New Life Vision

I've been asked to carry out a certain special assignment - to create my (new) life vision in a certain course I've been participating in since the beginning of December. It consists of the following four component: calling (for what purpose I was born into this work), missions (how I'll accomplish my calling), values (on what I'll base my visioned future), and tasks (what specific things I'll perform to realize my visioned future). After working for hours, I've come up with the following new life vision for myself:


  • I came to this world so that my soul will grow in a physical body through experiencing and conquering adversities.


  • To improve my character traits
  • To help others help themselves grow spiritually


  • Enthusiasm
  • Trust
  • Gratitude
  • Tolerance
  • Lovingkindness
  • Compassion


  • To stop telling myself lies and cheating myself
  • To accept myself as I am
  • To learn to pray with intention
  • To continue to practice mindfulness meditation but more seriously
  • To continue to run but more seriously
  • To continue to swim but more seriously
  • To continue to practice yoga but more seriously
  • To get rid of negative emotions
  • To get rid of obsessive thoughts
  • To get rid of compulsive behaviors
  • To rejoice in my portion
  • To restore enthusiasm to my life
  • To restore self-confidence to my life
  • To return to volunteer work in the community
  • To leave a certain world that has stopped serving my new life purpose for another that will help me realize my new visioned future

In the rest of this course we'll choose what seems to us to be the most important task of all for realizing our respective visioned future.


Restoring Enthusiasm to Life

I've decided to restore one important positive force I used to have both privately and professionally but seem to have lost in the meanwhile - enthusiasm - as a desperate attempt to revitalize my life, which has become filled with negative forces, and make myself (and people around me) happier.

It may still be difficult to remain enthusiastic all the time, but it may not be totally impossible to be enthusiastic in certain moments and extend these moments of enthusiasm as long as possible, even artificially with the help of some external means.

When I asked myself what enthuses me, the first thing that came to my mind was Ashkenazic folk dance, which I studied in three workshops over the span of three years from Walter Zev Feldman, which is not only a truly amazing dancer but also my most favorite klezmer music player. Some people, including my mother and sister, say that I'm at my best when I dance. I myself feel fully aligned with myself when I dance this specific dance and become spiritually enthusiastic, at least internally if not externally.

So I've decided to revive my old daily ritual of dancing this dance alone and listening to my favorite klezmer music tunes, some of which were used in our dance workshops, when running on weekday mornings and commuting to my workplace a couple of times a week. I've already been able to confirm that these revived morning rituals have a very positive effect on the rest of my day!

I've also decided to cleanse all my negative emotions, especially fear, which is considered the "captain" of all the negative emotions, and forgive in my heart all the people who have hurt me one by one. I've already found three practical handbook for these purposes and will start applying them during my winter vacation in February.


Mental Workouts for Neuroplasticity

I got acquainted with the concept of neuroplasticity through my relatively new practice of mindfulness meditation. It didn't take me long to stumble upon neuroplasticity as I read on mindfulness meditation. The very concept of neuroplasticy was quite a revelation for me, but the fact that our brain can be rewired through mindfulness meditation was no less revealing for me.

After I found a couple of weeks ago that journaling could also help us rewire our brain, I started looking for other mental workouts for neuroplasticity. To my great surprise, prayer has turned out to be one of them in addition to its original spiritual purpose. I found this week two more mental workouts for neuroplasticity - creative visualization and positive self-talk.

In order to practice these five mental workouts every day I've also decided to study them as systematically as possible and prepared for myself a reading list as follows:


  • Helmstetter, S. 2013. The Power of Neuroplasticity. Gulf Breeze, FL: Park Avenue Press.
  • Costandi, M. 2016. Neuroplasticity. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
  • Brann, A. 2015. Neuroscience for Coaches: How to Use the Latest Insights for the Benefit of Your Clients. London: Kogan Page.
  • Waldman, M. R. & Manning, C. 2017. NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success. New York: Diversion Books.

(Jewish) Prayer

  • Dossey, L. 1996. Prayer Is Good Medicine: How to Reap the Healing Benefits of Prayer. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
  • Newberg, A. 2010. Principles of Neurotheology. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Newberg, A. & Waldman, M. R. 2010. How God Can Change Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist. New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Munk, E. 1961-1963. The World of Prayer 1-2. Jerusalem: Feldheim.
  • Donin, H. H. 1980. To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service. New York: Basic Books.
  • Steinsaltz, A. 2000. A Guide to Jewish Prayer. New York: Schocken.
  • Hoffman, L. A. 2004. The Way into Jewish Prayer. Nashville: Jewish Lights.
  • Kleinman, H. 2005-2008. Praying with Fire 1-2. New York: ArtScroll.
  • Schachter-Shalomi, Z. 2012. Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer. Nashville: Jewish Lights.
  • Weiss, A. 2014. Holistic Prayer: A Guide to Jewish Spirituality. Jerusalem: Maggid.
  • Singer, D. 2017. Tikon tfilati: matkoney tfila [May My Prayer Be Blessing: Recipes for Prayer]. Jerusalem: Maggid.

