Last year I wrote a blog post for Rosh Hashanah about crying on this holy day. If you haven't read it yet, here is my Rosh Hashanah 5780 post.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is a time where we celebrate the previous year while also taking on account all the blessings from the previous year and the areas of improvement. This year we celebrated Passover in a quarantined exile out of our familiar ways we lived life, and now we are to celebrate the new year in a similar light. A new year brings a period where, as we say on Rosh Hashanah, "it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed," as we pray to be sealed in the book of life for a year full of blessings, health, prosperity, and sustenance.
I believe that all that we desire materially and spiritually is right there available to us, we just have to rise to perceive goodness, to generate abundance, and to transform to a state of being to be able to receive it.
As I read the Torah portion last week, Nitzavim, this quote by Rabbi Isaac Luria, "Any person who does not cry on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has an imperfect soul," struck an emotional chord in me once more.
Each year - especially the past two for me - brings emotional lessons and life changing events, circumstances that are challenging, series of minor and/or major variations that can and sometimes have led to frustration, conflict of interests, doubt, and worries of variating degrees.
And yet, there is knowledge - in great distinction from intellectual information - that the mind can grasp; a self-knowledge of how to respond - not react - to situations of all types.
As the world embarks on a new year, I wanted to share the great lessons, experiences, and resources that made this past year such a rich year of growth; all the people, activities, breakthroughs, practices, and more that make it possible for me to play with life, to truly choose to see every moment with fresh, wondrous eyes, believe in myself, trust where I am, navigate emotional experiences, and live with purpose regardless of the circumstances.
As you read please understand some lessons may be limited to my current perspectives. I am sure some, if not all, are continuously evolving because I am continuously evolving.
The Less I do, the more I am
This may seem paradoxical with Judaism, but it may just be the most deep-rooted Jewish insight that arose in my awareness this year. It seems paradoxical because Judaism is about action. It's not because being is the best doing.
Many of us confuse doing with action. Many teachers say it's an "obligation" to do this or that, but most often the best action is being. The more I relaxed on the way home for Shabbat, not worrying about making it before sunset, the more I listened to my intuition when it came to putting on tefillin (phylacteries) or not, believe it or not I was in touch with God, and thus, was being Jewish. It was like I had transcended what is referred to in Chapter 18 of the Tanya as the levels of fear of God and truly embraced a loving connection with HaShem (one of God's names).
Does doing lead to being? Yes, it does. However, being might lead to more complete, whole doings. Sometimes it's not about doing something because it's what has been done, but rather is about listening to what your own connection is guiding you to do.
What needs to be understood for context is that it doesn't mean not to engage in any spiritual practice. Each morning I have meditated which is a practice and connection of its own. It's not about not doing anything. It's about focusing on less, being present, and doing it out of delight not obligation i.e I get to not I have to.
It's about connecting with who we really are and being that, not relying on something outside of ourselves to create that connection for us.
How I Record/ REview Each Month
Lifebook 12 Sacred Choices Template: Mindvalley's Lifebook Mastery Course I finished over a year ago came with a downloadable daily habit tracker sheet for each month. Although I am not too set on tracking each habit, I do write down 12 daily choices I would like make each month. This can include activities from a type of meditation, writing for a duration of time, doing something new, learning something, writing things I am grateful for, and/or ways I can give to or serve others. I have found it very helpful in bringing intention to each month as it arrives. Also, I like to decide on experimenting with something new to keep myself in the unknown.
Mind Map: Mind Mapping is very well-known for taking notes, but I found it helpful for looking at a month at large. The name of the month is the middle circle and the connecting circles are the main activities or focuses for the month. The visual assists in seeing what's most important and what things, if any, can be moved to a later date and time or month.
At the end of each month, I use the Pareto principle: What 20% of inputs produces 80% of results?
