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This New Year Resolve to Mend

We are the clay, and life, the potter’s hands.

Life changes and shapes us into what we are throughout our lifetime. Do you remember the times you softly surrendered into the hands of change like soft clay, and allowed life to transform you? And, do you also remember how at other times your vessel cracked or broke?

Broken and mended is beautiful. Leonard Cohen, his memory a blessing, sang: “There is a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in.” The Japanese design concept called Kintsugi, repairing broken pottery with liquid metal, makes them more beautiful by highlighting the cracks and the place of mending. Rabbinic lore from 2000 years ago teaches that the broken Tablets; Moses broke when he saw the people built a golden calf and worshiped it, when he came down from Mount Sinai the first time, are kept in the Ark of the Covenant along with the second Tablets engraved with the 10 commandments.

These examples of brokenness and mending  are beautiful inspirations to encourage us to embrace our brokenness, to stop hiding our humanity, mend when we can, love our scars and stop avoiding life. All brokenness, imperfections and pain are parts of our lives. Instead of spending another year afraid of making mistakes or hiding behind your scars, be daring. Find ways to embrace, accept things and mend more this year.  Although we have been broken and know the pain, and are surely to break and hurt again, we cannot  stop opening to the gift of this life. Yes, it’s hard. But, can we resolve to love ourselves and others, with our brokenness, scars and all and mend where we can?

As we are preparing to enter a new year. I want to remind us to not begin a new year with a list of all the ways we are not good enough, broken, wrong and disappointing. You know what I’m talking about, the practice of making New Year resolutions, in a harsh manner, aiming to fix all that is wrong and unacceptable in us.

Time to change the game. Change the approach. We make a resolutions list and soon forget our commitment to change. We feel disappointed. Adding shame and blame on top of the pile of what we already think is wrong with us, it’s not helpful. It turns out that instead of growing in self love and being helpful, the resolutions only help grow self hatred and disappointment in each passing year. Can we resolve to not use self deprecating and hating statements in an attempt to improve? How about resolving to include only resolutions that resonate as expression of the following: I love you and I care for you. We can try to apply changes, but also remember to not try so hard, guarding against causing more breaking instead of cultivating mending.

Please proceed with caution and be gently to avoid causing more harm within you and around you, even if it means not improving and stepping slowly into making big changes. Unless we all take the mendful path, choosing at each step to mend, no real healing and change will be possible.

Consider your motivations and set the right conditions to succeed. Use affirmations to bring you back to love and care and follow your intention with healthy actions to mend body, heart, mind and spirit.

We wish us all a mendful year!

Mendful living is here for you. Please join us to mend our world and ourselves.    RETREATS 

Choose Life Not Guns

We are left shaken when violence strikes anywhere in the world and lately the multiple mass shootings in the US. We need to find ways to mending and peace.

May all those who mourn and are injured be supported and loved to find healing and peace. May the dead Rest In Peace. 

We are all in this together. Let’s find ways to calm down and talk to each other. To uproot hate and create more peace in us and among us. Maybe, just maybe, if we feel more secure with one another and connect human to human first, people would refuse to make, sell, buy, carry and collect weapons. We must insist on choosing life and not guns.

Six Ways to Live More Peacefully in a Violent World by Shannon Sexton. An interview with Rabbi Sigal

Let’s talk about LOVE

More than ever before we talk about love in different ways. It seems there is more appreciation to other kinds of love which exceed romantic love. Maybe the change is because now, more than ever before, many people are single. Being single is a growing global trend, whether by choice or by circumstances, more people don’t marry and new ways of being in loving relationships are explored. It turns out, there are many ways to be in loving relationships.

Love is a humungous topic. It’s hard to put our arms around love, but we try, measuring love and defining it. For some love is a feeling, to others a commitment. To some it’s security, to others a vulnerability. To some a fulfilled desire, while for others a longing. 

What we want is to be in authentic relationships.We want to be ourselves and relate to others who are authentically themselves. When we are in loving relationships we want to be seen, heard, feel connected and belong. In authentic loving relationships, these four posts are important underpinnings, usually garbed with elaborate unconscious and conscious desires and needs. 

Alain de Botton who wrote Essays in Love defines love as charitable interpretation of others’ behavior. To love is to be willing to interpret someone’s not so appealing behavior with a more benevolence reason. Loving is accepting faults; being patient and charitable in our interpretation of unappealing behaviors. 

