Yesterday night, as the last of the chagim (Jewish holidays) melted away, I realized that I could feel a lot of fear and anxiety in the air. I was feeling quite edgy; my husband was being very quiet (always a sign he's stressed); one daughter had a bad headache; another daughter was being very moody.
"Maybe it's just us," I thought. After all, we have another move coming up next week, and things aren't exactly 'settled' in any sense of the word. Then, I went to the local store to get some bread this morning, and a woman there was telling the storeowner that now Succot was finished, the madness had returned.
Ahah! It's not just me who's feeling stressed, anxious and fearful, on whatever level. I think it's everyone.
Then, I remembered what Rav Arush said on Rosh Hashana: it's going to be year of fear and anxiety. And that's what's going to get us back to G-d - if it doesn't kill us in the process.
Because few things are harder to cope with or bear than intense feelings of fear and anxiety.
So I decided that for the next few posts on this blog, I'm going to go through ways to deal with anxiety and fear, from the perspectives of body (energy med, aromatherapy and acupressure stuff) and soul (building our emuna and talking to G-d).
The challenges on the horizon are so big, that if we don't put G-d in the picture ASAP, the stress will kill us, even if we're sniffing industrial amounts of lavender oil, taking 10 mile jogs every day and sedating Triple Warmer every five minutes.
But there is also a corollary to that, which I didn't realise existed until recently: if we don't learn ways to calm down our body's stress response, and to communicate our emuna in physical ways to our body, we are going to suffer tremendously as the body melts down, heats up or freezes, even if we're really trying to have emuna.
We have to work on the problem from both ends, body and soul. Rebbe Nachman summed it up very nicely in Likutey Moharan, when he explained that the soul has to communicate some of its wisdom and understanding to the body.
How do we do this? Read on!
I think that sharing ways to address fear and anxiety is so important right now, that I'm going to pin myself down (which I usually hate doing) and give you a schedule of what I'm going to write about:
Post 0: (this one…) intro to anxiety and the year of fear
Post 1: hitbodedut and talking to G-d
Post 2: understanding the body's stress response: an introduction to Triple Warmer
Post 3: Defusing stress, tachlis - an introduction to neurovascular points
Post 4: Tapping the stress away - why it works and how to do it
Post 5: The chemical differences between male stress and female stress, and how to manage both
Post 6: General round up of other things you can do to tone down the anxiety and fear, and beef up the emuna and inner peace
Phew! That's a lot of writing…
G-d willing, I'm trying to be more organised this year, so expect to see new posts up on a Sunday and Wednesday. We'll kick off this Wednesday with talking to G-d - how to do it, why to do it, and why it helps in SO many ways.