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Category Archives: Emotional Health

What / Who are your Energy Suckers?

 

battery_drained_drained_tshirt-p235462129617598701z8npz_400With Valentines Day last week I was thinking a lot about relationships (and blogging of course), and the ever so popular topic of Toxic Relationships.

Instead of analyzing and dwelling on my difficult relationships and studying their level of Toxicity – I like to ask myself one simple question.

Are they an Energy Sucker, or not?

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter WHY or HOW – the answer we’re looking for is a YES or a NO.

(editor’s note: I suppose if the relationship is one you need / want to keep – you may want more specific answers so you can work through it)

What is an Energy Sucker?

Just as it sounds, an Energy Sucker is SOMEONE or SOMETHING that literally sucks your energy. It DRAINS the life out of you. (eek, sounds scary!) Ok, it might sound harsh, but in reality – we deal with these kinds of peoples and scenarios all the time.

The easy one: The friend who’s difficult. I’m sure you know the one I’m referring to (quick, without thinking, imagine a friend or family member that drains you! 1,2,3 – answer! – ok good.) They’re the ones that when their name pops up on your caller ID – your stomach does a little flip (even a little one). Or the one where you instinctively say “oh no, SHE’s gonna be there?” Or the person that after spending time with them, you hang up the phone, or leave their house completely and utterly emotionally drained.

This, my dear is an Energy Sucker.

Sure, we know all about those friends that drain us – we call them Toxic Relationships. But Energy Suckers is more than just a bad friend, or an annoying cousin (or grandparent.) Understanding Energy Suckers in our lives, help us realize that it’s MORE than just our relationships.

Here’s an example:

Walmart!!

(my Louisville family members probably think I’m crazy) – but for me, Walmart can (sometimes) be an Energy Sucker. How so? The bright lights, the huge open store, the noise… sometimes it makes my head not feel so yummy and the experience isn’t so fun. On the flip side, a cozier library or book store is an energizing and soothing place for me.

An Energy Sucker can be a person or a PLACE… it can be a building (such as Walmart.) It can be your grandparents house (for whatever reason).

Here’s a more fun example:

It can also be an activity.

Remember the last time you called your Telephone company about your retardedely high cell phone bill? You then spent over 20 minutes pressing *0 for an operator, and instead kept getting connected to different departments only for your frustration and blood pressure levels to rise dramatically.

That is an example of an Energy Sucker. It was a situation, or something that drained your energy.

Before you get your undies in a knot – I KNOW that sometimes we need to do things because as adults, we have responsibilities that aren’t so exciting. (I mean, does anyone actually ENJOY doing their taxes? Except maybe my friend the accountant?)

It’s still good to know which activities drain us so we can monitor how much or how little time we spend doing them. Or, possibly delegating the task to someone else (enter: accountant!)

The first thing to do is….

You guessed it – create a list!!!!!!

Make a list of ALL the Energy Suckers in your life.

Top worst three people first – and then the rest.

Also include places or activities that rob you of your precious energy.

Ok, now what?

Now that you have your list made, pat yourself on the back for a minute because you’ve just taken the first step in taking back your energy. (yay you!!)

The next thing to do is figure out how to curb, or limit your interactions with said people or places on the list.

I read a story about this woman who had severe fatigue issues. She was instructed by her doctor to make such a list of Energy Suckers – and one of her top 3 people was her mother. How could she tell her mother,

“Hey ma, piss off – you’re an Energy Sucker!” – not really. The doctor suggested she limit phone conversations with her mom to 3 minutes exactly once a week. If the mother would start to nag, she politely tells her mom she needs to go, and gets off the phone.

It’s not a matter of being polite or rude it’s purely for the benefit of one’s health. Because if she WOULD stay on the phone for longer periods of time, all her energy would be drained – and would continue her cycle of fatigue problems.

Some Energy Suckers unfortunately are quite difficult and for a period of time, need to be stayed away from entirely. I have done this (and have had it done to me as well) and from first- hand experience, it’s extremely hard to do and it SUCKS (pun intended). If you do choose to stay away from an Energy Sucker entirely, you’ll most probably be seen as an Anti Social Bitch (or the male equivalent).

