My Journey from Intellectual Do-er to Human Be-ing

My Journey from Intellectual Do-er to Human Be-ing

Why had nobody taught me how to be? How to feel? How to understand the richness of information in our emotions? I had officially gone through 24 years of schooling, from K-12 to University, as well as a Masters degree, and not once did a teacher, professor, my parents, or anyone else even come close to addressing any of these topics. Supposedly, we are all human beings, yet we have been raised and trained to become Intellectual Do-ers.

I was now almost 40 years old, and for the first time realizing that for most of my life I had not been a human being, I had been a robot, an intellectual doer. Arriving back home from The Hoffman Process felt unreal (see the prior blog post). My life was the same, but everything felt different, I was different. For the first time in my life I no longer identified solely with my intellect. I had learned to listen to and give voice to my body, emotions, and most importantly, my spirit.

After the first 24 hours of being back home, my wife Michelle asked: How long did they tell you the effects last? I was confused, what do you mean? I said. She answered: It is like having my same husband, but a much better version. I smiled and said: Well, get used to Abi Version 2.0. 

It wasn't only my wife that perceived a transformation, the bond with my children also started to flourish in a remarkable manner. Embracing my inner child and accepting him seemed to catalyze a healing process within my relationship with my children. This newfound connection allowed me to view and interact with them through a refreshed lens, and they, in turn, could see and experience me differently.

For example, I was no longer putting my kids to bed, I was sharing and being with them while they fell asleep. Seems like a minor difference, but for them, it was a monumental shift. My daughter, Shana, who was only 4 years old at the time, said it best. After reading her a story and together doing our prayers (Shema Israel), we did a round of gratitude. She said: Thank you Hashem because since my father got back from the woods, he no longer screams at me. The woods is where Mom had told her I was every time she asked where is Papi during my weeklong retreat. 

Just a couple of days later as I was journaling in bed next to my son Alan, who was 6 years old at the time, he asked if he could participate. I had started doing a Self-Appreciation and Gratitude ritual every evening. I wrote, I appreciate my athleticism. He said, I appreciate that I am very fast. I wrote, I appreciate that I am good with numbers. He said, I appreciate that I am good at building legos. I wrote, I am grateful for my family. He said, I love my family. Finally, I wrote, I am grateful for my buddy, and he said, me too. It was a wonderful and meaningful way to end the day for both of us. We both went to bed with a smile in our hearts.

That’s when two simple and meaningful life lessons hit me. Life is short and children grow up fast, so spend quality time with them. Not for them, but for you. And most importantly, stop worrying about your children and what they need to change or improve. Instead, work on yourself and you’ll see the impact reflected back at you.

As parents in today’s chaotic and unpredictable world, my wife Michelle and I had given top priority to establishing a deep personal bond with our children and guiding them through life, rather than placing so much focus on limits and being the enforcers of those limits. However, now with heightened awareness, we realized that unless we changed and evolved as human beings, no matter which parenting style we subscribed to, we would simply end up passing along to our own children the inherited patterns from our very own parents. It was following that realization that we fully committed ourselves to the path of true personal and spiritual growth. Becoming our best versions became our top priority, not only for ourselves, but even more importantly, for our future generations. 

In the morning, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. Feeling inspired, I contacted my mother and father, and told each of them that I wanted to have a one-on-one dinner. Their divorce had come as a complete surprise to me and my younger sisters while we were still teenagers. Many things had been left unspoken, and now, 22 years later, it felt appropriate to address them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, it means a lot to me. Please pass it along to your friends and family, and let’s spread goodness all around the world.

With Gratitude,