Sunday, April 08, 2018

What?

What?!
Isn’t that always the first thought or question we ask when we hear surprising news?

When we hear that a married couple we admired is getting divorced. What?!
When we hear that a dear friend is diagnosed with breast cancer. What?!
When we hear that a young mother-to-be does not carry her pregnancy to term. What?!

Or the devastating, inexplicable news we hear that one of our best friend’s 24-year-old sons has died suddenly. WHAT?!

What? We ask. What?
We immediately want to make sense of what we are hearing. 
Our brains need to make sense of the information we are hearing.
Our brains need to understand the words and make sense of them.
So we ask questions to help our “what?”
What happened? How did it happen? When did it happen? Who found out? And when? What happened first? Then what?
Our brains make order of traumatic information by asking questions.
It calms down our confusion and disbelief. It calms our fear of the unknown.

But really, can we really make sense of tragedy?
There is nothing logical about the emotion of pain and grief and loss.
It’s an extreme emotion.
It never makes any sense. 

And really, what difference do any of the answers make?
The heart of the tragedy is broken. A mother’s heart is broken. A father’s heart is numb. Brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and a whole community: all with broken hearts!
The loss is unbearable.

Can we try to let go of our brain’s need to understand and makes sense?
We know it doesn’t. 
Instead can we focus on just the fact?
Loss. Gone. A young life over. 
Can we just try to hold that?

That is what I am trying to do.
Letting go of my need to know how or why or what or when?
And instead, remind my brain that it’s never going to make sense. Never.
So I prefer to take that energy and give it, instead, to holding and loving and caring and supporting my friend and her family in my heart.
Because that, I can make sense of:
Love in my heart, for my friend in pain. That is real.
And that is much more helpful to my friend, than the senseless questions that don’t really matter now.

I challenge us all to let go of the need to know and make sense.
And just send love from our hearts.

May all our broken hearts find healing, in the right time...

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I feel responsible...

I feel responsible to teach people what I know.
I feel responsible to help each individual in the world know the truth about life and themselves.
I want to teach about shame.
I want to teach about courage.
I want to teach about regret.
I want people to be more solid and knowing in themselves.
I feel responsible to teach what I know. Because I have to. Because I have something to teach. And I want people to learn it.
They will be happier.
They will be more fulfilled.
They will feel more complete.
I know it.
And I feel responsible to teach it.
But how...?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Why I've been missing...

I stopped blogging for a couple reasons.
But I think the return explanation is more important. No reason to blame. Better to take responsibility and move on.
I have been spending a lot of time trying to decide how to restart my writing. Really feeling how much I missed it. But hearing the critics in my head saying all kinds of mean things.
Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown have had a lot to do with my return.
Here's what Elizabeth wrote in her newest book, "Big Magic," that got me to write again:

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder” 

I could not have said it any better.
And so now I am going to fight that voice and write because I WANT to.
I'm going to push myself to do many things just because I want to! 
Today, for example, I spent an hour in my garden pulling weeds. Just because I wanted to.
So I want everyone to fight that voice. I want everyone to find their creativity and write, or play, or draw, or bike, or run, or sing, or dance, or colour, or organise that closet.
Do a little bit of what you want to do everyday...not just what you have to do!


Sunday, February 11, 2018

It's been awhile

A long while.
a very long while.
like 3 years long while!
I've been afraid to write.
Not sure anyone really cared.
But I want to start writing again.
A lot has changed in three years.
So here I go. Let's see if anyone finds me again.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Control what I can control


The only thing I had to worry about when I was in 10th grade was getting caught by my parents for taking a ride to school in a friend's car, instead of taking the bus!

It's seemingly easy for me to send Elysheva off to school in Jerusalem and tell her not to be afraid. I don't have to get on the bus, or walk the streets to school every day scared that there might be a bomb or an attacker. I have taught my daughter, and all my children, that we cannot let the terrorists terrorize us. We will not be bullied into fear. We must hold the pepper spray, be alert, and try to stay with another person. We must send out positive energy into the world with a smile or a kind word or action.


I can't promise her that everything will be fine. I have no way to promise her that. But I can send her off to school with a hug and a kiss and an "I love you."

I can only control what I can control...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You just never know...

While I was driving home from my office in Ramat Bet Shemesh tonight, my phone rang from an unidentified number.

I couldn't get my headphones on fast enough and missed the call.

I almost never call people back unless they leave a message.
For some reason, which I cannot explain, I called the number right back.

