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Reflections for the Month of Av

Reflections for the month of Av: A month of destruction and loss, renewal and joy.


"Let me fall if I must fall. The one I will become will catch me.” -Baal Shem Tov

"Hamburgers!" "Hotdogs!"

When these words were repeated, with the demonstration and explanation for my mother, it was the final straw.

I was 5-years old, and my best friend Mary Elizabeth and her brother Mathew were sitting cross-legged in front of me on her bedroom floor. We were heading off for a card game of strip poker in the closet. Mary Elizabeth pointed to her crotch and exclaimed, "Hamburgers!" and Mathew pointed to his crotch and said, "Hotdogs!"

Later in the day when I repeated this exciting news to my mother, she made a swift decision that must have been coming in on the horizon – I could no longer play with Mary Elizabeth for the whole winter. To give some context – this was North Dakota, and the winter was a long time. My friend would come over from time to time and ask in her little girl voice, "Is the winter over yet?" No, it wasn't. I don't know how long this went on, and how hard my mother kept to it, but it was my first experience in a painful loss filled with shame. There wasn't a lot of discussion about this incident of the hamburgers and hotdogs, but there was a clear, unspoken message that something very bad had taken place and some sort of damage had occurred. I had a painful, unnamable feeling inside.

Is there this hint of shame contained within the various losses we have experienced and will experience in this life? Did I feel this shame in the loss of my dad? I don't know. When he died I felt an extreme vulnerability and a sense of being torn wide open. When my 16-year-old crush removed his things from my locker and then disappeared, I felt so ashamed.

Stories of tremendous loss and pain are intrinsic in the Jewish month of Av. Two reality-changing events happened in this month of mourning, and they took place on the same date. On the 10th of Av, King Solomon’s Holy Temple crashed to the ground. Centuries later, on the 10th of Av, the Second Temple, built to replace Solomon’s original, crashed to the ground. What is of importance is why these Temples were essential to the Jewish people, and why they were brought crumbling down.

When the Temples were present, there was a palpable experience of holiness and protection for the Jewish people. The first Temple came down because of the incorrect actions and behavior amongst the people, while the Second Temple fell because the people were senselessly judging and hating each other. After each Temple was destroyed there existed unspeakable loss and a sense of shame.

During both the prior month of Tammuz and this month of Av, we go into ourselves through our eyes. It's like the 1966 movie "Fantastic Voyage" in which a submarine crew shrinks down to microscopic size and ventures into the body of an injured scientist to repair damage to his brain. Traveling inward through our eyes, we are to look around and examine our beliefs. We are to look into our behavior and we are to see the perspective we are taking toward other people and ourselves. With a compassionate vision, we can compost our mistakes and shortcomings and use them to learn, repair, and grow.


Anger is a Divine Experience

Anger is a Divine Experience

Every Jewish month contains a unique energy. This new month of Tevet comes on the very last day of Chanukah, the festival of light, miracles, and deep trust in the Divine.
Chanukah takes place in the month of Kislev, the month we are invited to relax into trust, like that last pose of the yoga practice where all the poses, thoughts, and experiences become released into pure awareness. Then, before the eight days of Chanukah are over, the month of Kislev turns into Tevet, the month of anger.

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Releasing the Vows


 There was this little video being passed around the internet recently about a twin who had survived unspeakable tortures under the hands of Holocaust murderer Dr. Mengele. I started to watch, and it very quickly became sickening, so I shut it off.

It was so compelling that I turned it back on. I re-started the video towards the end and worked my way backward until I got the unbearable parts. The words of this little old Hungarian lady struck me so deeply. She talked about her discovery of the healing power of forgiveness. She said "I discovered I had the power to forgive! No one could give that power. No one could take it away. It was all mine to use in anyway I wished! And that became an interesting thing because as a victim of almost 50 years, I never thought that I had any power over my life at all!" She said she liked forgiveness. "It is an act of self-healing, self-liberation, self-empowerment."

As I am readying myself for this day of reconciliation, I am thinking about the Divine power of forgiveness and how it is Divine and yet within my own power as well. I am to working on repairing and upgrading all of my relationships, including the one I have with myself.









