In a time when 'Jewish' and 'Doctor' seem to go together like strawberries 'n cream, you could be forgiven for thinking that Western-based medicine is a Jewish invention. Crack open any list of alumni for pretty much any Med school, and a whole bunch of 'Cohens' and 'Weissbergs' and 'Steinmans' will leap out at you.
But what's so ironic is that the authentic Jewish view of health and wellbeing couldn't be further from the current Western medical model, which believes and teaches that the body's health depends purely on biological and chemical factors.
In the West, most leading medical thinkers, researchers and practitioners have increasingly reduced human health to one big chemical equation. How the patient actually lives, eats, and acts before they get sick is barely examined, and often completely ignored.
But the authentic Jewish view of health has always made physical health a function of a person's character traits (ie, their emotions and their behaviour), and their soul...
Continue reading over at onjewishmatters.com
This is probably the nearest I've come to having a baby in around 12 years, so bear with me if I'm a bit excited about it all:
As of today, the 'Talk to God And Fix Your Health' course is officially live (and completely free.)
I'm sticking an outline of what the course covers below, but in the meantime, you can try out the first module immediately, by clicking HERE.
Amongst other things, the course will tell you:
If you want to access the course, you just have to sign up to become a JEMI member, which is also completely free, and which you can cancel at any time. (click HERE to go through to the registration page).
My site is still a little old-fashioned, so it might take a day or two for your membership to go through.
As I wrote in yesterday's post, putting this course together has been a huge labour of love. It's basically a synthesis of all the stuff that's helped me to get through some very, ahem, interesting circumstances and situations in my own life, and to come through it in one piece (and mostly, almost normal even… )
If you're experiencing chronic health issues, or difficult emotional issues like anxiety, depression, anger, worry, toxic shame, guilt (and about 50 other things, too) - then I think this course could really help you work out what's actually causing the problem, and give you lots of ideas about what you can do, with God's help, to start to resolve them once and for all.
So please try it out; please give me feedback on it; and if it helps you, please tell other people about it.
The only other thing to say is that I'm happy to come and talk to any community or group of women who wants to have me, about the God-based holistic health approach set out in the course, and more generally, on the JEMI website.
You could sum it up like this: if you want to hear how learning about your energy meridians, being honest about what you're really feeling and talking to God is the key to lasting happiness and good health, get in touch!
And enjoy the course, in the meantime.
So, after literally months beavering away on the 'Talk to God and Fix Your Health' course (that God-willing, I'll be giving you all the links for tomorrow) I had a massive revelation: I have to give this stuff away for free.
I know all the sales & marketing gurus out there will be gnashing their teeth and thinking I'm retarded, but I had a flash of clarity that in this cynical world where everyone is off 'selling' just about everything they can think of, making big claims for your product, (even if they're justified), just isn't really going to get you very far.
You're getting the same sort of spam in your inbox that I'm getting, right? All the stuff from all the thousands of people promising to fix my life, and solve all my problems, and make me a fortune - and all I have to do is pay $19.99 for the privilege.
Now, I happen to really believe that the Talk to God course is life-transforming. But what if it isn't? What if, I make that big claim and then someone decides that I didn't deliver on it?
The last thing I want is for an erstwhile 'customer' to be miffed at me because I didn't deliver what I promised. As well as being unethical, it's also, well, kind of icky-feeling.
So I came up with a great way round this problem: From tomorrow, I'm putting the course up on the JEMI website, in its entirety, for free, so that people can try it out for themselves without having to shell out a penny.
If it changes your life - brilliant! Please let all your email list know, so that they can also come get a piece of the action.
If it doesn't - at least I don't have to worry that I took your money for nothing.
I know, this sounds incredibly illogical from a business perspective, but my gut is telling me that it's really the only way to go, without running the risk of potentially deceiving people, or over-hyping what I have to offer.
If God wants it to take off (and actually earn me some money in the process) - He'll find the way.
And in the meantime, it's my most fervent hope that the course will actually truly help people to work out what's really going on with them, and to start fixing their chronic health issues at their root.
I wrote it to try and save you a fortune in therapy bills, and to tell you a whole bunch of stuff that really and truly WORKS for solving real problems for real people like you and me, in real time.
So keep an eye out for the links in the next day or two, and if you like it and it helps you, great!
And if not - well, at least you won't hold it against me.