Trust that your soul has a plan and even if you can't see it all, know that everything will [is] unfolding as it is meant to - Deepak Chopra
One can make such great transformation without anything external from himself or herself; however, when the body is chemically balanced with proper nutrition, one can be more efficient in being magnetically and electrically balanced. Besides eating a well-balanced diet, the following coffees, vitamins, and supplements, have aided in physical health:
Four Sigmatic Lions mane and Chaga coffee
Organifi Green, Red, and Gold juice
D3+K2 drops - My good friend and RD Craig McCloskey has a great supplement guide that informed me, "Vitamin K2 is especially important in regards to vitamin D because it helps calcium to get properly absorbed into the bone matrix and teeth, which is where we want it"
Turmeric and Ginger Tea
Collagen Protein Powder - As the body's most abundant protein, Collagen has a host of benefits for better skin, nails, hair, joints, gut health, and more.
I also took a Creating Balanced Health scan to see the different body system performances based on bioenergetic testing, which has the ability to read the energetic resonance that flows from the hair and saliva samples. The full scan provides a wide range of insights, including levels of bioenergetic stress within your system performance, nutritional and hormonal imbalances, general categories of resonating toxins, food and environmental sensitivities along with a balancing regimen.
What lies beside you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Onnit 6 bodyweight and/or Kettlebell
Eric Leija's app and shredded program
Yoga with Adrienne or Yoga on Youtube (pretty basic I know)
Long walks on Saturday's
"The amount of light you emit is not based on how positively you can think; it's about how much darkness you can accept." - Kyle Cease in The Illusion of Money
Meditation & Prayer
In addition to the blog I wrote on meditation, these meditations I practiced this past year played a key role in my life.
One key paradigm shift in how I approached meditations was that they are tools of transcendence, not escape.
Meditations by Dr. Joe Dispenza with basic explanation
Blessing of the Energy Centers Meditation: This meditation focuses on the 7 energy centers in the body and placing attention on each one individually and collectively. Each center controls different systems in the body, so the consciousness awareness helps with healing.
Pineal Gland: With proper breath work and a specific process, this meditation activates the pineal gland so, "it can pick up on frequencies above our three-dimensional space-time, sensory- based reality (chapter 12 in Becoming Supernatural)." The pineal gland is what transmutes serotonin into melatonin, the night time neurotransmitter.
Tuning into New Potentials: On a simple level, this is like visualization where at the end of the meditation, one tunes in to something they'd like to experience. Since the body is objective, one can conjure up an immersive visual image and stay in it long enough to emotionally embody being in it. This tricks the body into believing it has already experienced the chosen event. If one maintains the elevated emotion from the meditative experience throughout the day, it can lead to synchronicities and events leading the person serendipitously to the experience they rehearsed.
Kaleidoscope Live Stream: His Kaleidoscope meditation educates on reversing programming. By inducing a trance and slowing down brain waves, a person begins to accept and surrender to the information being shared with them. Rather than allow this to happen with unproductive and limiting beliefs from television, the meditation flashes mystical, empowering beliefs and experiences to help the individual engage with higher insights.
Generating Abundance: This is a short fun one I recently started. It primarily just explains what an abundant person really is like and then has a 25 minute audio tuning into the person's abundant self, with a remainder of 35 minutes with background sounds.
Vipassana meditation from the silent meditation retreat: I explained this one briefly on my meditation blog and honestly it deserves a more extensive post.
Jewish Meditation & Prayer
Putting on Tefillin and praying with the Siddur (prayer book): Engaging in this practice/ connection with God really helps slow down and be present with the endless love and blessings God truly has created in this world. The levels of understanding as to what goes on with putting on tefillin and the morning prayers may be endless.
Hitbodedut and Talking to God as you would your best friend: This Jewish practice seems to me to be similar to Vipassana, only it is more contemplation based.
No Problem Can be Solved by the same consciousness that created it - Albert Einstein
The amount of ways to journal keeps growing. Below are the most frequent ways I use a journal:
To record dreams - I often record my dreams to see what visions my subconscious mind is telling me. The images often reflect the subconscious mind working through something unsettled in the conscious mind. I record to see if I can get insight on what I can do or not do.
