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…

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…

Death of the Heart

/
"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.…

Living a Borrowed Life

/
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…

Pain as Intimate Guide

/
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…

Traumas of Pain and Pleasure

/
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…

Abraham's Journey

/
Abraham's journey... had very little to do with his actual steps toward a new geographic location. It's truth was an inner journey from unconscious conditioned fears, desires and thought patterns to the open expansive space of Divine consciousness. His first encounter with an open awareness that transcended his limited conception of the Divine. The shift from complete identification with objects (physical…

The Burden of Responsibility

/
When God places Adam in the Garden to guard and serve it, the verse states: "And the Lord, God TOOK Adam and PLACED him in the Garden.." Apparently Adam did not want to go on his own. What was in the way? Was not the garden glorious? The answer our sages give is that Adam feared responsibility. Responsibility. Service. Sacrifice. Love. What if I fail? What if it's too much…

Would You Like to Live Less Guarded?

/
Would you like to live less guarded? If so, what's holding you back? Or more importantly... Who's Holding the Keys? Often the one holding the keys is elusive, he's hiding, because he believes that the keys are his only hope, his only protection. And he doesn't even feel good about hanging on to them so strongly, but.....what will happen if he sets them down? Who will he be then? Until…