Remembering How Far I’ve Come

Wow just wow. This week has been a roller coaster emotionally. On Monday I launched my very first ecourse with a mix of excitement and anxiety. Excitement because I was presenting something I created to help parents who are struggling with their toddlers, learn some new skills. Anxiety because I wasn’t sure if people would buy it. If it would resonate with people and how people would respond to what I had suggested. During this time my dog was also acting funny, not eating, lethargic, and feverish. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and it had me so worried. To add to this I hadn’t hit my goal for my practice and in just a few short weeks I was about to be out of a job that was no longer fitting for me. Then just yesterday one of my kids had a terrible sunburn despite me having put sunscreen all over her and I was utterly exhausted from working the two jobs, that finally I hit my wall. 

A wave of intense feelings and negative thoughts that I thought I had conquered from my past overcame me. I suddenly became paralyzed and self depreciating, not sure what to do next. So I began to clean and organize my apartment. As I did this I reflected and reached out to the mother apologizing. She forgave me and I felt a little better about that. I went to refill my dogs food container and low and behold her food was all moldy. Well that explained why she was feeling sick, so I promptly ordered her some more. Finally I cancelled appointments and went to bed. Waking up refreshed and seeing my dog more like her old self and later seeing the little girl with her face all cleared up was great. Yet there was this piece of me that still felt like crap. I had low energy and didn’t want to talk to anyone. Some changes happened at work and I wanted to scream and just stay home. I just knew everything would annoy me today. 

So on my bus ride I put on some music and blasted the music. I sat with my feelings and my thoughts. I listened to the negative ones telling me that it was a mistake to do this and to do that. I listened to the voice that questioned why I couldn’t stop this pattern of behavior and finally there was the voice that told me I wasn’t brave like all my friend kept telling me but foolish. Foolish for thinking things could be different. 

And as I listened interesting things began to happen. I thought about my ecourse, which has been slow to grow, and for some reason it didn’t matter. I thought about the hard work I put into it and the joy I had creating it, and I began to smile, feeling intense pride for having accomplished something so big and even better promoting it. Talking about it to others and sharing it. The old me would never put myself out like that, for fear of rejection or people not buying it. It’s been a few days and no one has bought it, and yet when I think about it out there existing I’m so proud. It might not sell today but maybe tomorrow or next year. Who knows? But I did it. More to the point I realized, as I was sending a parent a message, that I can want to help people and support them til I’m blue in the face but if they are not asking me or looking for help it’s ok to leave it be. It doesn’t need to be my way. 

I thought about how thoughtful and intentional I’ve been about budgeting my finances. I have learned to live on less and even when more money is coming in, I’m putting my responsibilities and attempting to save above buying the things that I want and really need (everyone knows about the drama of my iphone). I used to worry that if I didn’t have my old lifestyle that I would feel like I would have nothing to offer to people but thats really not true. It then had me reflecting on all my amazing qualities and you know its amazing what happens when you organically start to think about your strengths and actually believe them. A weight was lifted off my chest and I felt free again. Just like that. I went from sitting in anxiety, fear, anger, low self esteem to feeling strong, empowered, capable, happy, and grateful. 

The thoughts kept coming and so with it came some action steps. Yes, this here didn’t go as planned but let’s try this option. Ok let’s spend the weekend thinking about this option (which for me is looking for a part time job to supplement my income as my practice grows rather than settling for something that is beneath my qualifications and expertise. And the feelings of just saying yes I have expertise and specialization in this area, complex trauma, sexual abuse, and child development, so yes I know what I’m talking about and yes I can help you if you want to take the time to listen. Also finding something that reflects my personal values of hard work, kindness, structure, and freedom. Wow y’all it’s powerful!

And as the weight was lifted I paid careful attention to this feeling and wrote about it. I wrote a blog for survivors because really what no one really talks about is that healing is an ongoing progress. Whether you’re healing from childhood trauma or those painful wounds of childhood or even clinical depression there will be times when you start to question how far you have become. As you get bombarded with a series of events, a wave of intense emotions happens and from this, terrible negative thoughts. These can either lead you back to old destructive patterns or they can draw your attention to what’s important and you can refocus-be more intentional. Whats funny is a friend/colleague who I was just thinking about reached out to me today and wanted to talk about a collaboration opportunity. I thought to myself, “all right G-d/universe I hear ya!”

