23 posts categorized "Emotional health"

Take Care of Yourself!

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I LOVE this little boy!!! 

Of course I love my other kids too (especially when they're asleep or at school,) but they hate it when I sneak pictures of them. This one hasn't yet put up a fight. Soon enough... 

So you might or might not be wondering what a face full of spaghetti has to do with emuna. To be honest, not much. But it does have to do with eating, which is kind of related to what I wanted to write about today, which is related to emuna. It's like six degrees of emuna. I can connect all kinds of dots. It's a talent.

I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed Chanukah, but I'm relieved that it's over. Isn't that horrible to say? YES! I admit it. Actually, I'm not happy that Chanukah the holiday is over. I'm happy that the kids are back in school and life is getting back to my usual routine of absolute craziness. You parents know what it's like to be stuck at home with all the kids for weeks at a time. It certainly ain't no vacation, and the kids just want to eat and be entertained all day long, and I'z be like, "Go find yourself a friend, boy!"

The hardest part of Chanukah was not being able to go to the gym. Hold up! I know that sounds very vain and self-centered. 

But here's my point: I don't take care of my body for vain reasons. I'm not out to win a Miss Zumba Israel contest or anything like that. However! I very much enjoy the feeling that I get from exercising. I feel strong, energized, empowered, and, um, all muscular and stuff.

Aside from feeling great physically, I also get a natural high that lasts for many hours after my workout. It somehow magically disappears when all the kids get home and start pulling me in 80 different directions, but until then, I'm as happy as a little kid in Disney World. 

Along with the endorphin rush comes the incredible stress relief. A good workout does wonders for releasing all sorts of tension and stress, especially the stuff that we're worried about without even realizing it.

People, especially you busy moms out there, there's no reason you can't exercise at least once, if not twice a week. Don't give me the excuse that you have no time. It's valid, but sorry, it ain't gonna fly. No one has time these days. And don't give me the terrible, INvalid excuse that you're too focused on your spirituality to exercise. WRONG ANSWER!

I see tons of people (literally tons) running from this Torah lesson to that prayer service, and another Tehillim group or something like that. Yet many of them eat terrible diets and get their exercise chasing the bus or panting their way up the stairs. 

My point is that spirituality doesn't mean you have to reject your physical existence! This is done on so many levels, more of which I will get into at another time. But for the meantime, I'd like to get you motivated to start taking better care of yourselves. 

It's not selfish to set aside a half hour to an hour a day to work out. It's life-saving! Especially with the terrible diets we eat, loaded with simple carbs, sweets, and too much dairy, the least we can do is try to counter the effects of our slow suicide by exercising. 

All you moms out there, I can't stress this enough. Join a gym and commit to going twice a week. Just do it! Don't worry about logistics to the point where you talk yourself out of it. Ask Hashem to help you figure it out, for the sake of your health, your sanity, and your marital peace, and I'm sure He'll be happy to oblige! 

I have to say that I'm proud of the women in my gym. A large percentage of them are Orthodox, and yes, they don't yet know what they're doing. But they're THERE! They've committed to making a positive change in themselves, not just for their sake, but for the sake of their husbands and children. And that's the hardest thing to do. Learning how to lift weights is the easy part.

If a mother of eight can take an hour out of her day, then believe me, you can do it. Unless you have nine children. That might be a little bit harder. 

This week, I'm asking TEN of you to take the first step and join a gym. I can't believe how much my life has improved just from getting in shape. I'm not only stronger. I have more energy, mental clarity, better focus, and more self-confidence. And all this and more gets absorbed by my family.

Ultimately, a happier, healthier you will have a stronger, deeper, and more satisfying connection with Hashem than you've ever had before. And a stronger connection with Hashem means stronger emuna. BOOYAH! 

If you're one of the ten that will commit to getting in shape, send me a comment below and we'll keep in touch! I'm excited for all of us to grow together and create real, lasting physical and spiritual changes! 

Have a wonderful, emuna-filled, pasta-free day!

~Racheli


My Cloudy Brain

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Check out this cute and creative word cloud my friend Feigi made for me! I'm proud to say that now I officially know what a word cloud is. Thanks so much, Feigi! 

