Friday, December 28, 2012

Be the Change

I went through an incredible and life transformational experience this past Shabbat that I will forever be grateful for.  I hope that the power of the experience can continue to shine through my life for a very long time.  I would like to share a bit of my experience.  I hope that the peace and serenity that I currently feel within myself can be transferred into written words.  So here goes...

The heaviness of life and especially living in Israel has a tendency to take it's tole on me sometimes.  In an effort to face my own life issues I've been seeing an amazing therapist for the past 1 1/2 years.  Let me try to clearly express the gratitude I have for this man.  He has helped me to make changes in my life that have been the most difficult and absolutely most rewarding.  He is my Guru.  (He doesn't call himself a Guru... it's just the best word I can use to describe him.)  I encourage you all to find your helper.  Someone to guide and help you deal with the difficulties that life has a tendency to throw at us time and time again.

My Guru has a self developed practice called "breathing the change".  It's a combination of many things; Chinese medicine, acupressure, shiatsu, deep breathing, meditation, and talk therapy just to name a few.  He not only treats the mind, but also the body and the spirit - soul.  I've tried many different types of "self help" and nothing has been close in comparison to the total package of healing as the treatments I receive from him.  It's important that when you finally get the courage to make a big life change that you have someone to lean on and help guide you on your new path.  Someone who not only treats your body or your mind, but someone who remembers the importance of your mind, body, and soul - all three together.  Don't forget your soul.  Your soul is what you special and separates human from animal.

My Guru has been encouraging me to come to a weekend workshop in the north for a very long time and I finally agreed.  Although I was reluctant to spend the time, money, and effort (the entire workshop was in Hebrew) I went anyway.  I participated in a workshop by him over a year ago, and although I also felt that it was beneficial, I still knew that I had a lot of work to do.  A year later I found myself carpooling to a very remote location in northern Israel with complete strangers (who didn't seem to speak much English at all).

I have learned from him that when we experience traumas in life and we don't properly deal with the emotion we lock that energy inside of us.  It doesn't just go away... no matter how much we hope it will.  It's still there.  With much courage and encouragement 13 of us went on a journey together of facing our fears and traumas in a safe and healthy environment.  I won't go into the details of what that was like for me, but I what I overcame left me feeling like a different person.

I would like to share my top 3 moments of the weekend...

1.  During the weekend, specifically on Friday night, I found myself singing Kabbalat Shabbat songs (songs to welcome the Sabbath) and dancing in the rain.  I have NEVER danced in the rain in my life.  I have always been too shy and self conscious of what people might think of me.  If you have never had that experience... it is a MUST.  You simply MUST dance in the rain at some point in your life.  You must sing with reckless abandon and dance in whatever way is the most freeing.  It has to be a personal and liberating experience.  Who cares what anyone else thinks?  You want to dance?  DANCE!  You want to sing?  SING!  Liberate yourself from your self imposed shackles.  I've always envied those people who were free enough to dance in the rain.  Friday night, I became one of them.

2.  I allowed myself to show raw emotion in front of people.  I am typically not one to show much emotion, especially not raw emotion.  I can count the number of times on one hand that I've ever cried in front of people.  I'm not sure if most women have this same problem or not, but I sure do.  I feel like modern society has made it so that women have to be strong and choke back their tears.  It's not in our nature.  My sisters, don't be ashamed of crying because crying doesn't show weakness.  It shows truth.  We, as women, are emotional creatures and we shouldn't be afraid of being called "crazy" because we show our hearts and emotions.  It's what makes us women!  Our emotions don't make us "crazy"... holding in all of the beautiful emotions we have inside of us DOES.

3.  I spent a weekend communicating in a different language.  When I couldn't find the right words to say in Hebrew I was able to show my love and support to others in other ways.  Sometimes words aren't needed and are the last thing anyone wants to hear.  I feel like I spend an enormous amount of time in my head trying to find the right words to say.  Sometimes there are no words.  Sometimes the compassion that we want to give and receive has no need to be spoken.  A look, a hug, a shoulder rub, a shared tear are all incredibly powerful ways to express yourself.  As I found myself crying out years of repressed emotion all I really wanted was a shoulder to cry on and comforting hand on my back.  I found that as the guy next to me was rubbing his temples with a furrowed brow of intensity I knew I couldn't communicate with him in his language.  So I offered a head and neck massage to help alleviate his pain.  It turns out that's exactly what he needed.  Body language doesn't have to be sexual and it shouldn't always be.  It should be a tool to help create universal connectivity that breaks down the barriers of misinterpreted words.

After the workshop I have reentered the normal grind of daily life and I am blessed with enormous joy and a lighter spirit.  I have found a different type of courage within myself.  The courage to love life and people.  We are not here to pass judgement on anyone else.  Only I have walked in my shoes and only you have walked in yours.  Your choices are yours alone and no one has the right to judge you for them.  I have learned to love life to it's fullest through it's ups and downs.  I feel as if I'm able to keep putting powerful and good energy into my life only good things will come of it.  I have been enabled to have the courage to dance while I get ready for work, sing my way through the day, and smile at complete strangers.  I see light in the world. It's there if we want to find it.

Like Mahatma Ghandi says, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

My advice a week after the seminar is: don't wait for life to happen.  Make it happen.  Everyday is a new day and a new chance at life.  Humbly be thankful for it and take advantage of every moment.  Peace begins with us.

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