?Happy Holidays


Holidays, a time for festivities, celebrations and happy ‎memories are they not?

Peach, Passover, The Festival of Freedom ‎evokes mixed feelings for me.‎..

My parents grew up in New York City stifled between extended family ‎and a close knit community. They chose to seek their freedom ‎elsewhere and fled west.
‎‏ ‏
West, my family migrated west through Rhode Island, California and ‎eventually to the boondocks of a small town in British Columbia, ‎Canada. My parents not only distanced themselves from their ‎extended family but would up in a rural Christian community far away ‎from any Jewish community.‎

We did not celebrate Jewish holidays, neither within the walls of our ‎home nor outside of them. Certainly, there was a sense of solidarity ‎with Israel within our home. In California we were close to a Jewish ‎community and my parents did send me to Sunday school but for the ‎most part that was the limit of their connection to the community. ‎Don’t get me wrong, it was not that my family adopted the customs ‎and holidays of our Gentile neighbors.

All of my best efforts to direct ‎Santa to our home were fruitless and I awoke Christmas morn to an ‎empty stocking on the fireplace mantel…‎

From the age of nine until eighteen I grew up in the sticks of ‎Aldergrove, British Columbia. Upon our arrival to Canada, our contact ‎with a Jewish community was limited. Any holiday celebrations or ‎festivities were my production. The planning, organization and ‎execution orchestrated by me and only me.‎

To this day I am uncomfortable having the Passover Seder in our ‎home and I prefer to celebrate as a guest at one of my brothers’ ‎homes. ‎

A Time to Mourn:

At the tender age of but fifty four (Hey, that is my age +1 today and I don’t ‎feel old in any way or any matter…) **and just days ‎before the Seder, my father passed away. What a loss. Every year ‎alongside the setting for the prophet Elijah I see all of the should’ve ‎beens… Forevermore the should’ve been laughter of my father and his ‎grandchildren will be interlaced echoing in the never never land of ‎my dreams.‎

A Time to Remember:

We sat Shiva at my aunt’s home in New York ‎for just a few days. Passover cut the Shiva forever short. I recall this ‎time with fondness. It brings back warm memories full of laughter and ‎tears. Our extended family was united in its grief. That was one of the ‎last times that we all gathered together. Soon after my grandmother ‎passed away and my grandfather was not long in following. A bitter ‎battle ensued, another family war over inheritance left to run its ‎course. Although I was pulled to take sides, I refused to take a stand. I ‎loved my family and was not willing to relinquish my hold of any of ‎the few ties which led me back to my father’s memory.‎

Holidays provide a fertile breeding ground for hostilities.‎ANGRYBEAST

Anger it is,
Anger it is,
It is all “maror*”

Our muscles will become tense as the beast within us awakens. This is ‎often the first signal that it is on the warpath. The deeper that the ‎beast penetrates within, the more intense the muscle tension will ‎become and it will inevitably burrow deep and expand its reach far ‎beyond the original entry point.‎

Try, if you may, to recall an ugly incident of the past. Bring your very ‎formidable adversary to front and center stage. Return to that ‎moment and be present within your body: feel the anger raging havoc ‎under your skin even now long after …‎

At its core anger is healthy.

It prompts us to immediate action in times ‎of emergency. When dealing with frustration, stress and ‎disappointment, anger may provide clarity and reveal the acute issue ‎demanding our attention.‎

Anger as a way of life, however, is debilitating and can lead to chronic ‎stress, hostility, depression, headaches, digestive issues, high blood ‎pressure, heart attacks and stroke. ‎

Most of us are familiar with the euphoric endorphins which happy ‎thoughts, physical exercise, delicious chocolate and great sex will ‎deliver. The body, however, knows many types of endorphins. Stress ‎and anger will also trigger the release of endorphins. These endorphins ‎will provide a quick fix of energy for “anger junkies” or people with an ‎‎“addiction” to anger. While in the short term this may be very ‎satisfying, in the long term it is detrimental to our health.‎

For a long time I fed my beast monstrous doses of anger and ‎frustration and before long its presence could no longer be ignored.

‎My oh my, my fascia had quite a tale to tell. Much introspection was ‎required to raise my self-awareness to a level where I learned to stop ‎suppressing my feelings and listen to the beast, face and confront it.‎

Much to my surprise last Passover the beast reared its ugly head ‎again.

I had forgotten the voracity of its power. Unpleasant impulses ‎buried in me broke out and unleashed my rage upon another. In a place ‎where I should have shown love and compassion only anger, deep ‎anger appeared. After a time, it became clear to me that my anger was ‎merely a projection of my own feelings of hurt and vulnerability. It ‎appears that I  tackled my feelings little more than surface deep. I ‎needed to identify exactly where my anger was coming from. What was my ‎core hurt? Was I feeling disregarded, unimportant, accused, guilty, ‎untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless or perhaps unlovable?‎

There is no quick fix. I continue to climb. Higher and higher I reach. ‎The summit is on the horizon but it is not yet within my reach.‎

Life’s too short to live with anger.‎
Make your peace with the beast ‎within you… ♥‎

* Marror – bitter herbs

If you have not yet read about the rocky part of my journey, you can read it here.‎

I would like to thank you for your patience in reading this post to its end.‎

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