Would You Like to Live Less Guarded?

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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…

Stop Blaming Your Parents

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Stop Blaming Your Parents. כִּי־אָבִ֣י וְאִמִּ֣י עֲזָב֑וּנִי וַֽיהוָ֣ה יַֽאַסְפֵֽנִי׃ Though my father and mother abandon me, God will take me in. During this month, Jews have a custom to read chapter 27 of Psalms where the above verse is found. I believe that on one level, King David is speaking of a moment that every human…

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…

Are You Avoiding Me?

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Yesterday a friend asked me if I was working on Tisha B'Av. I answered "no". I later thought about how nice it would be to work, or better yet, to sleep. To go unconscious and wake up Friday morning not having to worry about it until next Summer. What am I trying to avoid? It is not as if I have experienced the Temple or anything directly associated with it to feel the loss I am supposed…

My False Self

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One of the best metaphors I have heard for the "false self" we unknowingly come to inhabit is that of an espaliered tree. Espaliered trees are saplings that are made to grow into a desired shape. To make this happen, the soft, delicate branches of the developing tree are bent to a desired shape and then held in that position by wires or a trellis. New shoots that don't conform are pruned away. The…

Lovers Facing Each Other and the Beyond

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Working with couples, the most significant shift I get the privilege of witnessing is when husband and wife turn to one another and share intimate emotional space. She may share her loneliness and how her angry attack is really a fearful, fear laden attempt to try and find him. He may share his fear of failing and disappointing her (again) and how withdrawing is his way of protecting himself and not…

Why You're So Hard on Yourself and What You Can Do About it

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“What’s wrong with you?” “Why are you so lazy?” “Look at how much better and more successful he is than you.” If these judgments were lodged at a child, we would be up in arms in defense of his dignity and her sense of self. And yet, we routinely file these evaluations and many others….against ourselves. If you are not familiar with the inner judge that I describe, good on you, stop…

The Jewish Calendar and the Collective Nervous System

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A Trauma Treatment Perspective on the Jewish Calendar              Kabalah posits that we experience reality on 3 planes: space, time and soul. It therefore follows that internal human states and processes (soul) will be mirrored in the yearly calendar (time). The major 7 day holiday of Sukot is situated at the exact opposite end of the Jewish calendar from the other 7 day major…

The Longing of Tisha B'Av Afternoon

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As we move into the afternoon hours of this sad day our strength grows. With space to breathe, we consider the Eternal longing for intimacy and closeness and with that thought we reconnect with our own.   We begin to acknowledge our own loneliness and desire for closeness with God, our spouse, our parents, our children, our siblings, our neighbor.   We ask - "What's holding…

The Genesis of Couples Therapy

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The Torah uses very few words to say an awful lot. It's view on marriage is famously condensed into one brief verse: עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזָב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃ "Therefore, a man should leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, so that they…