(Mindfulness) Meditation

  • Kabat-Zinn, J. 2005. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hachette.
  • Alidina, S. 20152. Mindfulness for Dummies. Chichester: Wiley.
  • Bodian, S. 20164. Meditation for Dummies. Chichester: Wiley.
  • Goleman, D. & Davidson, R. J. 2017. Altered Traits:
    Science Reveals How Medication Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body
    . New York: Avery.
  • Heads, G. 2017. Living Mindfully: Discovering Authenticity through Mindfulness. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.
  • Kaplan, A. 1985. Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. New York: Schocken.
  • Cooper, D. A. 2000. The Handbook of Jewish Meditation Practices: A Guide for Enriching the Sabbath and Other Days of Your Life. Nashville: Jewish Lights.
  • Lew, A. 2005. Be Still and Get Going: A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life. New York: Hachette.
  • Roth, J. 2009. Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life: Awakening Your Heart, Connecting with God. Nashville: Jewish Lights.
  • Gefen, N. F. 20112. Discovering Jewish Meditation: Instruction & Guidance for Learning an Ancient Spiritual Practice. Nashville: Jewish Lights.
  • Glick, Y. 2014. Living the Life of Jewish Meditation: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice and Experience. Nashville: Jewish Lights.
  • Kaplan Spitz, E. 2015. Increasing Wholeness: Jewish Wisdom & Guided Meditations to Strengthen & Calm Body, Heart, Mind & Spirit. Nashville: Jewish Lights.

Creative Visualization

  • Gawain, S. 20023. Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life. Novato, CA: Nataraj.
  • Nixon, R. 2011. Creative Visualization for Dummies. Chichester: Wiley.
  • [Jewish books still missing]

Positive Self-Talk

  • Helmstetter, S. 1982. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. New York: Pocket Books.
  • Newberg, A. & Waldman, M. R. 2013. Words Can Change Your Brain. New York: Plume.
  • Pliskin, Z. 2007. Conversations with Yourself. New York: ArtScroll.


  • Klauser, H. A. 2000. Writing It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want - And Getting It. New York: Scribner.
  • Ross, D. & Adams, K. 2016. Your Brain on Ink: A Workbook on Neuroplasticity and the Journal Ladder. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • [Jewish books still missing]

I don't seem to have the problem of being left with no books to read and learn from in the next months. ;-) If you know other important books about these five mental workouts that are missing in this list, especially from the Jewish perspective, and/or know other mental workouts mental workouts for neuroplasticity, please share your knowledge with me by email. On the other hand, if you are unfamiliar or new to any of these mental workouts and interested to try any of them in order to rewire your brain and transform your own thoughts and emotions for better and healthier relationships with yourself and others around you, please feel free to email me. I'll be glad to share what little knowledge I have with you.


Intolerance toward Intolerance

Though the private psychotherapy I took for my OCPD for about one year couldn't solve it, it started to deterriorate after I was forced to stop it about four months ago, until I had to renew my psychotherapy last week somewhere else (and even for free with my health insurance).

During this period I became even less intolerant, especially toward intolerance by other people. Recently I had to sever the connection I had had for about 25 years with two haredi friends here, who were among the closest people to me. Actually, this disconnection was mutual though our respective reasons for it were different - I for my intolerance toward their intolerance, and they for their intolerance of my opinions about quite fundamental issues in life that are completely different from their own.

The first issue was my determination not to have my own children. Naturally, they are agaist this. I can understand and respect their opinion, and have never tried to impose mine on them. So I expected them to reciprocate by showing me their understanding of and respect for my opinion. What I received from them instead were accusations and constant efforts to impose their opinion on me. Since I had already developed enough immunity to such narrow-minded coersion, I could simply ignore what they said and tried to do to me.

But something fundamental lying behind their accusations against me after I raised another no less important life-changing issue was simply more than enough to put an end to this long friendship. What bothered me more than anything else is neither the very difference of our opinions nor the way they accused me but the very fact that they categorically rejected my opinion about the issue they are ignorant of according to their superstitious belief about it. I was also quite disappointed to find that even they, whom I consider the intellectual crème de la crème of the haredi society here, dare to try to impose their opinion about this issue on me without taking the trouble of reading about and studying it at all first.

Every loss is painful, especially of such long friendship, but if maitaining it must entail my unconditional tolerance toward their narrow-minded intolerance, I had no choice but to prefer my intolerance toward their intolerance.