The Yom Kippur service takes the participant on an orderly journey, starting off with a good releasing of all the vows we made in this last year. What vows comes to my mind are things like - I am going to get up an hour earlier than usual, stop eating bread and keep better track of my finances. With the annulment of my vows - all my promises become unbound, and I am released from any failure that came from them. 

There are other kinds of vows that get released as well. The unconscious vows that we are not even aware that we are vowing to ourselves. Things like - I have a lot of anxiety today, it's going to increase until I am a nervous wreck and I won't be able to handle it. I am never going to be seen in a bathing suit again! I am so insulted by what she said that every time I see her, I am going to give her the stink eye! 

ALL vows get untied, freed, and nullified, what a Divine gift. We are invited to give ourselves a reset, let go of blaming others and ourselves, and feel connection again. 

Receiving and Worthiness

In these last 7 weeks of the Jewish calendar, each day has been counted, one after another. During this time of counting the days, there is an unspoken invitation to take a deeper look at how we conduct ourselves both in the outer world and in our own inner realm.

After we locate ourselves in the world of our relationships, we can begin an inquiry. When we are extending kindness towards another in need of it, do we have enough backbone to extend this kindness in a way that preserves the other person’s dignity and self worth? Do we have enough self-discipline to fuel what we are doing. Do we have good boundaries with people; can we say yes and no? What is our experience of compassion? Have we lapsed into being far too judgmental of others rather then being discerning?

And then there is the gaze towards the tender inner self. The invitation there is – Can we grow space within ourselves? Space enough to begin to see how trapped we’ve been in old belief systems and patterns.

A while back, I studied at a spiritual school in India. I was speaking with my teacher about my shyness. I asked him how was I ever going to get over it? He said – did you ever see the movie The Shashank Redemption? One of the main characters in the prison had this tiny hammer that he was making chess pieces out of. One day he went to carve his name into his cell wall with his tiny hammer. He realized the hammer could cut through the wall slightly. He was to be in his prison cell for 2 full life sentences, so he had time. He did the math - if he heads in this direction, hammering the wall, in about 20 years he could dig through the whole wall and get out. And that is just what he did. My teacher went on to say that everything in creation is undergoing a process, some kind of continuous transformation. It is very easy to get overwhelmed when we see what is ahead of us, when we see the mountains we have to climb, but all we have to concern ourselves with is just taking one step ahead. Life keeps on pulling situations to you, to make you take that one more step. And what is that step? It is quite simple actually. Life all the time is trying to help you get unstuck and release those places where you have been held captive. My teacher in parting said - don’t worry about it, just keep taking the steps.

We are invited into this self-inquiry process so that we can clear out enough space inside to receive and feel once again, Divine connection.

My own natural strategy that I go back to when I am trying to shake myself loose from the places I am stuck is to refresh my living space. I sort through of all kinds of items that I have kept for various reasons. Some things need to be let go, others repaired and others replaced.


I spent the day, going through my possessions and throwing things out. It was a process of giving up and letting go and it was painful. I could finally part with my clock radio that I got as a high school graduation gift from Mrs. Metzger. The knob to adjust the time had long broken off. Each time it got unplugged, or the power went out or there was the time change, I had to stick a pen into the hole to adjust the time. The left edge of the clock had completely broken off in a fall and you could look in through the side. Dust had gotten in, making a glance at the time, a challenge. It had paint dripped on it from listening to music while I painted my various apartments and homes. And still, I used that clock. I threw it out. 
 It is said that at the time of Matan Torah, everyone stood there as one beating heart, hearts beating together as the Divine connection was uniquely seared into each person.

I think that Divine connection is there to be uniquely received, for all beings, again and again. Maybe we don’t even have to worry about getting it all pulled together and perfected, thinking that we need to hide our unworthy parts before we can once again receive that Divine connection.

My husband has a saying that he tells our kids when they don’t want to do what he has told them to do – just ease into your experience. I think there is a lot of life that just needs to be eased into, stepping your toes into the cold unheated pool, one step at a time up the mountain.

The poet Rumi says that there is a kiss that we want with our whole lives, the touch of the Divine on our entire being.

May we be able to once again open ourselves fearlessly to receive this Divine connection that has now arrived.

Reflections In Teaneck for the month of Shevat - Formula For Growth

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. – Martha Graham

 Carpet geometry, Carol Berlin

The Kabbalists offer two types of Divine energies that come into play inside this month of Shevat. At first glance they may seem disparate but with further investigation they actually blend and reflect each other beautifully.

