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Please do not ask someone why they are anxious or depressed, often they cannot provide themselves with an explanation so why assume they will be able to communicate with you? Anxiety is normal it is part of the flight or fight process. Without a touch of anxiety, we could place ourselves in harm’s way walking up to roaring Lion or crossing the railroad track as a train comes towards us at full speed. However, anxiety that produces dread for seconds, minutes or longer can interfere with our normal routines. I know I went through this five years ago. Up until that time I pushed and prodded through often with tears and mood swings blaming it on trivial things like a broken nail, I gained a few pounds, or I was not included in an invitation. Oh whoa was me! However, those situations were just the triggers, they weren’t the reason, and sometimes we never figure out the whys!
Anxiety can affect us all in different ways including irritable bowel, obsessive-compulsive needs, and migraines, just to name a few obvious ones. In my case IB and Migraines are my malady and recently (over the past few weeks) I have had an increase in Migraine attacks along with this on again, off again of foreboding. My fear is my anxiety will deepen and take me into depression and I won’t and can’t have that as part of my journey.
The series that I am planning for 2019 will not only help me face the demons that invaded my thought pattern, but it will bring me closer to others while I share my story I will listen to theirs. It is only in this common thread of true and open communication that we can face this disease head-on. Yes, anxiety and depression by medical terminology are diseases, and although they do not need to be terminal without support, understanding, and acceptance, for some, it is life-threatening.
This week has been difficult despite the love, friendship and support of family and friends. However, please know there is still a brewing demon called anxiety living within in me, and I must become more intentional in my thoughts and living to extinguish what is not needed for survival.
As the story goes, a baby was born, the mother was Mary, and the father was Joseph. Although for some it seems, Mary was a virgin, and Joseph was not the biological father, God was. As the story continues, this baby boy was named Jesus, another word for Messiah. The Messiah is a leader of a group of people who need to be saved. History (through the Bible) creates a moving story of this baby through manhood who was a carpenter by trade as well as a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. However, upon his death, the Christians took them for their own.
Today, Christmas Day, Christians celebrate/commemorate the birth of Jesus by gifting to others as the Three Wise Men (Kings), presented presents to Mother Mary. Gold was provided as a symbol of kingship/leadership on earth. The incense, frankincense, symbolized deity, and myrrh an embalming oil signified death. These gifts exemplify the life that Jesus was destined for.
Today, many celebrate Christmas as a day of gifting that is more about receiving than giving. It is not that we do not have kindness in our hearts and provide for the less fortunate, but many ask the hollow question what is
in it for me?
As many will sit around their living room’s early in the morning, around a tree glowing with lights and shiny objects, they will be impatient to find out if the biggest or the smallest gift-wrapped box is for them and will it be the item from their long list of wants, not needs? In some homes, there will be looks of disappointment, in others satisfaction or ecstatic joy!
In our blended religion family, today is a day of caring and remembering each other. Often our gifts are not expensive surprises, but the acknowledgment of want and need combined. We typically spend the day alone, no big family gathering quietly in most respects. Sometimes we take in a movie, and other years we nap the day away, exhausted from work and other obligations. Our home is not a Norman Rockwell painting of what the holidays are supposed to look like, ours looks like the reality of the moment.
The reality of the moment sounds mysterious, but it is all about accepting who we are as individuals and not placing expectations in our way that may ultimately turn a Good Day into a Bad Day. I have been known to do just that over the years. I would listen to the PR hype and the comments, of co-workers, friends, and family and expect that today would be a “Hallmark Movie” day, when often it would turn out more like a “Twilight Zone” episode.
December 2016, after losing my mother two months earlier, and accepting the fact that I was no longer a child, I chose to enjoy life with all its ups and downs, and to stop assuming my day, Christmas or any other should be a certain way! Growing up we did not celebrate, being Jewish as we are, but we would enjoy the day in some small way, maybe even extending Chanukah beyond the traditional eight days and nights. Perfection is only a mindset, and sometimes I would dream about a repeat performance, and other times I could not wait for a redo. However, each day is a new day and unique from another. I am working on making each day bright and festive, not just for myself but for others, with a smile, a nod, words of acceptance, and a spirit of friendship and love that begins with self.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself when you share yourself with others, freely and willing!
