This is one of those posts that’s so hard to write, but so important to set down, some how. We’d all love to live in a world where people only gave out positive energy, and had good characteristics, and treated us with generosity of spirit, kindness and truth.

Thank G-d, that stuff does still happen.

But as people get more and more disconnected from G-d, and more and more disconnected from that spark of G-d in themselves that’s called the neshama, or soul, the more they’re falling prey to all sorts of serious ‘soul sicknesses’.

Rav Arush writes about soul sickness at length in many of his books, but particularly in the Garden of Healing. There, he spells it out very clearly that the further away a person gets from G-d, and from having emuna, the more soul-sick they’ll be.

He defines ‘soul-sickness’ as all those negative emotions that we all have, like jealousy, angry, worry, arrogance etc; and explains that the more severe soul-sicknesses can show up as diagnoses for severe mental illnesses, including personality disorders.

Secular medicine has no cure for things like personality disorders and schizophrenia. Their best effort is to offer pills to try to drug away the worst symptoms, and if that doesn’t work, their next big suggestion is to stick someone away in an institution for the rest of their lives.

Spiritually, there is a solution, and it’s one that works wonders: learn more emuna. Rav Arush, and I’m sure others too, teach that the more emuna a person has, the more they try to see G-d in their lives, and to include Him, and to talk to Him, the more spiritually-healthy they will be.

When everyone starts following that advice, the world will be a peaceful, amazing, sane beautiful place to live in…but in the meantime, I thought I’d put together some energetic advice on how to deal with the crazy people who can suck all the life and joy out of you, if you’re not careful.

The following things have worked for me, or for others, in some very difficult situations, enabling us to deal with ‘negative people’ without getting angry, sick or crazy themselves (no small achievement!)

Some of them sound weird, but don’t knock it until you try it. None of these things can do you any harm, and they could help you tremendously.

1) Shower

Before and / or after dealing with someone you know is ‘difficult’, take a shower. Nothing washes away negativity like a bit of hot water.

2) Do the ‘G-d is everywhere’ exercise every morning (see below)

3) Carry your invisible umbrella ­- if you know in advance you’re dealing with a difficult person who sucks you dry and exhausts, keep them out of your personal space as much as possible. Put up your ‘invisible umbrella’ to keep people at arm’s length; if they’re trying to hug you, stand to close to you, pat your arm etc, gently move away, so they’re no closer to you than they would be if you were holding an umbrella. If you have to, don’t be scared to police your invisible boundary forcefully. They’ll get the message sooner or later.

4) Try to stand with them on your right-hand side – energetically, we absorb far more on the left-side, and are far more vulnerable from that direction.

5) Cross your arms – many of us do this automatically when we’re around people who are a bit ‘too much’ for us. But energetically, it really does repel negative vibes.

6) Understand what you’re dealing with: and that it’s not your responsibility (or fault) if they’re unhappy and negative. We don’t have to ‘fix’ other people – and even if we want to, we can’t! We are each responsible for our own outlook and happiness, so don’t let a negative person make their problem, your problem. Keep your distance from them, emotionally, and try not to take their griping, unhappiness, rage fits and attempts to control and manipulate you personally. If despite all your efforts, you still get zapped with bad vibes, try the following:

7) ‘Give it back to G-d’ exercise – (see below). And then:

8) Take a bath in baking soda – I know this sounds mega-weird, but in practise is really does help a person feel more grounded, ‘together’ and cleaned-off from all the emotional ‘ick’.

B’hatslacha, and I’m certainly looking forward to a time very soon when we won’t need these exercises any more…

‘G-d is everywhere’ exercise

Rub your hands together, and shake them off.

Rub them together again, and then put them palms facing either side of your ears.

Bring your elbows together in front your face, and then cross your arms over each other, and sweep them out to the side.

Cross your arms over in front of you again, and again sweep out to the side. Do these criss-cross movements in front of you all the way down your body and legs, until you get to the floor.

Have in mind that G-d is protecting you, and keeping you cocooned off in His kindness and light.

When you reach the floor, put your two arms together, kind of like an elephant’s trunk, and make sweeping figure 8 movements around your body, as you come back up from your legs to your head.

Take the ‘Figure 8’ movements up to past your head, then put your two arms together, backs of hands touching, above your head, and then bring them gently down to the sides of your body.

