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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Making Big Magic: Abandoning Fear And Embracing Creativity

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life:
You’re afraid you have no talent.
You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or – worst of all – ignored.
You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity and therefore no point in pursuing it.
You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
You’re afraid everybody else already did it better.
You’re afraid somebody else will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark.
You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously.
You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life.
You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing.
You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration.
You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

 

Many of us have a creative side that we fear exposing to the world, possibly because of one of the reasons Gilbert, the author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, presents above. We fear failure and ridicule, and, therefore, decide that it’s not worth the risk. We choose to ignore our natural inclination to create in favor of our natural inclination to fear. This is perfectly normal and understandable; however, if we move past that fear, we might live happier and more creatively-fulfilled lives. Do you have the courage to incorporate creativity into your life?

Gilbert’s discussion of her fear is quite moving and relatable. It paralyzed her for many years, but when she realized that she could not get rid of it, especially when in regards to creative endeavors, she decided to not let fear control her. To that end, she wrote her fear the following letter:

“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting – and may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still – your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even aloud to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”

 

Ok, so you must take fear along for the ride with creativity – and Gilbert writes in a way that is clear and convincing. In the later portion of her book, though, she doesn’t give concrete examples of how to cultivate creativity. For that, I turn to neuroscientists John Kounios and Mark Beeman and their book The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain. They explain that there is a science behind creativity and thus a way to incorporate more of it into our lives:

Rifka Schonfeld

Pesach: Fear, Discomfort and Growth

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

What shall we be free of this Pesach? It is the holiday of Freedom, isn’t it? Most of us today live in democratic countries, with freedom of movement, of expression, of religion – so what other freedoms can we be seeking? What freedom can we suckle from this age-old celebration, this call-to-freedom, which is so fundamental to the Jewish people?

It turns out that Pesach has the capacity to free us, if we wish, from many things that enslave us in our daily lives. Freedom from materialism. Freedom from superficiality. Freedom from the meaningless and the trivial. However, I would like to focus on a specific angle: the freedom to be a better version of ourselves.

What’s wrong with the current version, you may ask. Plenty. We wouldn’t be human otherwise. But the celebration of Pesach is a clarion call to wake up, to discard the fears and habits that hold us back and to improve ourselves.

First we start by eliminating all of the Chametz, all of the leavened products, from our homes, our sight, our possession and our lives. Besides for the practical aspects, it is also a dictate to eliminate the extraneous things from our lives. Our lives quickly get cluttered with extra weight. We need to shed that baggage, existentially become lean and focused, leave the hang-ups of the past, for a meaningful present and a rewarding future.

Then comes the diet of Matza, simple, humble, clean, nothing added, just the basic ingredients of life, flour and water. We need a diet of simple to get back to our personal basics. What are the things that really matter? What is the direction my life is taking? How is my family life? How is my spiritual life? How is my internal life? Does my life have meaning? Or am I stuck in a certain course, a certain behavior and don’t have the strength and the courage to change course? Will I wake up at the end of my life filled with regrets, for those roads I didn’t take?

Then comes the Marror, the bitter herbs. Sometimes, many times, even most times, we need to bite the bullet. We need to take the hard road. Comfort and security are not always the optimal choices. Sometimes we need to leave our comfort zone to grow. Sometimes we need to overcome our fear, our distaste, our placidity, to truly awaken, to truly reach moments of meaning which in turn hold the hope to leading lives of greater meaning.

However, life is not all struggle and discomfort. We have to celebrate! We are the children of Kings and Queens, Prophets and Sages. We have a special relationship with the Creator of the world. And on this day, he took us, our people out of the bondage of Egypt to be his emissaries in this world: To be a light in the darkness; the joy amongst the somber; the serious amongst the frivolous; the revolutionary amongst the complacent; the respectful amongst the unruly; the meaningful amongst the meaningless. We drink. We feast. We dine like kings. We lean on our sides and remember the tribulations of the past and the hopes for the future. We are noble. We cannot forget that either.

But often we do. We get stuck in our own personalities. We have an innate fear of changing who we are. We have a practiced cynicism; a quick dismissal of the pure and the noble. We believe that reality demands a certain harshness, both with ourselves as well as with others. Someone good? It can’t be. They must have ulterior motives. They must have some benefit we don’t see. For us to be so good? We would be branded hypocrites. That is how corrosive and destructive our fear of our better selves has become. We do not allow ourselves or others to reach those heights.

Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz

Fear and Loathing in the Palestinian Authority

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Two-thirds of Palestinian Authority Arabs in Judea and Samaria are afraid to express criticism of Mahmoud Abbas, according to a survey carried out by the Palestinian Policy and Research Center.

The poll was conducted after Abbas ordered the arrest of leaders of the Palestinian Authority’s largest workers’ union, which he also outlawed.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Bomb Scare Forces Evacuation of Australian Jewish School

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

More than 200 students at the King David School in Melbourne, Australia were moved off the campus after 8 a.m. Thursday when security personnel found an abandoned van containing a suspicious object near the school.

The Australian Jewish community’s Community Security Group alerted local police, and the department’s Bomb Response Unit used a remote-controlled robot to examine the van. The van did not contain explosives, and the campus was declared safe at approximately 11 a.m.

“While this did prove to be a false alarm, parents should rest assured that the security and safety of our students is our highest priority,” King David principal Marc Light wrote in a letter to parents Thursday.

The school makes “no apologies” for following security protocols, Light told local media.

“We haven’t had any specific threat to the school or to our students whatsoever,” he said.

The false alarm came hours before protesters gathered in Sydney near the opening of the Israeli Film Festival after a judge had blocked the planned protest outside the cinema.

Nevertheless, some protesters handed out leaflets to people entering the cinema urging a boycott of the festival, calling it part of a “charm offensive” to present Israel in a favorable light and to “disguise and legitimize the oppression of Palestinians.”

Inside, Albert Dadon, founder of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which organizes the film festival, told the audience that he had started telling his children to be careful.

“I didn’t think in Australia I’d have to do that,” Dadon said.

The festival, in its 11th year, will screen in major cities across Australia for the next two weeks.

JTA

Royal Jordanian Cancels Flights to Ben Gurion Airport

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Royal Jordanian Airlines has cancelled flights to Ben Gurion International Airport as a precaution due to the current security situation, the carrier said.

It has been a full month since Royal Jordanian flew its regular route to Tel Aviv, and the carrier only resumed its normal schedule this week due to concerns over rocket fire from Gaza.

Hamas terrorists warned commercial arline carriers not to fly to Israel Thursday, saying it was planning to target Ben Gurion International Airport with missile fire. However, there has been no rocket fire directed at the airport thus far.

Security has been increased in accordance with the current situation, and flights are continuing to take off and land on schedule with no disruptions of the routine.

Hana Levi Julian

Egyptian VP El Baradei Resigns

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Egypt’s interim vice president, Mohamed ElBaradei, resigned today in response to the violent crackdown of security on Islamist protest camps set up in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, Reuters reports.

ElBaradei wrote in his resignation letter that “the beneficiaries of what happened today are those who call for violence, terrorism and the most extreme groups.”

“As you know, I saw that there were peaceful ways to end this clash in society, there were proposed and acceptable solutions for beginnings that would take us to national consensus,” he wrote. “It has become difficult for me to continue bearing responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear. I cannot bear the responsibility for one drop of blood.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egyptian-vp-el-baradei-resigns/2013/08/14/

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