However, I firmly believe it’s important and crucial in the name of good long term health.

Well, my dear readers I hope you enjoyed Energy Suckers: 101.

Oh, and Happy Valentines Day (a week late Smile)

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Emotional Health

 

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My Personal Conflict With Homeopathy

 

Last week I blogged about my newfound interest in homeopathy and the class I am taking on the subject. It has been a fascinating journey so far and I really am enjoying all the new information. (I should probably mention that I’m about 2 weeks behind on my lectures and assignments but I don’t think you’ll tell on me, right?)

My main reason for studying homeopathy in the first place is twofold:

a) It’s a large division of Natural Healing that I knew absolutely nothing about.

Many people sort of lump it together as the same as the rest of natural, holistic methods – and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Homeopathy and its methods are its own entities, with their own procedures and set of rules. If you ‘break’ them – it’s no longer considered homeopathy.

b) What can it do for me and my family?

I suppose anytime we learn about something that interests us, we ask ourselves this question. Is homeopathy something that I would consider using in the future (or present) when health issues arise? Can it help us in ways that other natural healing modalities can’t?

Those have been my two motives.

So far, I have come across one very large conflict.

Duby’s Bowl For Healing

I have always been a huge believer and proponent in creating a “bowl for healing.” What this means is, just like my blog – the 5 Pillars – it’s important to create not ONE but several avenues of healing.

– A physical healing. Nutrition is KEY … exercise, sleep, fresh air, clean water. Etc. We can do yoga and meditate all day, but if we’re eating Snickers for lunch and Jelly Bellies for supper – well, it aint gonna cut it.

– An emotional healing – my Doc tells me that EVERY illness has a mental component. (I suppose that’s hard to understand when it’s something simple such as an ear infection or strep throat…) but the fact remains, there can always be an emotional healing that accompanies a physical one.

– An Energetic Healing. I know I haven’t blogged about this topic at length but more and more we (as in alternative health minded people) are learning about Energy Medicine and how it plays a huge role in not only healing from illness but increasing in energy, vitality, moods, stamina etc. (who wouldn’t want that?) Energy healing can take many forms – such as Meridian tracing, Chakra clearing … things like Acupuncture, EFT, EMDR, Polarity… there are so many kinds, its difficult to list all!

The point in creating a ‘bowl’ for healing is so we as – one WHOLE body – which includes body AND mind AND spirit – can have a complete and entire healing.

The beauty of Homeopathy is that it prides itself on being THE ultimate healing modality that does this complete healing the best. Why?

Because Homeopathy teaches that with ONE single remedy – it has a combination and is a ‘recipe’ of your complete condition INCLUDING the mental, emotional and physical issues.

Why? Because Homeopathy – while a physical remedy, is considered an “energy medicine” that helps realign a person’s “Vital Force.” In doing so, this sets off a chain reaction – healing all the parts that are imbalanced – whether it’s a physical or mental imbalance.

Now, I MUST mention that MOST holistic therapies do this as well. My Doc would probably never speak to me again if I said his teachings on Naturopathy don’t include mental and emotional aspects of an illness – it CERTAINLY does!! In my first appointment with him, he drilled me (in that loving way of his) about my personal lifestyle and environment – and took that into great consideration when working with me.

However, as much as it’s strange to write this, based on my class and what I’ve learned, Homeopathy believes that they do this healing different – and BETTER than everybody else, ALMOST sounding like no other therapy is needed. (I’m not educated enough to argue this point, I’m merely relaying over the concepts I’ve been learning)

Who would have thought a school of healing could be so elitist? Smile

Getting back to My Personal Conflict:

It’s quite simple.

When taking a Homeopathic Remedy, they teach you that there are things you should stay away from, or try not to do – because it can interfere with the Remedies at work. Since it’s considered an ENERGY Medicine – they tell you to stay away from ENERGY medicines.

So, if you get acupuncture, or do something like EFT, Chakra therapy – then it might cause the remedy not to work.

Also, taking any kind of vitamins or herbal tincture can get in the way of a remedy working.

(have you figured out my conflict yet?)

