For this 2nd night of Chanukah, the focus is on the experiences that helped shape who you are right now. For the 1st night, we lit one candle for one person who had a huge impact on your life. Now we turn to experiences.
What 2 experiences in your life helped mold who you are – how you think, walk through life, what you believe.
Here are mine. I hope you will add yours in the comments.
- My graduate school degree in education at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, where I learned about group dynamics & systems. That deep knowledge has become the thread that informs everything I do. It was also where I learned about creating community and safe emotional environments. The School of Ed was where I learned about the education of the soul and read Paulo Freire – Education for Critical Consciousness. It was also where I met my husband Ely 🙂
- The other experience was the birth of my boys. There was a moment at each birth that I thought I was going to die from the pain (I had no drugs.) I had two competing thoughts about this – one was that I couldn’t endure it and the other was my cheerleader voice saying – you got this. This experience taught me that I am stronger than I think. (And with two huge gifts at the end!) It was also a real-life reminder that the only way to the other side is walking through the pain.
What about you?
What 2 experiences in your life helped form who you are??
One candle has the power to light up the darkness. One person has the power to light up our lives.
— I’ll be posting a new question each day with a photo of our precious #Bo, our Labradoodle. For my favorite potato latkes recipe click here. For the Chanukah candle blessings, click here.
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The first experience that formed who I am today came at a young age when I learned from my father the reason we do not lie. His message left such a life long impression upon me, because I valued his opinion so greatly and his explanation must have left an indelible mark upon my heart and brain.
If you tell the truth, your conscience is clear, no matter how awful that truth be at the time. You also have one story to remember and I believe it’s a sin to lie. If someone lies to me even once, I will never trust that person again. That has been my credo all throughout my life.
The second experience that formed who I am today happened when I was turning 60 years of age. Finally, after 38 years of living in an unhappy marriage, “for the sake of the kids” and by manipulation by my former husband I told him I wanted to get divorced. Without going into the lurid details, we finally sold our beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City and I moved into the city. The year was 1988-89. That was during the Housing Crash which devastated the home markets all over the country appeared.
So many homes were either on the market for sale, or out of sheer desperation, for rent. We needed to sell our home to get money for the settlement, as my ex husband’s business was not doing well, at all.
This was a fact which I presented to him two years prior.
The market was robust then, our home was quite salable. I suggested that we sell our home for the very nice price it was worth and size down. He wouldn’t hear of it! He wanted to come to his own back yard to swim! What nerve and lack of foresight!
We ended up selling to the only couple who looked at it and all was finally finished ten months later.
I moved, and for the first time in my entire life had to go find a job. The house was used as settlement and I fortunately had some family money. I had been an elementary teacher at the beginning of my marriage but did not find that position viable for me at this stage of my life. My son and daughter and their future spouses were most supportive to me.
I was truly untrained to do any profession, but I knew I could sell. It was common knowledge that I also had excellent style and taste. I’m not at all bragging, it’s really all I was good at.
A dear friend of mine called me one day and asked if I’d like to be introduced to the Vice President of Personal Shopping at Bloomingdale’s flag ship store on Third avenue and 59th Street. I jumped at the chance. Having no client book to present to her during my interview, all I could do was present myself. She hired me as temporary Christmas help in Personal Shopping, I proved myself quite competent, and retired 8.5 years later as one of the top in sales. Not only at the NY store, but in some areas, the country. The work was challenging and the hours long.
This gave me, over time, such a feeling of inner resilience and strength. When the rug was pulled out from under me and people “forgot” all about me, I found I had what it took to stand on my own and make it work. With kudos from my children, the recognition from the store and finally realizing my talents I became a person who today is internally richer and more independent than many.
Ellen Bridle says
Huge impact on who I am and what I do was reading holocaust literature when I was a kid, for Hebrew school (I was around 10). I knew I had to do something about such inhumanity. That was reinforced when I read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in 8th grade – I learned that inhumanity could happen anywhere.
Susan Kronish Grotenstein says
My parents tireless efforts to secretly visit and help Refuseniks in Russia in the 1970’s and my Dad’s heading up the Greater Council for Soviet Jewry and speaking out on their behalf at large protests in NYC and Wash Dc had a huge impact on me and my future role in fighting injustice and doing your part to make the world a better place…. the power of Tikkun Olam. I was also impacted by how “living jewish’ and creating special Jewish holiday rituals and celebrations were, especially Passover Seders.. This has carried over into my home and my creating spiritual family Passover seders.