Imagine as you do this, that you are literally in a cocoon of Divine protection.

 

‘Give it back to G-d’ exercise

Rub your hands together and shake them off.

Bring your hands together in front of your chest, palms touching.

Zoom one hand up, palm up, to G-d, and zoom one hand down, palm down, as though kind of ‘leaning’ on the ground.

Stretch.

Now, switch sides – zoom the ‘up’ hand to the ‘down’ position, and vice-versa.

While you’re doing this, have in mind that you are giving whatever you need to back to G-d, to take care of, while retaining whatever experience, learning or ‘good’ you need to keep hold of.

Do this another 2 times on both sides.

Then, bend over with your arms down in front of you, and take 2 deep breaths.

Now, slowly stand up, rolling your arms up your body as you do so. (Imagine you’re rolling a beach ball up your body.)

Take your arms above your head, and bring them down to your sides.

Imagine, as you do this, that G-d is covering you in protective mantle of Divine light.

A couple of days’ ago, I was driving on the motorway on the way to Ramat Bet Shemesh. It was the day after the snow/rain/snow storm in Jerusalem, and the roads were still pretty wet, but I don’t think they were icy.

I came over a hill around 70 km an hour, I turned the wheel left to follow the road round – and the wheel stayed turned to the right, putting me into a direct collision course with the barrier.

Uhoh.

I pumped the brakes (I think – I can’t really remember the logistical details) and the car went into a spin. I was sure I was about to have a crash, but G-d did a big miracle for me, and spun my car around 180 degrees, in the emergency lane by the side of the road.

All this happened at the top of a hill, which meant no-one could see that I’d had an accident until they’d already crashed into me, G-d forbid. As I sat on the hard shoulder waiting for the panic to hit after this massive near-miss, I realised something strange: I actually wasn’t panicking.

Yes, I was breathing a bit hard, and I felt a little bit shaken up, but really, almost nothing.

Bizarre!

What could explain my lack of ‘stress response?’ A minute later, I’d restarted the car, turned it around and was driving on to my appointment in RBS. I know myself pretty well, and especially after the accident I had last year, there is no way that I could have normally acted like that straight after a big skid on a motorway with articulated lorries rushing by.

There are two possible explanations: either, my emuna is now really, really high (which I doubt, because I still screamed blue murder at the kid who didn’t want to go to school today. I don’t think I could have ‘accident’ emuna and not have ‘annoying kid’ emuna, but really, who knows what’s the bigger test sometimes…)

OR

My Triple Warmer is practically comatose, because I’ve been sedating it to death every day for two months.

You’ll recall that Triple Warmer meridian governs the fight or flight response, which is occasionally useful (like if a Hamas terrorist was running after you), but otherwise, not.

I reacted so calmly to my near-miss car accident, even at the time it struck me as bizarre. Instead of my brain freezing, I just started talking to G-d about hoping I wasn’t about to have a bad crash.

Energy medicine is sometimes so gentle, even I sometimes wonder if anything’s really happening. I guess I got something like an answer, when I nearly crashed. You can’t fake your reaction in situations like that, and I really was unnaturally calm.

So it looks like this stuff really does work, in whatever way G-d intends it to.

Of course, the real kudos still go to the Al-mighty, for the tremendous miracle He pulled off for me. I doubt the calm state would have lasted very long if I’d gone down the side of the mountain or been hit side-on by a lorry.

Thanks, G-d! You’re the best.

You know that dictum that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’?

Well, I feel that my credentials as an official ‘fool’ must have finally been stamped, as the last week, I’ve been sticking my neck out all over the place.

One day, I decided to tear down a pornographic poster for some ‘club’ event that was posted up near Jerusalem’s crack alley. Usually, I would just make a lot of disapproving, tutting noises about how disgusting it was, that my husband and kids (and others…) had to walk past such offensive smut.

This time, instead of tutting I took action: I ripped the poster off the wall proudly, and I wasn’t scared to defend my actions should some crazed club promoter come storming out from under his rock to angrily berate me for removing his pornography from Jerusalem’s holy walls.

No-one said anything – and I felt really good that for once, I didn’t just put my head down and ‘accept’ the nastiness swirling all around without complaint.

I had the clarity, however brief it may turn out to be, that people who stick pornographic posters up on walls are acting in a mentally-ill, anti-social way, and that behavior needs to be challenged, not excused.