May you enjoy your Christmas, December 25th, 2018 (and beyond) without expectations as you share your spirit to be felt by another.
The reality is we need a newer photo
Blue is not just for boys, it’s a beautiful color that can be worn by many. In fact, blue comes in many shades/hues and for that reason, we should all be voting BLUE on November 6th, 2018. Although my wish is that we could eventually get rid of the party system, and democratically vote for the best candidate who will communicate with his/her constituents and do what they are elected for, representing the people who place them in office.
I like many of you am tired of false advertising and lying and cheating scoundrels. Although the lying and cheating have gone on since the beginning of time, sadly it’s become the norm. I will admit I have told my share of lies in my life, and not to hurt or endanger another, but the political jargon has gotten out of hand and there is very little truth in what is being said.
This election day is very important and everyone who is registered must vote. Every vote does count, and we have seen what happens when we become apathetic or believe we can’t make a difference. If you believe your vote is not worth counting maybe you should refrain from complaining about what is wrong with your city/town, state, and government. At least casting your vote you are sending a message as to what you want, need, and believe in!
If you don’t know what you want, need or believe in, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask yourself one important question, do you want to live in a society where you have a choice or live in a country that takes your choices away from you? If you want the ability to make a choice (good or bad) and learn from your mistakes, you must vote this November 6th. We all must work together to regain our freedom. Whether you want to believe it or accept the facts, we all have roots from various demographics. The United States is a real melting pot where many migrated to create a new life for themselves and their families. If not for the immigrants, we would not be who we are today.
When you look in the mirror ask where your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were born, and find out that you too are a blend of our new global society. Let’s make it a safe democracy.
Finding a home. I have repeatedly said, I am not religious, I grew up on traditions set in our home by my mother and father. They created their customs based on their upbringing. As a young girl growing up on the Northwest side of Detroit, I believed I would marry someday and live just blocks from my parents and friends and raise my children in a similar manner, while adding some personal choices created by my husband. However, planning is often just a dream as life is not static, constantly evolving.
Since my first marriage in 1971 to my divorce in 1978, and my second and last marriage in 1984, my search for a home (not a house) has been important to me. I am very blessed that my husband Richard of thirty-four years (not counting tomorrow,) has remained by my side as I continued to look for that missing piece. Every time I went up to Michigan to visit with my parents and extended family and friends I thought that the only place I would ever capture this feeling of mispacha was up North.
Fast forward to the past two weeks, the Jewish High Holidays, and the Hebrew anniversary of my mother’s passing. What I have been searching for has been so close by that I am surprised I did not fall into if before. I found a home (not sure I can afford the mortgage) at Temple Israel in Akron. A special thank you to Rabbi Josh Brown who heard my plea for friends and family and put a plan in place. On Yom Kippur the holiest day of our year I met not one (Elaine), but one multiplied and became, many new friends. For the first time since 1971, I feel connected and I want to share the feeling of joy that fills my heart.
I need to also thank Candace Pollock, show host for “The Intentionality Gurus” https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-intentionality-gurus-with-candace-po. Candace has helped me find the GURU in me to explore what is important in my life and out my natural fears aside. It is not easy walking into a room filled with strangers, as the song goes, “One is the Loneliest Number.” However, not only did I walk in, but I reached out to Rabbi Brown asked for something I needed, a connection. It is the understanding of intentionality that provided me with the courage, strength, and perspective to ask. If we don’t ask we will not get!
I am not any different from many of you. Too often in life, we wait for the right time to move forward and many of us miss that time as we are too busy waiting for something that has no specific time or place. It takes stepping forward and asking, sharing, and being aware, and I am now walking through life with my eyes wide open and my heart prepared to allow connections.
I offer each of you to enjoy each day of life – allow yourself to be aware and feed your heart and soul as you find the place…
As Dorothy from the Wizard Oz says: “There is no place like home…”
Yom Kippur will never be the same for me, and although I am told it was a mitzvah (blessing) that my mother passed on Yom Kippur Eve, the holiday and the Day of Anointment take on a whole new meaning.
