I probably sound like a broken record, but here I go again—nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of what I am experiencing in Israel! And this has raised an interesting question—what is a healthy way to handle such intensity?
Usually, I go from one extreme to the other; I’m either in denial about how intense it really is, or I’m drinking from the proverbial fire hose. But it doesn’t have to be like that. I’m learning that facing powerful feelings, thoughts and experiences requires a lot of gentleness and love toward oneself. And this starts with finding a pace and process that works for me.
What’s the rush? As Rabbi Nachman of Breslov wisely notes, “Go carefully: slowly and steadily. Too often we want to improve ourselves…so quickly that we make ourselves frustrated and confused.” If it feels like too much, then it is. Validate that. And find a way to step back and turn down the volume.
Explore different ways to check in with yourself—through meditation, writing, taking walks in nature, doing yoga or mountain climbing. Find something that takes you out of “auto-pilot” mode and allows you to assess how you are doing on a deeper level.
In the end, it’s good to remember that it’s all part of the process—these challenges are opening us up, showing us new spaces within and without. So, let us always remember to find our own pace and process, and remember always to be loving, gentle and patient toward ourselves.