L’havdil, the next day I was walking into Geula via Meah Shearim and the frum yobbos had decided to tip over a bunch of bins and set the contents on fire. (Given that the garbage disposal people are currently on strike, it’s kind of a mixed blessing.)

Usually, I would just walk past and tut. But this time, I was seriously considering going over and picking the bins up, or complaining – something! – to register the fact that this is mentally-ill, anti-social, unacceptable behavior, whatever the excuse for it. My daughter stopped me from doing it (she’s seen what can happen when I get all fired up, and I’m not sure who she was more scared for, me or the yobbos), and after we spent a couple of minutes discussing it, I backed down.

The next day, one of my neighbours knocked on my door to ask me to start cleaning the outside stairs by my house.

Some of the building’s girls were doing it up until now, but they quit and now he wanted everyone to ‘do their part’. It’s not an unreasonable request, but the truth is that for the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling to stay on top my basic cleaning chores inside my own house.

Between trying to get the book out, trying to ‘be there’ for my kids in whatever way God decides I need to be, and trying to get out more so that I’m not stuck in ‘anti-social’ hermit mode, I don’t have a lot of spare time at the moment. And if I do, I want to spend it cooking a nice supper for my family, or finally putting on a wool wash, or having a good conversation with my husband, instead of schlepping up and down the stairs outside to keep my neighbor happy.

I don’t know if this is right or wrong. What I can tell you, is that just before he told me I should clean the stairs every week, I was thinking I’d like to go and give it a sweep. But now I’ve been ‘commanded’ to do it by someone else, I can’t!

It’ll have to wait another three weeks now, or something, for it to get really bad and for my own free choice to kick in again, and decide I should do a bit of cleaning.

The last few weeks have been so weird, and changeable, and pressured, and strange, I’ve been having troubles pinning it all down, or knowing what I think about anything. You might have noticed that in my writing, too, which has been quite ‘light’ while I’m figuring out what God really wants from me.

The last couple of days, some big shifts have happened, and BH, I’ll share more with you about it all this week, because I think it may help you too, if you’ve been going through anything remotely similar.

In the meantime, caveat emptor: I may be writing and acting from the place of a fool, and not the place of an angel at the moment. But if that’s what God really wants, so be it.

For years, like many other people, I’ve been beating myself up over the fact that I’m not perfect. It seems like the obvious thing to do, especially when you hit the ‘sincere baal teshuva’ trail, and there are people lining up all over the place, just waiting to tell you about all the things you’re doing wrong.

One way you can spot who is a real rabbi, and who has genuinely humility, is that when those people tell you things – even very hard things – it actually helps you, and it goes in without causing you any spiritual damage.

For example, Rav Arush’s Hebrew shiurim can sometimes hit some very sensitive nerves, but I’ve been attending his Shabbat shiurim at the yeshiva for a few weeks’ now, and you come away feeling cared for, seen and understood. When someone is genuinely holy, and genuinely on a very high spiritual level themselves, they have a humility that’s impossible to fake, that makes you, the listener / reader / follower feel good about what they’re telling you, even if you are (inevitably) doing things wrong.

Rav Shalom Arush and Rav Ofer Erez excel at this. They excel at telling you about their own spiritual struggles, and failures, and challenges, and how they themselves got out of very trying and tiring situations where their emuna got tested to the Nth degree. Their books are both full of this advice and wisdom, that in both instances was earned the hard way, from the ground up.

But then….(we’re about to controversial here) – it’s not just about what you say, it’s also about the way that you say it. So it is, that I can have people tell me to ‘just say thank you’ for all the hard stuff I’ve been through recently, and I literally want to punch them in the face.

When Rav Arush says it, as he so frequently does, it goes straight into my soul and I GET on a fundamental level that he is giving me a spiritual shortcut out of my troubles, that he knows works because he’s tried it himself.

But then, the same words gets parroted at me by someone who’s read the books, or heard some shiurim, but otherwise is still chock-full of bad middot, arrogance and a few other things too, including ingratitude – and it makes my blood boil. I literally can’t stand what I’m being told, and I start to develop very negative feelings about both the speaker and the message.

