step of our 26.2 miles. It is truly amazing that three completely different people can-without talking about it-get on the same page. Trail running is not really a team sport, but on 12/3 in Durham, it absolutely was.

As a person who subscribes to an “honesty is always best” policy, I have to admit that the lies we told ourselves last Sunday were absolutely necessary. Honestly, I did not KNOW what would happen. I had to hope for the best and believe we would get through it.¬†I’m reminded¬†of Henry Ford’s famous words:

HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

This has always resonated with me. I believe that the mindset you have going into a situation informs it’s outcome. Think about it for a moment. When we look forward to something with excitement, we are usually a little more forgiving. Maybe the caterer mixed up an appetizer order, but the party was still great! Maybe our best friend’s incoming flight was delayed, but there was no traffic on the way to the airport! When we are hopeful, we can overlook some of the imperfections and idealize reality.

Conversely, when we are full of dread and anxiety, when we are fearful or doubtful, there is a snowball effect. I know we have all had days were things start off bad and progressively get worse. Without fail, if you are already running late for anything, there will be some traffic situation to delay you even more. And then you will probably spill your coffee everywhere and leave your lunch at home on the kitchen counter. Is the universe out to get you? Probably not, but it feels that way.

Why does this happen?

It happens because negativity, even a kernel of it, can send us down a spiral of doom. It begins to color the lens through which we see everything. When we start expecting a hot shitty mess at every turn, our brain will do everything it can to make that a reality.

It takes great effort, and sometimes a little creativity to be positive, but it’s worth it. The little lies we tell ourselves, the little uncertainties we smooth over, they help us to stay focused on the task at hand. They keep us moving forward so we don’t get stuck in the spiral.

So remember, next time things start to get a little dark, try with all your might to look at the bright side…even if it has been created with artificial lighting ūüôā

xoxo,

E

HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

recovery discovery

I have grown to resent the number hours I need to sleep to feel rested. I find myself saying things like “if I could just wake up a little earlier” or “if I could just have a couple extra hours in the day” all the time. Although, I’m quite sure if I had “extra” time, I wouldn’t spend it resting. I would undoubtedly find ways to fill that time with all sort of¬†stuff and find myself in the exact same situation.

Not long ago Crystal posted about slowing down and taking time to enjoy the little things in life. I read it and even commented that I agreed, but have I taken time to slow down since then? No, I have not.

Every day seems like a race against the clock to do more in our waking hours than we did the day before. If we succeed, the bar is raised! (And so is our anxiety from trying to continually increase our productivity.) If we fail, we feel sad and guilty.

So what gives? When our cell phones and tablets indicate a “low battery” we know and respect the limited amount of time left. We stop what we are doing and scramble to find an outlet, we rush to recharge these devices so we can stay connected. People will traipse miles in an airport or conference center to find a place to plug in¬†their devices. We even tote little portable battery packs so that we can stay charged up.

If we can understand the limited lifespan of our rechargeable devices, should we not take it a little easier on ourselves? It’s as if we expect our “batteries” to last forever. If we do actually admit we feel depleted, we make excuses as to why we have to suffer through it and we keep on trucking.

We don’t recharge. We grind away at life, willing ourselves to continue despite our exhaustion. Why? Because we feel guilty.

Self-care is greatly undervalued in this country. Most can agree that we don’t have time to be sick/injured/tired/not in the mood, yet most of us don’t take the steps needed to prevent the maladies from affecting us.

While taking a vacation may not prevent you from getting the flu, research shows that it can relieve stress. Chronic stress can affect a wide variety of biophysical processes AND can weaken your immune system. Regular exercise and a whole food diet may not put more money in your bank account, but it may help you sleep better. Arriving at work well-rested helps us stay positive and productive. 

Taking “personal time” can be seen as a narrowly afforded luxury or worse, as an excuse for slacking off. (The entire concept of playing “hooky” was born from the idea that our personal time is not valuable enough to be taken seriously.) We feel irresponsible taking a “personal day,” like doing something just for fun is not value added. We have talked already about the importance of playtime, but still why don’t we allow ourselves a break?

If we temper our expectations for our devices when the batteries run low, why can’t we also temper our expectations for ourselves?