You see I went through my own healing back in 2012, and every once and a while G-d/universe  likes to remind me about how far I’ve come by giving me little tests. So today I’m grateful for the little test this week because it allowed me to remember where I used to be and where I am now. So I have a better appreciation for when people recognize my bravery, my capacity to love, and find joy in even the small things as something thats core for me, because in this moment I’m believing in it myself and reveling in it!

A New Beginning

This gem will be a little short but I felt an update was needed. It’s been a little over a month since I wrote last and so much has happened. The biggest thing is that I gave notice to the gan. I will be leaving May 31st and jumping full time into my business at that point. Since I have made this announcement I have received so much support from friends and family and it’s very exciting. I have ramped up my marketing efforts and I’m just giving it my all in a very different way than before. It feels really good to be taking this next step in my business and in life.

So at this time I am laser focused on building my business and helping people. I did a Reddit AMA which was incredibly rewarding where I was live answering peoples questions about therapy and psychology. I had fun and it was nice to just talk shop. I went to a networking event and met with English speaking therapists here in Israel and again it was nice to just talk shop and be amongst my peers.

As I have started shifting my priorities I have felt that many wonderful things are happening and opening up for me. I have felt more happy and energized this past month than I have in quite some time and I just want it to continue.

If your interested in learning more about my practice check out my website at: https://jessicalangtherapy.com

 

Needing A Little Breather

The winter continues to be brutal. The raining and cold weather is not dissimilar to what I experienced in the Bay Area and yet I find that my mood more often than not to be in the depressed range of things. Every day is the same thing, which typically I like but I’m finding that its all becoming too much. 

Yesterday I finally had enough. I came home and shut my phone off and took Autumn for a long walk. Blasting Demi Lovato I did something I haven’t done in a long time-I just reflected. staying in the present and letting my thoughts and feeling have the space and time they needed. I was exhausted at the end but it was much needed. 

I often talk about leaving the gan and wanting to focus on my business. It’s not because the gan in and of itself is a bad place but its because of me and how I operate. I’m emotionally, flat out exhausted. For 8 and a half hours a day, 5 days a week, I’m at the beck and call of 8 toddlers and their parents. Not to mention having to see and receive phone calls and messages on my day off (which I dedicate to my business) and in the evening from coworkers and these same parents. I feel the urge to respond and I cant turn it off. Now that we are short staffed I cant even take the days off that I request to actually spend time with friends or what have you or I’m being guilted into working on my day off. To top it off we have babies in my class who don’t belong, mothers who are away for business, pregnant or who have just given birth on top of kids who’ve been sick for weeks. So what’s left are incredibly needy toddlers who have decided that they don’t want to play with each other or alone but would rather fight with each other or tantrum if I’m not holding them. We are all tired and emotionally exhausted yet I have to be the one holding it all together, because thats me as a person and also as a therapist (wishing I new nothing about psychology right now). So it’s no wonder that my business is suffering, my personal life is suffering and well I’m suffering. I am burned out and I need a break. The next break isn’t until the end of March which is Pesach (Passover). I fear I wont make it until then. I’m at my wits end. Something has to give and so far it’s been my business and my personal life. 

This makes me incredibly sad. I am not ready to give up on Israel but in truth I didn’t realize the work situation here. Yes I knew there was very little option but i wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll it would all take on me. I thought I was prepared to double down on the work, because I had done it back in my 20’s. But I’m 34 and in a different place in my life. A place where my time is more valuable than money. Where working as a therapist, my passion is what’s important to me, and where I would like to start a family. At the pace I’m going now I’m not sure if its possible for me to stay here. 

I met someone last month who was one week telling me how great things were, despite losing her job and she was happy she made aliyah several years ago. Now this month she’s gone, she left Israel, unsure if she would return. Is that the nature of this place, where one minute you feel like you’ve got it all figured out and the next you’re wondering why your still here. At this point I’m asking myself weekly why I’m still touching it out here. The answers range from not wanting to give up to not wanting to leave my friends. 

Back in 2012 I did some soul searching and discovered that there was more to making me happy than work. All aspects of my life, spirituality, relationships, career, health, and my interests/hobbies needed to be properly nurtured and attuned too. I made an effort to do this and my happiness, satisfaction and optimism rose. I was felt more free and open. My relationships with others improved, my health was better and I even learned that I liked cooking, I was apart of an active Jewish community, and I felt rewarded at my job even with the craziness. I tried new things such as trapeze class and got into camping, hiking, and knitting. I connected with my family, Sunday night board games, football and just sitting around laughing at stupid shit was rewarding. These are the things that are not only missing from my life here but the energy to engage in them is also gone. In it’s place is exhaustion and little desire to do anything but get lost in TV, books, or Sims 3. My shabbats are filled with me sleeping and still waking up tired. 

