Serving or Avoiding Life

/
"You cannot serve life if you are scared of it" - R. Naomi Remen For example: If I avoid painful emotional experiences within myself (an inherent part of living), I will be unable to be present for that experience when it shows up in my child. I may do many things for her (problem solve, coach, explain, teach, etc.) but I will not be able to be of true service to the life that is expressing…

A Dark Entrance to the Light

/
As Jews, we know loss all too well, but I fear we may have forgotten how to create compassionate enough spaces to experience emotional pain and grieve together. Our coping strategies have gotten the best of us and we have paid the price in terms of connection to ourselves and each other. When our Sages suggest that Mashiach is born on the afternoon of the Jewish calendar’s most painful day…

The Truth About Success

/
The truth about improvement, growth, success, (etc., etc.) In HEALTH: It naturally develops out of a secure feeling of love, connection and belonging In SICKNESS: it is the person's greatest hope to deserve love, connection and belonging.

Nurtured to Thrive

/
When father's day comes around, It's natural to wonder how you are doing in that role. The cards feel good but you know the kids are forced to make those by well-meaning teachers and/or mothers. So how do you "check your ratings" (borrowed from a favorite Calvin and Hobbes)?   I'm not sure, but a line that resonated with me is that a parent's primary role is to help his child feel that…

The Most Important Benefit of Mindfulness?

/
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"

/
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

/
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

/
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

/
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

/
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…