I know that while on Allopathic medications –one needs to stay away from certain substances. (although quite frankly since I’ve never taken antibiotics, I can’t tell you what. But obviously there are substances that don’t mix with prescription drugs!)

Nevertheless, when it comes to holistic healing, I have a hard time with the concept of taking an “end all be all” one remedy – and having to stop all other things. Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I understand why those rules are in place – I understand that it can interfere – but does that mean I have to get rid of my “bowl of healing?” Do I need to discard it and put all my eggs into one… plate?

The truth is I am a new student to Homeopathy and still in the beginning of the journey. And who knows, maybe it’s one of those things where I shouldn’t “knock it till I try it.”

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Homeopathy – What is it?

 

homeoapthyI’m sure some of you may have realized I haven’t blogged in almost a whole month. Yes, I’ve been a neglectful blogger, but I suppose my writing energies have been focused elsewhere; working on my writing classes and my children’s’ book. My ‘health’ energies have been focused on a very fascinating Intro to Homeopathy course and I suppose that between that, oh and regular life stuff like laundry, my blogging has become back burner. (how sad!)

When I realized how long it’s been since I’ve blogged, I decided to shelve my work in progress series on “rethinking health” – and instead, make things a little easier and blog about what I’m studying!!! (why didn’t I think of this sooner?)

So here goes.

Intro To Homeopathy.

I decided to take this class because it was offered by someone I knew – a homeopath who’s been practicing for over 30 years – and she actually no longer takes clients because she focuses all her time on teaching a plethora of Homeopathy classes. Also, I’ve been studying Naturopathy for about 2 years now (give or take) and very often the subject of homeopathy comes up amongst friends, fellow health nutters –and I never knew anything about it. Like many people out there in the big wide world, I lumped homeopathy along with other natural healing methods, assuming they were all pretty much the same type of thing.

WRONGO. (as the Grinch would say)

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Homeopathy really is NOTHING like any other healing modality and I can tell you that this stuff is freakishly fascinating.

What is homeopathy?

In simple terms, it’s a natural form of healing that combines ALL aspects of health when prescribing a remedy. The homeopath will ALWAYS look at the mental/ emotional wellbeing (and symptoms) along with the physical symptoms of an issue.

So, for example. Suppose my sister calls me and tells me she has a terrible cold, winter bug type thing. As a student of Naturopathy and herbalism, I will tell my sister:

“go to take Echinacea, Astragalus, bump up Vitamin D, take hot baths, drink ginger tea, remove all wheat/sugar/dairy, and go rest etc..”

A Homeopath on the other hand will say (for example)

“What kind of cough is it? Is it dry, wet, barking type?”

“Are you feeling chilled? Are you hot, cold?”

“Do you feel like you want to be left alone, or do you specifically NOT want to be alone?”

“Are you feeling angry, emotional, anxious, etc..”

The basic principle of homeopathy is that what is good for one person, may not be good for another. Meaning, 2 people can both be sick with a similar illness but they are given 2 different remedies. (this is one of the reasons why it is very difficult to do scientific studies on the effectiveness of Homeopathy because no 2 remedies are the same!)

Why? Because each person comes with their own ‘junk’ in whatever form. Homeopathy teaches that true health means a complete homeostasis between mental, emotional and physical faculties.

For example. If someone is plagued with severe migraines – we can say they are not ‘physically free.’ However, if a person is physically free of ills, but has poor concentration, brain fog, and memory difficulties – are they mentally free? My teacher gave the example of a person who watches a ‘tear jerker’ movie. If they cry a bit during the movie, that’s a healthy reaction. But if they’re still crying a week later, that’s a sign of an emotional imbalance. We learn that there needs to be a complete balance of all three – and functioning properly. (of course Duby adds in the importance of Spiritual health as well.) A homeopath will take ALL of the issues into consideration when prescribing the one customized remedy for a person.

How did it start?

Not that anyone is interested in a major History lesson – I happened to think it was kind of cool how it all came about.

The dude who founded Homeopathy was Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (please don’t ask me how to pronounce his name, I have no idea) … he lived 1755- 1843 in Germany.