So that’s been me and why my blogs have been absent as of late. I have just lost my mojo. The thing that makes me, me and I’m on the path to finding it again. Recently a good friend did a tarot card reading on me and it was amazing all that came out but what was even better was just hearing her voice. The following week I had two Skype calls with two good friends and again I felt so happy and reenergized just catching up and hearing their voices. I think out of everything I’m missing my people. The folks I’ve known for years who’ve seen me at my worst and at my best. Who know me so well and can support me when I need it, without me even having to say anything. Relationships like this require trust and safety which happens over time. So I hope to create something similar here, but thats if I can get out of this funk. 

Some positives because its important to highlight these as well. I continue to be noticed and appreciated at work for all the good I do by my parents, coworkers and management. I am getting calls from potential clients which means that I’m making a splash online. Since I haven’t been on the top of my game I’ve let those opportunities pass by but now that my babysitting gig is over I have more time to focus on other things in life. It looks like I’ll be approved as a contractor for ginger.io which should bring me a string of new clients and my application for Cigna insurance has also been approved so hopefully I can get paneled and have clients soon. I’m also looking forward to attending my good friend of over 10 years wedding the second week of February and having the opportunity to dress up nicely for a change. So those are the things that I’m looking forward to. As for the rest only time will tell, but by just getting it all out there I feel a sense of clarity and release that has been absent for months.

Happy Aliyahversary and Other Random Musings

Wow things have been crazy for me. Lots of stress and questioning myself and my decisions. When things don’t go as we planned or hope we can do it ourselves and thats where I was. As my first year living in Israel came to a close I was confronted with past demons that I thought I had stayed. I discovered that I had lost myself which in turn left me with a lack of motivation and hope that my situation would improve. Forced to be vulnerable and ask for help, I learned something about the power and importance of having an emotional support system. Although I frequently tell y clients this, and help them build support, its interesting that I had forgotten about my own.

As I reflected at the closing of the year I realized I had to stop running. I had to stop avoiding the hard stuff (finances) and fully embrace all that life has to offer. I looked back on all the reasons I decided to make Aaliyah and forced myself to confront all the toxic behaviors and thoughts about what I deserve which were holding me back. In this I dedicated myself to reconnecting with friends and family, making sure that I made them a priority and not work. I also forced myself to make my health and eating well more of a priority than I hand over the course of the past year. I found my bucket list and my goals list that I created back in 2014 which changed my life and looked at all that I had accomplished.

Sometimes when we are in the thick of things its easy to see all of our short comings and to feel like we haven’t accomplished much, and thats how I was feeling. Especially when things were not going as planned. But by sitting down and really hashing out my finances (and realizing that I was better off than I thought) and connecting to loved ones, I was in a great place.

Finally by creating a plan for transitioning out of my full time job so that I can fully focus on my business I felt more positive about being an entrepreneur which I think G-d heard as I finally booked my first client (and after receiving three total inquiries in a week which is the most I’ve had since starting out).

So I write this blog on my second birthday here in my home of Tel Aviv (well technically I’m on the bus but you know semantics) I am grateful for my wonderful family back in the states who love me unconditionally, support me emotionally and financially (thanks mom), and who can always make me laugh. To my good friends who live all over the states I just love you all and the families your creating (can’t wait to see all the new babies in the summer G-d willing) and for putting up with me when I was in self doubt mode. Lifting me up and reminding me of my value. And finally to my new friends (and old) here in Israel I love getting to know you and being able to come to you for help with Hebrew or just words of encouragement, especially those who made aliyah from the states.

Mourning Our Old Lives

Making aliyah is a huge decision, one not taken or done lightly. There is much planning a person does to uproot their lives from the US to a new life in Israel. Israel is a tough place to live. The language is different. The culture is different. Even the foods are different. It can be both a beautiful and overwhelming process, adjusting to your new life.