There is a tremendous amount of research in the fitness world that suggests that recovery is as critical to your routine as the workouts themselves. Elite athletes all over the world tout the benefits of the “off-season”. Think about it, even professional basketball players do not hit the court every single day. They spend long hours training in their chosen modality, but they also take time away. Giving the body time to rest and rebuild between workouts is the keystone to realizing progress.

Recharging does not have to include sleeping, or binge-watching shows on Netflix-although that is pretty darn nice too. Rest and recovery means engaging in low-stress (physical and emotional) activities that stimulate creativity, bring joy, or help us connect with others. Cleaning my apartment has become a favorite off-day activity for me. (I can’t believe I just said that. Mom will be SO proud!ūüėā) I can take it at my own pace, listen to music, and by the end I feel way more relaxed.

Whether your recharge involves being playful, productive, or simply present in the moment, relish in it! Plan for and look forward to it. Make rejuvenation a habit. The ability to recover from stress (whether it’s physical stress from a workout, or emotional stress from an intense day at the office) helps us raise the intensity, to endure higher levels of stress in the future. BUT it is not until we slow down and give ourselves time to recharge that we can actually raise the bar.

The only way to make progress in life is by allowing our minds, our bodies, our spirits, to rejuvenate. Just like our cell phones, sometimes we absolutely NEED to power down and give ourselves a break. If we keep going without enough rest, we become useless…just like an iPhone with a dead battery.

Go hard, my friends! Chase your dreams, and live large. But, if you’re ever feeling tired or stressed, it’s okay! Sometimes rest is best.

Namaste,

E

when volumes speak #metoo

HebrewDawn: when volumes speak #metoo

I have to take a moment to appreciate the gesture of those tiny words. As I’ve scrolled through my social media feed over the last week, I see countless women (and men) coming forth in brave solidarity. These people are my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors; and for many, this is the first I’m hearing of these events. This movement is not about trending or gaining new followers. It’s not about one-upping or getting attention. It’s not even about righting the wrongs of the past. It is simply about awareness. This is a demonstration that encourages volumes to speak two little words…me too.

Some of you have courageously shared the details of your experiences, and I commend you for this because I couldn’t do it. To be honest, I still feel like the times it happened to me were my fault. I still feel like I let it happen; although, the throngs of you who are bravely acknowledging that you too have had this experience is slowly chipping away at that feeling. Seeing all the #metoo posts are slowly helping to alleviate the shame. 

Brene Brown a renowned author and research professor suggests that empathy is the only way to eradicate shame. In one of her videos she explains empathy with a powerful example. An example that epitomizes #metoo  and why it is, in fact, a gesture of empathy.

I thought for a great while about not “fessing up” and posting the #metoo status, but I chose to speak. Besides, what has silence brought me but shame and torment? In truth, the way I’ve handled my shame is by isolating myself. I stopped living my life because I was afraid of repeating “mistakes”.I considered the situation to be something that was my fault so in attempt to gain control, I removed myself from the situation. I stopped drinking with my friends, I stopped dating, I thought twice about what I wore and how it made me look, I chose my words more carefully. I built a wall around myself.  I thought it was to keep bad things out, but it has only served to keep the shame close. You see, we can try everything in our power to “remove ourselves from the situation”, but it will only do so much. When we stop living our lives, we are giving in to the shame.  At the end of the day, the only thing that can ease our shame is the awareness that we are NOT actually alone.

The truth is this; if any person has tried to engage you in any sexual activity (conversations, touching, name calling, photos, etc) to which you did not provide consent, that is WRONG. It doesn’t matter if that person is your boyfriend or your boss or your coach or whatever. Taking advantage of someone by force or leveraging shame IS WRONG. The assumption that a woman is promiscuous due to her dress or behavior or that she gives consent by default of these attributes is WRONG. Consent is quite simple. It is a clear YES. Any response other than an emphatic  YES is a f*cking NO.

Excuse my language, but this is a very serious thing we are dealing with. Last Monday tons of people came forward to say “me too”. To crawl down into the pit with those who are hurting and say we are here and we understand. This gesture has helped me to feel a little less shame, and a little more brave in standing up for what is right. I  hope it does something similar for you, too.

