Saturday, 2 May 2009

Starting to trust in the Light

So it's been a bit of an odd week. A week filled with immense hide-in-the-corner lows, but punctuated with miracles. Or at least, that's what I call them. You may call them what you please.

I am getting closer to realise my issues regarding finding work. I want to run my own personal development workshops, aimed at working with women with low self esteem - from those generally timid, single and depressed for whatever reason, to those looking for love, to those who have been in violent relationships.

The problem with this is that it is something that will need to grow in time until it is earning a solid income. It isn't like opening a coffee shop next to a railway station, where there is a captive audience and an instant income.

So in the meantime I need to find a job. But what job? I know what I want to do with my life - but am having trouble seeing the Right Now. Plus I have been out of work for so long that I just don't know how to sell it anymore - how do I explain that gap whilst convincing an employer that I am the person that they are looking for?

So I've had a couple of days of feeling very low, and my inactivity and depression then started to eat in to my future vision too, which is to inspire people. So, how inspiring do I feel, sitting in a corner and trying to block out my life? The answer was "Not remotely".

So I made my decision - let's find a job - any job - and put the personal development business on hold for a few years. Let's leave that until I am in a better place myself.

So then I receive a phone call from my teacher (oddly enough at exactly the same time that I was thinking about him). We haven't spoken in weeks. When I explained my feelings on the personal development business he explained "Two people can be hungry, but one person can teach the other person how to deal with that hunger. Do you think that the teachers at the Kabbalah centre are not still struggling with their ego's? Do you think that we have 'learned Kabbalah' and are now ready how to teach people to become perfect like us? No! We are all still battling our ego, but we can teach what we know will work". Or in other words, I don't need to be a perfect example in order to help other people. (In fact, I am a prime example of seeing the good in other people without being able to see it in myself).

We made an arrangement to meet on Wednesday (which may now have to be postponed for reasons as you will see) and the plan is to write a 'contract' with the Creator. It's time to make some noise. It's time to say "Hey! I'm going to do these things and in return I expect this, this and this". It's time to be a squeaky wheel.

So, feeling rather elevated after my conversation and in full squeaky wheel mode, I headed for my "I've been signing on for a year and now I need you to check up on me" interview with the Job Centre. And I was completely honest about what I intended to do and where I needed help. And I left feeling rather positive, with a stack more information than I had when I arrived.

But then on Friday I hit another massive low which (way too late) I discovered to be due to PMT. I felt hideously bored and lonely. There isn't a single thing that I wanted to make progress on. Or at least, not on my own. If someone (Brad Pitt, maybe, or Hugh Jackman) had popped round for a cup of tea, I would have immediately brightened up, but alas, nobody knocked at my door. The frustration felt so huge that I wanted to take my brain out and stamp on it. But I refrained. I just wanted somebody - anybody - to say "let's do this" (and I wasn't really bothered about what the 'this' was, as long as it wasn't immoral or cruel).

But during this low came another realisation - the connection between lack of desire to apply for jobs and my work history. It's no wonder that I am reluctant to throw myself back in to the job market. In all of my career I have never had a good manager, and never been happy at work. There were years at a time where I would worry for hours, lose sleep and wake up feeling sick at the thought of going in to work. I can't actually imagine there being a different reality. So building a positive statement of "Yes! I want to work!" was proving to be impossible, because my ego is saying "why the hell do you want to put yourself through that kind of trauma again? It's far better for you to stay safe in the house and watch your bank account dwindle, isn't it?"

It feels like a real dichotomy - I work best when someone else sets my goals (which at the moment there is nobody around to do that) but I also have never liked the people who have set my goals in the past. I need to start applying for jobs so that I can be given direction, but at the moment have the attention span of a spaniel in a field full of rabbits and chocolate cake.

So this morning I attended Shabbat, still feeling the wave of despair. By the end of the service I felt slightly better (as I always do) and then spoke to one of the women who has been running the Business Gym. It is strange, because the first few times I worked with her I felt completely intimidated by her, but this morning I found myself just opening up about my situation. My mouth was saying the words "totally sick of myself" and "low self-esteem" and "negative experience all my life with work" and my ego was jumping around in the background screaming "What the f*ck!!!? SHUT UP YOU MORON! Why are you telling her?! Call the men in white coats! This one has lost it totally!"

