Hello and welcome to my first blog!

Dara LevanBlog39 Comments

I showed the first draft of this entry to the men in my house: My husband and my teenage son. They both said I write with too much alliteration and too many multisyllabic (they said “big”) words. After much teasing, which continued during dinner, I asked my youngest to read it. She hugged me and said, “Of course you use alliteration, Mommy! That’s what makes writing good! It’s YOUR writing. Who cares what other people think about it!”

It’s the battle of the blog! I decided to compromise — I’ve (reluctantly) deleted some of the adjectives, imagery, and what my hubby says “sounds like a creative writing paper.” So please bear with me as you begin to read. You have my word (pun intended!) that future blogs will be lighter.  Stories will be sprinkled with humor like toppings on ice cream. (Oops! There I go again with a simile!!!).

I have admittedly spent nearly two decades pondering how and when to begin writing publicly again. For most people, I would imagine the struggle stems from what to write. I will begin this first entry with complete candor. I know no other way than to speak and write honestly from my heart. My trouble lies not with what to write but the how, when, and other meaningless obsessions! I have many personal experiences to share with you as well as many stories strangers have told to me. As we embark on this journey together, I hope to connect with each of you. My wish is to inspire and engage you in an interactive format.

My birthday was in early June. My kids and husband insisted we celebrate. I stubbornly resisted. I said to them it’s not a big birthday. It happens every year. If y’all are insisting on doing something, let’s just have a dinner. Much to my chagrin, my 12-year-old daughter planned an evening that morphed into a full celebration. As the day progressed, she bopped around the house like a busy grasshopper. White table cloths and purple (my favorite color) plastic plates appeared. Then two witty, creative posters hung on the wall. Tootsie rolls suddenly filled bowls. (I asked my daughter the reason for the candy. She said, “Mommy. It’s your favorite!”). Friends brought gifts, despite my emphatic pleas that they should not. A stunning flower arrangement arrived at my doorstep. And a delicious gluten/dairy free cake made its way onto my kitchen island.

The best gift of all, in addition to time spent with dear ones, was a mason jar filled with paper strips. My sweet girl shyly handed it to me and said, “Happy birthday mommy.” I said what is this? She said, “It’s 43 reasons why I love you.” Tears trickled down my cheeks. She said, “Mommy please don’t cry; it makes me so upset!” I said, “Sweetie, these are tears of joy. This is one of the most precious gifts of a lifetime. I am speechless (which is a rarity!).”

The sentences—I promised I wouldn’t share—were so mature, moving, and soul stirring. I held her face in my hands and looked directly into her green eyes. I said, “Once again you’ve taught me something important as you so often do. For the first time in my life, I now understand why I’ve always been painfully uncomfortable being celebrated.” I prefer to do things for others. I feel such joy when I give to friends and family. Birthdays weren’t a big deal when I was a kid. After the age of 10 and then again at 16, and 21…that was it. My old soul said, “Mommy you never know how long you have left. You taught me that—we have to celebrate you!”

I raised a glass of red wine. This is one of my favorite liquid indulgences thanks to a recent trip to Italy. I toasted my friends and family. I briefly told them how loved and embraced I felt. (My daughter proclaimed, “It’s not a Shabbat dinner!! It’s a birthday celebration for you!! Get over it!”). I promised to them and myself that from this day forward, I would celebrate not just the lives of those I love, but also my own life.

A cobalt-blue bird has appeared in my backyard every day since then. I truly believe life is full of sychronicities—there are no coincidences. Perhaps we turn a corner and encounter an old friend. Or we arrive late at a meeting and learn the next day that we avoided a bad accident. Bluebirds symbolize happiness and joy. I watch his carefree movements, and he looks me directly in the eye as if saying, “The time is now.”

And then my 15-year-old son sealed the deal. We were driving home from his summer job. I told him about a kind, belated birthday phone message. This friend also said, “Thank you for your inspirational early FaceBook post this morning.  I’ve been walking around all day thinking I have a roof over my head…thank you for helping me start off my day great.” My son said, “Mom. You need to write a blog. Seriously.” Last night I mustered the courage to reach out publicly. I received immediate, thoughtful, and supportive feedback. One friend said, “Just do it…take the leap!” Another commented that “if I want to engage people I already am.” I am profoundly grateful for these comments and many others.

So why now? Why did I wait to finally launch this blog? I will be raw and honest. FEAR. Fear can mean “Forget Everything And Run.” Or. It can mean “Face Everything And Rise.” I’ve chosen the latter. I have run from my feelings nearly my entire life. I didn’t even know I was doing this until I turned 40. I’ve always preferred to give rather than receive. Whether it is in a professional setting as an editor and speech-language pathologist. Or as a mother, wife, friend, and community activist.

Last year I told my husband that I am starting a new organization. His eyes rapidly widened with worry. He said, “Ummm. Didn’t you promise to start focusing on you? Didn’t you say you would finally commit to writing and photography again? You’ve been talking about this since I’ve known you.” I said, “Yes. My new organization is called OA: Overachiever’s Anonymous. I am the founder, president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.” After he saw me smirk, he got the joke and laughed.