In love and kindness…

E

the “I thought I didn’t like eggplant” recipe

HebrewDawn: the "I thought I didn't like eggplant" recipe

 

 

I really love food, but I especially love recipes that take me back. In an attempt to be more conscientious of how I fuel this movement machine, I try to balance healthy with delicious so I’m not feeling too deprived. I find taking the time to make something indulgent from scratch takes a little more planning, but usually tastes a little better and just makes you feel good. It’s like a hug, from your mom ūüôā The recipe I’m going to share with you today will take you back to a time when you had something unexpectedly good. Even if you don’t “think” you like eggplant, I dare you to try this recipe. It’s really great, easy to prepare, and quite versatile.

I’ve been (mostly) vegetarian for five-ish years now and I will be honest, there are some things on the savory end of the spectrum that I miss. When I have a hankering for crispy, salty, cheesey something, this is my go-to.This recipe is crunchy, savory, and satisfyingly simple. Please enjoy my take on my mom’s eggplant parmesan:

Ingredients:

eggplant
note: if they are big bulbous ones, remove the skin and cut into half-inch rounds. if they are skinny, just slice in half, long-wise, if they are the little golfball sized ones, they are too cute for this recipe and you should just roast them whole ūüôā

**the following ingredients are for roughly 2 portions so multiply as needed for the number of servings you need.**

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 c of parsely
1/2 c plain breadcrumbs
several shakes of crushed red pepper flakes
shredded cheese for sprinklin’ (any kind of melty cheese would work: parmesan, cheddar, havarti, mozzarella, whatever you have on hand)

Method:

Start by peeling the skin from the eggplant. If you like the skin, you can leave it on. I don’t mind it, but the egg and breadcrumbs will stick better if you remove it. Then slice it up; rounds, long strips, whatever. Once you have it peeled and sliced; salt both sides and press it between paper towels for at least 25 minute. You can use a heavy skillet weighted down with cans or something of the like to press. If you have time, you can “press” it for up to an hour; the more water you will remove and the crispier it will get.

While the eggplants are getting “pressed”, preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Lightly beat the egg and combine with the milk and half the parsley. Season with pepper if you like, but no salt since the eggplants will have some residual salt from the pressing. Add the crushed red pepper and remaining parsley to the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.

Next, wipe away the salt from the eggplant. They will have released a good amount of moisture, so just try and get them as dry as possible. Now set up your little assembly line. This is mom’s influence. She always says that you need to try and keep one hand clean when you’re doing a coating like this so you can access things you need without getting breading all over the place.¬†She’s a smarty pants, that one. Anyway the order is as follows: eggwash, breadcrumbs, lightly olive-oiled baking sheet. And so it goes, dip your eggplants one by one into each mixture to lightly coat.

Once your sheet is full, throw them in the oven for about 15-20min. When you take them out the bottoms should be golden brown. Flip those little nuggets of yum over and bake on the other side for about 5-8minutes. Then add some cheese to the top. Try not to get carried away, all though it’s easy to do, and bake for another 2-3min or until the cheese is melty and golden on top.

Voila! This is it. It’s up to you from here. Maybe you dunk ’em in marinara like you would a cheesestick? Load them into a toasty naan with hummus and lettuce? Serve as a side item with some sauteed kale and navy beans…The possibilities are vast!¬† Enjoy ūüôā

with love, light, and blessings,

E

HebrewDawn: the "I thought I didn't like eggplant" recipe

the awesomeness of autumn

Fall in LoveIt’s officially fall, y’all! While I love balmy temps, long days, and cut-off shorts, I long for cardigans and combat boots. For many, the summer ended unofficially with the passing of Labor Day and the start of another school year. Others look to the Autumnal Equinox to usher in the new season. Still for some, the re-appearance of “Pumpkin Spice” everything signifies that cooler temps are on their way.
There are so many reasons to embrace the awesomeness of autumn and it seems that more people than ever before are getting into the spirit of the season. Whether you’re cheering on your favorite football team, picking apples at your local produce patch, or simply enjoying a mid-day stroll without sweating through your clothes; it seems we LOVE to get outside during the fall. For good reason, too! Decreased humidity, moderate temperatures, and the beautiful changing of the leaves; all things that are best experienced first-hand.