He was a medical doctor with his own practice. He was translating medical texts and was fascinated about a species of tree bark which was being used to treat malaria. He took some of this tree bark (talk about experimenting on one’s own body!) and found that it CAUSED SIMILAR symptoms to the malaria illness. Long story short he continued researching on the idea that that “Let Likes be Cured by Likes.” In other words, a remedy will be given with a substance that produces in a healthy person those same symptoms a patient experiences. But in a person who is sick, that substance will help cure them. (I told you it was freaky stuff!)

Of course there are others that came along after him and researched his findings more, and solidified his ideas etc… one such person who I found truly interesting was a man by the name of Constantine Hering… he began to study Homeopathy ONLY because he thought it was crazy and wanted to disprove its legitimacy !!!!! He’s now known as “the Father of American Homeopathy.”

Ok, history lesson is over.

I had No idea….

I found it surprising to learn that in the early 1900’s there were 22 homeopathic medical schools, 100 homeopathic hospitals, and 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies… why those numbers no longer exist today, is another topic Smile

Long story short, Homeopathy is nothing like I’ve ever studied (even though there are similarities in the sense that it wants to create a long lasting healing in a safe and gentle manner) and I’m finding it really fascinating.

I’m sure I’ll blog about this topic some more since my class runs for the next few months….

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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Getting Healthier in 2012 – Rethinking!

 

the_thinkerI have been doing a lot of thinking lately, (oh no! Smile) and I have officially named 2012 – The Year of Health! (sounds awesome, no?) Obviously a motto or resolution of “getting healthier” is very vague and can be very confusing. So to help makes things easier, I decided to narrow it down to one simple concept – “Rethinking Health.”

Time to rethink what we assume we know about health, and to stretch our brains a little bit. Even if we don’t change a single habit, if we begin to view things a little differently then I’d like to believe we’re on the right path.

So for me, I’ve been doing some “rethinking.”

It’s interesting how over the years my perceptions and understanding of true health has changed quite dramatically. It’s a little extreme to go from eating processed and unhealthy foods to eating sprouts and vegan tofu!!! The journey to true health is a real journey, and while it might sound silly, it really isn’t a journey that should be rushed lest you miss some valuable lessons along the way.

Valuable Lessons? What kind of lessons can you learn from eating carrots?

Well, I’m so very happy you asked. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned from my “journey” towards a happier and healthy life. (feel free to comment on what YOU have learned from your healthy habits)

1. Nutrition is not something to be taken lightly.

We always joke about how some people can eat so much junk food and never gain a pound. Well, it’s not about weight and it’s not about pounds and we must as a society stop putting so much WEIGHT on how much we WEIGH. When a person is overweight, it’s merely a symptom of something that’s out of balance. (incorrect eating, lifestyle habits, stress, lack of physical exercise etc.)

I never really took nutrition seriously. Ok, so I knew I shouldn’t pig out on Donuts at the Chanukah party because I would feel bloated and gain a pound or two. But I never understood that it goes much more beyond the bloated feeling for a few hours. The way we eat DIRECTLY affects EVERY other aspect of our lives. Our moods, our cognitive skills, our sex lives, our energy levels, our immune system….

In simple terms – our food can make us or break us.

And as I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “we are what we eat.”

2. Health is more than just not being Sick

This is an attitude that I find in alternative health more so than in the conventional health world (for those of you who go to regular MD’s – you’ll have to let me know if they teach this as well.)

The point is that true health is an all- encompassing freedom. Free from physical ills, free from emotional baggage that holds you back, and clear focused sharp mental capacity. (and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I believe Spiritual Health to be equally important – living with a sense of a higher purpose etc)

If a person has to take blood pressure medication every day of their lives – that’s not exactly physical health, is it? It’s called disease management. If I am physically healthy with boundless energy, yet I have a hard time concentrating and focusing in class – that means my mental faculties are imbalanced and no, I’m not fully healthy.

