Monthly Archives: August 2017

Just Hold On

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Sometimes, I get bored, tired, or spontaneously unmotivated.

I need something or someone to ignite my passion toward self-development. I have many goals in many areas from homemaking to career. Do you know how together I would feel if I could just take the kids’ old small clothes out of their closets, organize the junk drawer, and have my car radio fixed?

Some days, I’m pumped to exercise, eat vegetables, drink water, and moisturize. Other days, I want to change the world for the better and make significant positive global impact NOW. I want to run a home where I really RUN my home, y’know? A home where I’m nurturing, guiding, supportive, firm, fair, consistent. The type of home that runs seamlessly.

Even on tired days, like today, when I didn’t do much. I spent a couple of hours in the office and played with my children. I will spare you what I made for dinner because chummus and string cheese aren’t especially impressive. I’m drained from nothing and exhausted physically for no reason. I should go to sleep but need to hoard my sacred awake ‘Me Time’ that my mother explained to me long ago but makes far more sense now. Even on a day like today. I want it all.

But how do I accomplish with all of my inconsistency? Sometimes I focus on one area of my life and other times my brain is in a fog? How will I make substantial progress at this pace?

Rav Yitzchak Berkovits, shlita, shared that on days when we are either unmotivated and lazy or, Heaven forbid, anguished and depressed….our job is to simply hold on. We must hold on to everything we built prior to this day. Don’t let go, don’t fall. Show up to the 30 minute workout, show up to work, show up to learn, show up to pray, show up for the people in your life. Focus your ounces of energy on just holding on.

Then, when those brilliant days of energy and passion gift themselves to you…RUN with them. Take huge and high leaps and don’t look back because there will be rainy days when all you’ll have the strength to do is hold on.

There is a school of thought that teaches us to implement small, consistent improvements in order to make progress in life and these two pieces of advice live harmoniously in my mind. I do that too. Life is more like a heartbeat than a slope, there are ups and downs. And on a day like today, a good and blessed day, when my eyelids weigh heavily but I refuse to give in to sleep, I just hold on.

Mourning with Purpose

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Tonight begins a major fast day on the Jewish calendar when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple. Part of our commemoration of this period is the act of feeling deep sadness that we, as a people, are so far from our essential selves and G-d.

While we read the horrific news in Israel of innocent people recently slain in their own home among other atrocities, some of us feel ironically further from the tragic pain we are supposed to embrace during this time. From a global perspective, it is clear that we are in a state of disconnection, loss, and mourning. But what about our own personal perspective? What ‘first world problem’ could we possibly face that would ever provoke such a dramatic reaction?

All sadness is rooted in an estrangement of some kind. In the words of Lamentations, the text read ritually tonight, it says poetically, ‘On these things, I cry. My eyes, my eyes pour down tears. Because You are far from me.’ Traditionally that “You” refers to our Higher Power, the Creator that put us into this world alone- just me- and will take us out alone- just me. We may think our family and friends can hold us up and support us, but in the end, it’s just us individually all by ourselves.

We know that every human being in this world has a soul and that soul is created in G-d’s image. So, the pain a person feels can also be an estrangement from his/her essential selves.

We live in an age that reflects a genuine obsession with the Self. We compare ourselves to the perfection we see online in social media. We see how ambitious, happy, rich, powerful, fulfilled, noticed, intelligent, beautiful, or athletic someone else is and feel bad about ourselves. Sometimes we turn on our partner or other people close to us who don’t measure up to Internet Perfection. We feel alone, distant from our true selves, distant from anyone around us or anyThing Higher.

Self-care is a term that is less a fad and more a descriptive reality. We live in a profitable time (200% more profitable in contrast to our Boomer parents according to a Pew 2015 study) for those who dedicate their lives to one-on-one coaching in fitness/nutrition, business, and general living. The Selfie is the photo of ourselves that requires a substantial number of ‘views’ and ‘likes’ to feel important. We drip with desperation to be loved, to be recognized, to feel special.

The faster we run toward self-obsession, the further we run away from our essential selves. Our fragility and low self-worth is not something we boast about on Facebook, but it is something we live with day to day. Our lives are filled with blessings and we sit, afraid and anxious, about our next move. What will people say? Will I be praised? How do I measure up to everyone else?

I speak from personal experience, one that is very much a present journey. But the Jewish way to mourn is my teacher. We mourn our deep disconnection from our Essential Selves and, consequently, a Higher Power. So, to a generation of self-centered beautiful people, with perfect lighting and all the right filters, embrace the lows, embrace the pain, embrace the sadness. We must fully commit to our mourning, so we can finally be attached to our True selves, and rejoice.