Posts Tagged ‘Kabbalah’
You know that thing, when your boss wants you to work until 11pm every night, and your husband thinks you’re not helping him enough with his business, and your kids hang on your legs as you attempt to move around the house and burst into tears every time you prepare to leave the house without them, and your spiritual teachers talk about how we must study more, more, MORE, if we are ever going to make any progress in our path, and how that extra 10 lbs just kind of clings to your middle because you don’t quite exercise enough or restrict your diet enough or sleep through the night enough to make it finally go AWAY?
You know that thing??
Turns out, I know that thing quite well.
Nothing like being an overachiever to make you feel like you can’t quite get anything right!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise… growing up, my role model was my mother. My mom – sometimes divorced & sometimes re-married throughout my childhood – managed to raise an average of 5 kids (step ones too) who collectively had around forty thousand after-school activities they were beholden to, while successfully navigating a career path that rocketed her from full-time motherdom to President & CEO of her own lobbyist firm.
Not too shabby.
These days, my role models include women I know through the Kabbalah Centre – spiritual versions of the “Do it all Mom.” Karen Berg, Monica Berg Michal Berg & Ruthie Rosenberg… to me, these women are giants. While their ages range from ‘younger than me’ to ‘old enough to be my grandmother,’ they all accomplish the miraculous on a daily basis – raising grounded, caring, motivated and bright children, caring for busy, accomplished husbands, taking time to care for themselves, spending time with friends and tending to their endless students around the globe, who seek their companionship and advice… oh yeah, and also working full time – and by “full time” I mean in jobs that never clock in or out. They are always accountable, always producing, and always stretching to do more, more, more…
Are you as tired as I am after reading that paragraph?
It’s exhausting sometimes, trying to do it all. I miss getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Heck, once upon a million years ago, I used to get TEN hours of sleep! (During college, it’s called “scheduling all your classes to take place in the afternoon.” After college, it’s called “unemployment.” It’s also called “not yet a parent.”)
On the other hand… it’s exhilarating. I LOVE being a mom to three amazing kids, I love my husband, I love to work at a job that is high-pressured and creative, I love to study Kabbalah and live Kabbalah, I love exercising and trying to improve my body, I love to go out, I love to be with friends, I love to try new things, and I love to write and perform.
I know, I know, I’ve exhausted you again, right!?!
So what’s new under the sun…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Every Friday, I will post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!
And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memories, word for word, photogenically, I say:
What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!
If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below. And there’s even an original GrownUpGirl Song to listen too, so scroll all the way down & keep clicking!
Had coffee with a friend recently I hadn’t seen in about nine years. This guy was the heaviest drinker & smoker I knew growing up, played guitar and got into fights over stupid philosophical things, and never left home without his leather jacket. He honestly believed that anarchy was the best social and political solution.
(Yes, I hung out with people like that as a kid, and NO that is not what this blog is about. Note to self- write about childhood in another blog.)
Nowadays – my friend? He quit smoking while his wife was pregnant. He doesn’t go out to bars anymore; in fact, he is a part-time stay at home dad. He is planning to move to some green pasture in Utah over the next year to raise his child in a healthy, more affordable place. He votes Democrat and is kind of conservative, by his own definition. He’s in therapy.
I’ve still got one up on him: I changed my name. Both of them.
I used to be Shana Susman. From about age 17 until around 24, I partied like crazy about 4 or 5 nights a week. (I’d go into more details, but I really cringe to think someday my kids could get a hold of these blogs.) I was insecure, needy. I didn’t believe in God. I suffered from headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and I grinded my teeth.
I wound up in therapy when I moved to LA, age 22, and that 7 year process pretty much saved my life, thanks to my angel of a therapist and my sincere desire to get better and be happy. She encouraged me to write, act & sing, which also helped dig me out of my self-destructive hole… and then I discovered a spiritual system – Kabbalah – that pretty much rocked my world.
I asked for the Rav Berg, head of the Kabbalah Centre, to channel me a Hebrew name, one that was connected to my soul, and he gave me BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin). (BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) was the soulmate of Kind David.) Not Sarah. Not Miriam. Not Leah. BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin).
BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – a crazy Hebrew name that has all sorts of cool kabbalistic secret codes hidden within (technically the name means “daughter of seven,” if you’re familiar with numerology or Kabbalah you start to get the idea) – a name that no self respecting American can pronounce. A name that makes every Israeli assume I am also Israeli, which leads to incomprehensible messages on my voicemail every once in a while. (Luckily Israeli Husband can translate.) Also, a name I happen to love.
So I changed it, right around the time that I married… and at that time, I changed my last name too, to Vaknin, which is also unpronounceable and un-spellable by any American worth his or her salt.
Shana Susman became BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) Vaknin.
Over the course of the past 20 years, I’ve gone from hard-partying, ironic & secretly depressed girl, to stable, mostly happy and confident mother, wife, and woman.
Excuse me. Grown up girl.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
PS I’ve included a song, below – CRADLE YOU – that was the very first song I ever wrote, back when I was digging myself out of a black hole with the help of therapy and creativity. Enjoy!
The other night, my husband and I went to dinner with three other couples. (If you must know, this was the night I got drunk on fish.) It was a Kosher restaurant, so most men in the place wore yarmulkes or hats and there was definitely very little to no cleavage or inner thigh flashes going on. I eat only Kosher food but I still felt like a stranger in a strange world. I had a strappy dress on that night, and even though I was getting overheated at various times of the night, I kept my jean jacket on at all times.
Luckily, I was in good company.
All eight of us were longtime students of The Kabbalah Centre so we know about the spiritual significance of eating Kosher & we all tend to eat that way (some of us more strictly than others). We are not, however, your typical Kosher restaurant patrons. Other than my Israeli husband, Betsy and I were the only Jews at our table. The rest were – in a word – WASPs.
Okay, except for one whose mom is Colombian/Nigerian, but she’s come a long way and could easily pass. Plus she’s married to Hugo Schwyzer, whose nickname may as well be Biff, if you know what I mean.
The WASPs immediately determined that we should all sit down in “WASP tradition” – man-woman-man-woman with no couples sitting next to each other. As we all took our seats, my husband asked, “What style seating did you say this was?”
We realized at that point that my husband was really the only authentic Jew at the table, since I grew up surrounded by WASPs (friends and step-parents) and Betsy’s friends were mostly WASPs too, plus she’s married to Charlie from Massachusetts whose name would probably have been Miffy or Bunny or Kitty if he had been a born a girl. Betsy even drinks like a WASP, whereas anyone who knows me knows I’ll take food over alcohol any time, thereby failing the first and easiest test of WASPiness.
When my mom realized that I was keeping Shabbat and eating Kosher and doing all the Jewish holidays and going by a new Hebrew name, she was understandably confused – I come from a long line of intellectual, socially liberal, non-religious Jews, not to mention two Jewish parents who divorced and re-married non-Jews.
I don’t fit in with my family, I don’t fit into the regular yarmulke-wearing Kosher Jewy crowd, and I’m not a WASP by any standards…
So I’ve decided… I’m making up a new word. Finally, I can be an insider!
How’s this: YISKBAIJLU (Yes, I Study Kabbalah, But Actually, I’m Just Like U!)
Hmmmm, this may need some work. Any thought?
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)