Journal to Vent - if something is really bothersome, it helps to write an unabridged entry on what's coming up. I don't do this often, but it's an option and can be helpful when feeling overly analytical. It's important to throw it away or burn it afterward as reading it again can bring up the unproductive thoughts and feelings.
Journal to create/vision - Here I will journal an ideal vision or a positive image of something I am going to do or something I would like to experience. (This pairs well with Dr. Dispenza's Tuning into New Potentials meditation)
Journal ideas - we all got to have somewhere to log the brilliant and not-so brilliant ideas that pop into our head daily!
Gratitude Journal - to increase my attention on the amazing things that occur every day.
To pray/ Ask for Guidance - writing to God for assistance and/or guidance
Ask Questions - this helps reframe how I look at a situation. Also, the brain seeks answers, so if I can break down a question into a better one, it will usually lead me to an optimal answer.
Doodling - drawing and doodling helps with note taking or just looking at situations in a much lighter way.
Letters to the Rebbe or one of the great Tzaddikim - It is a really powerful experience to write deep feelings to a righteous individual, known as Rebbes or Tzaddikim. I learned that requests can take a while to receive direct assistance from the hand of God, while the holy ones whose souls are ascending, have a 'quicker' access to assisting us. An interesting insight.
When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of distress and anxiety. If I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me, and attracting me. There is a great secret in this for anyone who can grasp it. - Rumi
People I Connected With
In addition to all the guests I have had on my podcasts since episode 39 with Rabbi Laibl Wolf, I met and connected with great peers here in Houston, as well as am part of a mastermind group with fellow health coaches to encourage one another's personal growth and business growth. Other people I connected with are other ambassadors from Mindvalley and from another mento's business mastermind group I got asked to join.
Simply written, it's important to surround oneself with people who will help you grow. As it is to treat every person you come across in a day as the most important person you will ever meet.
If you're avoiding thinking about it, it's time to heal it.
Surrender: Whenever there is an unpleasant emotion, a situation I feel I don't know how to solve, or anything similar, I have learned to let go of trying to get out of it. To surrender means to let go and trust that it is being worked out.
The Problem is Not the problem aka What you focus on expands. It's not the person, the feeling, the food, or the thing. Shift focus and love what is being experienced.
It's not about the soma - There were times I blamed what I was feeling - fatigue, headache, panic, etc. - to what I had to eat or to drink. Once I learned not to pin a solution to what I was feeling, it allowed what was coming up to pass away.
I am the Source of greatness, why would I force an outcome?: It's not about forcing anything to happen. The effort that is required is the inner work and connecting with source energy.
If I am looking for whatever it is I am creating, I am separate from it (adopted from Dr. Dispenza) In a state of creating something new, asking if it's here yet would be separate from being it.
Give, Be of Service: Asking how I can be of service to others is one of the best ways to get out of my way.
Share Your Vision - call with Team Canfield: I love to create future visions. What's great about sharing it is that it exposes areas that need more clarification or areas that I don't feel convinced about. It has also shown me that I have been clear with the visions I set.
It's not clarity, but confidence: Often it wasn't that the vision was clear (people I shared it with assured me of) but that I didn't feel worthy or ready to live in alignment with it at the time.
Capitalizing on the subtle signs The Universe reveals to me: Asking for guidance often leads to little whispers across the room that require attention to notice. They have come as compliments or conversations in the most serendipitous of times (more in the section below about signs).
Be the space for others by withdrawing and being full witness of their transformation. Witness, then encourage: When someone is angry or just dwelling in a sadness loop, simply observing it lovingly helps weaken the connection they have thus hopefully increasing their awareness. If I were to react to what they were doing or butt-in, it would be resisted.
This too shall pass & Equanimity of Mind: Thoughts, sensations, experiences, emotions, etc. arise and pass away. Observing it as it is allows for the thought, sensation, emotion, to come, share an insight, and then leave. If reacted to either as good or bad, or if resisted in any way, would condition an unconscious response.
