These 5 Ways of Thinking Have Changed My Life

It’s been 5 months since I’ve posted anything on this blog, and it’s not because I’ve been too busy. I’ve just been journaling every day, and it fills me up so much that I forget to write here.

Side note: I have scattered slideshows of recent pictures all over this post for your entertainment. They are (almost) completely unrelated to the content. Consider yourself warned.

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The best way to sum up these past 5 months is not through sharing the events that have transpired, but the lessons I’ve learned from them.

So here are 5 lessons I learned in the past 5 months.

1. How to practice ‘Holy Impulsivity.’

Some things are so risky and scary that I HAVE to do them without thinking too much or I’ll scare yourself into inaction.

Holy Impulsivity is a term that came to me recently as I was freaking out about how much money I’ve spent producing my music and how scary it is to be in my own music video and share it with the world.

Honestly, most of my life in Israel has required Holy Impulsivity; beginning with making aliyah itself. Starting school in Hebrew, choosing to live where I do, spending nearly all my money making music, taking new jobs, teaching online, performing, leading events… so many things… all that were petrifying for me. If I thought into them too much, I wouldn’t have been able to find the courage to move forward.

But for each item, I checked in with myself and Hashem-is this the right next step?– and then, if it was something that was likely the right thing, and would be good for my growth, I charged ahead. I signed up before I felt ready, I laid down the money before I had a clear plan, I told others I was committed before I knew what that meant, I broadcasted my plan… and then I did it.

And I don’t regret anything, because even if I see in the future that it was a mistake, I’ll still have used the knowledge I was granted at the time to sincerely try to grow, and that itself is growth: the training of the mind to do the right next step despite fears standing in the way.

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That brings me to the next thing I learned:

2. Life is one big experiment, and even mistakes are divine.

If you’re anything like me (a.k.a human), you frequently overthink and over-analyze past events and wish you could change them. And while everyone knows that this usually serves as a crutch, it’s really hard to let go of the pattern.

Instead of trying to force logic onto my emotions, I decided to embrace the fact that I’ve made plenty of mistakes, I could have done things differently, and my present would be changed if I hadn’t made these mistakes. The only thing I don’t tell myself is that my present would be better if I hadn’t made mistakes. I embrace the belief that even mistakes are divine.
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I learned this concept from the Jewish idea of teshuva, return (mistranslated as ‘repentance’). Yes, maybe a sin shouldn’t have been done, and the relationship between the one who sinned and G-d was damaged by it, but once the event happened, an opportunity was created to make the relationship even stronger than it was before.
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As my middle school teacher taught: When we sin, it’s as if we severed the rope between us and Hashem, but when we do teshuva, we tie a knot in the rope, and now the bottom of the rope is closer to the top; we are closer to G-d than we were before! The Gemara actually states that a person who has never sinned cannot stand in the place of a ba’al teshuva, one who sinned and then returned.
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So I try not to make mistakes, but once they happened, I reinforce my commitment to believe that even those mistakes were divine.

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3. What I choose to perceive becomes the reality I live in.

Truth, by definition, is not relative, but anything with a bit of truth in it can appear as the full truth. The world is masked in this way so we can have free will.

Until a little while ago, I sought to find proofs for my beliefs, and while I still do that very frequently, I realized that, while I will never understand the world fully, and it is my responsibility to search for truth, I will always find what I search for (with the exception of proof of lack of a creator). Confirmation bias, basically. And while this way of thinking can be perceived as a self-inflicted limitation, it is really just a way of tapping into my innate, human limitation of bias and using it to my advantage.

Since this clicked with me, I’ve actively chosen to live in a world I perceive as loving and bursting with opportunities, and with a loving G-d who only does things that will benefit me and who is my greatest companion.

If this sounds fluffy to you, realize that your current beliefs, whether they are the opposite or the same as mine, were created through your own bias, and while I could point to proof that my beliefs are accurate, the real point is that I’m a happier human being who contributes more to the world and is kinder to people because of these beliefs, so it’s worthwhile for me to hold on to them.

This way of thinking has truly changed the way I interact with the world and how I perceive life events.

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4. NOTHING is worth closing my heart over.

I may have mentioned this in past posts. It’s something I learned from my mother and which was put into words by Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul.

I recently broke up with a guy I thought I’d marry. I’ve yet to find someone who made me feel as understood and comfortable in my own skin as he did. It was very magical. I was obsessed and jittery and felt alive, and I think one of the things that made it such an incredible experience for me was that, for the first time in my dating career, I decided to be completely vulnerable. When I felt defensive, I let my guard down. When I felt affection, I expressed it. When there was a need I had that wasn’t being filled, I told him. I was in a constant state of pushing past my walls and being open. It was a powerful feeling. (And by the way, he didn’t always love my openness. And that’s ok. It taught me about how he works.)

The fear that kept creeping up in me was, ‘What if I share so much of myself and it doesn’t work out between us? How will I deal with the heartbreak?’ But I told myself that if I can fully feel the affection and excitement, I could fully feel the sadness, and I could let it pass through me. I learned that vulnerability is actually a tool for processing emotions; it prevents them from getting stuck inside, because there are no walls built up to hold them.

So I felt extreme, uninhibited excitement, and then deep sadness, and then it washed through me. And I was ok.

The feeling was sadness mixed with gratitude. I found that vulnerability allowed me to be in the moment, and that I was not depressed when it was over. I left knowing that I had given it my all.

Now that a couple weeks have passed, I miss talking with him, but I feel more wise and grounded. The experience was a gift, allowing me to develop my inner world while getting to know someone who made me feel understood. If nothing else, I feel more ready for marriage now than I did before.

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5. As a creative person, life is not fully livable without creating something each day.

My last post touched on anxiety, and while I haven’t found my way out of it, I did find that I could partially conquer it through creativity.

I learned this because Hashem is awesome and basically set me up with a volunteer opportunity in a community center which has a piano (and a dance studio)! I’m not a skilled pianist, but I can improv, and the freedom of making harmonious noise puts me at ease. So I found myself studying in the room with the piano, and every time I felt anxiety creeping up, I played for a few minutes (and ate some 100% chocolate 😉 ). My mind relaxed, and I was able to go back to studying.

I also dropped two classes at school, partially because I was too stressed, partially to make more time to date, and partially to have more time to produce my songs.

Being in the recording studio and hearing the instruments come alive makes me so happy that it actually makes my whole week easier. The last time I felt this good was when I was home-schooled and spent most of my time in creative pursuit. Affording the studio is another story, but that’s something else I learned: Money should not be viewed as a deterrent from reaching my goals. If I am doing something with pure intention, the money is just not my business to worry about. That’s not a lesson I’ve fully internalized; it’s more like something my heart knows but my brain hasn’t processed.

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So these are my 5 biggest takeaways since June. It’s hard to believe how much can be learned in a short amount of time.

I hope the things I’ve shared inspire you to keep exploring all life’s opportunities, to see life as one big adventure, and to feel loved!

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6 thoughts on “These 5 Ways of Thinking Have Changed My Life

  1. Oh Batya you grabbed me at the first sentence! And I was utterly amazed at how similarly we think on spiritual matters. How wonderful Hashem is and awesome in power . We may be from different spheres of faith but how we view life and the lessons of faith we have learned , we must be twins lol! You resonated with me . You have encouraged me !

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    1. Hi Ilan! It’s been so long- it’s so good to hear from you! Thank you! I hope you’re doing well and have a beautiful Rosh Hashana and year to follow.

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