The first Divine energy is that of serving and nurturing. Within the fertile ground of this month, there is the potential to powerfully call in the Divine source, to pull it in close, to receive it and nurture it. There is room to create a seed of an intention within me and then nurture it to grow in this watery darkness.

The second Divine energy is that of leadership. The word Shevat, itself means the rod of the ruler. This month is an opportune time to recognize my inner authority and power.

It seems to me there is a formula for growth being offered: intention + effort + Divine grace, bears fruit and profound change.

At one point, not too long ago, I found myself in a relationship of (let’s say) “strong dislike” of someone. I had experienced emotional pain and rejection from this person in several different ways, and I had also very likely projected a lot of my own stuff on this person that may or may not have even belonged to them. I had an intense desire to resolve these hateful feelings within myself and be completely free of it, but couldn’t seem to wiggle my way out.

Wallpaper wilderness, Carol Berlin

My yoga teacher and mentor suggested I commit to a ‘forgiveness practice’: direct your prayer to this person for 40 days. At the end of your daily meditation, see this person in your mind's eye and pray for them. Pray for this person’s sense of happiness and fulfillment, for this person’s health, and for this person’s financial success. My teacher told me that at the end of 40 days, the practice would bear fruit; there would be a change. I set out to do what my teacher said. Every day I prayed for this person as I would pray for someone I loved very much. On several occasions I saw this person while I was out and about. There was never any exchange between us, but I did feel a different sort of connection that was brewing within me, like I was involved in a secret mission that was very important. It made me feel empowered to be in service to this person. I also felt my own authority as I was no longer wasting good brain space circling through all the ways this person hurt me. True to what my teacher said, by the end of the 40 days, the practice bore fruit. The hatred had dissolved, thanks in part to Divine grace, creating space for new intention and possibility. I found the practice to be profound and I return to my heart with gratitude and a sense of empowerment.

This article was originally published in New Moon Project blog http://newmoonproject.org/formula-for-growth/

Reflections for the month of Tevet in Teaneck

From a Kabbalistic perspective, the month of Tevet brings us into the very physical nature of our lives and emotions, particularly the emotion of anger. Through our embodiment, we learn to experience the full intensity of our anger in a way that is healthy and neither destroys our relationships or builds walls of separation.

I had an astrology reading for my December birthday.  I am not one who gives a whole lot of weight to astrology, but it sounded like a fun way to celebrate.  Using her charts, the astrologer laid out the various stages of star influences. She reminded me of significant moments of transitions in the past and told me transformative times that are yet to come.

On the outskirts of Minot, North Dakota

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

There was one take away from the reading that stayed with me. She said temper management was not modeled for me properly in my early childhood. I wasn’t taught what to do with my anger and how to experience it in a way that was not destructive.

She went on to say that because of my early experiences I made an internal pact to never lose temper or self-control. This basically meant containing and ignoring what I truly desired – wild, creative play – because it wasn’t safe to want it. Being with this decision and healing it, she concluded, has been a slow process of unlearning.

I thought about the truth of her words. My mind flashed on myself as a teacher of anger within my own family. I’d like to think I would be a much better model of it now with all my years of growth, but as the astrologer said I am still in the process of unlearning.

Early on in my marriage, my husband and I joined a large reform synagogue in Minneapolis. There was a sliding scale for the membership dues and we were placed with the minimum payments. Even with this reduction, at that time in our young lives, we shamefully could not come up with the cash. At some point, we received a letter saying we were no longer welcome at the synagogue.

I began to draft a letter to express the hurt, anger, rejection and shame I felt with this treatment. All I could type was “ Dear Rabbi Pinsky”.  “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” and then I would write this or that. Erase it and start over,  “Dear Rabbi Pinsky”. After many “Dear Rabbi Pinksy” attempts, I finally threw my hands up in the air and said forget it!! “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” went into the pile of shortcut phrases between my husband and myself. “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” = Man Am I Stuck!

Hopes and dreams for my daughter

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

Expressing anger in a straightforward and healthy way has certainly been a “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” experience for me. It has felt safer for me to seethe and boil in resentment, managing the internal chaos by myself,  rather than risk the never-ending rejection for speaking my truth. This month, I intend to honor my anger, to care for it and to step forward and accept the discomfort of conflict, the karma of conflict. Others may react and it may not be favorable or easy, but this is my path of growth. And I choose willingly, with courage and gratitude.