We can turn our love of fall into a habit. Taking time to #optoutside is a great way to engage with loved ones, take a break, and appreciate the beauty all around us. Here are some ideas to embrace the awesomeness of autumn!

  • Working-lunch picnic: take your lunch to work one day and find a spot to eat outside. If you don’t have a dedicated sitting area, you can get creative! Organize an at-work tailgate with some coworkers. Bring your folding chairs and a radio for the full experience.
  • BYOP Porch Party: This is great for kids of all ages! Turn your porch into a GOURD-geous gallery of pumpkin art! You will need some kitchen utensils and newspaper for carving, and some scrap paper for tracing designs. Have guests supply their own pumpkins.
  • GET in the GAME! Gather up your neighborhood pals for a game of two-hand touch football, cornhole, kickball, basketball, TV tag, whatever!
  • Leaf collecting: this is such a fun activity that you may want to do it multiple times. Take a walk and search for dropped leaves that have started to change. Notice how the colors become richer throughout the season.
  • Fall Pub and Grub Crawl: Explore your local surroundings on foot. Plan a hike/bike/trek with a delicious destination. Food and drink are always better after a little adventure.

Get creative! There are so many ways to fall in love with Autumn. In the Triangle NC area, where I live, there are tons of local 5k races for great causes popping up this time of year. Whether you run it for time or walk with friends, you’re guaranteed to enjoy yourself. You could check out a local music or food festival; Sylvan Esso and Friends at Shakori Hills was the PERFECT welcome to fall event. If you like to see or be seen, fall is your chance to get out and play. Hope everyone enjoys the cooler temps this week! I sure will ūüôā

Love and blessings to all y’all!

E

HebrewDawn: the awesomeness of autumn

pause and press play

When was the last time you did something just for the fun of it? I’m talking about gallivanting shenanigans, here. Really try to think…I’ll wait.

So many of us lead full busy lives with hardly any leftover time for shenanigans. It is widely known that play is critical for children to develop creative thinking and problem solving skills. But who has time for playing around in their grown-up lives?

HebrewDawn: pause and press play
The truth is that playtime is important for people of all ages. Engaging in activities purely for enjoyment can bring much more than fun into our lives. Dr. Stuart Brown is the founder of the National Institute of Play. He¬†defines “play” as an apparently purposeless activity; something done for it’s own sake that is fun or enjoyable. There are many different types of play available to adults, but the important part is that we are only invested in the activity as much as it is pleasurable to us. Basically, ¬†the act of playing is more important than what you do or how it goes.

For instance, I teach dance and yoga in Raleigh, NC. ¬†While I am extremely passionate about both activities in any context, I have a much different experience giving a class than when I’m taking a dance or yoga class. As a teacher, I spend a lot of time preparing lessons, creating sequences and choreography, to make sure I can guide my students safely and effectively through each class. Sort of like having a party at your house, my job, as the host, is to make sure everyone is having a good time. When I am NOT the teacher, ¬†I can let go of my expectations and live in the moment. I can be present in what’s happening right now and not worry about where we came from or what’s happening next. It is truly a gift to be a student attending, and I find my practice in both modalities is invigorated by this playtime. Conversely, the absence of playtime leaves me feeling like a stale bag of chips…

Humans are not alone in their need for play. Dr. Brown has researched play among species in the animal kingdom, finding that species that play more when danger is not present are better able to defend themselves when a threat emerges. There is also evidence that animals of different species can communicate through play. ¬†Brown’s famous story about the polar bear and the husky illustrates this amazing concept. This suggests that in some way, from an evolutionary standpoint, play is purposeful. That is an odd concept to wrap around the old noodle…Why on earth would messing around give us an advantage?

Regardless of our age, the act of playing catalyzes some pretty important reactions:

  1. Playing helps us connect with others; when we are children, it’s how we develop communication skills. As adults, it helps us feel trust and bond with one another.
  2. Playing helps improve our brain function. Games from simple to complex engage the mind and increase our cognitive function.
  3. Playing helps us relax. Because we are enjoying the activity, we let go of our sense of time when we’re playing.