We are bound to disappoint and be disappointed, especially with people we love and whom love us. Love is not admiration alone, although we want it to be because it would be so much easier. But real life love must include compromise and tolerance of unpleasant feelings and behaviors. It calls us to be mature in loving and living with the recognition we need to tolerate ambivalence. The disparity between what we like and the things we really don’t like. We tend to spend a lot of time and energy rejecting and resisting the things we don’t want to include in the mix of love and relationships, but reality is what it is and we need to accept it. 

Staying in relationships requires skill. Love is not just a matter of feelings. It hurts when we are disappointed, but with mendful skills and sensibilities we can navigate it better. We must stay in the conversation with others and with the different triggers within us, and not run away from them and avoid them. It actually makes the things we try to avoid more resistant and painful.

In Mendful Path Living we cultivate a remembering we carry in our heart, namely, the intention to mend. The mendful mindset and the intention to mend are tucked in our heart and in our consciousness to help bring us back to love and mending.  How?

I have a regular daily practice of meditation and prayer to orient me ever so strongly to mending. More and more I see how it helps usher me back from the edge of discomfort and discontent to balance and calm. It’s especially helps me respond with more understanding and care in challenging moments. Remembering all humans experience disappointments, hurts, and challenges, we prepare and support ourselves to respond more calmly and productively in stressful situations. The question is not whether we will be challenged, because we surely will, but instead we prepare and plan how we will respond mendfully. How in the moment we don’t allow our habitual reactivity to get the best of us and create more suffering and harm. And, when things get away from us sometime we mend from there. We ask for forgiveness, forgive others and make amends. 

Mendful love is how we live. One conversation, one encounter, one small mend at a time. May your love flourish in many colors and textures within you and in all your relationships, whether you are partnered or not. Rabbi Sigal

 Mendful Living from Your Heart 
Retreats at Kripalu Centerin June and September  

Information about Mentoring – See Special Offer

Be Yourself: A mendful Path to Joy

How can we free ourselves to live authentically, fully, with joy and fulfillment? How do we know and live our heart’s purpose and passion while living our lives, as they are now? Sigal, creator of MENDFUL is a motivational coach, inspirational teacher, rabbi, researcher and artist, with training in psychology, art, integrative methods, and holistic lifestyle. Her innovative approach integrates body-mind methods inspired by the connections between spirituality and neuroscience. Rabbisigal.com

Polyvagal Theory: Mendful Pointer to Wellbeing

Polyvagal theory and other neuroscience teach about important systems that regulate our responses. These new areas of study are important for us to understand because they point us to wellbeing. The theories explain patterns in our body-mind which heavily influence our lives; physiologically, psychologically, relationally and cognitively.

I have seen the positive effect of sharing this information with my students.A beautiful shift can happen when we learn how the body responds to fear and stress.It helps because it can stop us from taking things personally or believing we are broken beyond repair. It  points us onto a kinder mendful path toward our hope and strength. This knowledge along with guided MENDtations and self inquiry exercises can help when we are dealing with negative arousal responses. Many of my student learn to relax more, rebuild resiliency and access more joy in a relatively short time.

What I teach in my retreats and personalized mentoring sessions  is now supported by the growing body of research and knowledge from neuroscience. We combine guided practices  and conversations to help create the conditions for the desired shifts back to health, contentment and ease. Centuries before seeds of neuroscience theories were even thought of, spiritual and religious practices such as meditation, chanting, visualization, prayer, tribal and physical rituals and cognitive methods, were used to calm, destress and point us in the direction of joy and contentment.  It is powerfully transformative when we delve into ancient practices and teachings now with the added knowledge of the new findings.

We discover how that they go together well because they address the same human needs; the freedom and easing of fear, stress, anxiety, discontent, agitation and unhappiness. I feel awe when I see these connections because they reflect to me humanity’s desire and ability to engage in a continues and expansive exploratory creative unfolding toward betterment of our conditions.

The retreats I teach are immersive and supportive experiences where we relax and let our full selves be. We learn how the conditioned unnecessary reactivity in the body-mind act as door ways to healing and positive change. It’s amazing what can be done in three days! Participants are able to delve deep into their inner spaces and experience beautiful connection to soul. It’s profound and moving to witness.

Participants report that the group experience and the exercises are soul nourishing, insightful and mendful on many levels.

Hollie wrote: “Following Rabbi Sigal’s Mendful program at Kripalu I have experienced a shift, a softening, a turn towards wonder. So much of this heart opening was a result of ‘marinating’ in the loving community Sigal held for us.”

I love guiding and supporting people in retreats and with personalized Mendful Life Mentoring. You don’t have to do it alone. I am here to help. Together we journey the mendful path. I hope we connect again soon, Sigal

Retreats at Kripalu in June and September