It is a really incredible feeling to sit at a UYO graduation and watch over 20 people get up in public and say things like "I learned to ask for help when I need it" and "I learned that I can show love for my children even when they make mistakes, and even when I make mistakes," and know that their lives changed for the better because of something that I organized.
One man said "I was depressed before I came to this course. Now I know that I have everything I need. I have love. I have friends. I have a job that pays the bills, and a car that gets me around where I need to go. I have everything. I just had to see it."
And for this, I can give myself a pat on the back.
There were also things I learned for myself. That doing profound things for other people takes a lot of the sting out of being single. And that when I delegate work, there's no point in trying to control how it gets done, because the important things will be taken care of, and the rest it's better to just let go. Also that I do some very silly sabotaging things to myself in my dating life, and I'd be better off figuring out how to stop! Imagine, I wasn't even a student in the course. I got all this for myself just from being there and paying attention and being fully present. UYO is an amazing, amazing course. And, there's the inspiring fact that I came away knowing this about us Jews: We are a very argumentative people, but we argue because we're invested in each other. And no matter how hard things get between us, there are people who don't give up on each other.
Most of the students of this course were "dati-leumi," but at the ends of the spectrum we had one student who is chassidic, and another who is completely secular. Both came in with "issues" about what the other represents. By the end of the course, they were brothers. Not in words or even just deeds, but truly in their hearts. Watching this relationship unfold between them was one of the most beautiful and miraculous phenomena I've ever seen. Israel could use more of this, that's for sure!
Want to read a couple of testimonials? Here are blog posts about last week's course by students Beth and Sarah B.
Next Jerusalem course will be in February! Dates to be announced! If you live in Israel and want to attend, drop me your contact info at chayyeisarah at yahoo dot com.
I want to thank all the people who donated money (totalling a few thousand dollars) toward subsidizing the program last week. Thanks to you, many people in pretty dire financial straights were able to participate and now feel that they are "back on track." If you want to make a tax-deductible donation toward the February course, send a check to “American Friends of Holistic Healing,” noting that the donation is for UYO, and mail it to American Friends of Holistic Healing, 10 Harvard Street, Reading, MA 01867.
Onward and upward! (And, back to my "real" job!)