Dr. Gavriela Frye Machaseh Shel Tikvah Saturday, June 12 @ 7PM (Rome, Italy)
Clarity of Mind: How can we deal with Loss and Failure
“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew; and they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 1:12)
These words reveal how Hashem (God)'s plan continues to move forward regardless of human efforts to stop it. Despite Pharaoh's purposefully harsh slave labor, the Israelites "multiplied." The rapid growth of the Jewish people continues to concern Pharaoh. In fact, he adds further slave work to stop them (Exodus 1:13). Moses uses this verse to show how Hashem (God)'s efforts are more powerful than those of the Egyptian king. In addition, Hashem (God) continues to fulfill His promise to make Abraham's descendants a nation (Genesis 12:1–3).
Questions: Why are loss and failure a necessary part of our lives? How do we get past the obstacles that come our way? And how do we redefine a seemingly negative situation?
Join Dr. Gavriela Frye at Machaseh Shel Tikvah (“Shelter of Hope” for Counseling) as she presents case studies from the Torah through historical and biblical events — from Mitzrayim to the sin of the Golden Calf, from the Middle Ages to the Holocaust — to address these pressing and existential questions. Learn how our past can provide a Messianic Jewish Counseling Map (Guide) and a God given strategy on how to deal with our failures. Discover the secret of Intimacy with Hashem and how to transform our setbacks and challenges into vehicles of growth and your liabilities into assets.
Part 2: The Spiritual Warfare and the Conflict in the world around us
Part 3: How not to fight ourselves with ourselves
Part 4: How to serve Others in the midst of their own weaknesses
This article is in honor of the victims and survivors of conflicts, terrorist attack in Israel and the Diaspora.
In situations like conflicts and terrorist attacks, that we have no control over, our answer is always in Hashem and His Ruach Hakodesh we have received that has many gifts and self-control is one among them: Our own life and destiny depend on the way we go to sleep and wake up, walk, talk, act, think, speak, gather, ponder, reflect and apply what Hashem has given us as His gift on Mount Sinai: the Torah in alignment and obedience to the Ruach Hakodesh with the Love, Faith and Hope Moshiach has given us through His death and resurrection.
The idea that the Jewish People "spread abroad" is often overlooked. Some have wrongly viewed this term to mean Hebrews were moving to other nations. However, the context is clear that the rapid growth of the Jewish people involved a tremendous population change. The land of Goshen was considered "abroad" to the native Egyptians, and there the Jews continued to grow and become more densely populated, raising concern among Pharaoh and the Egyptians. However, the Jews were brutalized slaves at this time, and lacked freedom to move to other lands.
The Egyptians were "in dread" meaning they feared the rapid growth of the Jews. The Egyptians were a superstitious and polytheistic people who saw the growth of the Jews as something concerning to security as well as perhaps a spiritual sign. This was also an issue of racism: the Hebrew, also implies disgust and hatred. Egypt's attitude towards the people of Israel involves not only fear, but loathing as well.
Chapter Summary (Exodus 1:13)
The children of Abraham and Yaakov (Jacob) grow rapidly, forming a prosperous nation made up of twelve tribes, one for each son of Jacob. This inspires fear and hate from the Egyptians. Their king first tries to slow down the Hebrews' growth by enslaving them. Next, he increases the brutality of their work. Then, he tries to command Jewish midwives to kill their own people's newborn baby boys. When these all fail, he openly orders the murder of all Jewish infant boys. Inadvertently, this creates the very situation which leads to the rise of Israel's eventual leader, Moses.
1 Corinthians 13:12 says:” I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith — enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, 5 not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but takes its delight in the truth. 7 Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. 8 Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass.9 For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. 12 For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me. 13 But for now, three things last — trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.
The great mystic, the Baal Shem Tov even known as Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (c. 1698 – 22 May 1760), teaches that we are like a mirror — everything we witness is a reflection of what we need to refine in our own world. When we witness violence, we need to look carefully at the discord we experience (and perhaps perpetuate) in our own life. When we build a secure life, home, and family, we are building a secure world.
Movie (The Map of Tiny Perfect Things) to watch together ("appointment at 7.00PM at the pool") reminds me of the healing Yochanan (John) speaks about in his chapter 5:1 talking about a Man Healed by Yeshua HaMashiach at the Pool of Bethesda "5 After (A)this there was a feast of the Jews, and Yeshua (Jesus) (B)went up to Jerusalem". (John 5:1 : Lev. 23:2; Deut. 16:16; John 5:1; John 2:13) Open your bible at Yochanan (John) 5 Reading
“Renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2) and harmony in our personal lives brings harmony into the world.”
Romans 12:2 says:” Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what (Hashem) God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Parallels Leviticus 1:3
Things to Ponder:
Every action we take has a ripple effect on the world around us and above. Our acts of integrity, kindness, and generosity in our personal world have a transcendent power that anyone can imagine.
Life would be so much easier if others could read our minds. Maybe a little awkward sometimes, but easier nonetheless. We wouldn’t have to put in the effort to actually say the hard things, and who are we kidding? No one likes saying the hard things.
But this is reality: people can’t read our mind. They don’t automatically know if we feel sad or if we are angry with them. They don’t know that we hate it when they leave dishes in the sink or trash on the ground. They don’t know we need them to spend time with us or check on us or that we need their help.
We fall so easily into the lie that “he or she should know how I feel or what I need or what I expect.” I am guilty, too. This mindset is harmful, and we need to be careful to make these assumptions. It is an unrealistic and unhealthy expectation to place on another because we aren’t Hashem (God). We don’t know each other as intimately as He knows us (Psalm 139). We don’t know each other’s thoughts, needs, feelings and desires.