This article was originally published in New Moon Project blog newmoonproject.org/dear-anger/

Freedom Within Yoga - Reflections for the month of Kislev - Divine Trust

My aunt told me that the first time she met me was at our house. I was 5 years old. She said I instantly loved her and wanted to give her a gift before she left. I ran to get a pen and gave it to her. She said she thought that was such a tender and trusting thing to do, to create a gift and then offer it with such an open heart.  This story returns to me at times, a reminder that there was a time, however long ago, when I was completely open and trusting. I am grateful for this story.


Chanukah in Saint Paul Minnesota

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

Early on in my relationship with my husband Daniel, he took me on a date to a backyard BBQ party hosted by his friends. One of the guys at the party was an intuitive.  He could feel a person’s energy by holding onto a personal object such as a key or ring.  He held my apartment key on his forehead and said that I was about to enter into a relationship that was serious, one where I would experience a kind of trust that I had not yet known. Perhaps he was channeling and maybe not. I think it was clear to all that I was very much in love. As we sat in lawn chairs, this same guy looked up as a fellow partier was coming out of the kitchen door and down the back steps.  He said “ he’s opening up, he’s closing down, he’s opening up, he’s closing down”. We all looked at what the intuitive was observing and it was the funniest thing – we could see exactly that. This fellow partier was slowly coming down the back steps – first with a very open expression on his face, and then as he looked at everyone in the yard, fear shot all across his face, then he softened and then he closed down again. All in a quick flash. My husband and I have stock piled sayings over the years to be used to explain different situations and this is one from the collection – “he’s opening up, he’s closing down, he’s opening up, he’s closing down.”

The rainbow of trust, Israel.  Photo taken by Carol Berlin

The rainbow of trust, Israel.

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

Developing an awareness of when my own sense of trust is shutting down and my fear is starting to rise seems like a worthwhile endeavor.  As I follow the Hebrew calendar into the month of Kislev, I am being led into the darkest month of the year, literally.  The themes of this month centers around darkness, natural miracles and on trust, the name Kislev means trust.

I am no longer a child, that is certain. I have had plenty of experiences met with trust betrayed and they do erase themselves but my dear teachers have told me to look for the everyday synchronicities in my life, the miracles that are taking place in my life right now. In doing this, by observing what is and acting from a open heart, the muscle of trust and relationship with the Divine deepens.

This article was originally published in New Moon Project blog  http://newmoonproject.org/gezunt/

Reflections for the month of Av - Gezunt in Teaneck

Reflections for the month of Av - Gezunt

Each person bears a uniqueness that asks to be lived and that is already present before it can be lived. –James Hillman

I bought a bracelet from a frail, elderly lady at a town sidewalk sale the other day. As she wrapped it up for me, she chattered about how great the bracelet was and how I was going to enjoy it very much. When she was finished, she came out from behind her table and handed me the package. She looked into my eyes and said, “You should be gezunt (healthy and well); life is very short and we should do the things we want to do!” Goose bumps formed on my elbows and knees.

Later that night at the Shabbat table, a friend inquired about my forthcoming trip to India,  “and how will you manage your food when you are there?”  For me this is an uncomfortable question. I could start to sink into feeling separate and alone from these friends with whom I sit and share the blessings of wine and bread. I could lose what I know to be my own personal truth and fall into a crumbling inner state, structures crashing to the ground. I could start to blame and judge everyone at that table for not letting me just be who I am…  The friend continued,  “You are not really practicing a religion, are you? It is really just a healthy form of exercise, isn’t it?”

Earlier that day, I was dying my hair and preparing for being away from my colorist for a month(!). As I sat in the chair, I clicked on a video that arrived in my email box. It was about a woman dancer living in an orthodox community in New York. The video showed her dancing, with her own voice declaring, “Being an artist, a dancing artist in the Orthodox community is a very odd thing. You are not allowed to express your body, its not modest! A woman is supposed to be covered, humble.” She goes on to say “ If you believe very strongly that you are doing the right thing, nobody’s comments and nobody’s punishments will change that.” It ends with her expressing herself through dance unapologetically and living her life in a way that she wants to, within the orthodox community.