But within two minutes, this very same woman had put me in touch with a chap who runs courses on goal setting and self esteem - exactly for people in my situation. The next course is due to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and for the cost of nothing more than a train fare, I am booked on it.

Every time I reach a new all time low and beg for help, something miraculous happens.

And that is why I love Kabbalah, and that is why I am starting to trust in the Light.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Pesach - not to be Pass-ed Over

If anyone had said 'Pesach' to me a few months ago, I think I would have said 'Bless You'. I had never heard of the word before. I didn't know that it meant Passover, and I never understood what Passover was all about in the first place.

I'm not sure that I really do now - as with everything I learn about Kabbalah, I seem to suffer from a combination of amnesia and deja vu, i.e. I know that I have forgotten this before.

In history, Passover is the story of the freedom of the Israelites from Egypt, after 400 years of brutal slavery under the cruel Pharoah. Along came this chap called Moses, and led them across the desert - oops, here's the Red Sea, never mind, we'll just part that and make our way to Mount Sinai. A great bible story.

But so what? That doesn't stick in my mind half as much as the joke about Jesus and Moses playing golf (Jesus insists on using a 7 iron to get his ball across the water, because Jack Nicklaus uses a 7 iron, Moses has to keep parting the water to get Jesus' ball back and eventually refuses and so Jesus steps out on to the water to find his own ball. The players behind them catch up, see Jesus on the water and said to Moses 'Who does he think he is, Jesus Christ?' Queue punchline from Moses: 'No, he is Jesus Christ, but he thinks he's Jack Nicklaus'.

But Kabbalistically speaking it applies to every one of us (the exodus of the Israelites, not Jesus playing golf). Or at least it makes a lot more sense if you consider Egypt to be the physical world, Pharoah to be our Ego (or negative traits that enslave us) and the Israelites to be our souls. So the idea of Pesach is to free yourself from your Ego - an opportunity to let your soul shine.

And as with every significant Kabbalistic holiday, there is preparation to be done. The preparation work started at the New Moon of Aries - the start of a powerful month. For the first twelve days of Aries (Nissan) the energy cycles through each astrological sign and theoretically your buttons are pushed in keeping with the challenges of that sign.

So, for instance, the third day was the day of Gemini, where (as I can confirm) it is hard to keep focus or to complete anything. Gemini's struggle to finish what they start, and so on that day it was important to follow through with whatever you planned to do to break that bit of Ego. The funny thing was that this day fell on Shabbat and the lack of focus throughout the morning was blatently obvious (and these are people who are aware of the energy of the day, and still it's a struggle, which I find hilarious - what hope for anyone else?!)

To alert us of the energy for the day ahead, there was a midnight conference call the night before, where portions of the Zohar were read and emphasis was made on what we needed to overcome. Then on the final day (yesterday) all of the energy of the signs were rolled in to one - emotional pandemonium, if you ask me.

Yesterday was the last ditch attempt to 'search for the Chametz' or in English 'write down everything that you still don't feel that you have changed or addressed' and ask for guidance to find the rest, and this morning was the process of 'Burning the Chametz', where you set alight to the piece of paper to remove it from the world, and yourself. Saves on buying a shredder (but just watch out for the curtains).

The effort that you put in to these tasks comes to Light at Pesach. If we have made maximum effort, we get brownie points in the form of internal change. If not, we get a little bit more stuck with our negative stuff.

But whatever changes we have made - good or bad - are concealed from us for the time being. Curious, huh? Why?

Pesach provides the opportunity to make a huge spiritual leap - we expose ourselves to such a volume of energy that we cannot possibly have earned it all. Imagine you are part of a raft building challenge as part of a team. There are going to be people who learn how to tie every rope, motivate and organise everyone else, learn how to effectively paddle at speed and overcome their fear of the water so that they can win the race. And there will be others who stand on the sidelines chatting to their mates, cause merry hell when they have to sit on the raft and paddle backwards when they should be paddling forwards.
But your team wins and you all get the praise.