Opportunities don’t come and go, you create opportunities: When making decisions to engage into something people often saying "opportunities like this don't happen all the time." I think this comes from a place of fear. When a person has a clear intention with what they desire to happen, they begin to create and perceive more opportunities in harmony with their intention.
Listening to what is expansive to the body: This means doing something unknown and unfamiliar, like going on the meditation retreat. The unknown experience scared the hell out of the brain because it didn't know what to expect, but the mind knew it would be expansive to the body.
Build the mini version of your dream first: This has been challenging because I love to see larger visions, but it has helped. For something like publishing a book, writing articles is a good mini version. For coaching as a profession, helping different individuals voluntarily helps clarify many things about it.
Focus on one thing and one thing only until the result you want is achieved: This has also been challenging as I have many ideas and new projects I'd like to engage in, such as writing a book, creating an online course, training for sport, and other activities. I have unpleasant experiences attempting to schedule them all in, but it is just ineffective even with great time management skills. It has been important to focus on the most important thing until it is accomplished.
Let go of the thought that you have to get this right. I think this comes from a place of perfectionism or fear that there is a wrong way of doing something. Yes, of course there are things collectively agreed to be wrong, but when it comes to choosing a meditation or a way to pray one day, they are all great. Look at it like choosing a fruit... Some days I feel like an apple, other days an orange, a kiwi, and maybe some days a blend of many.
Creativity is greater than circumstance: This reminds me that there is always a solution to get out of any circumstance.
Ride the wave of discomfort. Enjoying and not resisting the resistance: When there is discomfort, don't try to get rid of it - what is persisted, persists. Acknowledging and accepting what's present gives it room to leave on its own.
The Present moment is where all is known: How? Even on a physiological level, when the brain is present it is firing optimally. When it is worrying about the future or dwelling about the past, it cannot work optimally. Thus, by practicing to be more present one begins to make more present decision that are more in harmony with what is known.
If you're not observing it, you can't spot it in your own life: Similar to #9, reacting to something someone else does that may be bothersome would inhibit the ability to detect a similar behavior in oneself. If I perceive this behavior and it triggers an annoyance in me, it may very well be a similar behavior I do with a different aspect of life.
Patience, speed comes on its own: Focus on the present and be satisfied. The 'next level' comes naturally on its own.
The longer I am in the feeling of wholeness, the more I will see feedback (adopted from Dr. Dispenza): If I am feeling lack or in a negative emotion, it would be impossible to perceive possibility. When feeling whole regardless of external circumstance, allows for more likelihood to see possibility.
Playfulness - play with meditations, visualizations, reading, learning, writing, exercising, podcasting, creating content, getting a job, have fun, play, play, play. We function best and are most connected to Source when living in a state of playfulness.
If Not Me, Who? If Not Now, When? - Rabbi Hillel
Immersive Transformational Experiences
I consider these transformational experiences because they had a profound shift in who I was being into someone more of who I really am.
10 Day Silent Meditation Retreat
By far the most transformative experience I have ever done. As mentioned earlier, it deserves a whole article on its own (in process). It provided a space to really dive deep into fears adopted at an early age that led to unproductive behaviors like biting my fingernails. It really helped me begin to trust myself and believe in myself.
Chabad Young Professional's Shabbat Encounter Experience in Crown Heights
The silent retreat helped me perceive Shabbat in a greater light. Whereas the silent retreat created an ideal environment to work on oneself - where all there is to do is to be - Shabbat creates this amidst the 'chaos' of the wold of external stimuli. The photo is a response I wrote and shared with the organizers.
Full Body Massage + Acupuncture + Float Tank
This triple experience was honestly very helpful in bringing up repressed emotions. Once I got into the float tank (which is a meditative experience of its own) after a relaxing massage and acupuncture, the body was relaxed enough to just be and allow what needed to rise to the surface to do so.
Mindvalley Live 2020
In March I attended Mindvalley Live as an ambassador after helping many months with their online courses. I consider it transformative because of the speakers paradigm shifting speeches, the guided meditations, and just being with other people there to learn and to transcend limiting beliefs. It was also uncomfortable at times to share what was really going on and to trust that these people who I didn't know could really be so loving and caring. By the way, that thought is a limiting belief. I learned to trust.
