I’ll admit it: Since COVID, I’ve had a very rough ride.
My mental health suffered. And so did my marriage.
As psychotherapist Esther Perel says, disasters and crises often function like relationship accelerators. We suddenly have a strong sense of our own mortality, and life seems shorter than ever. So we want to take immediate action – such as moving in with someone or leaving them.
I am discovering my spiritual side, which was lacking in my overall health equation.
Since COVID hit, I have been attending Jewish Sabbath services every Saturday. My Rabbi has set up a tent in his driveway.
While I’m not particularly religious, I try to use the Sabbath as my white space: I make a point to not work, to be offline, to relax, think, read and just be present. It’s like my vacation day every week.
Everyone could benefit from this.
I light the candles every Friday at sundown on the Sabbath and have a moment with God, my new BFF :). My new GPS – God Programming System – is giving me direction, meaning and purpose. It is showing me the path forward in my journey.
This past week, I took my Jewish high holidays especially seriously.
I prepared my mindset 30 days before the high holidays.
I attended Rosh Hashanah services over two days.
I reflected during the 10 days of redemption between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) and Yom Kippur (the day of atonement)
And throughout this time, I was feeling incredibly somber, trying to find my way towards forgiveness for the people who have not been kind or truthful with me. I am learning that I need to be more discerning about how and where I show and share my kindness and vulnerability. I need to establish and hold firm to my boundaries.
I spent an entire afternoon between the morning and evening Yom Kippur services journaling and self-reflecting. I was trying to squeeze in every thought and intention I could to get sealed into God’s book for a year of fulfillment, joy, peace, prosperity, health and wisdom. For those of you who aren’t Jewish, the thinking is that the book opens on Rosh Hashanah and closes on Yom Kippur when God determines the fate of each person for the upcoming year.
By the time the final service was concluding, I felt energized and euphoric. During Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – I had the easiest fast ever. I was not at all hungry or thirsty. Instead, I was hungry and thirsty for clarity.
But here’s something that is etched in my mind:
Within 10 minutes of the Rosh Hashanah service last week, we heard a huge crash just outside the tent. Everyone’s initial reaction was that a bomb had gone off, or a gun shot. Was this an act of anti-Semitism?
No, it was a car crash.
It was nice to see the congregation and bystanders come together to help the women in one of the cars while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.
One bystander removed the woman from her car and brought to rest on the sidewalk.
Another held the woman in her arms and calmed her down.
I applied ice water bottles to her feet, hands and forehead and helped calm the woman down.
She was clearly in shock. Curled up like a fetus. Catatonic. Crying. She couldn’t even talk, motioning to her head and chest, where she felt pain. She was breathing heavily.
I applied my mindfulness skills to encourage her to breathe in and out while counting to three, slowly. To encourage her to calm down, I tried the gratitude mindset: “You’re alive, you’re breathing, you will be ok.”
And as I looked at this woman, I suddenly realized: This catatonic woman is me.
Sitting in stillness and discomfort.
Yom Kippur is a time for “Teshuvah” – returning to myself. I knew right then that I truly needed to focus on loving and forgiving myself for abandoning myself. Abandoning my core values.
Self-love and self-forgiveness are a crucial part of self-care. As part of my mental health sabbatical, I am in the midst of completing a life/success coaching certification program.
I am self-coaching myself, armed with what I am learning, both in that program and from online wellness self-coaching program, Byte-Size Wellness Academy, which I created. Coupled with therapy and my yoga practice – I’m a 200 hour RYT certified yoga instructor – I am healing.
As I mentioned last week, the surprise visit from my son on my birthday filled me with the joy I need to now focus on as I become kinder and gentler with myself.
I would love for you to join me in this journey, as part of your personal journey or workplace or conference wellness program. Interested? Curious? Click HERE to get on my 2023 waiting list or schedule a complementary DISCOVERY CALL to see if coaching is a fit for you.
Join me on this journey, following the (Jewish) new year. And the new me.
And if you have any words of wisdom, inspirational messages or stories, hit REPLY and share :)