Unfair, huh? But what you don't know is that over the next six weeks, your boss is going to set some challenges for you to see what you have learned. If you didn't learn how to tie the rope because you were too busy having a fag on the sidelines, you lose.

This six week period is called the Omer. It's button-pushing time again. More buttons to be pushed? *sigh* If you've done the work you can then earn the Light, it will be easier to overcome the challenges and your progress will be revealed. And if you haven't, well then you had better grin and bear it and wait for Rosh Hashannah.

So have I made enough effort over the past two weeks? Well, I have tried, but fear that I have not tried hard enough. I haven't managed to make significant changes in my lazy habits, although I have made a bit of a start on clearing out the house, I have dialled in to every midnight conference bar one, and I sought and burned the Chametz and I have a deeper understanding of why I am holding myself back on the job front.

But it's all just one cosmic guessing game to me. I guess only time will tell...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

When the Student is ready..

My life is starting to fill with synchronicity, as I move towards my purpose in life.

Ah, my Purpose - my true reason for Being - is finally starting to make itself known. Along with this is a real sense of Certainty in the Tree of Life reality - that Thoughts become Things - and further belief in the notion that 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear'.

Seven years ago, I bought the book "The Work We Were Born To Do" by Nick Williams. I had just attended a Mindstore course and wanted to believe that I could manifest my own reality. Something made me buy that book - my soul was sending me a message that there was some kind of work that I was born to do which would actually bring me happiness. I read five chapters and put the book down. I didn't quite believe that it could apply to me, and although I felt very unhappy in my job, I didn't really know what I wanted to do - or maybe I did, but it felt like an egotistical whim and I wasn't ready to step up to the plate. I had, afterall, recently graduated from university with a first class honours degree in Computing for Business. I couldn't give that all up - it would be a waste of my skills, talents and four years of hard study, surely?

In short, although I didn't know it then, I still had a lot of work to do, had to meet a lot more people and make a lot more realisations to overcome my low self-esteem.

From that point seven years ago, I still believed in manifesting, but had drifted away from it and although I continued to read and dream, I stopped practising and went back to feeling out of sorts and resigned to staying that way.

Then two years ago, events in my life (starting with the offer of redundancy and the realisation that I needed yet more counselling) brought me back to spirituality and since then I started my work in earnest. And it hasn't been easy, and yes, it has been very painful.

When I was introduced to Kabbalah (not even a year ago), I found something that made sense to me - something that I could work with - and have continued to take baby steps in the right direction: two steps forward, one step back, three steps forward, two steps back. At times it felt as though I was taking more steps backward than forward, but looking back I can see that the Universe was indeed unfolding as it should.

I started volunteering for the Kabbalah centre several months ago and more recently was assigned to helping out with the Business Gym - which has presented its own challenges (one of them being that in order to attend the breakfast meetings, I need to make the effort to get my lazy backside out of bed before 5 in the morning!). Another task I was given was to transfer events for the Business Gym to attend in to an Excel spreadsheet - something that I willingly agreed to and then temporarily regretted given that it was far more time-consuming than I had anticipated. After six hours of cutting and pasting from Word to Excel, nipping out to the Wonderful World Wide Web to get further details as required, I had a raging headache and a hand shaped like a claw.

One of the events - the Inspired Entrepreneurs London Gathering - was missing information, and when I found the website, I discovered that Inspired Entrepreneurs was run by Nick Williams. And one of the workshops he runs is called "Starting Your Own Personal Development Business". Well, who knew?

Feeling a bit guilty for not finishing his book, I picked it up again and this time found it truly inspiring. In my head and my heart, I thanked him deeply for writing this book. I became a member of the club and started reading his free downloads - and bizarrely enough, if there were any negative thoughts running through my head before I clicked play, each video clip addressed every single one exactly. It was as though I was on a personal call through Skype rather than watching a video, it was so specific. I was so taken aback, that I decided to push myself through my "I haven't even got started and will feel intimidated by the other members" thinking, and attend the next London Gathering.