Prior to giving an online speech at the end of April, I actually felt very nervous, almost to a panic. However, I knew to go into that discomfort and be present with the speech. It turned out to be a great, expansive experience.
Similar to the post I wrote a previous year (linked above), retreating from getting on social or having it as an option, frees up a lot of mental energy.
Seattle - Written about in this blog. This near 6 week long trip amid COVID-19 was pretty immersive where many fears, frustrations, insecurities arise to the surface to be worked on.
God provides the cure before the illness
These are focuses of coaching I have done that have really helped me taste different ways I can coach others. In addition to being grateful of them, I appreciate how they help lead me to where I can be of service with coaching the best
Meditation & Mindfulness
Meditation & Mindfulness for Basketball
Nothing Begets Wholeness in Life better than a heartfelt sigh - Nachman of Breslov
Activities that help me build awareness of where I am
Blank Life Puzzle Activity - On a blank puzzle, I would draw what I really care about and love. I would do it again for a second and third time but starting from different angles of the blank puzzle. Then, I would break up the first three and put the pieces randomly together for a fourth puzzle. I took a photo of it to the silent retreat with me and it looked at it for insight daily. It was very insightful in how the puzzle presented not only a seemingly odd combination of the previous three puzzles, but it presented images of where I worked on myself at the retreat.
GANTT Chart - Since there are many beautiful ideas and projects I would like to do and some moments in time are more fitting for some rather than others, a GANTT chart helps me see on a larger scale all of the projects I have, so I can see when I have engaged more directly with them. It also helps me keep track of them all.
Average Amount of Alignment and Law of 10s - Adopted from The Illusion of Money by Kyle Cease, this practice requires looking at all the activities one engages in and rates it on a scale of 1-10 (10 being I love it). The rating is how it feels to the body without having to analyze it. If you have to think about it, it's not a 10 i.e Eating healthy - no brainer 10. The aim is to do more of stuff that is a 10 for you. The A.A.A is then taking adding up the total and dividing it by how many activities you rated. The final number is the average amount of alignment one is connected with what they are passionate about doing.
Kylego - I have not done this recently but every now and then I will. It just requires writing something that will happen in the past tense as if it's already done. I did this during weeks I coached basketball and would write how I wanted the games to go and how the kids played. It helped me feel like it had already been done, so once game time was on I was much more present and calm.
Dispenza's mind map (Chapter 2 Becoming Supernatural) - At least once a month, I will draw a circle with my name in the center and then all the people, objects, things, places, or situations in my familiar reality and the thoughts and feelings tied to them. For example, a person may have a coworker who they think and feel hate around. This would reveal an external thing that the person is using to reaffirm an addiction to hatred.
Questions. In pair with the above activity, I'll ask: Where is my attention? Where am I giving my power to? Asking Empowering questions (as mentioned in this article I wrote)
When Choosing to read something, watch something, or do something ask, "is this a journey I want to take? " Often we know how a show or book will end and we regularly hear that life is all about the journey and not the destination, so I found this question helpful in making decisions.
Somatic Decision making I first came across this quick technique in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I stand with feet together, hands to the sides, eyes closed and ask my body what is my yes direction and it leans to the right, I then ask for its no direction and it leans to the left. Then I ask yes or no questions to see which way my body leans. It has provided much more intuitive answers for few last minute decisions I had to make.