For many of us we come as adults. Many of us with our US degrees and years of experience making a certain amount of money. We come from  place a privilege, no matter how small it is. This is something that you don’t really notice until you’ve spent significant time here. When I was on my pilot trip I loved getting around by bus, it was so easy and efficient. Now living here for almost a year I miss having a car. Having two hour commute daily is no longer exciting. Having to carry groceries on the bus is also not fun. She days its eat only at work because I don’t have the energy to stop off at the market, wait fr the bus and then go home and cook.  These are the things you don’t really think about in the early stages or even the planning stages of making aliyah. We are told to learn Hebrew (yes this is important), to save money (also important) but the day to day struggles when working full time and being exhausted and sometimes lonely are the parts that are not covered so well. Feeling lonely, even if you have friends, can occur because your new friends are just that new friends. They haven’t known you for years so when your struggling you don’t feel like you can turn to them or if you do they don’t really know how to help/support you, so you wind up feeling even more alone than you did in the beginning.

When in the planning stages for aliyah you are told to save a lot of money. “Save” they tell you because things are more expensive and finding a job can be tough (which is true if you compare pay to how much things cost). So you plan for this. In my case my goal was always to have my own business, a therapist with her own private practice. Anyone in the private practice world knows that this takes a lot of time and effort. So my plan was to work at a gan (nursery school) until my practice was self sufficient. This all went as planned except for 1) underestimated the time it would take for my practice to be self sufficient and 2) the emotional energy of working full time with 1 year olds 8 and half hours a day would actually be. Check this the emotional and physical impact working as a teacher would take. Any one who knows me I have been sick more often than not since I’ve made aliyah and I did not plan for this.

So this leaves me to the topic of mourning your life in the US. If you are on fb you will hear many American olim “complaining” about their lives here. It upsets others for a variety of reasons but I think we really do have a different kind of struggle. Just because an Americans struggle is different than someone from South Africa’s struggle, doesn’t make their struggle any less real or important. In fact I want to take the shame away from Americans who struggle when they make aliyah by normalizing their pain, because we honestly give up a lot to make aliyah. We do it for a variety of reasons, religious/spiritual, love of country, larger community, a calling, a sense of adventure, love of partner etc. We give up our careers, our homes, our cars (cars=freedom said my good friend Pauline and she was so right), paid sick leave, paid vacation, language, culture, good customer service, and hell just knowing how the hell everything works and how to google something if we don’t know the answer. This is a lot. Let me reiterate WE GIVE UP A LOT! So yes our STRUGGLE IS REAL!

So we mourn our lives in the US and contemplate moving back. Some of us do and thats ok too. No one should feel shamed for making the choice of returning back to their lives in the US, which are easier. Why struggle unnecessarily if you don’t have too? But for those of us still struggling and wanting to push through for whatever reason here are just a couple of tips to help you get through.

  1. Stay connected. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day life of Israel. Long ass days and a whole lot of stress makes a person want to go home and hide (in youtube or tv). Don’t! Send a message or call your friends and/or family back and talk with them. Tell them how hard it is and let them support you. Connect with your friends here and just be in the presence of others can help you get out of your funk, even if its temporary. We all need relationships and connectivity and you will find that the more you reach out the less lonely you will feel.
  2. Don’t struggle alone. The hardest thing is reaching out when you’re struggling financially. Unfortunately or fortunately its very easy to get into debt here and then not have a way out. Creating a financial plan we all know is essential but sometimes we need a little help from friends and family. So reach out before it gets out of control. It will feel shitty, I won’t lie to you but so will being stuck in a whole lot of debt with no way out. The biggest fear is rejection and there is just no way around that until you ask. So ask and sit with being uncomfortable, as hard as that will be
  3. Reflect. Really figure out what you want out of life and go after it. You’re feeling like you want to return to the US explore why and talk it out. If it feels right fr you do it, don’t let others shame you for your choice. If you want to stay figure out how you can make it work for you. IT’s all about what we want in this life and going after it. It can be really hard to decide what to do but thats were I recommend taking a long walk with soothing music or being in silence to just listen to your own thoughts. Right them down and bounce them off of others.
  4. Mourn. I think it’s ok for you to mourn your old life back in the US because you gave you gave up a lot to create a new life here in Israel. It’s ok that as you’re adjusting you’re comparing and contrasting, because your just trying to make sense of it all. You’re going to question your choice and thats ok too. You’re going to want to leave and thats normal as well.

Making aliyah really is hard and no one really prepares you for the grieving that you will inevitably go through. Its normal to miss the US and want to go back. It’s normal to wish you could have things you gave up here. None of these thoughts and feelings make you a failure.

The First (of many) High Holy Days in the Holy Land

The high holy days are my favorite time of year.  I’m celebrating them for the first time in Israel and they seemed to occur as the weather began to change. Night is coming sooner. There is now an evening and a morning breeze where in the summer it was just hot hot hot all day long. 