I think this is a hard concept amongst conventional medicines because we are so used to compartmentalizing things. If I’m depressed then I go to a therapist, and if I have a stomachache I go to a general practitioner. But if I’m depressed because I got into a fight with my husband, it’s highly likely that I will have stomach issues! My point is that we are an entire body that consists of mind, body and spirit – – and should be treated as such, not as individual symptoms. (I believe that this is most taught in the school of Homeopathy which truly takes into an account a person’s emotional/mental well being when prescribing a remedy)

3. Our Lifestyle Can Be Just as Poisonous

This is tough one to explain because it means taking a hard honest look at where we work, who we interact with and what items we use on a daily basis. So, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the term “Toxic Relationships” – coined for those friends we looove to hang out with, but for some reason afterwards we feel like crap?

This applies to our work environment also. For example, we knew there was a problem, when every Sunday night my husband would get depressed thinking he would have to go back to work Monday morning, and knowing he would have to deal with certain people.

These people as individuals might be wonderful caring and kindhearted – but to you (or me) they might be TOXIC.

A toxic environment WILL play a huge role in your overall health. Personally, I think this is the hardest one of them all. Eating healthier, taking vitamins, doing Yoga is one thing … but leaving a job, or a city, or a friendship because its not healthy is very difficult to do.

As for ‘items’ that are toxic… overusing computers, cell phones, microwaves, aluminum bake-ware – items we use every day, they directly effect our energetic systems and ultimately our health.

4. True Health & Wellness Helps Us Be Happier

This is a big Statement!

– When life is in balance – our work life – our personal life, there is a sense of peace and tranquility and things are in healthy flow. 

– When we are in healthy environments, feeding our bodies the proper nourishment, our emotional responses are appropriate and our mental faculties are sharp.

– When we are aware and mindful of our surroundings – we are able to acknowledge what is good for us and keep the rest out, allowing us to create a happier life.

I have been enjoying this “RE-thinking” thing, and I plan to continue this vein. Over the next few days / weeks I’ll be discussing Rethinking our Physical Health and Emotional Health.

I hope you’ll join in the discussion!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health

 

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year! CHANUKAH GIVEAWAY!

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You got that right!
Time for the 5 Pillars of Health ANNUAL

Chanukah Giveaway !!!!!

(can I get a hell yeah??)

Keeping things simple, I decided to keep the prize the same as last year, since you all seemed to LOVE free money.

Soooooo once again, I’m offering a choice between a

$50 Gift Card to:

Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s!!!!

How Do I Win?

You can do one or all of the following options (each option will give you one entry)

1) Comment on this post answering the following question: “What is my favorite holiday and why?”

2) Post this giveaway on Facebook (you can use the Facebook icon on the bottom of this page) Make sure to let me know you have done so.

3) Tweet about the giveaway!!! Make sure to mention me: @mrsduby

4) Subscribe to my blog!! (if you’re already a subscriber: Forward this email to a friend and CC me for an entry)

When do I Win?

The winner will be chosen (at random) on Sunday, December 18, 2011 – which is 2 days before the first night of Chanukah.

The winner (which could be YOU) will be notified by Email – and a post will be on the blog announcing the winner.

If I don’t hear from the winner by January 1, 2012 I will have to pick a new winner, although I don’t want to, so make sure to be in touch with me Smile

Good luck!!!!!!!!

 

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Emotional Health: What To Do When Your Life Really Sucks

 

when life sucksEven though we are in the middle of our “Getting Back to Basics” theme,  I couldn’t help but post this piece in honor of a friend of mine who’s going through a crappy ass time. In some form or another we ALL can relate to times in our life that just completely and utterly suck.

I’m not referring to a fight with your BFF or maybe a broken / stolen iPhone. I’m talking about death, illness, divorce – ya know – the biggies.

Therefore, we’re going to take a small intermission and dedicate this post as one big giant hug to all those that are going through a hard time. (and if you DO have a broken iPhone, this can apply to you as well Smile)

1. TV / Hulu / Netflix Become Life Saviors:

Distraction is magical. I know, my Psychology major friends will tell me that avoiding your problems by numbing your brain is bad (and I do agree) – but I know from first- hand experience that when the pain is unbearable, sometimes you just need Ross and Rachel from Friends to take your mind to another place.

