12 Tishrei 5779 / Friday, September 21, 2018 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
 
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Facing Yourself    

Facing Yourself



Getting through life can be shockingly difficult. There are times that, in order to function, we need to put our pain on the back burner so we can do what we need to do…

 



Many people have trouble with personal prayer because it involves putting deep feelings into words. We can have all kinds of fears and desires swimming around in our minds but actually verbalizing them produces strong emotions, some we don't want to face.

 

Getting through life can be shockingly difficult. There are times that, in order to function, we need to put our pain on the back burner so we can do what we need to do. But eventually that pain needs to come to the fore.

 

When my daughter was in a coma for three weeks, I became adept at focusing on the present moment, not daring to speculate what may lie ahead.

 

In order to function at even a minimal level I concentrated on every detail that lay outside of myself.

 

When I tried to pray, all energy seeped out of the broken vessel I was, and I would rock in pain so intense, it flattened me. I could not talk to God.

 

So I quit praying. I put down my tehillim and picked up an Oprah magazine. I was so angry at God, so hurt that he could “do this to me” that I withdrew from Him. I gave God the cold shoulder and indulged in a spiritual tantrum.

 

One of my married sons asked me if I was feeling closer to Hashem, sitting by my daughter's bedside day after day. I admitted that God and I were not, at the moment, on speaking terms. I was wrong. He was speaking to me but I could not respond. To do so would overwhelm me with an avalanche of such turmoil, I couldn't face it.

 

I remember that many years ago (things are better today) being in therapy was something to be ashamed of. There was a stigma attached to people who went to psychologists. Therapy was for weak, nervous people who were not very bright. While that may be true of some, in my opinion, as an Emuna Coach, people that enter therapy are courageous. It takes guts to share one's innermost feelings, to face emotions like jealousy, shame and anger. To be willing to challenge one's preconceived ideas, the demands we make on others and our expectations of how things should be. Many clients suppress negative feelings but they leak out just the same. Some people become passive-aggressive about their feelings. Some people shut down.

 

While I was in the hospital with my daughter, I met a young man who had cancer. He gave me the book Crossing the Narrow Bridge by Rebbe Nachman and I began to learn about hisbodedus (personal prayer). It said that while we must always address Hashem respectfully, nevertheless we are allowed to approach Him like a child turns to a parent: “Therefore it is good to express your thoughts and troubles to God like a child complaining and pestering his father.”

  

I understood that I had permission to tell Hashem that I was hurt and angry (actually furious) and that I couldn't understand how this situation could be good. Every day I would find a quiet spot in the hospital grounds and give God an update on my feelings, both the nice ones and the not so.

 

I felt enormous relief afterwards. And to my surprise, it wasn't so hard to pull myself together again, once I was done.

 

I felt lighter and more hopeful. I felt better “coming clean” with God. I told him the truth about my feelings. And in my heart I knew that He understood.

 

Never be afraid to open your soul in personal prayer. There is tremendous healing in letting it all out to God. Trust me, you'll feel better and He can take it.

 

 

* * *

Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen is a certified Emuna Therapist for Breslev Israel. You can set up an appointment with her by contacting staff@breslev.co.il 





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