Part of the reason I’m writing this post is because after pondering at length whether I was turning into a heretic because I just couldn’t hear the ‘just say thank you’ stuff from certain people any more, G-d helped me to see: 1) how dangerous and misleading all these ‘Rav Arush wannabes’ are, with all their smug, pat ‘advice’ that’s devoid of sincerity, caring and compassion and 2) how amazing Rav Arush and his advice actually is.

Now I live in Jerusalem, I have had the privilege of seeing Rav Arush in action on a number of occasions, and he is the real deal. I can’t tell you the number of people who call him, or simply show up on his doorstep out the blue, or corner him when he’s getting in or out of his car – and he tries to accommodate everyone. He’s never too busy saving the world to offer a kind word to his fellow Jew, even though he really is very busy off saving the world.

Rebbe Nachman wrote that at the End of Days, there would be a lot of religious fakers, trying to ride the coat-tails of real kedusha to get themselves some unearned kudos and respect from other people.

That’s not a chiddush, I know. But the chiddush for me, at least this week, was that they can still be scoring points for the ‘other side’ when they’re quoting Rav Arush at you. It literally makes the mind boggle.

So if you’re being given ‘advice’ that’s making you feel bad, worthless or like you’ll never reach the lofty level of the person who’s running their mouth off at you, press pause on the beating yourself up attack and remember one thing: real tzadikim make you feel positive about yourself, even when you’re doing negative things – and fakers make you feel negative about yourself even when 99% of the time you’re doing positive things. Buyer beware.

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to give people encouragement that G-d actually really loves us, even when He’s sending us some very hard tests. I don’t write those words lightly: the last year, I’ve had 1 forced house sale (we ran out of cash); 2 house moves (one after 3 months, as our landlord was a jerk); 1 failed business; 1 big schools crisis (because my girls refused to wear socks); 3 months of utter misery and loneliness, and about a zillion nervous breakdowns where I thought I was going bonkers.

The hardest thing to take, throughout this time, was the feeling that G-d was punishing me for something, and I didn’t even know what. For a good few months, as our internal and external circumstances kept clunking from bad-to-worse-to-terrible-to-the-worst-its-ever-been-and-there’s-still-more-to-come, I was torturing myself thinking that G-d was simply punishing me. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, or why.

Dear reader, me and my husband do hitbodedut every day for an hour (thank G-d, otherwise I really would be stuffed.) At that time, we’d just moved to Jerusalem to open a new business that was ‘spreading the word’ about emuna to tourists in the Old City (I know, I know, I’m cringing writing that.) My husband was learning in Chut Shel Chesed full time, and we were both doing our best to ‘improve’ and give G-d what we thought he wanted (ie, chronically depressed wannabe chareidim).

When everything started falling apart, including my emuna, I started doing one six hour prayer session after another, apparently to no avail.

After this had been carrying on for a few months, I started turning to my regular mentors for answers – and they didn’t have any for me. Or if they did, it was along the lines of: “G-d is punishing you because your husband didn’t shave his hair off and grow his beard longer, when he decided to have payot.”

Once I heard that particular explanation for my troubles, something very deep inside me cracked. Because I knew, with every fibre of my soul, that G-d could see how sincere I was, and how much I was trying to be good. To even suggest that G-d would ‘punish’ me – or anyone else, for that matter – over something so trivial and external as my husband not shaving his head clearly showed me that the person who was telling me that had no idea how much G-d really loves His creations.

Thank G-d, Rav Arush and his blessings kept me and my husband going, spiritually, until the real answer came a couple of months’ later, in Uman. In Uman, G-d finally showed me what all the craziness had really been about: I had a very big ‘gap’ in my soul that needed plugging if I was ever really going to be happy, and THAT’s what had been going on.

Once I got that, I felt that G-d loved me so much, and that He really had pulled off a very difficult spiritual surgery in the kindest, gentlest way possible. OK, it hadn’t felt like that at the time, but with hindsight I really got that He had no choice.

So now I’m on a mission to tell you, dear reader, and anyone else who’ll listen, that G-d really does love us. Sometimes, we have to go through excrutiating circumstances for spiritual reasons that are hidden from us, and it can feel like G-d is mamash trying to kill us with suffering and misery.

This generation has so much left to fix in our souls, that it can sometimes feel like ‘the operation was a success, but the patient died.’ That’s where simple emuna comes in. That’s where honest, heart-felt prayer comes in. That’s where blessings from tzadikim like Rav Arush and visits to tzadikim like Rebbe Nachman come in.

