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.…

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…

Shevy's Candy Grab

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At a Chanukah/Birthday party my daughter Shevy received a candy bag. She clutched on to that bag firm and tight, treasuring it, not wanting it to leave her sight for a moment. She would not let me put the candies into a ziplock until I was able to illustrate that she would still be able to see the candies clearly through the plastic. As we worked on a magnet tile maze that afternoon, it was…

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…

Hide and Seek with Shevy

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My 5 year old daughter and I have a weekly tradition where on Shabbat (Saturday) morning we play a game of hide and seek together. When I hide, she seeks and the game goes as it should. When SHE hides, I pretend not to know where she is for a little while (even though she hides in the same 2-3 spots every time) and as I seek, inevitably, it becomes too much for her to bear and within 15 seconds or…

Forgive (for) Yourself

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I often have trouble forgiving others because of what I experienced as a result of what they said or did to me. Nobody was there for me in that pain and I actually believed some of the "not good" I was feeling about myself in those moments. Not wanting to feel that, I would blame the other person as being a mean, insensitive, uncaring, selfish, etc. That was all I could do to protect myself, but…

Courage v. Ambition

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Courage is the willingness to show up and serve life, while accepting the inevitable pain and discomfort involved. Ambition is the need to prove that I am significant by what I can accomplish in life, avoiding pain and discomfort as much as possible. Courage is rooted in love and abundance. Ambition is rooted in fear and scarcity. Courage sees others as equals. Ambition sees others as…

My Teenage Tears, Toxic Shame and Hakuna Matata

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I recently had the pleasure of watching the Lion King with my daughter and nephew. I originally saw it in the theatre when it came out in 1994. I was 18 at the time. It had me in serious tears and I had no idea why. It was actually quite embarrassing because I couldn't hide the tears. It was one of those cries where as hard as you try, the tears won't go back in. Anyway, I liked the original…

The Second Time Around

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"Live as if you were already living for the second time." - V. Frankl This is helpful to me. It gently acknowledges that I get stuck. It makes space for the fear and other motivations outside my awareness that bring me to react to life and other people in a certain way. It acknowledges how that leads to consequences and experiences that may not be in sync with how I truly want to show up…