Much of the story behind the creation of JEMI will probably sound pretty familiar: Until about 10 years' ago, I was a high-flying business-woman with an apparently 'perfect' life and a successful career. But while everything looked A-OK to the outside world, internally I'd been fighting an ongoing battle with anxiety and depression (and probably a whole slew of other emotional issues) for decades.
I threw myself into work to compensate for all the inner turmoil that was permanently roiling under the surface, and as long as I had a deadline to meet, or a challenging project to complete, I was too busy to think about anything else and life was OK.
Except, it wasn't really. I was still getting debilitating depressions that could last for days and even weeks. I was still secretly nervous and anxious about most things; I couldn't sleep properly, and had very disrupted sleep; I flipped from one minor illness to the next, with gastic flu being a particular favourite. I felt angry, and dissatisfied and frustrated with my life, most of the time.
In 2005, I moved country from the UK to Israel, and that's when the wheels really came off the bus. The move was incredibly stressful on a number of fronts, and all my secret demons that I'd been trying so hard to keep contained all my life, suddenly exploded out of their hiding place.
My depressions got so bad, there were whole days I couldn't get out of bed. My fears went through the roof - I was scared of everything, from developing a terminal illness, to being robbed, to going flat broke.
My anxiety hit new heights, while my life seemed to be hitting new lows.
You can hide from yourself, and your emotional issues pretty well, as long as your life is going smoothly. But I think God decided that He didn't want me to hide anymore; instead, He wanted me to face down my inner demons, to find out what was really causing them, and then to find a way through to the other side, without resorting to drugs or shrinks.
Not that I didn't try the shrinks, because of course, I did: At one point, I had three different therapists on two different continents, all trying to push me on to anti-depressants because I'd made the mistake of crying in their office.
The more I talked to them, the worse I felt. The more I talked to them, the more confused and upset I became.
After a few months of 'therapy', I got a flash of clarity that there had to be another way, a way that wasn't going to cost a fortune, and that would give me real solutions, in real time, to my very real problems.
I've spent the last decade developing that 'other way', and JEMI is the result.
There are two main things that set JEMI apart from most of the other approaches to emotional and mental health:
1) JEMI recognises that spiritual, emotional / mental and physical health are all intertwined. Each affects, and is affected by, the other, which means that true holistic health has to take mind, body AND SOUL into account.
2) God is centre-stage, in JEMI's holistic healing paradigm.
Everything you'll learn on this website works for real people, and their real problems. I won't recommend a tool, technique or book on JEMI unless I've tried it out extensively, and seen great results from it.
After 30 years of suffering from my out-of-control emotions, and another 10 years learning how to deal with them in a productive way, I started JEMI so I could share everything I've learned with you.
The approach you'll find on this website has brought me through 2 bankruptcies, 2 forced house sales, 6 moves in less than 10 years (always to somewhere new…), a couple of serious health scares, 4 different careers and three wars (and of course, I'm leaving the really juicy stuff out… )
If it helped me to get past my depressions, and to make my panic attacks, anxieties and fears a thing of the past, and to wake up most days with a smile on my face, then I firmly believe that it can help you, too.
Sensible accountability, along with healthy compassion and balanced kindnesses, is one of the three pillars of emotional health. If your accountability is skewed, it's going to cause you a whole load of problems, all over the place.
Either, you'll feel bad and guilty too much of the time, or at the other extreme, you'll be completely oblivious to the mistakes you make, and the harm and pain you might be causing other people.
Clearly, neither of these is ideal. The good news is, there's lots of things you can do PRACTICALLY to start solving this problem in your own, actual, real life.
One of the first, and most crucial bits of internal work is to recognise the difference between healthy shame - the kind that gets you to own up to the bad things you might be doing, and to make amends - and toxic shame.
The best definition I've come across is this:
Healthy shame is where you feel like you made a mistake. Toxic shame is where you feel like YOU ARE THE MISTAKE.
For those lucky people who have never experienced toxic shame, it's almost impossible to describe. The best I can do is say that you feel like your soul is being murderered, and you can't bear to be in your own skin. You feel so disgustingly, horribly bad about yourself, that you start wishing the ground would open up and swallow you.
Toxic shame is such a terrible feeling, that many people will go to any length to try and get away from it, including turning to substances, alcohol and other addictions. Other people switch off their feelings and go numb - which is probably one of the big things contributing to a whole bunch of mental health issues, including personality disorders like narcissism, where the narcissist can't accept they're ever wrong about anything, or less than perfect.