As a young girl, it was tradition to observe the High Holidays. From the time I was old enough to attend what they called “Junior Services,” I, just like my older brothers and our parents participated in the ritual of asking for forgiveness. It was this act and speaking it from the heart that would gain G-d’s attention and write our name in the Book of Life. For the many years I did not attend High Holiday services as an adult I practiced this ritual silently. I also followed a custom my parents believed in, and that is to ask for forgiveness if you do something that may be “sinful” in the eyes of G-d. (On Yom Kippur Eve 2016 I asked myself why was my mother’s life ending?)
I am not a religious person although when asked what religion I am I proudly say Jewish, and not because it is a better religion and according to the Old Testament the Jews (Hebrews) were the chosen people. It is because my upbringing and the family traditions still warm my heart and make me smile.
Last year the first year of my mother’s passing (her Yahrzeit) brought me back to Temple for the Holy Days. Although I could have stayed home and recited the mourner’s Kaddish (prayer), I chose to be in a setting that might embrace me. What I learned in the last 12 months, people need to know what you want they cannot read your mind. So, in planning for 5779, I sought out another Temple, and although on Rosh Hashanah I felt lonely, there was a warmth in the sanctuary that told me I had to speak up.
I immediately contacted Rabbi Brown, and within days I was connected with a member of the Temple that surprisingly has connections not to my home, family, and friends in Michigan, but to Minneapolis where I lived during my high school years. This has added a definite glow to my life in the past week and has opened my heart that has felt closed off for the last two years.
I had written numerous blogs about my mom (D’vasha) and the relationship I rekindled with her during her dying weeks (when she was unaware of her critical health.) The love and affection I felt for my mother while living with her for two and a half months was such a gift, and yet sadly she passed. I have been holding on to her, and I refuse to let go, I believe she is watching over me with my pops, and they are keeping me on G-d’s good side. Hopefully, I will be written up in the Book of Life.
As I stated above Yom Kippur will never be the same, in addition to asking for forgiveness. “Al Chet.” This is our form of confession. One of the sins we recite is: “For the sin which we have committed before You by false denial and lying.” Sadly, it is not just today that we hide our dishonesty with coverups that we deem acceptable. However, if we believe there is a G-d, there is nothing we can hide, and it is our obligation to ourselves and mankind to find peace and share it.
Tomorrow I will attend Yom Kippur services, and I will fast as is the tradition. I do this, so I may prove to myself that I am capable of making amends and finding peace. Now through the love, I found in my relationship with my mother, let me extend my hand in peace.
L’Shanah Tova – Happy New Year 5779
Do not remember 9/11/01 only on the anniversary date of such a horrific event. Do not remember the terrorist as a race or religion. Do not remember if you choose not to turn our global society into a kinder one. Let us not just remember those that lost their innocent lives and others who put their lives in danger to save lives on one day each year. It is time to remember and honor what we have learned over the last 17 years!
If we have not learned that we are not born evil and grow-up to terrorize others, it is time we learn the truth today.
We are all conceived when a male sperm fertilizes a female egg. Although not all conceptions are mated through love, the result is the same. As stated above we are not born with evil in our DNA. However, we learn to hate and love from those that nurture us. Isn’t it time that we begin nurturing with love, kindness, and respect and bury the hate in the past? Hate has many other terms including despise, detest, loathe, revulsion, etc. However, what causes this intensity? Must we be the one that is right, perfect, and has the last word? The last word that produces such feelings is a death sentence!
Hate trickles down as does love, friendship, and respect for ourselves and others. Studies show that it is healthier to smile and be kind. We are all unique snowflakes, that means despite our culture likes there are differences, and it is the differences that make us a stronger global population. We can learn from each other and collaborate without the hate and destruction. Just as we teach our children, we are not entitled just because we want something. Not everything is meant to be possessed. However, if we begin to work together, fewer will have less, and those that have more will share.
I am not a Pollyanna. I believe in the natural goodness of each of us despite, gender, religion, race, and the environmental and cultural differences. To believe we must remember our past and ensure we do not repeat what hurts and destroys others. It is time to share our strengths and put out a hand to change.