I don’t know where I’d be without all these things.

It got me through the ‘surgery’ until I reached the recovery period.

I know we’re all going through it at the moment (and if we’re not, we’re lying). But it’s not a punishment, it’s a soul-correction. If you can believe that, it’ll give you the strength to continue, until G-d shows you why it all had to be that way, and that He really loves you, me, us, the Jewish people, so, so much.

I’m busy writing the draft of my book on Jewish Energy Medicine, and I just got up to the section describing Rav Arush’s 8 Deeper Needs, and how they can severely impact our sense of health and well-being if they’re not being met, in some way.

Deeper Need number 5 is ‘Sense of Purpose’. Without giving the whole game away, I’m reproducing the ‘Sense of Purpose – Rules to live by’ for you to print off and stick on your fridge while you’re waiting for the book to come out so you can order 10 copies to give to all your friends (I’m working on my optimism, can you tell?)

Enjoy!

Rules to live by – Sense of Purpose

  1. My husband signed the ketuba not me.
  2. The Arizal taught that the main soul correction we’re all here to do is to learn emuna.
  3. Men learn emuna (and correct their souls) via making parnassa; women learn emuna (and correct their souls) via their families.
  4. When I try to do my husband’s job, two things happen: I prevent him from learning emuna and turning to G-d; and I prevent myself from doing my own soul correction, because I’m off trying to be a man, instead of being a mother.
  5. When there are financial issues, they are ONLY coming to teach the man emuna and to get him to make teshuva. (this sounds controversial, but it’s all based on Rav Arush and Torah.)
  6. The Gemara tells us: honour your wives and become rich. This is a big clue about what the man might need to make teshuva on. Other big ‘money’ issues include: lack of tznius (including ogling other women on the internet) spilling seed (including using birth control without rabbinical approval) anger; and, of course, lack of emuna.
  7. ‘Lack of emuna’ is when people refuse to see G-d behind their financial issues, and instead blame their wives for not working, or not working enough.
  8. Spiritually, women are the pipe of abundance for the home, including for finances. If we’re miserable – even if we’re working 3 jobs – our finances will be lousy. If we’re happy – even if we aren’t working at all – our finances will be blessed, even if there isn’t a lot of money.
  9. ‘Work’ is not the same as ‘purpose’, and for women, they can often be diametrically opposed.
  10. It’s not ‘forbidden’ for a woman to work, and it’s not even a bad thing, but only under the following circumstances:
    • She has to enjoy it enough to do it for free.
    • It doesn’t come ahead of her children, or at least, not on a regular basis (the odd deadline, the odd ‘big’ push is fine, but not as a regular way of life.)
    • She has to WANT to be doing it, and not just doing it because her husband refuses to learn some emuna.

For the last nine and a half years, I’ve been trying my hardest to be an ISRAELI. I’ve been hampered in my quest to be an ISRAELI by a couple of major drawbacks: it took me three years before I even had a chance of understanding what my kids’ teachers were telling me at the PTA (Even now, I mostly just smile and nod…)

And secondly (and this one I’ve only just realised) – I’m actually not an Israeli.

How can I be? My formative years were spent in London and Canada, and until I was 16 we weren’t doing anything very ‘Jewish’ at home. I went to a non-Jewish school, and I obsessed over all the things my non-Jewish friends obsessed over: George Michael, clothes and Back to the Future.

It’s not very spiritual, is it? It’s not very Jewish. It’s not very ISRAELI.

And for the first twenty years of my life, that’s what I had hard-wired into to my soul: British non-Jewish culture, with all its sarcastic humour, beer and obsession with pies.

I’d taken a lot of the more obvious rough edges off in London, before I made aliya. We were keeping kosher, keeping Shabbat, learning Torah, hanging out with Jews.

So in my head, I thought I’d step off the plane at Ben Gurion, pick up Hebrew in two weeks, and then have a bunch of cool sabra friends called Ilanit and Roni to hang out with.

But that’s not exactly what happened.

We landed in a very ‘anglo’ neighbourhood, and quickly outgrew it. I wanted real Israel; I didn’t move to Israel just for my kids to feel like expat Brits. So we moved to an ISRAELI settlement across the Green Line, and I tried my darndest to fit in.

Three years’ later, my kids spoke Hebrew really nicely, and their friends were all Israeli, which I thought was so cool, until they started beating my children up on the way to school.