Ok, so far so good. Now, what do you actually DO about it? How do you get the toxic shame out of your system, and the healthy shame that stops you turning into a sociopath to flourish?
These are the basics (I go into a lot more detail in the Talk to God and Fix Your Health course, but even this stuff can start helping you big time, without you having to spend a cent):
1) Recognise the problem: You have a 'toxic shame' button that you need to defuse. (If you're not sure if this is you, go back to the definition, above, and see if you feel like you make mistakes, or that you ARE the mistake.)
2) Get God involved: Talk to Him for at least a minute every single day, and ask Him to help you stop feeling so bad about yourself.
3) Stay away from people who routinely blame you, criticise you, mock you and guilt you - you can't clean out toxic shame if it's still being shovelled into you by negative people in your environment. (Btw: the reason they do this is because they, themselves, have a lot of toxic shame. If they don't make you feel bad, then they're going to feel bad, so of course they're going to through you under the bus every single time, to save their own skins.)
4) Work with your relevant meridians, to defuse the trapped feelings of guilt, self-hatred and toxic shame that have got stuck in your energy system. If you're dealing with toxic shame, you should definitely work on your liver meridian, and your kidney meridian. (God-willing, I'll have the free ebook telling you how to work your meridian energy ready very soon. After five months of waiting, I had to fire my Indian illustrator, and find someone else to do it…)
If you work across these problems on the mind, body and soul level, they do free up, they do disappear, and they stay away for good.
More than 80 years' ago, Dr Edward Bach, discoverer of the Bach Flower Remedies, wrote the following:
"Disease is solely and purely corrective; it is neither vindictive nor cruel, but it is the means adopted by our own souls to point out to us our faults, to prevent our making greater errors, to hinder us from doing more harm, and to bring us back to the path of truth and light from which we should never have strayed."
Now, I'm not particularly into the whole Bach Flower Essences thing, not for ideological reasons, but simply because I already know a whole slew of holistic therapies, and that particular one hasn't called to me yet.
But when I read this quote from Dr Bach, it blew me away, because it's so in line with the authentic Jewish view of illness. I could quote you things from Rav Shalom Arush and the Rambam, to name but a few, that say pretty much exactly the same thing.
Take this, from Rav Arush's book 'The Garden of Healing':
"More than in any other area, we see [God's] Divine providence concerning our health. [God] uses physical and spiritual pain and illness to show us what we need to change and fix."
It's different words, but exactly the same message: Illness is not a punishment, it's a soul-correction. It's just coming to show you what you need to work on.
If more people started to view their illnesses and health problems in that way, it would revolutionise society. Instead of thinking that your blood pressure was a bad stroke of luck, or purely hereditary, you'd instead start looking for the underlying reasons why you're so on edge, internally.
But part of the problem is that although Dr Bach and Rav Arush are singing the same song, about God being behind all your illnesses, and about learning to listen to the dictates of your soul about what you need to change or fix in your life, they don't have anywhere near the marketing budget of BigPharma Inc.
It's like having a tiny, whispering voice of truth, and then having a million-piece marketing brass band playing right next to it. What hope do you have of 'hearing' what God's really trying to tell you, when it comes to working out the messages contained in your health issues and problems, when practically every media outlet in the world is screaming false premises at you?
If your GP's telling you your anxiety is solely because of a chemical imbalance, and the nutritionist is telling you that the only reason your skin is drying out is because you aren't eating enough almonds; and the school expert is convinced that your kid is suffering from Ritalin-deficiency, then how are you meant to dig deeper, underneath all that convincing patter, to find the real message God is hiding in your health issue?
It's not easy. But it can be done.
Thank God, I've had SO MANY emotional and physical health issues over the last few years, that I've had a head-start in trying to work out what it all meant, and how on earth I was meant to be responding to it all.
Drugs? Therapy? Healthy Diet? More exercise? Regular massage? Acupuncture? Herbs? - you name it, I've tried it out, with varying success.
All my experience of being 'ill' in so many different ways taught me a few key things about health:
1) Every mental, emotional and physical health issue you have is rooted in your negative character traits and beliefs. - Work on the underlying negative trait, and the problem usually improves drastically, or disappears.
2) Most people have no idea what their negative traits and beliefs actually are, because they're disconnected from, and don’t know how to acknowledge, their true feelings. (But you can learn how to change this, fairly easily.)