An hour before the event, I felt myself starting to bottle out, so I rang GBM for support, and he assured me that I would get something out of the experience for just being there. So I went.

And what a reward. Not only did I meet some wonderful, like-minded people (as promised) - none of whom judged me in the slightest for not having a lively business already up and running or raised an eyebrow and asked me what made me think I was qualified - but I also received the warmest, most wonderful hug from Nick himself. What a lovely guy.

These little bits of feedback in my life are further proof that the Universe is unfolding as it should - from Nick Williams transforming from book cover to hug in a matter of days, to having a thought in my head last August that I would love to thank Karen Berg for making Kabbalah available to everyone, and then finding myself thanking her in person two months later (the magnitude of which didn't hit me until I was on the train home).

Other little messages continue to come through, such as feedback from two people in the last week, expressing their gratitude to me for inspiring them, saying that they were so glad that they called me and hadn't really thought of their particular issue in that way. If that's not a message that I am capable of serving my purpose here on earth, then I am not sure what is.

And in my life there are other wonderful people keeping me on course, like my friend Wen who is my new 'Bully for the Light' and helps me to recognise the progress that I am making.
And GBM, who has listened to more than his fair share of tales of woe, and still believes in me.
And Mum's The Word, who offers love, friendship and refuge, and who continually sets the bar for her ability to share.
And my sister Nicola, who, although she is going through a low herself, continues to inspire and support me, and has offered me her ears so many times over the past two years that I am surprised she has any ears left. Nicola - I know that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to (because I have seen you do this before, time and time again). Just get over the flu first, eh?
And I could go on.

In conclusion, I heartily agree with the message that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. But I also believe that everyone who comes in to your life is there to teach you something. There is not one singular "Teacher": there are as many teachers as there are lessons to be learned. I wonder who my next teacher will be?

Friday, 27 February 2009

Everything for a reason

At last! Finally! I find something to post on my 99% blog!

So I have gone through a slight hiccup in the Finding of my Soul Mate process. Or in other words, last night, Potential New Man called me and dumped me.

Before I found Kabbalah I would have fallen in to a pit of depression at this news - and to begin with, I did join the ranks of the rejected and dejected and felt a bit sorry for myself. But this only lasted an hour or so, after which I decided to look at things Kabbalistically.

I had only two dates with Potential New Man (who will now be known as Soulmate Lesson No 1 - SLN1) and as per my usual behaviour, I analysed every word, every action, everything we talked about - trying to find out what his Values and Direction were in order to see how they matched with mine. He was very keen, honest and open. He was - and still is - a nice guy. We talked a lot about Kabbalah - in fact, the conversation during our two brief dates was continually pulled towards Kabbalah, much as I tried to divert it. I found that he was questioning my beliefs a lot - especially with things like "but how do you know that x works?" and "you have to be careful not to get sucked in to these things" (given his experience of being sucked in to a personal development company - I tried to explain that Kabbalah wasn't the same as Landmark but maybe he will digest that information later).

Anyway, last night he called and said "I've been thinking about you and me, specifically around what you said about values and direction, and although I absolutely melt whenever I see you, I know that I am looking for someone who is financially secure and that sooner or later that will come between us"
So there was a backhanded compliment, if ever I heard it. On the one hand, having an energy that makes this man weak at the knees, but on the other being seen as a bit of a burden on the financial front.

But after a brief period of getting over the surprise of being dumped, I switched on my spiritual head and opened myself up to one question:

If everyone comes in to your life for a reason, why did he come in to mine?

And I can't say that I truly have the answer - it could be a number of reasons.
Firstly, it could be that I still do not love myself as I am, in my current situation, to feel equal with somebody who is earning more money than I am or already established in doing something that I want to do.
Secondly, it could be my own fear of lack of money that is raising its ugly head. I need to address that one.
Thirdly, it could be a lesson on practising what I preach. I was tempted to send him a humorus and friendly email which included the words "life isn't about money, it's about unconditional love" and then I thought 'Was I judging him on how much he earned?' Guilty as charged.