I don’t know how a real ISRAELI would have reacted, but I reacted by getting the heck out of there, and moving to a place that was a bit more civilised (read: socially repressed) and anglo.

For the first year, it was heaven. Then all the things that I don’t like very much about anglo culture resurfaced: the competition to be seen as a ‘success’; the clique-yness; the obsession with big houses and nice holidays.

This was in my super-duper-trying-to-be-frum-like-people-in-meah-shearim period, when I felt bad about doing anything more gashmius than buying a chicken leg for shabbos.

A whole bunch of things happened over the next three years, and to cut a long story short, we ended up in Jerusalem, very close to Meah Shearim, six short (but very long…) months ago.

Moving to Jerusalem sparked off a whole big identity crisis for me. I realised that I actually didn’t want to be chareidi; I realised that I actually didn’t want to be poor; I realised that making a good kugel was just not spiritually satisfying, however hard I tried.

And the last thing I realised, just last week, in the middle of the Shlomo Katz Chanuka concert, is that I actually don’t want to be ISRAELI any more. It’s not that any of these things are intrinsically bad, G-d forbid. They’re just not me.

This week, I paid my first visit to the Jerusalem Gap for about three years, and I picked up a new coat with fake fur on the hood. It looks so ‘anglo-in-Israel’ – and I love it.

I don’t know what all this means. What I can tell you, is that as I’m reclaiming all these parts of myself that I’ve been embarrassed or ashamed of, I’m feeling so much happier and settled and healthy.

No more beating myself up for liking beans on toast; no more disdaining myself for actually really liking that nice grey jumper in Zara; no more feeling like a worm, because I’m enjoying listening to music in English for a change (by the Maccabeats…)

I know it was all well-meaning, and spiritually-striving of me to try to be a holy Meah Shearim-type balabusta, but the big drawback was that it’s not me. I nearly killed myself trying to fit into those boxes, but G-d has been showing me time and again that I have a different way of trying to build the world, and to get closer to Him, and it entails going through Gap on the way to the Kotel.

What can I do? I know G-d wants me to serve Him happily, as me. And now that I’ve got my fake fur trim coat, I feel I’ve taken a giant step towards giving Him what He really wants from me: to be me, even with all my imperfections.

Around five years’ ago, I had a very stressful period of time, when we were living in a settlement across the Green Line, and my daughter was getting bullied at school, and then getting pretty sick, as a result of the bullying.

It was the time when Arabs were going beserk in Jerusalem with bulldozers, and I can’t tell you how many Arabs in bulldozers were driving around my settlement at that time, building houses.

I’d always had a big ‘scared’ streak, but my fear kept going up and up and up, to the point that I was scared to death of letting my children out of the house, in case they went near an Arab with a bulldozer.

But what really pushed me over the edge, fear-wise, is when my settlement got hit by a spate of burglaries. We all knew it was Arabs; we all secretly worried that if Arabs could break in to steal stuff, they could also break in to do other terrible things, G-d forbid.

Nearly all the burglaries happened on my street. Literally, every few days, we’d hear of some other house being hit, and even though I’d never used Arabs – not even Jihad, the pro-aliya plumber – and I had bars on the windows, I was freaking out.

Long story short, we decided to move, and G-d did a miracle for us and got us out of there within a month of us making the decision to leave. By the time we left, only two houses plus ours hadn’t been burgled, and the whole street was on edge, whether they admitted it or not.

The whole time my fear buttons had been pressed, I was on super-high alert, but generally healthy (not counting the nervous breakdown). When I got to the nice, quiet, civilised new place where I was going to live, I got hit with a number of health issues that I’d never had before.

I was completely exhausted, unable to stay up past 8pm. But I was also waking up a lot in the night, usually with a very dry mouth that wouldn’t go away no matter how much water I drank.

As my energy continued to wane, and other weird symptoms started to flourish, I went to a few alternative health experts to get some advice and help. One told me I had parasites (she was right, I did). One told me I had candida (right again). Another told me I had to start eating much better (ie, lettuce and whole grains). They were all right, and it all helped me feel better.

But I still wasn’t 100%.

One of my friends at the time, a nurse, mentioned that she thought maybe I had adrenal exhaustion. I went to look that up on the internet (which is such a bad idea, but we still feel compelled to do it) and according to everything I read, the only answer for exhausted adrenals was to lie in bed for weeks or months until they got some juice back.