3) Kids are just our mirrors, especially when they're under the age of 13. Any health issue they have is coming to teach you something about yourself, and it's usually related to some huge negative emotion that you've been subconsciously repressing for years.
4) For true healing to happen, it has to work across body, mind / emotions, and soul. Miss one of these areas out, and the healing either won't last, or won't be as effective as it could be.
Of course, all this is easier said than done. But that's a big reason why I started JEMI in the first place: I want to share all my knowledge and experience with you, so you can hopefully learn from all the things I've gone through, without having to do it yourself.
One of the things I've seen happen a lot is what I call 'holistic therapy burn-out'. This can happen when someone religiously follows whatever special diet / special exercises / special practises / special routine is required from them as part of their holistic healing - and it doesn't work.
They don't end up getting pregnant; they don't manage to shift the weight; they don't get past their depression, or other chronic health issue.
When this happens, all too often the person experiencing holistic therapy burn-out gets salt rubbed into their wound when their practitioner of mentor starts blaming them for the failure.
That donut they ate three months ago stuffed everything up…they stopped getting up at 5am in the morning to meditate, and that's why it didn't work they way it should…they plain were just doing it wrong: they weren't taking the right stuff, or weren't taking enough of it, or were doing it wrong…
On and on the list goes.
And sometimes, it may even be true! But that doesn't disguise the fact that sometimes, people have the best of intentions, and they follow the dictates of their holistic therapy down to the last detail - and it doesn't always work.
Why is this?
Part of the reason holistic therapies don't always work applies to more conventional therapies and medications, too: God doesn't want them to. God sends you your problems and health issues as wake-up calls, to get a conversation going with Him.
When you cut God out of the picture, you often miss the point of why He made you ill, or stressed, or anxious in the first place, namely, that He's trying to get you to fix, change or improve something in your life, beliefs, habits or relationships.
Whether you're taking an aspirin or sniffing your pure lavender oil to make the headache go away, if you're not also asking the question: WHY do I have this headache?? - then you're really missing the point.
Normally, most holistic therapies usually do better on this score than conventional medicine, because they often acknowledge the mind-body connection to illness.
But there's a third factor to take into account, too, and that's the spiritual dimension. Physically, there could be absolutely no tangible reason why a woman can't get pregnant. Mentally and emotionally, she's mature, caring and loving - there's nothing obvious slowing it up there, either.
The woman in question has hours of acupuncture, watches her diet carefully, takes borage seed oil for years, even signs up for a few rounds of IVF, just to make sure she's doing everything she can to conceive - and still nothing.
Because God said so.
Why did God decide that?
That's between the individual themselves, and God. But for sure, it's not just a random, cruel act of 'fate': it's meaningful, it's deliberate, and it's designed to get a conversation going with the Almighty.
So where does this leave you, and all your efforts to get happy and healthy? Should you just throw up your hands in despair, and give up? Is it all predetermined anyway, then, and there's no point in trying anything else?
Not at all.
The answer is: continue to do your level best to achieve your mental and physical health goals. God wants you to eat healthily, and to exercise, and to work on your emotional and physical health anyway you can.
But He also wants to develop your spiritual side, too.
Most things in life come to teach you something profound: once you get the message, the problem usually goes away by itself. But not always. Sometimes, hard things come, and they stay, regardless of what you try to do to make them disappear.
Why? Because God said so. And when that happens, you really need God in your corner to get through the situation in one piece without cracking up or falling into despair.
It's not because you didn't stick to the diet, or the program, or forgot to 'omm' one day when you should have. It's just because God said so, and He's in charge of the world. And if your therapist or doctor doesn't know that, maybe go and find a different one who does, and who won't blame you when things don't go the way they hoped.
For the last few months, I've been trying to put across a persona here on the JEMI blog of being a serious, educated, knowledgeable person who REALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT, when it comes to mental health issues.
Look how much stuff I know about depression!
See how many cool facts I can tell you about social anxiety!
Be majorly impressed by the weird medical references I'm casually tossing into my posts!
All this stuff is collectively called 'playing the game', and it's what all the marketing bumpf told me I had to do, to get anywhere on the web.
But you know what? It's completely soul-destroying and I'm sick of it.
The turning point came last week, when I decided to do a new 'Linked-In' profile, to 'boost my platform' (cue: barf noises.)
