Jul 27 2015
I’m scared. It’s the middle of the night, and the question is, “to eat, or not to eat?” I just returned from a visit to Israel, and am not sure what meal it’s supposed to be. There, it would be dinner time, but here, bedtime. I lost over 5 pounds on the trip, and don’t want to blow it now!
Before my vacation, I planned on a new approach to dieting, Kabbalah-Dieting, that uses words for healing. This unique interpretation of using the Tree of Life for healing is a concept I have been developing for many years. It was finally time to put my own words into action.
I am still reverberating after many wonderful experiences in Israel, which are woven together as a rich tapestry. In the ancient city of T’sfat, the birthplace of Kabbalah, I took two classes in Otiyot Hayyot, led by T’ai Chi master and spiritual philosopher, Yehudit Goldfarb. She showed how to use gentle, flowing movements to form Hebrew words, and let the spiritual light shine through to integrate with them. Our word was, “Or,” “Light,” and as we formed the 3 Hebrew letters, I thought about my chosen word, too. In Jerusalem, I reviewed some of these ideas with my friend, Dr. Natan Ophir, Director of the Jerusalem Meditation Institute. I discovered that using words for healing was kosher!
I reached 153 pounds over the past several years. For most of my adult life, I’ve yo-yo’ed between 142 and 148, struggling to lose the same pounds like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain. At 142, my feet didn’t hurt, (which they did, even at 143) and 148 was pushing it. I still looked OK, except from certain angles in the mirror, which I avoided as much as possible. Internally, besides battling over every meal, my dialogue often included “dumping” on myself. This negative voice was something of an attempt to force myself to diet by self-shame, but usually, my stronger negative voice that said, “just eat it,” won. This deeply buried voice is only becoming crystal clear as I pen these words. Over time, I rationalized that being a little overweight was OK because of emotional hardships I had suffered. I deserved extra bowls of chips, second helpings of pasta, and let’s not even discuss ice cream, whenever I wanted (except when I was on a diet). Unfortunately, these comfort foods were really satisfying my eating disorder, and not my actual spiritual needs.
At 153 pounds, I was totally fed up, way beyond my chub-rub thighs and the new roll of flab hanging over my jeans. My posture had drooped, and so had my spirit. So, in Israel, the plan was to visit friends, sightsee, walk a lot, (even with sore feet) and eat light meals with small in-between snacks. I would not consume whole bags of nuts or granola bars simply because they were there. I would eat for sustenance and activate new parts of my soul. Some of these areas are shown in the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life, Kabbalah's Main Symbol, with 7 Worldly Sephirot and Dominant Personality Traits
Many people recognize the image of Tree of Life, but few realize that its Sephirot (spheres) contain over 100 Dynamic Personality Traits, divided into Virtues and Vices. The ones shown on this image are the “Dominant Virtues/Vices.” For example, Beauty’s Dominant Virtue/Vice pair is Humility/Pride. If you think about the name of the sphere, Beauty, these characteristics makes sense. People who are arrogant seem to miss Beauty in the world around them because they are consumed with excessive Pride. When we learn to tap into the continuum of traits within, we head for the light.
With Kabbalah-Dieting, you choose a Virtue/Vice pair. Mine was, ”Vigor/Sloth.” Even though “Kindheartedness/Insatiableness,” seemed appropriate, the “Vigor/Sloth” resonated more clearly with me. It’s important to emphasize that in our program, your choice is serious spiritual stuff. Sacred words become the framework for the energy you move from the Vice towards the Virtue, opening the light of spiritual fulfillment. These, and other techniques are explained more fully on the Kabbalah-Dating and Kabbalah-Relating websites.
Personally, years of poor eating habits had created an imbalance in my Yesod, or Physical Foundation. I overate because it was pleasurable and filled a certain need. But, I was actually taking advantage of this pleasure and being “Slothful.” I hate that word, but in all honesty, it did apply. When I reached for extra helpings, instead of productive activities, like writing or practicing guitar, I shortchanged the more productive areas of my Tree of Life, and created an imbalance. Blog 2, “The Pleasures and Discomforts of Eating,” will address how to enjoy the God-given pleasure of eating. And, future posts will explore how the Sephirot on our Trees become damaged to begin with.
It is sad to think I had been “Slothful.” When I recognized it, other shameful and negative emotions seemed to emerge. I felt worried about the new spiritual vistas I would experience. I felt that I would have to leave my comfort zone, yet so wanted to. Well, after such a wonderful trip to Israel, I can report some success stories. One afternoon, in Tel Aviv, (being the real California girl I have become after living in the Bay Area for 30 years) I rented a Boogie Board to surf in the Mediterranean Sea. Each wave felt both cathartic and thrilling, and I was certainly being “Vigorous!” On the way back to the hotel, I bought a cup of strawberry and pistachio gelatto. Tiny spoonful satisfied, and this was “Vigorous,” because I knew that the satisfaction would last beyond the immediate sensation. There would be no challenge alone in my hotel room with the mini-bar that night. I will always remember the fun experiences of surfing and eating sensibly that day, and use the experience as a weapon in my spiritual arsenal of Hod (Reverberation – to be discussed at a later time as well).
Light falaffel and shwarma sandwiches throughout the two week trip also helped me shed more weight. My feet started to feel better. One day, I walked about 2 miles to Mike’s Pizza with a sports TV, and enjoyed munching and watching horse races. Again, eating was integrated into a pleasurable day. But, as the last day approached, I became very nervous. How could I continue eating well at home, where I would encounter the same-old same-old? So, for more strength, I placed a red string on my wrist, a well-known practice used for a variety of protections. And, of course, I went armed with the word, “Vigor.” Shall we say it together? “Vigor!!” When the going gets rough, let’s not forget it!
I finally fell asleep without eating a bite, and it turns out that I wasn’t even that hungry when I woke up. Funny how our bodies act so unexpectedly at times. Perhaps the airline food and sitting in one spot on the plane for many hours had diminished my appetite? And, I it was more fun unpacking and remembering my wonderful Israel experiences than reaching for food.
It’s a few days later, and I have been confronted with the “extra bowl” syndrome several times. I still have the momentum from my trip and my new commitment to spiritual words to say, “no.” With new “Vigor,” I’m enjoying the new, lighter person I have become–whose feet no longer hurt when I walk.
In the comment section, I would love to hear your plans about using Vigor to lose weight. Does transferring your energy from Sloth to Vigor bring up any issues for you? Do you feel motivated or depressed in doing so?
(Don’t forget, whenever you are using our program, if any overwhelming feelings occur, contact a licensed therapist. You can also contact Malka via Kabbalah-Dating and Kabbalah-Relating.)
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