Even if we are simply taking a mental break from it all, playtime refreshes us. Maybe animals who play sleep better and are more rested when the time comes to be active? Maybe that group of thirtysomethings playing Magic in the back of the video game store is not really so strange? (I mean clearly, they are having a wicked good time, they are here every Friday night!) Maybe those silly corporate team-building activities aren’t so silly, after all?

This is the first of a series of posts about “playing around” and how we can all stand to invite a little more of it into our routines. Until then, go have yourself a ball, do something just for grins…I Double Dog Dare, you!

xo,

E

HebrewDawn: pause and press playResources:

About Us

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too

Two of us on the run

HebrewDawn: unconditional tenderness

Living well does not just mean taking care of our physical body. It also means looking after our spirit by nurturing the people and things and ideas we love. For me, that’s music. I was fortunate enough to catch the amazing Lucius (one of my favorite bands) at a local venue last night. In addition to playing a killer show, the group took time out of their set to say a few words about the events that took place in Orlando earlier this week. They shared their condolences and begged the audience to keep talking about these atrocities. They urged us to support ANY AND ALL¬†efforts to stop the spread of hate and bigotry. This was received with both cheers and tears;¬†a collective raising of hope.

In a time where we can never be sure of anything, I think we can all be sure that aggressive intolerance is not only baseless but also divisive. Anger and resentment towards the differences of others is like being mad at the weather. Reflecting on our pain and frustration may be dwelling in the past, but it is our only path forward. Remembering how these terrible crimes affect us and the world we live in is the path to change. This is not a time to forgive and forget. This is a time for us to get up, stand up, and do something positive. In the face of a ghastly tragedy like this one, it can be difficult to see any positive outcome, but try. I promise it will be better if you do. 

I have to admit when the news first broke of yet another mass shooting, I was in denial. I did not want to hear about it. I didn’t want to get angry or sad or experience the heavy emotions of this tragic¬†pointless loss of life. It seems so¬†unreal. There is no acceptable answer for why this happened just as there is no sure-fire way to stop it from happening again. But that doesn’t mean we should not try. We have to believe a solution is possible, we have to want change more than we fear this cruel intolerance. It will be tough to find the motivation, but we should try. It’s better if we do.

We have to learn to trust each other and that starts with love and respect. I respect you even though I don’t know you. I appreciate all the experiences that have made you and look forward to knowing you better. You are imperfectly perfect as you are right now in this moment and I love you for that. I want you to know that I cherish you. I love you before I’ve even met you because we are alike. We deserve to find love in each other, we are connected. It may seem hard to believe, with me here and you there, but try. It’s better if you do.

We asked for your prayers earlier this week, but now we ask for your action. We want you to join us in spreading a message of love and acceptance. Help us commemorate these events in a positive way. Hug someone, call someone, buy someone a coffee, ask someone how their day was, just engage with someone. Help them with a project, help them with their homework, just be helpful. By caring randomly for another, even in a small way, we are sharing the love. You may not get a favor in return or even a thank you, bur you should try. Its better if you do.

While I don’t believe in unconditional love, I do believe in unconditional tenderness. After all, everyone is somebody’s child. It may be hard to believe that an evil killer once had a loving mother, but we should try. It will be better if we do.
HebrewDawn: unconditional tenderness

Let’s work to make the tragedy in Orlando the straw that broke the camels back.¬†Let’s take the high road and discourage hateful rhetoric. Let’s react with compassion before anger. Let’s remember to treat others just as we hope to be treated. By paying it forward and giving our neighbors the benefit of the doubt we are taking tiny but deliberate steps toward making love¬†the golden rule. Let’s kill hate with kindness. It wont be easy and can’t be solved with clever hash tags or a cute t-shirt, but still we should try. Trying to find, feel, and reflect love every day regardless of the outcome will test each of us, but it’s worth it. It may seem ridiculous to think that love can stop a bullet, but I think we should try. I think it’s better if we do.

