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For the past year, I’ve been so struck by what’s not working for the frum community that that has become the focus of my writing. Without meaning to, I slowly drifted into writing exclusively about what’s wrong and what’s simply not working.
But that’s not what I want to be about!
You think the world needs another do-gooder with a blog who loves pointing out what’s not working?! Certainly, the frum community doesn’t need that.
So no more! From now on, this space is about what is possible for frum men and the community at large.
Some call conventional shlichus outreach. I suppose those people would call this inreach.
My intention is to be someone that explores how frum men can access being with life, as life is lived in day-to-day living, in a very powerful way. And sharing that journey and process with you.
More specifically, the intention of this space spreads into two dimensions.
Self and Soul
On the level of Self, i.e. as a Human Being, this space will be dedicated to looking into how human beings live life and what are accessible powerful mindsets and ways of being, that allow human beings to flourish, whatever flourish would look like for you IN REAL TIME.
This includes real-world, offline events, some of which have already begun (such as monthly gathering of men in Crown Heights and a gathering in Lakewood).
On-line, the major focus on the level of Self will be tools and mindsets that work in real time, and give you access to being with life as it is and dealing with it very powerfully (see later for expectations you can have of this space and which, if unmet, are good grounds for telling me to go fly a kite).
You see, human beings deal with tremendous amounts of struggle. Have you ever seriously struggled with a relationship or a life situation?
Ahhh you have?
So you’re human. And the one thing we can be sure of is that many more struggles are headed your way. The only certainty in life is uncertainty. The only guarantee life makes is death. (And that’s awesome if you think long and hard about it.)
But the struggle, the suffering often comes from what chassidus calls the animal soul and what I call the brain.
The circumstance never generates the struggle by itself. Whatever circumstance you’re in, let me assure you there are other people in those circumstances as well and some of those people are not suffering. Which means it’s a choice.
Frum men deal with a lot of extremely difficult and heavy responsibilities:
They deal with the normal stuff human beings struggle with.
Then, on the level of Self, they deal with large families and the mental, emotional and financial challenges that presents.
Money – nuff said.
Wife – how to have a happy, fulfilling relationship, dealing with attraction to other women, for many, dealing with pornography,
How to stay connected to purpose and meaning on a human level.
Then on top of all that, dealing with everything on the level of Soul:
How to keep Judaism alive and enlivening.
How to remain grateful and appreciative of God even when rent for next month seems impossible and you’re like my God, gimme a break!
How to give over Judaism to your kids
And on and on.
Here’s the deal though. If you will get anything out of this space, you will have to play with and take on the life-changing idea that the suffering, the limitations we place on ourselves, the loss of friends and family and connection and love and presence, all those things are on us.
They’re choices we make.
Every time we’re angry or sad, we chose that anger or sadness. It sure as hell does not feel that way but there it is all the same. So if we’re the ones who took that on, we’re the ones who can actually get access to mastering that struggle and pain.
Ready for a slogan?
If you have 50% of the responsibility, you have 50% of the power. Once you take on that you’re fully responsible (not as a burden but as an opportunity) you gain tremendous power in your life.
On the level of Soul, i.e. as a Jewish Being, this space will be dedicated to giving you access to transforming the quality of your relationship with God and Judaism. Major themes I will focus on in this area is accountability, both for you and God (more on that in upcoming posts), and starting to experience Judaism as not just a system of rules but as an opportunity to have enlivening and truly profound relationship with the Unlimited One, based on what He has communicated works for him.
In upcoming posts, I will spell out with more detail the major themes I will be exploring on the level of Self and Soul.
But here are the expectations you can expect from this space.
This space will be exploring how to master the Self and start to use our heart and brain instead of having our brain and heart use us.
Nothing I write about or advocate is something that I have not used in my own life and validated experientially as a powerful and enlivening way of living. Much, maybe most of it, is influenced by my investment in chabad chassidus as well as various life experiences I’ve had that were transformational for me (i.e. produced lasting shifts and change, not temporary highs).
Let’s talk about the type of results you can expect to get out of engagement with this space:
You can expect to start waking up at times, actually, like in reality, as you naturally are upon awakening – excited to be alive.
You can expect to experience, like an actual EXPERIENCE, like simply the way life seems to you (not as some concept you are struggling to fit yourself into), to experience a sense of lightness and freedom in your life with whatever you are struggling with. Many of us live life like we’re in front of a firing squad, cringing and just waiting to hear that gunshot, see the world shrouded by a dark quickly creeping curtain of darkness.
Imagine having some space, my goodness, SPACE, to just be with whatever God is throwing at you.
You can expect to begin feeling like you’re an actual partner in your relationship with God, like you have an actual say, as if it were an actual relationship between you and the big Guy upstairs (without compromising halacha).
You can expect to feel like things that never seemed possible are suddenly appearing as doable, reachable and possible.
You can expect to begin seeing yourself, not as what you’re feeling emotionally or thinking in your brain, or even feeling in your body, but as Something beyond all that, something capable of not living life based on how you feel or think or desire. To begin to know yourself as a Self capable of generating almost anything possible.
If after sticking with me for a while, you’re not getting access to things like that, then please, please tell me and give me a good riddance!
Who am I to be making claims like that? I’m a nobody.
I’m not wise, I’m not old and saturated with life-experience, and I’m certainly not holy.
I’m simple a facilitator, someone who will hold you accountable and someone you can hold accountable as well (more on that in upcoming posts).
But here’s the REAL secret (might as well spill the beans now):
YOU WILL BE THE ONE CREATING ALL THIS CHANGE IN YOUR OWN LIVES NOT ME!
I have nothing, no power, no magic, no holiness (beyond, you know, the Godly Soul inside me).
I will simply be giving you some space to have some room from all the stuff that life throws at you, and when human beings have space, they get the power to shift whatever it is they need to shift to begin dealing with their “stuff” in a natural and intuitive way.
That reminds me, if you ever find me giving someone advice about a specific situation, please, please call me out publicly.
How comical. As if I could know more about what that person is dealing with than what they know themselves?!
No no no don’t make me laugh.
The only thing that I could possibly do for you is give you the context and space to deal with whatever you’re dealing with from a place of openness, aliveness and courage.
And even that, is not me, it’s you creating the change through playing with the tools laid out in this space.
Oh, by the way, nothing I write is true.
It’s all made up. Every. last. word.
The minute you think that I think or am proposing that what I’m saying is true you’ll do what human beings do in that situation.
You’ll begin checking with yourself, do I really think this is true? But what about that person and this person? What about factor X and Y? And doesn’t Science/Torah say that ….”
No, no friend, none of that please.
What I’m offering you is made up.
So stop checking if you agree with it.
Just take on to play with it in real-time in life and see what happens.