Years ago I was part of a professional group called a Young President’s Organization (YPO) forum. During one of our meetings, one of the women said, “You do not know how to stop and receive.” This was nearly a decade ago. I did not have the clarity I have now. My receptivity and willingness to go from my head to my heart had not yet expanded. I reflect now on this simultaneously simple yet profound statement. She was and is absolutely right. I am thankful for her and so many others I’ve met along the way.

Sharing my personal stories feels unsafe and vulnerable. And so little scares me! I love speaking publicly and teaching others. I relish in embarrassing my teenage children as I boogie in the carpool line (much to my delight and their mortification!). I advocate fiercely for my family, friends, and even strangers.

One of the values I most highly regard and consciously live by is humility. Writing about myself/my experiences/my evolution feels so wrong. I often discuss with close friends the pervasive, global narcissism I have observed on social media. I am slowly realizing this may be the new (or not so new) norm. However, I refuse to succumb to it.

My heart is soaring. I feel like a giddy teen on a first date. I feel flutters of creative reawakening throughout my body.  I am reconnecting with my life’s purpose, and it’s indescribable. I’ve been writing since I could speak.

I welcome you with open arms if we don’t yet know one another. If you are already a friend, I am grateful for your presence in my life. My intention is that you read my entries and gain knowledge or perspective. Perhaps you will read something that sheds light on a dark situation or sparks a flame of insight. Or maybe you can relate because you’ve had a similar experience. I eagerly await your responses. Read with me. Laugh with me. Cry with me. Grow with me.

I hope fervently that what I write touches, inspires, and lifts your soul. Thank you for joining me on my next chapter of self discovery, celebration, and evolution.

With deep gratitude, love, and joy,





39 Comments on “Hello and welcome to my first blog!”

  1. LOVE IT!!!! Mazel Tov!!!
    My days are so jam packed, but I will find time to read your blog because it will make me smile!!!
    May this be the first of many to come for years!!!

  2. Dara,

    I think you’re going to be a great blogger! Can’t wait to follow you on this journey! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  3. The problem with a blog entry like this…the suspense while waiting for the next! You are an amazing person and a true light…and sad to say there is a lot of darkness, especially in social media. I am looking forward to your next entry and shared stories. Your post, in part, reminded me of the message in the book The Celestine Prophecy (published in 1993)…every place we go, thing we do, and especially everyone we meet is for a reason—a divine reason. Thank you for sharing Dara.

    1. Louis,
      Your words and intention profoundly touched my heart. Thank you for taking the time to write this comment.
      From MY heart,

  4. I am so excited that you finally took the plunge! I have always said that everyone has a gift and one of your many gifts is your writing! I loved the first one and can’t wait to read the next!!!! ????????

  5. Dara, thank you so much for starting your blog. It is incredibly well written, and from the heart! I look forward to reading more and being part of this journey! Some people have a gift in writing..and that is most definitely you!

  6. Congratulations, Dara! You are courageous and inspiring. I look forward to following you and having you sweep me away, even if for a short while, into someone else’s journey, and of course, yours.
    (You know you have a very proud husband!)

  7. Truly loved reading this. So proud of you for taking the leap to start this journey. Grateful that you are sharing it with the rest of us.
    So much love,

    1. I feel the love, Robin! Thank you from my ?For your kind words. Did you listen to it, too? 🙂 My intention is that ALL souls have access to connect (regardless of learning style, visual or auditory challenge, etc.).

  8. This an YOU Sister are AWEsome!! I LOVE that (consciously) having no idea thos blog was brewing, I was inspired by your Awegust post. And, prior to seeing this I posted about how blessed I AM by the souls I’ve had the opportunity to connect to and journey with this lifetime — YOU being one of those gifts for sure. I am inspired by you and all I’ve read here, and I look forward to MORE!! I LOVE YOU! Keep Shining Sister, Keep Shining!!

    1. Oh Laura! My soul is soaring! I still remember YEARS ago when we met for sushi. You shared your dreams and intentions. YOU my sweet soul sister were and continue to be one of my greatest inspirations!! ??

  9. Beautiful words from a beautiful person. Mazel tov on starting this new chapter. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you.

    1. Thank you, Nik. I deeply appreciate you taking the time to read the blog (I don’t know if you’re referring to last week’s or the one just now?). Big hugs of gratitude! ?

    1. Thank you!!! Your interest in my blog/website means the world to me! And I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Xoxo

  10. Dara, this is wonderful! I feel like we know each other already through all the wonderful things Becky’s shared over the years. Reading your blog brings a smile and sense of peace — can’t wait for the next post! Thanks for all that you’re doing, keep it up!

    1. Good morn Lisa!
      What a wonderful, kind message to receive. Thank you from my heart! ? I truly appreciate you taking the time to read the blog and reach out. I, too, feel as if I know you! I look forward to meeting you in person I hope soon. 🙂 Many thanks again. Dara

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