As I reflected this past Yom Kippur I am grateful for my journey, my first nine months in Israel, my home. The first few months were an easy adjustment for me. Filled with awe and wonder as I got to know my new home. I was happy daily and felt I had little worries. As time moved on of course, the worries came. The anxiety and the self doubt about my business and about money became paramount. The goals I set for myself were cast aside as survival became imminent. But as Yom Kippur came, I reflected on the beauty of the whole journey. 

On my journey I have met and created my wonderful JOC family…fellow Jews of color who made aliyah from the states who live from Jerusalem to Hadera. My family who has welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. Who give me sage advice and support when I need it. From the gan I work at which gave me my first job and has allowed me to learn something new but has also introduced me to some wonderful moms who’ve become my friends.  From the family who first took me in when I first arrived, giving me love and support even though times were not easy for me or them. From the other therapists here I’ve connected with and become friends with. From my good friend of over a decade and her wonderful husband who I love dearly. Then of course theres my loved ones back in the states who know me inside out and even with a 10 hour time difference I can still count on them. 

One of the most amazing things I saw on Yom Kippur was how the country shut down. Kids were riding their bikes and scooters in the streets and on the freeway. People were walking around in white or sitting outside enjoying each others company. There was a quiet in my neighborhood were all I heard was the birds chirping. Because I was so swamped and in survival mode I didn’t even think I would fast because I had not prepared until a couple hours before Yom Kippur was to begin. 

Yet, as I fasted, I noticed that this was the easiest fast I have ever had for Yom Kippur. Normally I have headaches and I start to count down the time when I will be able to eat a couple times throughout the day, yet that did not exist this year.

As I sat and caught up on some much needed rest and reading I reflected on all that I had achieved the past year and what I let go to my detriment. That is the beauty for me of this time of year. Yes of course we repent and ask for forgiveness of our sins. But for me this time of year has always been more than that. Its about being reconnected to G-d and reconnected with our souls and spirituality. I realized that I lost a little bit of that in the chaos (for lack of a better word) of making aliyah and adjusting.

Even though I’m still adjusting I cannot let life pass me by. I cannot allow goals to be unchecked and I must make my priorities a priority again, even if that means saying “no” to other opportunities, which don’t support my goals. This is my first experience of the high holy days in Israel and it reminded me of the connection I felt back in 2015 when I visited for the first time.There are no words for the feelings of feeling at home, but watching the country shut down and realizing I’m amongst my larger family celebrating in our own ways was beautiful. This is my home and I love it. Now it’s time to make all those dreams I had before I made a aliyah a reality.

July Reflections

Hello my friends from here in Israel, back home in California, and of course the few IMG_6799random folks who’ve some how found this blog. Hope your all enjoying my crazy life adventures in Israel. Next month is my friend and trusted hair dresser, Chaya Lev’s aliyaversary so I basically invited myself to her home in Haderah on my day off to do some morning Yoga and just hang out. I really do love celebrating accomplishments, birthdays, etc with my friends and loved ones, so I’m looking forward to a whole lot of laughter because really when we hang out we just bust up all the time. 

As her aliyahversary approaches I have been reflecting on my 7 months in Israel. I am a big dreamer and I always have a lot of goals. I think it’s the Capricorn in me, but I’m always striving for more and more. I can’t just settle for anything. Since my life goal is to be happy, I’m proud that even in the face of tough times the moment of happiness and gratitude always finds a a way of shinning some light in my life. 

So with all this in mind I’ve had really interesting past week, thats got me thinking. I joined a consult group, which is online, and with other American women who have private therapy practices. Part of our work together includes homework, getting to know each other, and really just supporting each other as we grow and achieve our individual (practice) goals. Bonus is that the woman running it is kind of  genius and I really love working with her. So part of the homework included networking, which I really love. I really like meeting people and hearing their stories. I love having a massive circle of friends and acquaintances, people who are both different and similar to me. I like to think of myself as a complex person and no matter who I meet if I click with them I always find we have a little something in common. So in that regard, networking is fun because I just never know who I will meet. Who will be a source of professional but also personal support. Will we just be business acquaintances or will we be friends? 

Well I had two encounters this week where I really liked the people yet I found that they had a different attitude with regards to business and their practices than I did. Now again I’ve only been in Israel 7 months and these people have been here for years, and they can speak better Hebrew than I do, so maybe they know a little bit more than I do about life. So I’ll take heed, even these woman, who basically told me that its a waste to network in Israel because people were all competing for the same clients blah blah blah, was something Just don’t agree with. This is an example of what we call a “scarcity” mindset at it’s finest. 