Here at HebrewDawn we want everyone to feel welcome. We want you to be yourself to your fullest expression in this safe cyber space. We want to hear your thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams. We want to be there for you and rely on your support as well. Thank you for being you. We love you and wish you well.

just have water

HebrewDawn: Just Have Water - 3 week water challenge
Water park, water gun, watermelon, water balloon fight. Water is the ever popular topic of many summertime conversations. Whether we are going to it, getting in it, freezing it, misting it, or otherwise mixing it up, it seems we just can’t get enough. It’s a powerful force that can sustain life or destroy it in a matter of moments.We hear¬†about the importance of keeping it clean¬†and consuming enough constantly; and¬†somehow¬†adequate hydration, for many of the people I know, is the exception and not the rule. I myself think I drink enough, but most times my urine¬†is¬†classic crayola¬†yellow which means I’m dehydrated. Apparently you can leave a girl a water, but you can’t make her drink…(HA! See what ¬†I did there?) At any rate, I find this confusing.¬†I’m grasping at excuses for our widespread dehydration but I can’t find any good ones. I propose we try to fix this;¬†make this hydration thing a¬†“WILL DO” instead of a “probably should.”¬†For¬†the next three weeks, I’m inviting you to join me in a challenge to just have water. At meal times and workouts; any time you drink, I invite you to just have water instead. I think you will be surprised at the results you find and I have a couple of¬†ideas that¬†will¬†motivate you to get more of it down the hatch and into your life.The biggest perk of water is that it’s free! ¬†Not exactly free in a financial sense so much as a nutritional sense, which makes water highly¬†unique. It’s a fluid that is integral to our bodies on¬†a cellular level, but unlike any other food or beverage it contains ZERO calories. We can ¬†have as much water as we like without feeling guilty. Great! Why do we care? We care for two reasons; first, because proper¬†hydration will ensure that our metabolic processes are running at peak performance. One example is that¬†adequate water intake will make sure your body produces the sweat needed to cool you down. (There is a great deal of information available on more specific ways water effects systems and processes inside our bodies but I won’t go into lengthy explanations here.) The other reason we care involves using water as a way to monitor and control calorie intake. We have all felt and generally know the difference between thirst and hunger. Did you know that dehydration can actual manifest as hunger? More often than not a growling empty-stomach¬†¬†can be quelled with just having some water.

HebrewDawn: Just Have Water - 3 week water challenge
It’s easy to think of water as a beverage choice. In my opinion, water is not A beverage, it’s really THE beverage.¬†Any other fluid ingested by humans is likely to contain calories thus making¬†most beverages as we know them more like¬†a food. Milk, juices, sodas, alcohol all contain calories-this is not news. What about beverages that don’t contain any calories you ask? I have an argument against these for one simple reason. Unless it is a naturally calorie-free beverage, it is a processed food item. The calories have either been removed scientifically or the product has been designed scientifically to not have calories but taste like it does. Long story short, diet soda and flavored waters are NOT a great option for hydration. They contain water but they contain a bunch of other stuff ¬†too that varies wildly¬†in origin and could be consumed in higher than desirable amounts if you try to drink enough calorie-free beverages to keep you hydrated. Water, in it’s most basic form, is the go to fluid for hydration because it contains just what you need and nothing else.

I’m not trying¬†to bamboozle you with¬†a too-good-to-be-true cleanse or a fancy water enhancer to make it seem different than what it is. I just want to¬†expand¬†the way you think about water and staying hydrated.¬†Saying one will just have water can suck the fun right out of the room. It’s¬†like someone saying they will just have one M&M, or that we are just looking at those shoes. BORING! It doesn’t have to be that way though. Chances are if you’re reading this, you live in a place where clean water is abundant. Lucky for us, right? No, really it is. There are nearly 80 billion people on this planet that¬†would LOVE to just have some water;¬†80 billion people in our world who¬†don’t have enough clean water or don’t know if they will get enough each day. We owe it to these folks to use our water wisely and to the benefit of our lives. Hopefully we do this while simultaneously supporting research ¬†and fundraising efforts to shrink the number of people in need of clean water, but that’s another topic for another day.

HebrewDawn: Just Have Water - 3 week water challenge
Now that you know a little more about why water is¬†wonderful, join us at HebrewDawn for three weeks of just having water.¬†It couldn’t hurt, right? ¬†Let’s fill our largest cup to the brim¬†from the fountain of youth. Let’s ¬†stay cool, stay fresh, and stay hydrated with good old H2O.¬†¬†Cheers to all and¬†happy drinking!