It could be all manner of things and maybe the message needs to be repeated to become clearer. All the same, I feel remarkably calm. Happy, even.

And to reverse the psychology a little - I came in to his life for a reason too. Now that's interesting.

I may see him around the Kabbalah centre in the future (possibly at the Business Gym breakfast meetings) and he wants to keep things friendly - and so do I. I feel lucky that he was so honest so early on and I also feel thankful that one of us noticed a difference in our values and direction before much time passed. (And for that reason, I am also grateful for the 'Spiritual Rules of Engagement' book, without which I would never have talked about 'Values and Direction' and would still be muddling through and making far more mistakes).

And tonight I might possibly see him at Ceroc. And perhaps this is a little un-Kabbalah, but there is something very exciting in knowing that out of all of the men I dance with, I will be driving at least one of them wild.

And I guess for that reason, added to his honesty and restriction, I respect him all the more.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Who are you, really?

Over the past couple of days I have been seeking out information from my Kabbalah 1, 2 and 3 courses. And the information isn't there when I look, which is very confusing. Or at least, it is never where I expect it to be.

Two days ago I sought out the Kabbalistic meaning of dreams, thinking that I remembered which course it was from, and couldn't find it anywhere.
Today I was seeking for the definition of the three aspects of who each of us are, and I can't seem to find that either. But I did find my brief notes on the meaning of dreams, tucked away in a different set of notes from another course.

I find this frustrating and amusing all at once. Frustrating because I thought my memory was fairly reliable, and amusing because it just goes to show that nothing is as it seems.

So, from my wholly unreliable memory, the three aspects of who we are:
  1. Who we are when we are totally on our own. The way we behave when there is nobody around to see us. The side of us that we hide from other people. The internal thoughts and feelings that we like to keep to ourselves.
  2. The way we would like ourselves to be - our future vision, our potential.
  3. The person that we allow other people to see and who we believe that other people think we are.
Okay, so here's where it gets personal and complicated. Here is how those three aspects of my Self manifest.

I dislike person number one immensely. Person number one is the person only my nearest and dearest get to see. Person number one is the one who has driven non-blood related relationships to an early grave. I want to escape so hard from person number one, that I spend far too much time day-dreaming and planning about becoming person number two. And then I feel frustrated because dreaming about becoming person number two completely opposes what I need to do to become person number two.

Person number three is the facade. Person number three for me requires such a great deal of acting at times that I am genuinely surprised each year not to be included in the Oscar nominations. There feels like such a huge gulf between person number three and person number one. This doesn't mean that when I am with other people I am pretending to be happy. I enjoy being person number three. I enjoy escaping from person number one. But when I go home I become person number one again and that's the part that I try hard to forget and don't want to discuss.

The more I spend time with people, the harder it is to conceal person number one (which, if you think about it, is hardly surprising considering that person number one is where I spend most of my time) and people start to become frustrated. And I can totally understand that - I feel exactly the same sense of frustration.

I believe that my teacher at the Kabbalah centre can see all three, but rather kindly he is hiding his frustration. He said "I look at you, and I think you should already be there"

Interestingly enough, I think that my purpose in this lifetime is to find my soulmate, but before this can happen I need to love myself first. Oo. Tricky. Because currently what tends to happen is that the person I meet sees person number three and assumes I am person number two. And I panic. Sooner or later they will see person number one and feel completely deceived, so I start to chuck person number one at them - starting with brief glimpses here and there and finishing with spades - because they may as well know what I am like now and I may as well get hurt sooner rather than later. Why waste time?

Ouch. Well, I guess awareness is key. And I suppose that there is some comfort in the fact that everyone has a person number one. I guess that after all, I'm not that alone.

Yehuda Berg sent a daily update recently entitled: How do we change? And the answer to that was "Disgust". You need to become so disgusted with whatever habit, addiction, reaction you have, that you cannot not change it.

