The Most Important Benefit of Mindfulness?

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There is a lot of talk about "mindfulness" and its benefits. One benefit that I appreciate and haven't seen given a lot of air time: Awareness of and friendly attention to my own inner experience at any given moment protects me from being drawn into the feelings, moods and states of other people, which (by default) I am likely to desirously FUSE with or aggressively REJECT. With awareness…

My Grandparents "Trauma Bond"

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My grandparents were married in a DP camp following WW2. They both had just endured unspeakable losses including the murder of my grandfather's first wife and children and my grandmother's time with Mengele in Auschwitz. She was 17, he closer to 30. They married to survive. They married to fight off the loneliness and the pain of devastating loss and trauma. They married because that's what Jews…

Attempt at a Mission Statement

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Can you perceive the divine ember hidden in everything, in everyone? Can you open up your mouth and fan it with your breath of Life? At least..please, can you hold back from spitting on and extinguishing it?

You Make it All Mean Something

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In a couples counseling session, the husband was challenged by his wife to name something that he frequently does to show his love for her.   He said: "What do you mean, everyday, I wake up, I work my a-- off to provide, to try and give you a life that feels good to you!"   And she, the perfect response:   "Yeah, but you would do that anyway...even if we weren't…

I Love You (especially) Here

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When he was very young, at times, our oldest son would hit me. I remember how hard this was as a new parent. I did not take it well and responded poorly, often with anger; driven by the fear of "what's wrong with him?", worse, "what's wrong with ME?" My experience is that the single most challenging aspect of being a parent is noticing a child's pain (beneath whatever confusing outwardly expression…

Passover Wine, Loss, and My Avoidance of Sadness

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Yesterday evening I was irritated, with my wife, with our kids; snappy, uncomfortable. I couldn't trace it. Nothing especially stressful happened at work, dinner was hot and delicious, where the heck was this coming from? I continued to feel uneasy the rest of the evening and finally, in the shower that night it hit me.. The wine order. Earlier in the day I had placed an order…

Death of the Heart

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"Where there is no memory, there has been death of the heart" -R. Nachman I often sit with someone and they tell me that they do not remember much from their younger years. That despite having had a "good childhood", the particular memories remain elusive. It appears that the beautiful person in front of me has had to turn off his heart. Emotionally lonely and unseen, the heart goes into hiding.…

Broken Glass to Heal a Broken Heart

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At the very end of the marriage ceremony, the last thing a Jewish bride and groom do before becoming husband and wife is shatter a glass. The common explanation of this custom is to bring to mind the exile and destruction of the Temple even at the very height of one's joy. And perhaps there is something deeper as well. Perhaps the last message the fledgling couple is being sent is: Your…

Unconditional Love? No Such Thing

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There is no such thing as "Unconditional Love" Love is by definition unconditional and can be nothing else. If it's conditional it is not love, it is approval.

Living a Borrowed Life

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One of the Hebrew word for grave is "Sheol". The 3 letter root of this word שאל is the same as the word "borrow". Every time I define myself by another person, every time I borrow my identity from your opinion, from your judgment, I turn on myself and step into the grave of a borrowed life. Living a life borrowed from others is a betrayal of the divine life force that is yours and…