I read a book called Running on Empty: Overcoming Childhood Neglect. I also read Hold Me Tight, which is a solution for healing through healthy loving attachment.
Friends, what can I say? Everyone wants to feel needed, know that we matter. We teach our kids independence, but too much independence creates an inability to attach, need, or depend on others safely. It is a balance-moderation-middle path like anything else, including diets, exercise programs, etc. Not On or Off. Emptiness is internal. It must be remedied from the inside out. No one or no substance can fill a void. Gratitude to God is where it begins.
Rabbi Feiner spoke about appreciating the air we breathe for free, toilets (just recall what happens when a toilet is inoperable), and chocolate (a seemingly simple pleasure that I personally enjoy daily). What I noticed most is the way he conveyed this – with passion! It brought tears to my eyes.
I lead a full life. There were some things missing, but overall I’ve been blessed with success and fulfillment and surrounded by loved ones and mentors. The remaining missing piece is simply what I cannot give myself. That is the need to give and receive fully with a forever partner – a soulmate who “gets” me and is able to build through deep connecting. The glue of a Torah marriage. I feel stronger than ever and notice improvements daily. I see the growth and especially the way I am able to make decisions, even those others do not like, and use my voice.
No one can put me in a box ever again. Nor will I keep myself in one. I watched Rabbi Feiner embrace his congregants and the way he gave me a brachah with full attention. This man is a deeply feeling, special soul. I get it. Make this day more full than any other.
Someone said I have an ayin tov because I see the good in people/situations. I do. Always have. Trying to focus on the process, feel it, live it – not the end game. Counting up. Remember the real goal is to get better every day, right now, not starting tomorrow or when – that day may never come. Delays are deadly. I read that procrastination is one of the trademarks of passive-aggression. Scary.
I heard Barbara Corcoran speak about how a personal affront prompted her determination to succeed. A woman at the JWE conference shared a similar experience. Prove to those who try to hold us down that we will not be contained. I watch dynamics between couples and can tell if the glue is there, the spark – what not only makes a “we” unique but keeps it going. The difference between a friendship and a couple.
Internet addiction, Alexa, inappropriate websites, and social-media-following distort and distract the essence of real communication and connection. My son Yosef was labeled a baal achrayus (responsible) in third grade. The rebbe “got” his essence.
If someone never had to put in real weekly work to prepare for Shabbos or holidays or had to maintain anything, it will be difficult to learn. In our quest to be authentic over fake, we must take action. Hands on. Daily. A Torah book said: The real measure of a man takes place behind closed doors and not the public show. I read an article called, “I Wish for a Kiss” by the wife of someone with an attachment inability. It said studies show a genuine kiss releases oxytocin, promoting trust, bonding, and attachment. She ended by filing for divorce after multiple attempts at professional help with this message: Life is too short not to be kissed. Well that’s for sure. How sad. Kisses are free and easy, yet we cannot give ourselves a kiss. It’s a connecting tool. A gift. Once I was given a kind kiss on the forehead even as I had caused confusion to that person. It was a lifelong lesson. Of course, there is more than kissing needed for a healthy relationship or marriage to endure. People must “hear” each other in their own love language. Knowledge is less important than emotional intelligence. The language of love is universal, felt by the heart, not words. They must be loyal and focused on priority. Oneness. Those are foundational.
Sometimes, a session has simply timed out. That’s okay, too. Best to admit that and move forward.
We must be careful not to judge anyone else. Sometimes there is chesed going on. The bottom line is that emptiness is ours alone to own. We must create a full life to the best of our ability. I know from personal experience and years of hard work that while this is not easy, it certainly is attainable. It is at that point where we can give out to others from a full enough vessel.
I pray constantly for the strength to endure the many tests thrown my way and to avail myself of the wonderful advice, mentors, and even books in my arsenal towards continuous self-growth and awareness. I have learned to be independent and at the same time look forward to creating a oneness with a forever partner and, yes, “needing” him as I hope he will “need” me – in a healthy way, growing, building, becoming our further best selves as we feather our nest first and then out to others.
Rabbi Goldberg talks about how it is important to have good friends for positive influence. I have a solid wall of support around me and am so blessed: my kids, my Dad, other loving relatives, friends, rabbis and rebbetzins, professionals, and community – G-d, most of all. Someone asked me: With all those people around me, how do I direct asking for help? Each of us has a unique task here, different strengths and abilities. I do not pick and choose. Never. Instead, I have learned which topics are best to discuss with whom. The important thing is to have people in our lives who “get” us. Really. And we do the same for others. Accepting, loving unconditionally, really being there for others. Validating their feelings. Not focusing on solutions. Certainly not first. Just be there. Listen, comfort, attach. Then, when they are ready, it is safe to offer guidance or solutions if they ask for it.
This is important to remember: Pressing a “pause” button is one of the greatest skills to have. I did this with my teenager recently and the results of an otherwise challenging situation were so good and effective, baruch Hashem! I had to practice keeping my mouth closed, and being patient (which does not come naturally). When her teacher said, “We are here with you, it will be okay, you are not alone,” I cried. Deeply. I have often felt alone. Accepting help, relying on others, trusting, is scary for me, yet I do it anyway. I must. The alternative is to stay trapped, thinking people are islands. We are not.
I pray hard and cry. G-d, you are always there, always available, no phone tag or text tag needed. There is a new support group for those affected by a loved one’s mental illness called “Supportive Souls,” existing on Long Island and coming to Kew Gardens Hills.
There will be a shiur on Wednesday, May 29, at 8:15 p.m. at the home of Susie Garber, given by a Rebbetzin Devorah Yaffa Singer from Eretz Yisrael on “Emunah: Accessing Our Connection to Hashem” in preparation for Shavuos and receiving our own Torah personally. The shiur is in memory of Michael Yitzchak ben Yaakov Yosef, a very holy man who was a living Torah, loving husband, and man of emunah even in the face of devastating illness, which took him from this world prematurely, with his eishes chayil Jody by his side.
I wish all the ability to choose life, enlist help, and turn from “Running on Empty” to “Running on Full.” We can do this, friends! Together!