Sure, over time in deep interpersonal relationships, we can learn the nonverbal cues that communicate what our loved one needs or feels. We can begin to notice when they feel down and when they need a break. But always? We can’t always be perfectly tuned in to another because we have other things that also need our attention. Expecting someone to “just know” us in and out is unfair. We must be willing to use our words and tell them.
Are you aware of what you feel? Of what you think? Of what you need? Of what you expect? Of what holds you back from telling another these things? Take some time to reflect on these things in various close interpersonal relationships in your life. At first, as you get the hang of becoming aware, it may be helpful to write these things down, sing a new song for example: “Give Me Faith, by Elevation Worship: “I may be weak But your Spirit’s strong in me My flesh may fail My God you never will”, dance a new dance in the presence of Hashem.
Begin with the closest relationship in your life. Think about a recent situation where you felt hurt or disappointed by that person. Ask yourself, “how do I feel when I think about this situation now and how did I feel then?” Pick out your favorite Feelings Wheel, and name the feeling as accurately as you can. Then ask yourself, “what do I need from this person?” Write down those needs. Then ask, “What do I expect from this person?” Now pay careful attention to this list. Are these expectations too high or too low? If so, make the adjustments. It’s also important to consider why you are not communicating with clarity about your feelings and needs. What is holding you back from being honest?
Let’s start with a simple example: Last week your husband did not help you clean the kitchen. You felt frustrated and annoyed with him, not to mention tired from juggling so much. You held it in and huffed around the house for a few days, letting the dishes pile up in the sink, waiting for him to do them. Each day passed, and you got more frustrated and began lashing out about other things. He is confused about why you are so upset with him. You realize you are feeling frustrated and annoyed because he is not doing the dishes, and he should know to do them. You think about what you need for him to do the dishes after dinner each night. You also realize you don’t want to tell him this because he forgets so often and it’s tiring to remind him.
Of course this is trivial, and you can probably think of heavier situations, but the idea is the same.
Now it’s time to be brave and have the hard conversation.
The person will never know how to help or what to fix or what is wrong if you aren’t willing to be vulnerable and share openly and clearly about it. Approach the person at a time when you both can give the conversation your undivided attention for a few minutes. Use an “I-statement” to communicate the problem, how you feel about it, what you need, and anything else that may be relevant. The basic “I-statement” formula is as follows:
Exercise of the week:
I feel __________________(name the feeling) when you ______________ (name the problematic behavior) because ________________ (the reason why the behavior is problematic). What I need from you is ____________________ (name the expectation, desire, or need here).
An example of this in our previous example could look like this:
I feel frustrated and annoyed when you do not help me clean the kitchen because we are a team, and I can’t do this all by myself. I need you to help me without me always having to ask. I need you to do the dishes each night after dinner.
We want to be clear with our people. “Clarity is kindness” and when we are clear about these things with our close friends, family members, coworkers and the like, we are being loving. We live in disappointment when others don’t meet our expectations, but how will they ever know if we don’t tell them? We must stop expecting them to be able to read our minds. Let’s humble ourselves and be open about what we feel and what we need. And let’s see how that changes our relationships.
Four Ways to Improve our Clarity of Mind
Achieving “clarity of mind” is the act of clearing your head of the clutter that comes with extraneous or uncontrolled thoughts or mental "noise". When you are operating from a place of clarity, it allows you to see things more clearly, be open to new ideas, and to thoughtfully organize your reactions and responses. Overall, creating a space for clarity of mind can help you achieve a more balanced and conscious life.
Here are four ways you can enhance your clarity of mind:
1. Meditation of the Torah: a practice of getting your mind to a place of "no", or minimal or managed thoughts. When you allow your mind to settle through all the noise and despite the noise, and to become aware of your stream of thoughts, you may find yourself looking at a situation with new clarity not restrained by your current reality, substituting Torah to your recurring thoughts.
2. Solitude: being by yourself can naturally settle your mind to a more contemplative state. It allows time for self-reflection and deeper thinking. Environment, such as being out in nature, or taking a long car ride, can enhance the effects of solitude. Also, writing can be a great tool to record what you are living in the precise moment you experience loss and failure.
3. Be clear: Always ask yourself, “What do I want right now?” Being clear on your end goal can help define the steps you need to get on the path and achieve your ultimate outcomes.
4. Practice Radical Acceptance: radical acceptance is the art and practice of accepting something “as it is”. There are situations in life that are not changeable in the moment. By allowing the situation and the accompanying feeling to remain just as they are, you free yourself to look at other possibilities that can broaden your perspective and open other paths to contentment.
With some simple focused attention in the present moment, you can improve your clarity of mind and ultimately your inner peace (John 14:27, 2 Timothy 1:7, Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 23:1-6, Hebrews 11:6, Numbers 6:24-26, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 46:10) and calm (Revelation 1:1-20, 1 Peter 3:9-11, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Concrete Suggestions for Bringing Clarity in your mind and Peace Into the world around us
2. Educate others: Instead of complaining about ignorance in your world, shine light from your own corner. A small light dispels a lot of darkness. Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to demand a higher standard from your family and community.
3. Connect to something eternal: Lasting security comes not from external forces like governments and police, but from your connection to a power greater than yourself: Our Creator, Hashem. It bolsters your sense of personal agency by giving you a solid spiritual foundation to stand on.
4. Engage with others: Reach out to people with different backgrounds than your own, and have a discussion about values and faith. Invite diverse guests to your home.
5. Stop judgmentalism: Review whether your faith and value system helps you to inspire others or to criticize others.
Blessings in Hashem, Beshem Yeshua, Amen