So my mission is clear, using the kabbalistic tool of Certainty in order to overcome Doubt (one of the great weapons of the Adversary), I need to get disgusted with many of the habits of person number one. Not so much that I expect person number one to be perfect - but so that the majority of the time I am happy enough with person number one that I actually start to become person number two, and such that traversing the gap between person number one and person number three doesn't require the assistance of a Himalayan mountaineering team.

No time like the present, I guess. Right, where shall I begin?

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Finding the Balance

I didn't attend shabbat this Friday (Friday shabbat, despite its incredible energy and attraction for me, are subject to the restriction known as 'train fare'). This week I found myself learning how to dance Ceroc.

So where is the connection with Kabbalah? I hear you ask...

Well, for one thing, I arrived at my friend's cozy warm flat at 5pm, freezing cold, wet from walking in sleet and tired from lugging a weekend bag across half of London. I was in no mood to go back out and I felt inwardly sulky. In fact, I will now confess that my grumpy thoughts whilst I was stomping down the long, slushy hill extended to 'well, with any luck, the class won't be running' and 'perhaps she won't want to head out in this weather' and 'I don't even know how to dance and I am NOT in the mood to learn tonight'. I even found myself thinking 'I would much rather be going to shabbat' because I wasn't entering in to the unknown and knew that I would be getting in return i.e. a massive boost of energy.

But no, my friend was not thinking any of my thoughts, loved dancing and being a single mother, rarely got the opportunity. Luckily for me, my friend was determined to go (after all, that is why I had been invited) and luckily for her (I guess) this 'Kabbalah stuff' has taught me that Sharing is the name of the game and has hopefully made me a better person as a result. (I have a long way to go, but hey, I'm working on it).

So I gave myself a bit of a talking to. It wasn't just the cold (which I had by then recovered from) which was putting me off, it was the fear of the unknown, of not knowing how I would get on in the class, of meeting new people, of getting it wrong. I was feeling fairly insular all day on Friday and would have liked to have hibernated. And given the situation, I could either choose to be awkward and be dragged along by the scruff of the neck, acting like a really miserable b*tch and leaving my friend wishing that she had never asked me and knowing she would never ask me again. Or I could choose to actually get over myself, choose to enjoy the dancing even if it didn't turn out to be my bag (if you don't try, you don't know), and choose to give my friend the fun evening out that she so clearly desired and deserved.

I put my happy face on. I packed my 'hot date boots'. I left the flat with her and found that, actually, it no longer felt that cold.

And despite my 'hot date boots' skidding and slipping helplessly on the wooden dance floor all evening, leading one guy to comment "Yer all over the place. You have t'be better than that if yer want t'dance wi' me", I had a good time. And every time I caught myself dancing with someone who I wouldn't normally choose to be within ten feet of (see above), or thinking 'think of the energy I would have got from shabbat. I am missing out' I reined myself in and thought 'well, you're not at shabbat, you're here, and you're not making the most of it, which is a waste. Your choice'. And I made the conscious choice to enjoy myself.

I danced with some really great men too - in fact, I couldn't believe how many men were actually there (I have spent so much of my time dancing salsa paired up with another girl). Most of the men were so kind and put up with me turning the wrong way every now and again, or missing a hand hold. I didn't actually tread on anyone's feet and I didn't fall over. I did accidentally hit some poor chap in the face (and I don't know how he laughed it off because I think I broke a nail on his teeth!), but he didn't seem to bear a grudge. Okay, so he avoided me for the rest of the evening, but he didn't bear a grudge.

And at the end of the night I found myself dancing and then talking with a really nice guy who I would never have met if I hadn't been there.

I need to find my own balance with Kabbalah. I find that every time I attend the centre I receive energy - and perhaps that is something that I really crave at this point in my life, something that I need. There are so many great things going on at the centre that I could be there just about every day of the week - it is so easy to get 'greedy' for the Light. It's addictive. But where would the rest of my life be? And how would I get a life if I was attending the centre at every opportunity?

There is a balance there for me somewhere and I am working on finding it. It would be better for me to never attend the centre but 'do the work' in the 1% world, than attend the centre at every opportunity, grab the energy and not put any of it in to practice. All the same, with my tendencies for never seeing anything through, starting projects and never finishing, I am wary of being away from the centre for any length of time. So we'll see. Like I said, Balance (which I didn't seem to have too much of on the dance floor - maybe I can work on that too. I blame the boots).