Wow, self-actualization, in whatever form it takes is tough. Life offers it and there really isn’t much choice. “Would you like some more, honey?” It is already being heaped up on my plate. I am going to keep going, with the same kinds of experiences until I finally start getting better, ya, groundhog day.

Me and my horse Smokey, age 9

Me and my horse Smokey, age 9

I have been at this a long time, oh my God, why aren’t I anywhere near enlightenment yet?! I’d like to think that all negative experiences from my past and all of my go-to-defenses are getting much better but one question of “ and how will you handle your food, while your in India?” can set off a bomb inside me. I am getting better at being able to hold the reactions, and by this I don’t mean that I am getting better at squeezing myself, and trying to make my reactions die. I am getting better at becoming a container for my reactions. Staying right there, breathing as the feelings start to amplify. I have learned this way of being in experiences from practicing yoga.

From early on, I experienced my life from a visceral, body connected place. My dad bought me a couple of horses and I spent a lot of time with them. I would ride for hours, either alone or with my friend Shanti who had her own. Racing our horses down the shoreline of Lake Sacajawea, bareback, naked, and screaming in our pre-pubescent bodies, is one of my favorite childhood memories. The feeling it conjures is unmistakable and so liberating.

Along with the horses, I was a dancer. I loved expressing my body through dance. I loved how it felt to move my body according to the sounds. I felt very connected. When yoga crossed my path, about 15 years ago, it was like remembering something or returning to a familiar place. This beginning, or this return, has been very powerful and healing for me. Is it a religion, an exercise?

For me, yoga is a practice, a language and an art. It is a powerful tool for creating stability and I am so grateful for what it offers. Life is short and if we can, we should do the things we want to do, and we should be well, like the lady at the side walk sale said.

Before the ballet recital, age 13

Before the ballet recital, age 13

Tomorrow I return to my yoga school in India. I will be taking a month long course. I am bringing coffee. I am taking boxes of protein bars, nuts, raisins, powdered greens, electrolyte powder, and lots of chocolate. I am taking antibiotics and wipes for the bathroom, just in case. I am preparing in ways that I am able, packing comforts for the way, but also leaving some extra room in my ‘container’ for the possibility of growth, self-actualization, and space to return to my body, my temple, my sacred home.


This article was originally published in New Moon Project blog  http://newmoonproject.org/gezunt/

Freedom Within Yoga - Reflections for the month of Sivan - Receiving

Reflections for the month of Sivan - Receiving

May 25, 2014

Clearing the Field in North Dakota                           Carol Berlin

The moment for receiving fully, with all of our senses, all of our flesh, all of our very soul has arrived, now.  All month long there has been an inner examining, and an inner preparing and clearing of the field. We have formed ourselves to be a container, ready to receive the gift of no doubt, absolute connection, and a path for traveling through time.  

Lord of the Dance – the receiving of my own history and energy field back into myself – oh so good!!!!~

The other day, I experienced the full pose of Natrajasana – Lord of the Dance, for the first time, with the help of my teacher.

When I released the pose and came out of it,  every  single  fiber  in me was shaking. My heart was pounding away. That day, some part within me had found the inner place of that pose and the “me” that faces the outer world was able (in that moment) to open enough, to bend back enough, to find my footing and my foot behind me

The pose begins by creating a grounded structure from the lower half of the body. While standing solid on one foot, the top half of the body rises up and reaches back to connect with the whole back of the body and the other foot, in this wild dynamic steady dance.

Was I relaxed…was I steady….. in the pose? Not in the least, but the ability to do it was there, and I was taking it in whatever way it came.

I could tell from the way the previous day had ended, that this was going to be an auspicious day. I had actually been praying for this day to arrive. I now fully knew how to extricate myself from a situation that had been troubling me for a long time. I now knew how to retrieve myself back from a very stuck place in my own inner history, and I moved on it.

I think the inner preparation for the coming month of Sivan and the receiving of the Torah is that - it is about clearing and making space so that I can be in a deep receptive relationship with the Divine for longer periods of time. I can’t connect, I can’t receive, I can’t go forth, if I am living from a place that is too cramped with issues from the past. I don’t want to have an inner life of a hoarder, unable to give up one item. 

