Sunday, August 16, 2015


  The Work is a tool for self awareness and personal development.  It is not a subsitute for trauma therapy.

Here is a harder example of The Work, at work.

 I could barely breathe, and I couldn't move.
I was having a flashback of my father molesting me. 
 I've been having these flashbacks for over twenty years. While I am reliving the abuse it is as if it is happening right now.  Back then, I desperately needed help, but I was alone.
No one in my family knew or helped me when it was happening, and no one in my family believes or supports me now. 
Would the flashbacks ever stop?  
Would I ever heal?
 I wanted to die.

I called my Thought Coach, Evelyn, who does The Work with me.
I told her, "Evelyn, I need help.  It's too painful.  I can't handle this."
"What is too painful?" She asked. " What is going on?"
"Why do I have to keep remembering this?!" I gasped. "Why do I have to feel this happening over and over!?  And why can't at least one person in my family support me. I feel so alone! It is too painful!"

Evelyn asked me the first question of The Work,
 "Is it really true that it is too much pain?"
"Yes!" I responded
It really was at that moment.

Evelyn did not deny my reality.
She asked, "Are you willing to look at this belief, "I can't handle the pain" more deeply?"
I was.
"And whose business is it that you are in so much pain?" Evelyn asked.  Do you want to be in so much pain?  Did you plan it? Did you cause it?"
"No." I said.
"Than whose business is it?", She  asked again.
"It's God's business. I didn't want it then and I don't want it now." I answered.

"Let's look at this pain."  Evelyn said.  "What does it look and feel like?  Where do you feel it in your body?"
"It's a lot bigger than my body.  It's bright red.  It's burning me." My body was shaking, as it does when it remembers the abuse.
"How big is it, really?"  Evelyn asked. "Let's take a look.  Don't be afraid of it. Is it bigger than a country?  Is it bigger than earth?"
"Yes!  Way bigger.  It's bigger than all the planets.  It encompases everything and fills the universe.  Nothing else exists. Just this pain. I can't do this!"  My body hurt and I felt like I would throw up.

"How do you feel when you believe the thought that it's too much pain?  What do you do? What kind of a person are you?" Evelyn asked.
"I am dissociating." I answered. "I'm shaking. I want to die to get away from it.  I feel helpless and trapped. I want to smash my head.  I feel like God hates me and wants me to suffer."
"And what do you do when you believe this thought?" Asked Evelyn.
" I'm lying here flat on my back talking to you. I can barely move. I can't function." I answered.

 "Are you breathing?  Can you keep breathing?" Evelyn asked.
 "Yes." I responded.
"Are you feeling the pain." She asked next.
 "Yes." I responded.
Evelyn continued, "Now, what would happen if you believed the opposite thought? Can you try on the opposite thought? Can you say, " The pain is not too much.  I am feeling it.  I am holding it. I am breathing it."
I say it.
"Is that true?" Evelyn asked.  "Are you feeling, holding, breathing the pain?"
"Yes." I said.
"So is it really true that it's too much pain?" Evelyn asked.
"Well, I guess not. No." I responded.

How do you feel when you believe, It is not too much pain. I am feeling this. I am breathing through this pain?" She asked next.
"I am just feeling it."  I said. "I'm crying.  It hurts."
What kind of a person does that make you, when you think and believe that it is not too much pain?" Evelyn asked next.
"A strong person." I responded
Evelyn agreed, "Yes! You are a very strong person!"

Although I was still in pain, I was aware that I was no longer suffering. The pain was intense, but it was not going to kill me. I was no longer desperate. I was no longer fighting reality.
It was just pain.
It would pass.

And it did pass,like a wave on the beach rises and then falls.

And I was left with this truth:
 I am a very strong person.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


One of the tools I regularly use to access the reality of God's unconditional love and acceptance is "The Work"by Byron Katie. 

My dear friend and 'Thought Coach' Evelyn Schnier has been doing The Work with me for almost two years.  
 Evelyn taught me that our thoughts are like our children.
 Our thoughts need our attention, love, acceptance, and guidance, because like children they will believe almost anything.
(Remember when your two year old was terrified of the bath because he thought he would fall down the drain?)

 When we become aware of our stressful thoughts, we can hear, listen, accept, love, and guide them, just as we do with our children. 

The first question to ask when doing The Work, is whether a stressful thought or belief is really true. 
 Is it one hundred percent true that I should have more money? 
 Is it one hundred percent true that my child should be neater? 
 Is it one hundred percent true that my mother should help me? 
 Is it one hundred percent true that my family should love me? 

 The answer is ultimately, "no" because If it really were true, than it would be the reality. 

Our reality, in each present moment, is ultimately what is best for us right now. 
This is the essence of emunah.  Hashem gives me everything I need in each moment. 
So, If I don't have something right now, that is proof that I don't need it.  

The second question is, how do I feel and behave when I believe a stressful or negative thought; when  I fight reality?
 What kind of a person do I become?  
The third question is, how do I feel and behave when I don't believe my negative thoughts?  What kind of a person do I become, then?

The fourth question is, what would happen if I believed exactly the opposite of what I'm thinking?  If I turn the thought around?

Could it be true that in this moment, I have enough money?  I have food in the refrigerator.  I have a roof over my head.
My child should not be neater, because he isn't. That is true enough.
 My mother should not help me because she can't, but I can help myself, or maybe I can help my mother.
  My family should not love me, because they can't, (or else they would!)   I can love myself.   Hashem loves me, and my husband, and my children, and my friends love me...

It sounds almost too simplistic, but The Work is profoundly deep, and has changed my life.