No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. - Einstein
Let me fall if I must fall. The one I will become will catch me. - The Baal ShemTov
Books(Not nearly all, but some key ones)
The Great Maggid
Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan
Arrest & Liberation about Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
I Will Choose The King - a discourse by the Rebbe
Judaic Mysticism by Dr. Avram Davis and Manuela Dunn Mascetti
Practical Kabbalah by Rabbi Laibl Wolf (My podcast with him here)
Toward A Meaningful Life by Rabbi Simon Jacobson (My podcast with him here)
The Empty Chair Timeless Wisdom from Hassidic Master Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? by Rabbi Manis Friedman (podcast with him here)
Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza
Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza
The Illusion of Money by Kyle Cease
E^2 by Pam Grout (podcast with her here)
The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton
Soul Stories by Gary Zukav
Success Principles and the workbook by Jack Canfield
The Big Leap by Dr. Gay Hendricks (podcast with him here)
What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by **Richard Bach
The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler
The Book you were born to write by Kelly Notaras
Sooner By Brandon Sneed (podcast with him here)
Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm - Winston Churchill
Divine Providences/ Synchronistic Experiences
Here are some serendipitous events that transpired that assisted in being signs of guidance:
On The Previous Rebbe's Birthday and his Yahrzeit (anniversary of his passing) at least one of his teachings came to my attention. Unbeknownst to me were either of the dates. For example, the book, I Will Choose The King - a discourse by the Rebbe - fell off the shelf one evening after a meditation as I bumped against the desk. It was a discourse he gave on his birthday in 1971. On his yahrzeit, when in Seattle, I heard Rabbi Simon Jacobson deliver a heartfelt message about him.
Hygienist compliment to me at the dentist about my podcast. I had been feeling hesitant with what to do at the time, and this new hygienist shares how one of my podcast episodes helped her and that she really like it. As I left my appointment she encouraged me to continue doing it.
Parent's compliments about coaching. I did not really want to coach, but as I did it and saw great results I felt it was very helpful in my growth.
Appreciation of my speaking, coaching, and guided meditations
Link to a guided meditation from The Success Principles where at the end of it we received a gift from an angel and the gift I received was a staff/ rod giving me the gift to trust myself, that I am reliable.
Receiving a copy of Rex Miller's book Whole and being mentioned in the back of the book. It was a book on education and about health of educators.
Being told a guided meditation I led was the best (most relaxing) one someone has experienced.
These and other not mentioned signs helped me see where I am performing successfully, what I am called to, what people get from me, and what to continue going after or learning about.
Similar what I spoke to Pam Grout about and read in her book E^2, ask God for guidance or a sign and be open to what arises. Starting out it can help to have a deadline of 48 hours.
The best thing you could do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire, you are the fire. - Mama Indigo
Learning to play the Piano
Growing up I played piano and from middle school through 10th grade I played the cello. However, it just never clicked as something to dive into as most of my energy was in sports. In January, I started up lessons and have continued practicing on my own. In addition to how learning a new instrument expands the mind, I just love the soul of music and being able to put into keys my soul.
Mental Health First Aid Certification
This day long certification helped me understand more about mental ilnessess and assessing for risk. Using ALGEE as an acronym one Assess for risk of suicide or harm, Listens non-judgmentally, Gives reassurance and information, Encourages appropriate professional help, and Encourages self-help and other support strategies to help.
Over three weeks in August I participated in a Jewish online leadership development experience that focused on personal and professional growth, community, and the ability to affect positive change in community and the world. It was an interesting experience learning from and being connected with Jews around the world, learning about challenges our community faces, and ways we can act to make a change.
When you're living in the elevated emotions of creation, you feel so lifted that you would never try to analyze how or when a chosen destiny will arrive - Dr. Joe Dispenza
Thank you very, very much for reading. I hope any of these resources come in service to you entering this sweet new year.
In reading and questioning what to take away from this resourceful post, I would like us to learn to trust ourselves, to listen to one's own voice, to go out and learn, to record and document what's going on internally and externally, and to know without a shadow of a doubt we live in a world of possibility, and that we are each unique and here for a purpose. By experimenting and exploring, documenting and discerning, playing and performing - things experienced like mentioned in this post - one can begin to see more evidence in how powerful we each really are and evidence as to why one is uniquely here.
Wherever you go, may you go in peace.
Wherever you look, may you see beauty.
Wherever you are, may you be whole.
May your new year be full of playful, joyful blessings and may you have the ability to generate peace wherever you are.
- Shlomo Ezra H'Levi ben Dov Ber H'Levi