On top of all these interactions I had a conversation with a coworker about home buying in Israel. I said emphatically that I was buying a home some day in Israel to which the coworkers reply was unless I had some family member to give me money or had a home all ready it just wouldn’t happen. What pops up on fb today is someone asking a question about getting money for a down payment and people said the same thing-it just isn’t gonna happen for this woman and her family. 

This week I was surrounded by negative talk and beliefs from folks. It’s like everyone is feeling financial stress around me and they can only see life through those filters. Or maybe they tried really hard to accomplish their own goals and failed so they want to pass on their wisdom to others. While at the same time as I’m surrounded by negativity, I’m doing a rejection challenge with my friend (we basically have to do one thing a day where we ask for something with a high likelihood that the person will say no so we can find out the reasons why its a no and also get used to feeling rejected. It sounds deeper than it is but here is the video) and also finding inspiration in Neil Gaiman with his speech “Make Good Art” (You have to see it to understand it). 

With all of the competing interests swirling around me this week I got the idea to make a list of all the things I want to do that people tell me are impossible (for whatever reason) and go about knocking them off my list. I just don’t believe things are impossible but I do think that much of what we want to do or accomplish require a lot of smart hard work, which can be a challenge for most of us, especially in the age of distractions and instant gratifications. When I am having a hard time here, sad because I’m missing friends weddings in the states or wishing that I could afford the taxes and delivery charges from things in the US to Israel, I remind myself that this life I’m building is a marathon not a sprint. That I have planned to start over and just see where the journey takes me. As long as I have friends, both here in Israel and back in California, I can’t go wrong in this life. And when I was really feeling overwhelmed my good friend Barbara reminded me that I have accomplished so much in just the 7 months that I have lived here. That I should take a moment to be proud of myself for these accomplishments and know that I will achieve the goals I desire, step by step. So this blog is for you Barbara, missing you tons. 

So here is my list to knock off:

  • Buy a home/Apartment
  • Bring my car from US
  • Live Debt Free
  • Do Napa Fellowship
  • Have Full time successful private practice that supports my lifestyle
  • Learn Hebrew (this one is not really impossible but for now I’m learning with talking with friends not at Ulpan which everyone wants me to do like yesterday) 

8 months down, 4 more to go (before its my 1 year aliyayversary

Entering the 8 month of my aliyah and I just can’t believe how fast time is moving. Last August I was at an agency job that I didn’t really enjoy, (I mean who wants to work 8 hours straight 5 straight days a week) and now I’m living in Israel.  I was counting down the time back then and to think now I’m here. Wow!

8 months ago I thought I would be living in Jerusalem. I envisioned a full practice by this time and a beautiful apartment in the Germany Colony or some place like that. 8 months in and I’m living in Tel Aviv working at a gan and still not where I want my practice to be, still dreaming of something more. 

It’s been such a crazy 8 months and I’ve been through 2 seasons and I’m about to enter fall and the high holy days. Still no synagogue or religious community but friends who have become family and friends who are natives helping me with my Hebrew-these are the goals that were not necessarily on my list when I was thinking about where I would be at this point in time and yet they have occurred. This is something that keeps me going when times get rough.

As I continue to reflect I cannot believe I have been at my job at the gan for 8 months. I was only planning on being here until August. I had hoped that my practice would be full by this point in time and stable enough so that I would only need one job. But my boss liked me and clients haven’t found me so I am here for another 6 months. In truth I have mixed feelings about this. Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely hate being told what to do and I crave my freedom and autonomy even more. So working for someone else is not really what I want to do. Yet I’m continuing on with 2-3 year olds next year, working with a teacher who will be cool and getting to spend time with a couple kids I all ready know and love which will only teach me more about this population which I like working with. Yet I feel some fear that having this job, which is honestly suppose to be back up not primary in my responsibilities will take over and I will be stuck. Moving further and further away from my goal. The further I move away from therapy and psychology the more uncertain about myself and my skills I become. This is what worries me and keeps me up at night. 

While working at this gan, I’ve made some friends-some are moms and some are coworkers, and it’s great. In a weird way they all have inspired me to continue to dream. It’s almost like when I moved I was so caught up with the newness of it all that I lost a little bit of my vision and a whole lot of my fire. I have three weeks off from work and I plan to use this time to act as if I was working full time my practice-so it wont really be a vacation. As it is I’ve been hit up for babysitting in Italy, which I sadly hd to turn down because they asked my boss about it first and she said no (another reason to be mad at my job) and then I was hit up by a parent to do some babysitting this week (I offered for only two days because I have to practice saying “no”). These are the interesting work things that are happening to me right now. 