 I'll give you two real life examples.  The first one is easier, the second one is harder.

Yesterday I missed the bus to Yerushalayim and I knew I would be late for my appointment.  At first, I gritted my teeth thinking, "shoot, I shouldn't have missed that bus!  If only I had left five seconds sooner I would be on that bus now!"  I felt miserable when I believed this.  I felt stressed, and angry with myself and with the bus driver for not stopping when I ran toward the bus.  

 When I am suffering with negative feelings and I do the work, even though my reality doesn't change, my suffering disappears.  I learned that suffering comes, not from my reality, but from believing my thoughts about my reality. 

 So I asked myself, is it really true that I should be on that bus?  Is it 100% true?  Is that what Hashem wants for me right now?

Well, obviously not, otherwise I would be on that bus. 

 I stop fighting reality, and I accept it, and deal with it.  I accept that this particular bus, in this moment, is not the way I'm meant to get to my appointment. 

 And I start thinking...

 Maybe I can find another way to try to get to my appointment on time?  
Maybe I can grab a cab and catch that bus...
Or maybe I'll just wait for the next bus, and let them know I'm running late...
Or I'll call and postpone my appointment....  

In the end I waited for the next bus and I let my appointment know I was running late.  

 I was relaxed and happy and free, because I knew and felt this truth:
I did not want, or plan to miss the bus.  
And when something happens that I do not want or plan, then it is Hashem's business, not mine. My job is to stay in my business...

 My business is to deal with my reality in each moment with love and acceptance.  
And when I do that, each moment is perfect.  

The harder example will be in my next post.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I have always loved a good book.
Sometimes, I encounter a book that is so compelling I become completely immersed to the point where time stops and I become the characters in the story. I join them. I feel their emotions, intensly. I laugh and cry real tears with them.  
When I finish an engrossing book, I am full. 
My mind and heart are open.  I am grateful for the vision, that opens up before me.  A vision that I was not able to see or perceive before I read the book. Sometimes a book's message is so important to me, so timely, it will stay with me forever and became a part of how I think and who I am.

Movies are similar.
 I once watched a 3-D surround sound IMax movie about Antarctica.  I shivered when the ice glaciers and bursts of cold air seemed to barely miss my face.  I could almost touch the ice, the seals, and penguins, the cold air.  But, as crisp, and real, and beautiful as the Arctic was in the film, I knew that I was not really in the Arctic. The movie was simply a projection of truth.  It was showing me something very true and real, without me actually being there. A mirror of truth.

I believe that the physical world is real to the spiritual world, as an important book or movie is to our lives.  Movies, and books, provide a hint of what our lives are really all about.  Our life is our book, our story, our movie, if you will.

 Our lives matter.
Our physical lives are very temporary and leave an important message on our soul and the souls of those we encounter.
 But our lives are not real in the way our conscious mind thinks they are. Nothing in this world can ever really hurt us because when the "movie" of our life is over and we leave the "theater" of this earth, we return to a reality we can not fully begin to fathom while here.

 I can relate to stories of people who have had near death experiences, but, I can tell you that it is not necessary to die and come back to life in order to perceive this reality. I have experienced a magnificent, vast, and magestic spiritual world that is right here, wrapped around me, and somehow inside me at the same time. I am aware that my physical brain often blocks me from percieving it fully. It is a world of beauty and light and love.  A world where evil and suffering do not exist.  

I used to be afraid to die because I thought I would be gone.  Now, I am closer to my soul.  I know that I can think, see, feel, hear, smell, and communicate, without my phsycial brain or body. In fact, my brain filters reality, and separates and dulls my senses.

Our physical world is a projection of the truth.
 Although we all eventually die here, nothing can ever really kill us.  There is nothing to fear.  Our soul is eternal.  I fight every day to swim through the muck that sometimes feels like 'real life' to touch and feel this truth.

The truth:
I am embraced by the Creator of life and truth, who is connection, unconditional love, and acceptance.  I am loved.  I am real.  I am important. I will always be.
This is reality.
This is eternal.  
Nothing else will last.
Not evil, and not death, and not suffering.

Evil and suffering are a product of our physical reality. They are vital to our important life's work here on this earth. The possibility of evil provides for our independence, and ability to choose the kind of life we will live, and leave behind.

Yesterday, watching my husband paint, I became aware that we are each an artist with a canvas as long as our years on earth.
This morning I thought about the news of murdered children, Israeli, and Arab.  I prayed for those who are feeling depressed and hopeless.
Prayer is so very powerful.  My thoughts and prayers create my reality.  I have seen this over and over in my life.

When my mood is dark, when my thoughts are dark, and when my heart is closed, I am aware that I am blocked from reality.  I pray that the Creator of life and love, open my heart and my mind to perceive the beauty, the truth and the joy all around me.  A spiritual reality is always right here, existing on a parallel frequency, one that we are fully capable of accessing.   

 There are times when my initial reaction to a life event is fear, shame, pain, and despair.  I have faced death, survived rape, and lived beside rapists and murderers in a mental hospital.

Perhaps because I now know these were gifts, I am not afraid.
Perhaps because of these gifts I have a different view of reality.  I am not afraid of hateful people because I know they are confused and suffering.  I know that nothing can happen to me that is bad.
 I am not afraid to question my thoughts and beliefs about good and bad.
 I am not afraid not to know, and to just be.  I am not afraid of life and what it has to offer.  I am not afraid of pain or loss, nor am I afraid to die a physical death.

I cannot ever lose my soul, my connection to the Creator who is love and truth and life.  
And that connection is all that I will ever need.