Serving or Avoiding Life

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"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

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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

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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.

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…

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.…

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.

Playing Dominoes with Shevy

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One of the Shabbat (Saturday) morning activities that Shevy (5) and I enjoy together is setting up long trains of dominoes and watching them fall. It's a lot of work (and often frustration) for a couple of moments of "WOW" but it passes the time together and we have a laugh. Is life like those domino trains? Does each moment knock into and automatically cause the next? Or is life more…

Pain as Intimate Guide

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What if the most important work we have to do in life is to experience the meaning of loss and allow it to guide us toward the only thing we truly have? What if suffering is intended to nudge us towards parts our selves that are needed to experience the wonders of healing and the joy of reunion? What if everything and everyone is moving in the direction of wholeness? What if…

Looking Through the Window

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Looking through the window Recently, I was sitting on my back porch and as I glanced through the closed window, I watched my wife interacting with my children in the kitchen. They were not doing anything exceptional; typical family stuff - eating, talking, smiling; one of the kids was kind of just spacing out. Yet, my heart immediately became filled with such immense joy, compassion and gratitude. Funny…

Traumas of Pain and Pleasure

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Traumas of pain and pleasure Negative Trauma = Experiences that overwhelm one's system with PAIN. They cannot be processed as they happen and are therefore held down as condensed pockets of pain to be AVOIDED at all cost. Positive trauma = Experiences that overwhelm one's system with PLEASURE and are therefore held in constant awareness and CRAVED at all cost. Perhaps our psyches…