19 posts categorized "Emotional health"

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! 


Dismantling: a stress-management strategy

Shipwreck

The Talmud offers practical homiletic advice on how to survive under extreme stress:

Shipwrecked

Rabbi Akiva sailed from Israel to Cyprus. Before he left port, he saw his prize understudy, Rabbi Meir, board an older vessel, also sailing to Cyprus. In the midst of their journey, a terrible gale struck the Mediterranean. Rabbi Akiva's heart broke as he gazed into the distance, wincing while the storm lashed into the decrepit craft that carried Rabbi Meir. In a matter of minutes, the latter's ship was utterly destroyed...

A tear slid down Rabbi Akiva's cheek. "What a waste of a brilliant mind!" he lamented.

Several days later, upon reaching the shores of Cyprus, Rabbi Akiva entered a local synagogue and house of study. Flabbergasted, he froze in the doorway. Rabbi Meir was in the middle of a lecture to a group of Cypriot Talmud students. Seeing his esteemed teacher and spiritual guide in the doorway, Rabbi Meir ceased lecturing. "Rabbi Akiva, my honored master, please come inside!"

Rabbi Akiva could barely speak. "M-Meir! Y-You're still alive! H-How did you get ashore?"

"Simple, my master. Instead of focusing on the stormy sea, I rode one wave at a time. I caught wave after wave until I reached the shore!"

* * * * *

Had Rabbi Meir attempted to battle the entire tempestuous sea, he would have expended his strength in a short time. Instead, he used the centuries old formula of "divide and conquer" - Rabbi Meir knew that he couldn't overcome the sea, but he could surely cope with one wave at a time. Even more amazing, he arrived ashore before Rabbi Akiva!

The 2nd-Century CE sage Rabbi Meir teaches us the secret of staying on top when we seem to be buried under an insurmountable load of stress. Don't fight a whole raging sea, or don't try to move a one-ton boulder that's in your way. Take a 5-lb. hammer, and break chips of the boulder. Before you know it, the boulder - that ton of stress on your shoulders - is no longer there!

The secret of handling an overload of stress is dismantling - don't try to deal with all your pressures simultaneously. Ride one wave at a time, and you'll make it safely to shore, too.

Don't forget also that the best way of dismantling is to take all the problems off your own shoulders and throw them onto Hashem's lap. You do that with an hour a day of personal prayer; that will really make you feel light on your feet!


Daily Centering

Time for Yourself
Here's something I picked up from a health-and-fitness coach's manual (the bold-letter emphases are mine):

"The very first way to combat stress is to have your clients begin the exercise of taking 10 minutes each day - to simply sit and center themselves with their thoughts. They can find a quiet room somewhere and as they do, they should simply clear their mind or let their thoughts take place and then release them. This is a form of meditation and it can do wonders for helping to restore central nervous system balance, reducing ongoing stress and helping them feel that much better on a day to day basis. If they can’t do this for 10 minutes – 5 minutes will suffice. Any amount of time done daily or as close to daily a possible will have a very positive influence on their stress levels."

I don't know how many other health-and-fitness coaches follow the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, but the author of the above manual is right on the money. If 10 minutes daily ("5 minutes will suffice") does so much good for a person's nervous system, stress levels and overall good feeling, then imagine what 60 minutes a day of secluded personal prayer accomplishes! This is quality time, alone with Hashem, where you collect your thoughts, clarify issues and simply recharge body and soul. I like to do my daily sessions while walking, especially somewhere secluded and beautiful where heart and soul open wide up. It's the key to self-composure, happiness and sanity. Try it - you'll love it.

 


Love, Not Lust

Love and Lust
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I was one of the participants in the conference-call shiur you gave our group who are working on trying to break free from sex addictions. I can't thank you enough. For a long time, I was really down on myself and the more depressed I'd get, the worse I'd mess up. You were so positive, encouraging and non-judgmental. I feel like you threw me a rope to help pull me out of the muck. You should know that you helped a lot of us, because the head of our group said that this was a record-breaking shiur with hundreds of people listening in. Thanks so much and may you blessed with continued strength to keep doing what you do. From the heart, Srool the Tool

Dear Srool,

I deeply appreciate your email, but the credit goes to my teacher Rav Shalom Arush, Breslev Israel an Emunah Outreach, for everything I do is under their auspices. You guys are heroes - keep up your good work, and you'll bring Moshiach, for sure. With blessings always, LB

Listen to the above 52-minute shiur, "Love, not Lust"

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