On the other hand I am apart of a wonderful consult group with therapists building their ideal practice and we have each other as support. So I’m looking to them and the coach in charge to help me get grounded. Just this past week she and I met online and she helped me focus on the online therapy part of my business which feels right for me at this time. I really do believe in online therapy and it’s no different then meeting face to face in my humble opinion. I just wish others weren’t so apprehensive about it. 

Any way the next three weeks will be good for me, not focusing on the gan. I’m going to use this time to live my ideal life. To create a boundary between work and personal and make sure I attend equally to both parts. With the full time job and then the practice on the side I’ve pretty much neglected my personal life, which is terrible self care. So I’m hoping to get in a couple hikes, spend some time with friends I haven’t seen in forever who live all over this small ass country, and to just lay out and read or something.

July Reflections

Hello my friends from here in Israel, back home in California, and of course the few IMG_6799random folks who’ve some how found this blog. Hope your all enjoying my crazy life adventures in Israel. Next month is my friend and trusted hair dresser, Chaya Lev’s aliyaversary so I basically invited myself to her home in Haderah on my day off to do some morning Yoga and just hang out. I really do love celebrating accomplishments, birthdays, etc with my friends and loved ones, so I’m looking forward to a whole lot of laughter because really when we hang out we just bust up all the time. 

As her aliyahversary approaches I have been reflecting on my 7 months in Israel. I am a big dreamer and I always have a lot of goals. I think it’s the Capricorn in me, but I’m always striving for more and more. I can’t just settle for anything. Since my life goal is to be happy, I’m proud that even in the face of tough times the moment of happiness and gratitude always finds a a way of shinning some light in my life. 

So with all this in mind I’ve had really interesting past week, thats got me thinking. I joined a consult group, which is online, and with other American women who have private therapy practices. Part of our work together includes homework, getting to know each other, and really just supporting each other as we grow and achieve our individual (practice) goals. Bonus is that the woman running it is kind of  genius and I really love working with her. So part of the homework included networking, which I really love. I really like meeting people and hearing their stories. I love having a massive circle of friends and acquaintances, people who are both different and similar to me. I like to think of myself as a complex person and no matter who I meet if I click with them I always find we have a little something in common. So in that regard, networking is fun because I just never know who I will meet. Who will be a source of professional but also personal support. Will we just be business acquaintances or will we be friends? 

Well I had two encounters this week where I really liked the people yet I found that they had a different attitude with regards to business and their practices than I did. Now again I’ve only been in Israel 7 months and these people have been here for years, and they can speak better Hebrew than I do, so maybe they know a little bit more than I do about life. So I’ll take heed, even these woman, who basically told me that its a waste to network in Israel because people were all competing for the same clients blah blah blah, was something Just don’t agree with. This is an example of what we call a “scarcity” mindset at it’s finest. 

On top of all these interactions I had a conversation with a coworker about home buying in Israel. I said emphatically that I was buying a home some day in Israel to which the coworkers reply was unless I had some family member to give me money or had a home all ready it just wouldn’t happen. What pops up on fb today is someone asking a question about getting money for a down payment and people said the same thing-it just isn’t gonna happen for this woman and her family. 

This week I was surrounded by negative talk and beliefs from folks. It’s like everyone is feeling financial stress around me and they can only see life through those filters. Or maybe they tried really hard to accomplish their own goals and failed so they want to pass on their wisdom to others. While at the same time as I’m surrounded by negativity, I’m doing a rejection challenge with my friend (we basically have to do one thing a day where we ask for something with a high likelihood that the person will say no so we can find out the reasons why its a no and also get used to feeling rejected. It sounds deeper than it is but here is the video) and also finding inspiration in Neil Gaiman with his speech “Make Good Art” (You have to see it to understand it). 

With all of the competing interests swirling around me this week I got the idea to make a list of all the things I want to do that people tell me are impossible (for whatever reason) and go about knocking them off my list. I just don’t believe things are impossible but I do think that much of what we want to do or accomplish require a lot of smart hard work, which can be a challenge for most of us, especially in the age of distractions and instant gratifications. When I am having a hard time here, sad because I’m missing friends weddings in the states or wishing that I could afford the taxes and delivery charges from things in the US to Israel, I remind myself that this life I’m building is a marathon not a sprint. That I have planned to start over and just see where the journey takes me. As long as I have friends, both here in Israel and back in California, I can’t go wrong in this life. And when I was really feeling overwhelmed my good friend Barbara reminded me that I have accomplished so much in just the 7 months that I have lived here. That I should take a moment to be proud of myself for these accomplishments and know that I will achieve the goals I desire, step by step. So this blog is for you Barbara, missing you tons. 

