Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Av: Enhancing Our Relationships

Dear Friends,

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

Rosh Chodesh Av begins this Sunday night, the 27th of July, and lasts for one day. Rosh Chodesh marks the beginning of the period known as the "Nine Days."

On the ninth of this month – Tisha B’Av – we fast to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples. We remember a time when God “hid His face” from the Jewish people and we felt distant from Him. During this month, reestablish and deepen your relationship with God through the practice of Hitbodedut – talking informally to Him in your native language.

Speak to God for at least five to fifteen minutes, unburdening yourself to Him. Try this practice at least once, although preferably for a week or month and see how it can help you feel closer to God and to fortifying yourself with His comfort and support.

Continue last month’s focus on forgiveness and letting go of bitterness from the past. What is a step you can take to reduce or resolve an interpersonal conflict in your life? How can you bring more peace and acceptance to your relationships? How can you keep a disagreement from deteriorating into personal animosity?

We are a small nation surrounded by enemies bent on our destruction, as we see clearly with the fighting going on in Gaza. To defeat the hatred against our people, we need to defeat the hatred within our people. Between now and Tisha B’Av, go out of your way to be forgiving and overlook the faults of others. Go out of your way to be kind and loving to others.

After focusing on letting go of the past, take a fresh look at your relationships. 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.

At least once a week, schedule one-on-one time with someone in your life to nourish that relationship; shut off your cell and give them your undivided attention.

The first reading for this month discusses Hitbodedut in greater detail and the rest of the readings focus on how to enhance your relationships with others and with yourself.

Readings for the month:

Seeking the Divine Presence

6 Ways to Kick the Criticism Habit

How to Give Constructive Feedback without Sounding Critical

6 Ways to Deal with Critical Family Members

How to Stop Hating and Start Loving Yourself

Take care and may God grant us success in the coming month and bring peace to the land of Israel,


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