2. With Friends like These Who Needs Enemies?

My mom used to tell me this when I was in grade school and had a hard time making friends with my classmates. (it took me about 10 years to understand what the phrase meant). We all have our BFF’s and our Besties etc. But sadly, sometimes when we go through a difficult period, those friends are not there for us. Not out of spite, but your BFF might not be able to be there for you in the way you need. Maybe they don’t understand, maybe they’re too busy for your venting / crying sessions, or even worse – maybe they end up saying things to make you feel worse than you did before. My point is that it WILL happen that those friends that you would swear you can count on – you can’t. (This goes for family as well)

This brings me to my next point

3. Just Where You Least Expect …

The beautiful thing about life’s challenges and difficulties is that we find love and support where we least expect it. When I was going through a hard time a while back – I ran into an old acquaintance from school. We were never close (we shared friends at most) but into our conversation I found out that this person went through a similar experience as me, and she turned out to be the BEST supportive friend ever. She was my rock when no one else understood what I was going through.

You never know who will be in your support group – and don’t be surprised if it turns out to be some random person Smile

4. Don’t forget to talk to G-d.

I recommend this LIGHTLY.

Sometimes when pain is just THAT painful, crying out to G-d is too difficult. It means facing the demons head on and it can be overwhelming. Having said that – if you do feel like you just want to let it all out, I’m sure G-d has some time on his schedule to listen Smile (just be forewarned that crying it all out can be very draining … and possibly therapeutic)

5. Let the Sun shine in

I wonder if it’s been scientifically proven, but I believe that it’s difficult to feel depressed when you’re sitting outside in the sunlight. (I know, I’ve tried it) Just something about the warm sun on your face … even if it doesn’t lift your sprits much, at least you will be getting Vitamin D which keep your body strong. (So either way, it’s a win-win)

6. Eating Healthy is not Easy but Crucial

When you’re going through a rough time – the LAST thing you want to do is stand in your kitchen cutting lettuce and cucumbers. You want pasta, cereal, cookies, and maybe a tub of ice cream. More than ever, eating healthy during a “crisis” is crucial. Why? Because with great stress comes great havoc on our physiological bodies. Our cortisol levels are up and down (our stress hormone) – our immune system is compromised, and we are more susceptible to getting sick. (ever see those annoying Depression commercials – where they say “where does Depression hurt?” – because mental / emotional anguish leads to physical anguish)

My recommendation? Get someone to make you a huge pot of soup and freeze it – so when you’re feeling a shade of blue, you can just warm it up and have some comfort food. If someone asks you what they can do for you (and generally during times of crisis people offer this) ask them for a home cooked meal. (whenever I got sick, my good friend Mrs. S. always sent me hot meals because she was smart enough to realize that I needed nutritious food!!)

7. Herbs Herbs and more herbs

And here we come to the apex of our discussion.

Anti Depressants!

(notice how I used the word “herbs” instead.) Why? (I’m so happy you asked)

Because if there is anything I’m adamantly against – it’s the usage of Anti Depressants. I know for some people they have been considered “life saviors” and people have positive experiences with these meds, but it is my opinion that they are terrible. (just my opinion) They are so bad for our bodies (and minds!) for so many reasons, it would take me 5 blog posts just to list them all!

This is the part where I tell you that there are NATURAL and HEALTHY and SAFE (key word – SAFE) alternatives to anti- depressants. These are herbs that calm the body, calm the mind, but at the same time allow it to function normally – so you don’t feel loopy, or high, (sorry for those who enjoy the high Smile) or like a different person. My hubby always tells me that the people he knew who were on anti depressants – they weren’t the same person anymore. It literally changed their personality. These are herbs you can find at your local health food store – but of course – I advise asking a Doctor before taking to make sure you take the correct dosage.

Well, that’s my “virtual hug” to my dear friend who’s going through a hard time. And like I said in my opener – if this helps you get through your stolen iPhone crisis, well then mission accomplished! Smile

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Emotional Health

 

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Simchas Torah – a Holiday Devoted to Happiness (And Alcohol)

judge_young_drunk_stupid_524355I actually wrote this post last year after Sukkos was over, but who wants to read about Yom Tov when we’re all just sick of the whole thing? So this year, I decided I better post this BEFORE it ends Smile

The end part of Sukkos is called Simchas Torah – when we celebrate the ending (and subsequent beginning) of reading the Torah portions throughout the year. Therefore it’s a great celebration with feasting, dancing and singing but the main mitzvah of the holiday is to be happy and joyful.