I really, really wanted to include an entry clearly stating that I'd burned out from my ridiculous London career, and had spent the last few years pulling myself back to together, in just about every way possible.
But then I made the mistake of telling someone who knows 'how to play the game' what I was planning, and they pooh-poohed it the loudest way possible:
"You can't do that! No-one's going to take you seriously! They'll just think you're crazy! There's a time and place for everything."
I was crestfallen.
I listened to what my internet guru told me, and I didn't post up: 2006-2014 - Massive Repeated Nervous Breakdowns, panic attacks and major anxiety.
But then I realised something profound: No-one's taking me seriously anyway!
So why do I have to pretend, and 'play the game', and write all this pseudo-scientific cack that's actually killing my writing and my true self-expression?
In one of those ironies that God is so fond of, as I was off 'building my platform' about being the world's wannabe expert on overcoming depression, I was starting to get pretty miserable about it all.
So this post marks a turning point on the JEMI website: no more writing SEO-optimised posts that keep search engines happy (apparently…) but mean that 3,000 people are turning out identical numbered lists for Google.
So don't come here for '10 easy ways to get happy' or anything like that, because I'm not writing that stuff anymore (unless I really want to.)
What you'll get here is my honest take on emotional and health issues, from the birds' eye perspective of someone who is probably completely bonkers.
If that floats your boat, great. If not - there are MILLIONS of people and websites out there that are much better at 'playing the game' than I am, and I wish you the best of luck in tracking down '7 things to banish depression' and 'How to make millions via your website.'
As for me - I'm back to writing real stuff, warts and all. It may not make me millions (or even, pennies…) but it will make me feel a whole lot happier, and that's what really counts.
Before you read on, you should know something about me: I am not an ideological 'anti' antibiotics person. Until fairly recently, I was clueless about antibiotics, and thought the pink stuff was only good for people.
Then, I started to get into healthier eating and the whole holistic lifestyle thing, and that's when I started to hear 'antibiotics are bad' being rung out from the rafters. I've heard so many conflicting bits of information about so many things that these days, I don't take anything just on someone else's say-so: I always try to check it out myself, as much as possible, before coming to an opinion - and I encourage you to do the same.
With that preamble out the way, I found out some very interesting stuff about antibiotics this week, that I want to share with you. It's in a book called 'The Second Brain', by Dr Michael Gershon, which I picked up because I wanted to learn more about the stomach (the 'second brain' referred to in the title).
99% of the serotonin in your body is made by your stomach
Dr Gershon is an MD and medical researcher, who specialises in the gut. One of the really interesting things I learned from that book is that 99% of the Serotonin your body makes is made by the stomach - which kind of blows a huge hole in the claim that low serotonin levels in the brain are causing depression. (But I digress…)
Another interesting thing I learned was that the body's colon, or large intestine, is permanently colonised by a whole bunch of potentially nasty bacteria including the infamous E-coli, and few billion other things, besides.
The body gets rid of a lot these innate bacteria by evacuating the bowel (how's that for a nice way of saying it?) But there's always billions and trillions of the potentially nasty bacteria left in the colon, that keep multiplying away like crazy.
Another way that the body keeps the numbers of these bad bacteria down is by encouraging them to fight it out. This strain of E-coli starts bashing that strain of streptococcus on the head, and then it's a fight to the death.
The growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria
Of course, there's also good bacteria in there too (mostly in the gut, as opposed to the colon), and they do helpful things like help us to digest our food properly, and keep our immune system strong.
When you take antibiotics, which by their very nature wipe out most bacteria in the body, indiscriminately, you get rid of a huge number of the 'baddies', and also take out most of the 'goodies', too.
The problem is this: they don't take out every 'baddie', because some bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. So now, all the competing 'baddies' just got wiped out by the pink stuff, as did the 'goodies', which leaves the 'baddie' antibiotic-resistant bacteria as the undisputed kings of the colon.
They carry on replicating like Larry, with nothing to stop them or check them, and because they're already resistant to antibiotics, if it ever gets to the point that they start to overwhelm the immune system, you could be in real trouble, God forbid.
That's the bad news. The good news is, there's lots of things you can do to:
a) mitigate your need for antibiotics in the first place; and
b) boost your immune system and repopulate your good bacteria asap, should you need to take antibiotics.
I'll tell you what they are in the next post.