On Sunday, March 27, Gedale Fenster, motivational speaker and CEO of Evolution Treatment Center in Florida, shared a life-changing, interactive forum on Let’s Get Real With Coach Menachem.
Mr. Fenster shared that he combines modern psychology with chasidic teachings and offers practical information. He first shared his own personal journey of growth: how he faced huge challenges in his life and found the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov life-changing. His goal is to offer practical, direct, emotional advice for those dealing with difficulties. We have tremendous power within, and we need to have the correct mindset. He shares a daily podcast with the intention of bringing Jews back to their roots. He stated that “nobody else has something greater than us.”
He then explained that “sometimes the approach to the problem is the problem.” Rebbe Nachman taught that the purpose of prayer is to come to expanded consciousness. Mr. Fenster shared that he wakes up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to talk to Hashem. “It helps me look at the situation differently.” After every experience, there is an emotion tied to it. People need to acquire wisdom. “Wisdom is the memory without the emotion.”
We elevate a difficult situation through wisdom. “With every issue, we need to think about the message not the messenger.” He gave the following example: If a person feels he is always getting insulted, the problem is in him, and not in the people he interacts with. It’s his own self-esteem.
He noted that when we have a question, we have to focus on the feelings behind the question. When we do this, then we receive answers. Sometimes, our question itself tells us what the problem is.
We need to tackle issues on a conscious level. He recommended books and a sefer that helped him: Tomer Devorah by Rav Moshe Cordovero (16th Century), Letting Go by Dr. David R. Hawkins, and Kabbalah of Forgiveness by Dr. Henry Abramson.
When we experience a challenge, we need awareness of the message that Hashem is sending us. He taught that the problem is the solution. If we look at an issue with trust in ourselves, then we go into it with action. He taught that Hashem will get your attention one way or another. It can come from love, or inspiration, or desperation. Hashem wants more from us. We need to ask ourselves, “What does my Creator want from me?”
Someone asked about taking a break from dating, and Mr. Fenster said that a problem is that singles focus on looking for the one instead of focusing on becoming the one. “Energy comes with the right strategy.”
Next, he shared that feelings produce thoughts. We need to recognize what we are feeling. Negative feelings make it all about us. We need to let go of negative feelings by not resisting or judging them. Emotional breakdown is caused by being afraid to feel. He explained that stress is inside of us. If you have bitachon and say that Hashem provides for everyone, then this stops negative thoughts. We first need awareness.
He taught that the problem is not the issue. It is the lack of awareness that is the problem. Complaining causes more resistance and constriction.
When faced with a problem, we should first thank Hashem for the challenge. We should look at the difficulty as a challenge, not as a threat. The problem can be the biggest blessing.
We need to look at the message behind the challenge. Hashem wants us to cast our worries to Him. He wants us to pray and to talk to Him.
A way to break negative patterns is with gratitude. Gratitude brings awareness. Ask Hashem for awareness. “Why am I going through this?” Once we have awareness, there is no suffering anymore. “Our Creator is not there to punish us but to challenge us.” He added that “whatever I can’t control, I cast it to my Creator.” He taught that you should do as much as you can and then surrender the outcome to the Creator. He shared, “I pray, and I don’t worry about the outcome.”
He then related a teaching of Rebbe Nachman that through joy you can heal. “Anything that has to do with simchah is healing.”
When we face resistance, instead of giving up, we need to turn it up. He also explained that “hurt people hurt others.” To get your energy back, you have to forgive. This will give control back to you. He taught that the difficult people in our lives give us the opportunity to forgive so that Hashem will forgive us. When you forgive someone, Hashem gives you tremendous compassion. Forgiveness is “for giving.” It requires prayer and meditation to forgive. He recommended Never Get Angry Again by Dr. David Lieberman.
By Susie Garber