I announced myself and said, "You just called me?"
"Yeah, hi," the unfamiliar male voice said, as if I should know who it was. "Thanks for calling me back."
"Who is this?" I asked cautiously, not wanting to insult the person.
"Do you remember (let's call him AJ) from a couple years ago?"

I recognized his name right away and his voice fell into my memory as a client I worked with about 3 years ago. I was never sure why he left therapy. He just decided not to come back one night and I never heard from him again. He was a serious, deep thinking, tortured young man who was afraid to deal with his deeper issues and, I guessed, got scared and ran away. I have thought of him often and wondered how he was doing…

"Of course I remember you AJ. How are you?"

"First I want to tell you that I don't know why I left therapy. It was a long time ago, and I always regretted not continuing. You helped me as much as you could. I always think about I how much you helped me and how I should have just stayed."

"Well, I'm glad to hear from you now. What are you up to these days?"

"I quit the job I was working at and am now in yeshiva. Nothing much, really."

"That's something," I answered.
"You always did that. you always made nothing into something."

I didn't know what to say? Was that a good thing…?

He went on to tell me that he needed the name of someone who can give pills for a friend. He wasn't sure what that person was called? "I thought of you and maybe you could help me. I hope it's ok that I called."

Firstly, I was impressed he still had my number.
Secondly, I was happy he felt comfortable to call after he had disappeared.

We spoke for awhile about what he was looking for and for whom and why.

Then he said he had another question.
"Was there a name for what I had when I saw you?"

After I clarified that he wanted to know so he could tell his friend (his girlfriend), I answered him:
"Well, if I remember correctly, you came to me right after you had a suicide attempt, or were talking about wanting to kill yourself. You were feeling pretty desperate. I'm not a diagnostician, but I would probably say you were depressed, or were struggling with depression. You weren't sleeping at night. You stayed up all night watching movies and slept most of the day. And you only watched meaningful moves or movies that had a message."

He was surprised that I remembered so much of his story.

I told him I think of him often and have really wondered how he was doing. He caught me up a little on his life now, and I assured him I would look for a psychiatrist for his friend. I asked him to give me a day and he should call me back tomorrow.

I hung up and looked up to the stars in the clear crisp dark sky.

And I said out loud to myself, "You just never know."

Friday, December 05, 2014

It's not worth it.

Many people ask me, "How do you do it?"

How do you let your son go off like that?

Let me remind you, my son was in the IDF for 5 years.
I learned not to ask questions that I knew he couldn't answer. Wouldn't answer.
If I wanted him to speak to me about anything, I needed to learn to accept that he would tell me things when he wanted, and not make a big deal, otherwise, he wouldn't tell me a thing.
Which he basically didn't!

Let me also remind you, my son is now a 25-year-old man. He has his own money and can go and do whatever and wherever he wants.
While he was a soldier, I learned how to let go.

It wasn't worth it not to.

While DB was in the IDF, my mother always told me that having a son in the army would prepare me for being a mother-in-law. She said, "You can have an opinion, but who cares. You can want him to come home. But too bad. You can want him to tell you what is going on in his life, but he probably won't."

So I learned, it's not worth it to get upset, or worry. Just to accept the new normal.

I trained myself to know what questions to ask. And not react to his answers.

If I want him to tell me things, it's not worth having a strong reaction.
I nod.
I say, "Okay."
I ask another basic question. And I take his answer as if it's normal.

So when he told me he hitch-hiked from Honduros to Nicargua, with an ex-drug dealer. And then stayed in his house for a night or two.
I nodded.
I said, "Okay."
And I took that as if it was normal.

When he told me he's been traveling with a 20-something year old Austrian girl and sharing a room in the hostel with her.
I nodded.
I said, "Okay."
And I jokingly asked when the last time he took a shower was?!

And when he told me he went scuba diving in Belize with sharks. And he was so close he could have kissed the shark.
I nodded.
I said, "Okay, cool."
And asked if he saw any pretty fish?

So, you see, it's not worth getting upset, or disciplining him, or criticizing, or begging him to just come home! He's on an important journey in his life.

As I see it, I have two choices: Either worry and be nervous about him and the things he is doing. And spend my days wishing he was home.
Or let him go. And accept that he is not coming home anytime too soon. He is having the time of his life. He is consciously not living by any rules but the ones he has decided to put upon himself. He is experiencing things that most of us only dream about.

And frankly, I'm envious as hell!!

So that's how I do it.
I just do it.