My reward for not being a miserable cow on Friday? A chilled and relaxed weekend of delicious home cooked food, lots of girl talk, glasses of wine and a batch of homemade oatmeal, raisin and apricot biscuits.... Now that's good energy.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Every time I hear the word "Shabbat" I think of Shabba Ranks (Shabba!). I can't help it.

Saturday Shabbat was my first experience of Kabbalah, when my sister - already attending the Chicago centre - came over to visit the UK and said "I really want to go and visit the London centre. I was thinking of going to Shabbat (Shabba!) on the Saturday morning. Will you come with me?"
Me: "So what happens at Shabbat?"
Sister: "Oh, I've no real idea"
Me: "But I won't have a clue what I am doing"
Sister: "Me either. Who cares. Coming?"
Me: "Errrm...ooookaaaayyy..."

You can see I was keen.

After finding a few 'spiritual' books ('Ask and it is Given', by Esther and Jerry Hicks (Or 'Get What You Want' as my sister continues to refer to it), the 'Conversations with God' trilogy by Neall Donald Walsch (the books that started all this off) and Dr Wayne Dyer's fabulous books and CDs, I felt that I had all that I needed to make a change to my life. Kabbalah was my sister's thing and I deeply suspected (incorrectly I might add) that her interest spawned from one day hoping to bump in to Madonna.

So anyway, we turned up for Shabbat (Shabba! Oh boy, I've gotta stop this) and spent the next three hours 'connecting'. I didn't have a clue what was going on but two things were clear:
  1. The people at the centre were so incredibly friendly, open and helpful. There was an atmosphere of total acceptance. Two wonderful ladies sat with us through the whole confusing ceremony and helped us to follow what was going on; and
  2. I felt like I'd come home. How strange is that.
And so I signed up for Power of Kabbalah One, where I learned that there was also a 'connection' on the Friday night, and to make the best of the energy you really need to attend both.

The first time I attended Friday night I thought 'okay, I have NO idea what is going on'. There were lots of songs to sing, raising our energy to Keter and back down to Malchut. All in Hebrew, of course, none of which I understand, but the energy in the room is phenomenal. Everyone sings with such gusto and it is this that I love.

I've always enjoyed joining in with a good sing-song, but to begin with I confess to feeling like a slight fraud. Here I was, standing in a room full of people, singing songs in Hebrew that I had no way of understanding (for all I know it could have been a version of 'She'll be coming round the mountain'). It is no wonder that people outside of Kabbalah get the impression that it is a cult - if I was walking past the centre right now I would be thinking that everyone inside was totally barmy.

And then there were the continual greetings of 'Shabbat Shalom!' and I felt slightly ridiculous returning the phrase - as though the words wouldn't properly form in my mouth. It was a bit like the awkwardness of speaking French in France and watching the face of the person you are talking to slowly drop with confusion. Isn't 'Shabbat Shalom' just for the Hebrew speakers? Why are they saying it to me? (Please, don't make me say it...)

Anyway, I continued with attending Shabbat and last Friday the 'connection' was incredible. I could have flown home. As I have continued pushing past my ego, things have changed in the following ways:
  • I now know the songs well enough to help other people follow them, and no matter how I am feeling when I arrive at the centre, I feel determined to raise my mood and so I sing with gusto like everyone else. I don't care that I don't understand the words - they work.
  • I now comfortably greet everyone I meet with 'Shabbat Shalom' without feeling like an imposter.
  • I really couldn't care less if other people think we're barmy. I'm having the time of my life.
  • If the singing during the connection is crazy, it doesn't compare with the hollering and table-banging of the post-meal Shabbat songs. The result is that I leave the centre feeling as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.
And it cheers me up during the week when I find myself singing the words that I can remember over and over and over.

There is still a lot I would like to learn about the process, meaning and energy of Shabbat , but for now... Bar Yochai Nimshacta Asrechah.....