She took a bunch of words from a few of my latest posts and combined it with her creative genius, and voila! For the first time, I get to have what's probably the most objective look at what's going on in my fascinating brain. 

I was looking at this thing for a while, kind of running my eyes over each word, and then, BAM! Emeril came over and started cooking some fake shrimp and kosher chorizo sausage paella. 

What I really meant to say was that if I were a psychologist, I would tell myself the following:

-Girl, you're obsessed with food. Obsessed. How many times can you talk about carbs and the ketogenic diet? 

And I would respond to myself, "Yes, in fact, I am obsessed."

-You have an awareness of Hashem. 

To which I would say, "Praise the Lord!"

-You're completely CRAZY.

"And you're not a very good psychologist. Anyone could have figured that out!" 

I sure told her. 

So, thanks, Feigi. Now the rest of the world (or at least 5 more people) knows what's really going on my head. Lots of insanity.

Now I'm off to Never Never Land, to fly around with the immodestly dressed fairies and pretend I am still young and single. And rich. Because why not. 

Oh, right! There has to be a message here. Let me think.... 

Okay, I can't. Sorry.

Have a great day!

~Racheli

p.s.- Check out the amazing video I posted below! 


The Healthy Self-Image

Feel Good About Yourself
Who doesn't want a healthy self-image? When you feel good about yourself, you can not only love everyone else, but the whole world feels good about you. It's easier than you think. Today's lesson will not only show you how to avoid the pitfalls of being down on yourself, but will show you how to build a healthy self-image. Don't miss it!

G-d willing, this evening's life-saving emuna lesson and broadcast entitled "The Healthy Self-Image" will take place on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7PM Israel time (12 noon EDT); the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time.  If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams. 

If you haven't done so already, as preparation for today's lesson, read Racheli's fantastic article, Love Yourself.


Welcome, Rebbetzin Channen!

Happy new week, everyone! Since Rav Brody is on vacation, i.e. the "Starting Over" tour, I'm takin' over. And the first thing I would like to do as self-appointed person-in-charge-who's-not-really-in-charge is to introduce Breslev Israel's newest writer and Emuna Therapist, Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen! 

Rebbetzin Channen began her career as a crisis intervention counselor in Silver Spring, MD. After moving to Israel, she worked as a marital mediator and social skills instructor for kids. Following the death of a son, she became a certified bereavement counselor and worked with young mothers who had suffered a loss. Most recently, she worked at the Melabev Center for the memory-impaired, as an activity director and group facilitator for families coping with Dementia. The Rebbetzin has written for numerous magazines and newspapers and recently led an interactive creating writing course. She is the wife of Rabbi Don Channen, Rosh Yeshiva of Keter HaTorah. They are blessed to have nine children and many grandchildren and live in Ramat Bet Shemesh.

Now that you've read her uber-impressive credentials, I want to introduce you to Yehudit, the woman. She is one of my closest friends, so I can tell you who she really is. Her challenges in life have given her the ability to truly empathize with the pain that others are going through. She is real; she is deep; she is compassionate, uplifting, and non-judgmental. She listens with her heart; not just her ears. She is a genuine person who doesn't live for anyone else's approval. She lives according to Truth.

Breslev Israel is truly blessed to welcome her to the team. I have told her that in my mind, she is the female equivalent of Dr. Zev Ballen, our amazing Emuna Therapist. I later found out that Dr. Zev told her that himself. 

Her career background, her charming personality, and her life experiences have combined to make Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen a therapist that will be an immense gift in her clients' lives. Anyone that has met with Dr. Ballen can attest to the unique and life-changing approach of Emuna and traditional therapy. Rebbetzin Channen adds her own special flavor to the only therapy in the world with the blessing of Rabbi Shalom Arush, and I know that she will be loved by many. 

Rebbetzin Channen is now available for counseling sessions. Contact her through staff@breslev.co.il. 

 


Let it Go

Shavua Tov, everyone! Racheli here, and I can't believe another week has gone by! I'm half asleep, so I hope this post makes sense. Here's a thought that we should all try to work on this week. It's called forgiveness. To me, that's such a non-pc word. I hate it. But a word I hate even more is the word, "sorry," but only if I'm saying it. If my husband says it, I first get more mad at him, because then I have no excuse not to forgive him. And that's the problem.