There are MILLIONS of books, blogs, seminars, movies etc. that are devoted to the topic of happiness and how to achieve it. People sometimes look to religion to find happiness… it’s an entire industry!!! Making people happy Smile

Our Jewish religion is no different — we are taught that what we can accomplish with tears, we can also accomplish through sheer joy. This applies to the ecstasy we feel on Simchas Torah – compared to the seriousness and tears we feel on Yom Kippur.

SOOOOOOO….

My question that I pose to all of you out there – and I pose to myself as well:

WHY DO WE NEED ALCOHOL TO BE HAPPY?

Alcohol has NOTHING to do with Simchas Torah (as opposed to Purim where the famous Gemarah speaks about drinking wine on Purim) – but it has absolutely nothing to do with Simchas Torah! Other than using it as a means to find that inner happiness….

So I ask again – why do we NEED it to be happy?

Why must we use a substance that is dangerous to our physical health in order to obtain happiness??!! Can we not be jubilant without it? What does it say about a person that cannot find inner glee and contentment without relying on chemical alterations of the body and brain?

I pose this question to my readers not in order to try and answer this question – but really to find an adequate answer that satisfies me.

I’ll admit, when I was a teen (and young adult), I saw people drinking, saying “lechaims” on Simchas Torah and Purim and I thought it was “cool.” It seemed that all the fun stuff happened when people were a bit tipsy. Who didn’t want to be part of that? And the lesson I saw was that alcohol = fun! Of course, it was in a ‘kosher’ setting – during Shul etc… and it was ingrained in my brain that booze was perfectly acceptable. It was hip to get drunk and “happy” and I hate to say this but it was so funny when it led to somebody throwing up (more to talk about!)

My Perspective Changed…

But once I got married – suddenly my perspective shifted. Actually, a woman from my Shul planted a little seed in my brain one year (while I was still on my “alcohol is cool” kick) when she made a comment about the stupidity of drinking. With such passion on the matter, she would tell us, about the father who comes home from Shul piss drunk — he could barely walk home – so he needed his children to help balance all the way. This woman is older than me, a mom, and therefore was able to look at the situation from a deeper understanding of the situation. She saw that a parent needs to be a parent and be responsible. A father who needs his children to “walk him home” because who knows what will happen if they’re not there – well that was the epitome of abhorrent in her mind.

Well, back then me and my friends thought this lady was nerdy and sooooo boring. Comon, lighten up! It’s fun, it’s cool… no one is getting violent or dangerous, we’re all just having a good time!

Saying a Lechaim Is One Thing….Getting Pissed Drunk is Another

But that’s not the case with everyone who drinks on Simchas Torah. Sure, some of us can down a few drinks, get a little buzz and start to act happy. However, then there are those who don’t stop at just a few drinks and end up taking it too far.

So once again I ask – why do we need it?

I grew up in a town where my Shul became a first rate circus on this holiday. (even the Rabbis of the Shul left town for the holiday to get away from it!) The men acted like the clowns, french kissing each other rolling around on the floor in pickled herring, while the women enjoyed front row seats to enjoy the spectacle. The children, traditionally divided by sex would hold forts and wage battle using fallen Chestnuts as ammo (usually resulting in someone running into Shul crying hysterically to find a mom – since obviously the men were too plastered to do anything). The teens, well the teens usually were smart enough to go to NY for Simchas Torah – although the one year I did that, I found nothing but more filth and disgusting behavior.

happy hourSo, once again I ask – why the alcohol?

I guess as an adult maybe I’m turning into a prude. Who knows?

All I know is that this year, I’ll be here in Kentucky in my new Shul – where honestly I don’t know how they do things here. What I do know is that I’ll be running a children’s program with wholesome and fun activities for the kids – so they can have a more positive and less traumatizing Simchas Torah than I did.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to join the discussion and answer this very difficult question.

 
 

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