So here is my list to knock off:

  • Buy a home/Apartment
  • Bring my car from US
  • Live Debt Free
  • Do Napa Fellowship
  • Have Full time successful private practice that supports my lifestyle
  • Learn Hebrew (this one is not really impossible but for now I’m learning with talking with friends not at Ulpan which everyone wants me to do like yesterday) 

July-Living in the Red

Today I  scrolled through my Facebook feed and spotted a comment on one of the many groups for olim-Keep Olim, that caught my eye. The man mentioned that his wife was pregnant with their second child and he wanted to know how to make ends meet. Or rather how others made ends meet. This will not be a blog about my views on his lifestyle but rather on the question, how do people make ends meet?

One of the reasons I made aliya was because I felt connected to the country but the reason I wanted to move away from the US in general was for a better quality of life. A quality of life not bound up in work-trying to make money to pay off what seems like an endless list of bills. No I wanted to start a family, see the world, learn Hebrew, and be surrounded by the love of family of friends. Yes work is important, especially for me as a therapist, healing trauma survivors, but it’s not the only part of me.

As a new olim I received, for 6 months, money from the government to start life here. July is my first month without it and man did I feel it. It wasn’t a lot to begin with but for the first time I did what I didn’t want to do and that was live in the red. I shake my head as this is common practice for Israeli’s but I don’t like it. Prior I was making ends meet, but with an hourly wage that’s dependent on how many hours per month I work, its hard to create a budget. 

So I can say this move has not taught me anything more than before about living within my means. It’s very hard to do, especially when you come from a place of having abundance, to starting all over and your back to hustlin. In the past my salary was enough for me to cover expenses for my practice but now its a tough choice trying to invest in myself. The options are to take out a loan or continuously be in overdraft. It’s a lose-lose situation. 

And yet I work at a private gan in which these parents have money. Many of the moms do not work and they have multiple children and multiple cars. Some have homes, which is tough in Israel according to many because its so expensive, while others live in nice apartments. Some how they have managed to live within their means. Many are either natural born Israeli’s or they are the spouse of a natural born israel, living here and starting a family much like I want to do. So they have made it work. 

So what’s wrong with the likes of the man who posted the question, me and the other people who responded not having a clue? Why is it that some people have managed to live within their means, not struggling? I once had this life, but it’s because my job, however much I wanted out, was some place that needed me and paid me decently. My masters degree was worth something, and even though I lived the lower middle class lifestyle, I made enough to save, take a big vacation, own a car and pay off bills. Twice a month I was paid and I could still enjoy a meal with friends or have a weekend getaway. Now this life alludes me, which I knew it would at least for the first year I lived here, but now that i’m experiencing it I’m going through a little bit of a mourning process. 

At the same time I miss doing therapy, so much my heart hurts. Theres a huge piece of my identity that is missing. My work at the gan is good, I love those kids and the moms are the best (and well the dads I know are too), but these are typically developing children. They of course need my love, they are little ones missing their parents while they are at work, but next year I’ll be with 2 and 3 y/o’s who have moved past the separation anxiety phase. It’s going to be a lot of limit setting and need for autonomy so my days will be different. The love will be there because I just cant work with a child, get to know them, and not love them. But it will be different for sure.

So it’s more than one thing I think at play for me this month which is why it has taken forever for me to update you all on my life. I’m feeling lost but not alone. I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I’m grieving for the first time. I’m lucky to have found amazing connections in Israel…that keeps me a float…but I still need to make money. I still need to do therapy. I want to move out of this place of hustling for everything to feeling steady.

As part of reconnecting with therapy and my business I joined a consult group in which we are all trying to build our practices or make our practices ideal and more conducive for our lifestyles. It’s a exercise in having us move from a scarcity mindset in which we feel that clients and resources are limited. It makes me wonder if this is actually the key to peoples success with money, the understanding and belief that resources are not scarce, and that there is enough out there to sustain us all. But how does one move into that place, change your mindset? I’m still trying to figure it all out, but in the meantime I will continue to live in the red, make connections with friends new and old here in Israel, and stay fully present and active in my consult group.