Let's be honest. Many times we don't want to forgive the other person because we still feel like we have the upper hand. Assuming they're asking for our forgiveness, it means we know they're wrong, and they know they're wrong. Therefore, we feel like we deserve to hold it over their heads. Maybe we would like a little more groveling and some begging? Or is it just me? 

Believe me, I know how hard it is to forgive, especially when our hurt feelings are completely justified. For me, agreeing to forgive someone that wronged me is almost as bad as admitting that I was wrong, even if I wasn't. What's the alternative? Holding a grudge? What good does it do us? Does it make us happier and less stressed? And what if it's family or someone we see every day? Does it make things easier by having to avoid each other, or pretend like the other person doesn't exist? Doesn't that just ruin any fun family get-together? Or is that an oxymoron in itself?

Holding back our forgiveness is one of the evil inclination's favorite tricks. Not only does he manage to rob us of our happiness and weigh us down with anger, stress, and all types of negative emotions, but he manages to take away our blessings at the same time. When we don't forgive another, we are literally shutting off the channels of abundance that should be pouring down on us. It's really like the saying goes: we cut off our nose to spite our face. In the end, we are the ones that lose. 

And, of course, I have to remind you (and me) that lack of forgiveness = lack of emuna. Ultimately, we don't really believe that it was Hashem that sent that person as a messenger of divine justice. That person, for whatever reason, was chosen to do the dirty work. So if we're like the rabid dog that's getting his poisonous slobber all over the stick that he's biting, instead of looking at the person holding the stick, then we've missed the point of the message and soul correction that Hashem was trying to send us. 

At the end of the day, holding a grudge is just not worth it. Let it go. You don't have to be best friends with that person, but just be on amicable terms. You'll feel so much better aftewards, I promise. With Rosh Hashana only a few short weeks away, there is no better time than now to fix our broken relationships. So this week, any time someone hurts, insults, annoys, or bothers the heck out of you, repeat this invaluable mantra to yourself: let it go. 

Wishing you a wonderful week!


Happy Days

Shavua Tov, friends! Racheli here, and I am sooooo excited! Today is the first day of school!!! YES!! While it may be borderline torturous for us to get our kids out the door and into the classroom during the first several days, isn't it truly one of the happiest days of a parent's life? Well, for me it is. Wait - a phrase just popped into my head, and I hope I'm remembering it correctly. I think it goes: the two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells his boat. Is that right? Here's my version: the two happiest days of a parent's life are the day he becomes a parent and the day he marries his child off. Is that right, too? Shame on me. Seriously.

As I was counting down the minutes on Shabbat to my long-awaited freedom, which I really shouldn't have been doing, I thought about my Summer of Suffering. Granted, it was only three weeks of suffering, as the Charedi school system only has a three week summer vacation. I don't know about you, but that right there is enough of a reason for me to be Charedi. Why do kids need two months off from school? So they can drive their parents insane? So here was my flash of insight: all suffering comes to an end.

Just like all good things come to an end (I'm full of outdated phrases today, no?) so, too, all bad things must come to an end. Nobody suffers forever - not in this world and not in the next world. Of course, during such trying times, we feel like time has stopped, or at least gone on vacation to Tahiti. Why did Time not take us with him? Don't we also deserve a vacation, especially since we're going through such difficulties? 

Here are two points to remember if you're going through some major, heavy-duty suffering: 1) every moment of pain is a spiritual atonement and soul correction. If we could see how much our suffering cleans us up, we'd welcome it with a "Bring it on!" 2) talk to Hashem! Were any of you stubborn children that didn't listen to your parents the first time they told you to do something, so they had to yell at you or shake you by your shoulders? Maybe they had to punish you in order to get the message across? That's called tough love, and sometimes Hashem has to use the same tactics. Do a soul accounting and figure out what you're doing that's detrimental to your spiritual well-being. And please don't tell me that you're not doing anything wrong.

Reincarnation is one of the foundations of Judaism; as such, we have to look at each life like it's a chapter in our book of lifetimes. We don't know how everything fits together. But we have to believe that there is a bigger picture. Watch Rav Brody's awesome emuna lesson, Life After Death. It'll help you put everything you're going through in a different perspective.

Wishing you a wonderful week!