I was deep into my yoga practice, the other day when my teacher’s voice cut in and said  “ and stop blaming your parents!” It was hilarious and so true!

And luckily, the Torah isn’t just received as a onetime deal. The offer button remains on for eternity.  I get to keep the dance going for as long as I can.

This article was originally published in New Moon Project blog, http://newmoonproject.org/lord-of-the-dance/

Reflections for the month of Iyar in Teaneck

Cracked car window   Photo taken by Carol Berlin

Cracked car window 

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

We have now arrived into the month of Iyar, the month of integration. Last month’s spiritual focus was on freedom from the enslaved mind, and our enslaved habits. This month takes that freedom and brings it back down into our roots to be integrated and grounded within us.

The end is in the beginning and the beginning is in the end.

By the end of filling the car with gas, getting the new windshield wipers, and driving away with my new cracked windshield, I was stunned into a state of not knowing what to do.  I slowly pulled out onto the street, I was conscious enough to drive and see if any cars were coming but the majority of me was  w a y  back there, deep in my mind, seeing different reactions from Daniel over this new situation of the cracked windshield.

It was sort of like an old nursery rhyme where one thing led to another. And then there was the child, who borrowed the car without asking, who ran it out of gas, so that the mom had to race to yoga with the gas light on, and pray to make it to the gas station afterwards, who then got the windshield wipers fixed, from the man who cracked the windshield, all in the life that Carol built.

And there was a trail that went back at least to the previous day, if I think about it. I went away for the weekend, staying with friends for an out of town Bar Mitzvah.  We enjoyed the excitement of being together, and spending stretches of time together through the different activities of the weekend. We told different stories to each other. There were stories of job loss and family devastation. There were stories of divorce, sexual abuse and arrest. One story had taken place that day. A Bar Mitzvah guest had been rudely asked to get out of his seat and give it back to the man who prayed in that seat during the week! We didn’t like that story. The different stories were centered on the various hardships in life.

When I got home from the Bar Mitzvah Saturday night, I saw that things had gone on in the house that I didn’t like – including the taking of the car without asking.

Sunday, I got up bright and early to get to my sacred yoga class. I had not given myself enough time. I stressfully barreled down the highway on empty, to get to the yoga class and create some inner peace. I came in after everyone was settled and the dharma talk was just about to begin. No one would move over for me and there wasn’t enough room to fully roll out my mat! I was getting angry – how dare these people not let me in. The teacher came over and got me settled, but instead of settling into a deep inner stillness, I was going into an inner place of feeling I was on unequal footing with everyone in the room. I was sure that I was getting bad vibes from the woman to my left. When the class was over, that woman on my left, who I lightly knew, turned to me and made some small talk. She wasn’t emitting angry vibes at all.

After the class, I drove to the nearest gas station. A kind young man with some sort of Middle Eastern accent came up to the car, to pump the gas. As I was paying him, he brought to my attention that my windshield wipers were both shredded. I knew this but had not taken the time to fix them. He said he could fix them and did. He asked me to turn on the car and try the new wipers with the windshield wash. I was out of the wash. He went to get the wash and poured it in. As he closed the raised hood and asked me to try the wipers again, I saw that a crack in the windshield was coming up and out of the place where the windshield wipers had been attached. It was spreading across the car! I showed it to the gas attendant and asked if he could replace the windshield at his gas station. He shrugged, smiled and said “no, I am sorry” I did not know what to do. It all seemed so huge in this moment.

As I drove away, I called a friend who I relay on for her insight. I told her the story. Her response was – you mentioned several times that the gas station man was so kind in his actions. He did not break that windshield. A windshield doesn’t break from changing the wipers. There must have been some sort of chip or crack that was already there. Changing the wipers must have set it off.

In my confusion of what to do, I had not paid for the windshield wipers or wash. 

The council from my friend was to turn around, go back to the gas station and not only pay the guy, but tip him too! Tip him!?  “ Yes”, was the response.  

This was now becoming very interesting to me. How much of life have I unknowingly taken in from the viewpoint that it is all happening to me? If I took my friends advice, the gas station guy would be released from blame, and I would take ownership of the cracked windshield.  