I took it easy for a year (I had no choice) – and I ate healthy and took all the disgusting super-bitter grapefruit extract to kill off all the parasites etc, and finally, I started to feel better.

I’ve just come through another crazy time in my life, and again, I was noticing my mouth was starting to feel pretty dry when I woke up in the morning. Lucky for me, this time round G-d arranged for me to be doing a Women’s Energy Medicine module, and guess what they were talking about: exhausted and burnt-out adrenals.

Apparently, having a dry mouth is one of the warning signs that your adrenals are frying out.

But this time round, I learnt that there are things you can do to recuperate much faster, and get the energy flowing back into exhausted adrenals.

Adrenals are governed by – you guessed it – Triple Warmer meridian, which is a Fire element meridian, according to Chinese 5 element theory. It’s co-meridians on Fire are Heart, Small Intestine and Circulation-X (there should be an ‘se’ before that x, but I so don’t want that word to get picked up by web-bots).

Using the relevant acupressure points, if you strengthen heart; sedate and then strengthen circ-x; and sedate and strengthen TW, you can get your adrenals going again in a matter of days, not weeks.

I’ve been following their advice for a whole DAY, so I’ll let you know what happens. But one thing I can tell you is that my mouth already feels a whole lot less dry, which is a good start. And it certainly beats lying in bed for the next 8 months when I’ve got a book to write…

A few years’ ago, we moved house a month before hayfever season, to a new neighbourhood in Israel. A few weeks’ later, my eldest daughter woke up wheezing and struggling to breathe. We panicked, and like all good, responsible parents, we rushed her off to the emergency clinic (where else?). A couple of hours’ later, she came back with a whole breathing machine, a face mask, a few packets of various drugs, and an official diagnosis of ‘asthma’.

The doctor who diagnosed her was a genuinely caring, sweet, lovely religious man, which only underscores some of the enormous problems with modern medicine, because he was clearly trying to help us, and my daughter.

Yet no-one told us that asthma is often connected to stress, or emotional issues. No-one suggested that maybe, the asthma wasn’t even really asthma, and maybe was just an allergic hayfever reaction, given the time of year (my daughter already had multiple food allergies, at that point).

We were just given a very fast diagnosis, a blue and a brown inhaler, and at the tender age of 6, my daughter turned into an ‘asthmatic’ overnight.

My daughter is very sensitive. Now she knew she was officially an ‘asthmatic’ with breathing problems, her stress shot through the roof, and her asthma worsened accordingly. She got stressed when she thought about exercising with asthma; stressed about school outings with asthma; stressed about doing exams with asthma – and as soon as she got stressed, on cue, the asthma would appear.

In all the years I’ve been refilling the prescription for the Ventolin, not one doctor ever explained to me that the same inhaler that was helping my daughter to breathe better in the middle of a crisis was actually also worsening the fundamental problem. It’s scientifically proven that the more you use inhalers, the more asthma attacks you get. Why didn’t anyone tell me that?

Why didn’t anyone mention that people have died from over-using certain brands of asthma inhalers? I had no idea that inhalers were even remotely dangerous until a year ago when my daughter came back from a school trip with blue lips, and severe breathing issues, from using her puff 8 times in a row.

That’s when I started to really research this amazing, safe, solution to my daughters’ asthma, and I was shocked to see all the potential issues, side-effects and long-term problems associated with using inhalers (some of which have already been withdrawn from the market, as the stats on deaths from using ‘beta agonists’ are starting to stack up).

For example, a lot of the ‘regular’ (ie, not considered to be serious) side affects from inhalers show up in tachycardia, heart palpitations and tremors.

Three years’ after my daughter’s ‘asthma’ diagnosis, she went through a very stressful time in school, and was using her puff 4-5 times a day (well within prescribed limits). Within a couple of weeks of that episode, she was at the doctor with a bad case of flu when he listened to her heart, and told me I should go and take her for an EKG…

Baruch Hashem, nothing came of that. But only recently did I realise that what was causing the ‘heart problem’, whatever it was, was her asthma inhaler. How come the doctor didn’t make that connection?

Last year, we started to make a concerted effort to get her off the puff, and thank G-d, her use is now way, way down. All this happened before I learnt energy medicine, so it took a lot of praying, a lot of essential oils and Su Jok, and a lot of massage – in that order.

