Saturday, April 22, 2017

Iyar: Enhancing Our Relationships

Dear Friends,

This post is about the Jewish month of Iyar, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Iyar begins Tuesday night, the 25th of April, and lasts for two days.

The period known as The Omer occurs during this month. During part of The Omer, we commemorate thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students who died in a plague. The Talmud teaches that the plague occurred because the students did not treat each other with proper respect.

This month, we focus on treating others well and enhancing our relationship with them.

Our relationships play a pivotal role in either enhancing or negatively affecting our emotional, physical and spiritual health; toxic relationships drain us, while healthy relationships nourish us.

Make a list of your key family, work and social relationships. Decide which ones to strengthen or repair, which ones need better boundaries or for you to distance yourself from, and ways to foster new healthy relationships.

Input into your checklist the following practice or a related one: At least once a week, schedule one-on-one time with someone in your life to strengthen that relationship; shut off your cell and give him or her your undivided attention.

In addition, this month, work on being less critical of others. Start by focusing on the person of whom you are most critical. Consider using your checklist and check off each day you were able to avoid criticizing them. You might want to start off with just avoiding being critical during a set time of day, i.e., morning, afternoon or evening, and build from there.

Questions for the month:

“Which of my relationships do I need to strengthen? What is the first step to doing that?”

“Which relationships need better boundaries or for me to distance myself from? What is the first step to doing that?”

“Do I want to form new healthy relationships? What are some ways I can do that?”

“Which person in my life am I most critical of? For this month, am I willing to commit to give them

at least as much compliments as criticisms?”

Related Article:

6 Ways to Kick the Criticism Habit

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,

Yaakov

Saturday, April 8, 2017

What Worked for Our Ancestors: 4 Lessons from the Exodus

Dear Friends,

Passover begins Monday night, April 10th. During the Seder, we will recount the story of the Exodus. Here are 4 lessons we can learn from it.

What Worked for Our Ancestors: 4 Lessons from the Exodus

Next Sunday, during Passover, there will be no blog post.

Happy Passover, Chag Kasher Vesameach,

Yaakov

Monday, April 3, 2017

“I Tried. I Failed. Now What?” 10 Ways to Get Back in the Game

When the realization hits that we failed in some way, it hurts badly. We are left nursing our wounds and wonder, “What do I do now?”

The good news is that no matter how big the failure, others have failed even more miserably. Some failures have led to people no longer being alive and able to try again. Not us. We are still alive, and the possibility for repair and future success is still within reach, as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said, “If you believe you can damage, then believe you can repair.”

10 ways to get back in the game:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Moral Purity

Dear Friends,

Here are some ideas on how to engage in spiritual spring cleaning and elevate our purity.

King Solomon taught (Proverbs 4:23), “More than you guard anything, guard your heart…”

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Moral Purity

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nissan: Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Dear Friends,

This post is about the Jewish month of Nissan, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Nissan begins Monday night, the 27th of March, and lasts for one day.

During Nissan, we celebrate the holiday of Passover. On Passover, we commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. It is a time of freedom, when we free ourselves from that which brings us down spiritually.

Even today, many of us are still not yet free and are enslaved to our passions, to varying degrees. At the same time, we still maintain some level of moral purity. The goal is to raise it up a notch, thereby increasing our freedom.

When you prepare for the holiday by removing leaven from your house, also remove spiritual pollution. To whatever extent you are ready, go through your books, magazines, music and videos, and get rid of those filled with profanity, lewdness or vulgarity; they downgrade your spiritually.

An aspect of maintaining your purity is speaking in an elevated manner. Are there any words you choose to remove from your vocabulary, at least for this month, that do not reflect the type of person you are?

Using your checklist, you can check off each day you succeeded in speaking in a refined manner and/or staying away from spiritual pollution (or limiting your exposure as best you can).

Questions for the month:

“How can I declutter and elevate my spirituality at the same time? What will I get rid of?”

“What is a source of spiritual pollution in my life? How can I shield myself from it or at least limit my exposure to it?”

“What word(s) do I choose to remove from my vocabulary, at least for this month?”

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month,

Yaakov

Saturday, March 18, 2017

3-Dimensional Acceptance: A Pathway to Peace and Power

Dear Friends,

There are three dimensions to acceptance: Accepting your present circumstances, accepting yourself and accepting other people. Which one do you want to focus on?

3-Dimensional Acceptance: A Pathway to Peace and Power

Have a great week,

Yaakov

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The 2 Forms of Divine Providence: Purim and Passover

Dear Friends, 

God watches over us and guides our lives in many ways.


Next Sunday, March 12th, is Purim and there will be no blog post sent out that day. 

Have a great week and a Happy Purim!

Yaakov