That was what I did. I drove back to the gas station. When the gas station man came up to my window, I told him I was there to pay for the windshield wipers. He said “no, no!”, he would pay for the wipers. I insisted on paying for the wipers. When he handed me back my credit card, I tipped him and told him that he was very kind to help me and that he wasn’t the cause of the broken windshield. He was dumbfounded. It was kind of an incredible experience.

What if I went on victim free diet for the month, seeing if I could stay awake to the  view point of my mind?  The last month’s spiritual theme was about being freed from inner slavery.  This month’s is about self-healing and being able to ground the new freedom within myself. I am giving it a shot. 

Recipes from April New Moon Women's Circle at Freedom Within Yoga

Raw Chocolate Macaroons- Hail Merry Knock-Off


Prep time:  5 mins

Total time:  5 mins

Servings: 32


  • 2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened preferable
  • ½ cup coconut oil (scant)
  • 4-5 tablespoon cocoa powder (good stuff, not cheap stuff, I really enjoy Dagoba…and they are local for me!)
  • ¼ cup honey, coconut nectar, or maple syrup (or more to taste, not too much though, or you’ll mess with the texture. You could also use liquid stevia as a sweetness booster!)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until well mixed, scraping down the sides as necessary. You want to make sure all ingredients are incorporated, it will be thick!
  2. Roll into little balls with your hands, or scoop some dough out, and plop down on a wax paper or a Silpat lined cookie sheet. Chill in the freezer or fridge. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer.

Healthy green drinks were served in take- home mason jars.



lots of ginger






dandelion greens



green melon

Freedom Within Yoga Recipes - February New Moon Women's Circle

Full Moon of Adar, February 2, 2014


Last night we had our first New Moon Women's Circle in the  studio.

I have been wanting to create and be a part of a monthly women's gathering like this, for a long time. Together with my daughter Jessica Berlin, and co-teacher/friend Zivar Amrami, the first New Moon Women's Circle gathered in the auspicious month of Adar. It was the perfect month to begin this new endeavor because Adar is the end of the lunar calendar cycle and the beginning of a new season.  The end is within the beginning and the beginning folds back into the end, moving into more light and unfolding new possibilities. We did all of my favorite things last night. We claimed a sense of stability and intimacy, through our gathering together. We practiced yoga. We delved into the Kabbalistic realms of why women gather together at the beginning of the new moon each month. We made our thoughts and words sacred through our sharing, one woman at a time. We reflected and set our intentions for the coming month. Lastly, we enjoyed some simple treats together, closing our candle lit circle.

Here are recipes for some of the treats we had together.

     Raw Oatmeal Cookies

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  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 2 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tb Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup chopped chocolate chips
  • additional chopped walnuts and oats for the top.


1) In the food processor - add the nuts first and turn it into nut butter, or just about buttery consistency
2) Put in dates.
3) Process them until it turns into a dough.
4) Add oatmeal and then the rest of the ingredients - vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt. Put dough in bowl and add in the raisins and finely chopped chocolate chips.
5) Take the chopped walnuts,pecans and oats and spread on a board. Take a golf ball size of the dough - roll it into a ball and then press it into the nut/oat mixture and shape into a cookie. Turn the cookie over and press the nut/oat mixture onto the top of the cookie. This makes for easy storing and stacking.

Gluten Free Hamantaschen

For best results, these cookies should be make quickly.

I got a box of Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams

I modified the directions by adding

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1/4 fresh orange juice ( instead of rice milk)

2 tsp orange juice ( instead of vanilla)

2 TB of buckwheat flour (added to make the dough more firm)

1 cup of poppy seed filling

directions :

Make the cookie dough, with the modified ingredients

Roll out dough with a rolling pin onto cooking parchment.

I used an empty tomato sauce jar to cut  the circles for the Hamantaschen

Place approximately a 1/2 tsp of poppy seed filling in the center of the cut out circle.
Fold in sides to form a triangle. Pinch dough to enclose the filling.

Place on cooking parchment lined pans

Bake at 325 between 12 - 14 minutes.

Master Cleanser drink -

using a 6 cup Ball Jar container-

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1/4 cup fresh ginger juice. I used my juicer but you could press the ginger through a garlic press.

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup ( Grade B is more nutrient rich then Grade A)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all the ingredients into the jar and fill to the top with filtered water. 

If you want to read more about the master cleanser drink - http://calorielab.com/news/2008/07/17/master-cleanse-in-detail/