We still have the inhaler (I got given four on my last visit to the doctor…) – but it’s strictly for emergencies, now that we know that it’s actually a dangerous drug. But as I said, the less we’re using the puff, the less asthma my daughter actually has – and life’s still been pretty stressful.

With hindsight, I don’t think she had asthma in the first place. I think she had severe hayfever (she gets hayfever every year). By being so quick to diagnose asthma, that kind, caring doctor set my daughter on a path where she was scared to exercise (exacerbating the problem…); stressed about being away from her puff (exacerbating the problem…); and starting to get unexplained heart palpitations from her prescription medicine (exacerbating the problem…)

There has to be a better way, don’t you think?

I was talking to someone a little while ago about the number of people taking SSRIs (what we’ll generically call ‘Prozac’), when they said: “You know, when you told me that half the people in your town were taking Prozac, I really thought you were exaggerating. But yesterday I was talking to one of my neighbours, and they started telling me about what’s going on with the people in my neighbourhood, and half of my village is also on them! The woman I was talking to was a pharmacist, and she told me that as fast as she’s stocking them, people are cleaning them out. It’s an epidemic.”

Since the latest war in Israel, anxiety has become a major problem for a lot of people. It’s easy to understand why: anyone with eyes in their head can see that the threat to Israeli security posed by Gaza and Hamas was only temporarily curtailed. Sooner or later, the rockets will be back, and they may well be joined by other rockets from Hezbolla in Lebanon, and who knows what else from ISIS, currently camped out on the Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian borders.

And the economy? Pleeze, let’s not talk about the economy. Until now, Israel has escaped most of the ‘down’ experienced by the rest of the world, but the cracks are starting to show. I live in Jerusalem, and businesses are starting to close (including my own, in the Old City). Money is starting to be pretty tight. Banks are starting to pull in their credit in quite an aggressive way.

All of this puts a lot of stress on most people’s nervous systems. As a result, they are more on edge, more likely to fight with their spouses, more likely to have kids acting up and acting out, and finding it harder to unwind, relax and even to sleep.

It’s a vicious spiral down, and many people are struggling to cope, and hoping that drugs like Prozac are the magic panacea that’s going to solve all their problems.

One day soon, I’m going to write a few detailed posts (with citations) showing why SSRIs are dangerous drugs, that usually cause far more problems than they solve. But today, I want to focus on natural alternatives for reducing anxiety, because if more people knew there were other things out there that really worked to reduce their anxiety, they’d probably be less inclined to start trying to drug their problems away.

The first thing you can do if you’re feeling incredibly anxious is to gently hold the neurovascular points on the front of your forehead (the bony bits just above your eyebrows) for a couple of minutes. It’s a very simple technique, but it brings blood back into your forebrain and away from the limbic system, and helps to eliminate the physical ‘stress response’ that causes anxiety.

Just actively bring to mind the thing you’re worrying about, gently hold the front neurovascular points for up to five minutes, and you’ll see that it’s somehow ‘de-compressed’ the problem.

You can still think about the issue or worry, but without the pounding heart, nausea, dry mouth and sense of panic. You can go through all your worries one by one, and defuse them with this technique.

The next thing you can do is use aromatherapy. Put a few drops (up to 6) of sweet marjoram or chamomile (or another ‘sedating’ essential oil) in the bath, soak for 20 minutes and you’ll feel physiologically much calmer and able to deal.

The next thing is to turn off the news. Go ‘news-free’ for a week, and I guarantee you’ll notice a marked difference in your equanimity and peace of mind.

The last thing is to start talking to G-d about what’s bothering you. Drop the mask, and come clean, because the more we try to shove our issues and anxieties under the carpet, the larger they start to loom in our subconscious.

Today, we are all full of worries, fears and anxieties, whether we want to admit that or not. Running away from our problems is not an answer – the anxiety we continue to feel at an unconscious level will simply seep out into myriad health issues, ‘stress’, insomnia and anger.

We need to face our anxieties head-on; we need to be honest about what’s worrying us; we need to put G-d in the picture – and then we need to hold our neurovasculars in the bath for five minutes.

And if we do all those things, we’ll start to feel calmer, happier, and less anxious, and we won’t need the Prozac any more.