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It could no longer be avoided. Despite my techno-phobia, the time had come for me to learn a new computer program for my work.

"Chana, I'll walk you through the tutorial first thing tomorrow morning," the chabad.org technical director confirmed our cyber appointment. He couldn't have fathomed how his ominous words were raising my blood pressure by the minute, especially after I realized that at that hour my personal technical assistant wouldn't be nearby to help, but would be studiously studying in his fourth grade classroom.

And so, 9:15AM on Thursday morning, I was introduced to a hitherto unheard of desktop accessory called the "remote desktop connection." This remarkable accessory somehow connected me from my small computer desk in the family room of my suburban Toronto home to the many gizmos, programs, library and resources on the powerful chabad.org computers located at our headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

With extreme patience and steel nerves, our technical director slowly (as in s-l-o-w-l-y) demonstrated the program and explained step-by-step how it works. And after enough time, I actually got it.

I now had so many new skills at my fingertips. With ease, I glided through the program and had access to a whole cyber world of programming aides, information and publishing wherewithal.

"Wow, this is amazing! Look at what I can accomplish!" I enthused, a tad too proud.

Sure enough, that moment, I encountered a glitch in the system, some problem that I had neither the expertise nor the know-how to overcome. But not to worry, our savvy technical director was still at hand to help. Expertly, he connected to my computer, and from his seat in Brooklyn directed my curser and mouse as if I was pressing the right buttons myself to deftly overcome this challenge. We were once again, back on track, sailing through the tutorial.

Though it was only a momentary glitch, that malfunction reminded me that this learning session wasn't about my newfound aptitude--or about me at all. On my own, on my little computer in suburban Toronto, there was little that I could accomplish. It was only once I was connected to this potent powerhouse of resources, information and programs, content and graphics, that I was given the tools to undertake so much more than the sum total of my own means.

That moment made me realize that no matter how much talent, proficiency, or resources we may think we possess, we are all limited.

It is only when we "connect" ourselves to something so much greater than ourselves that we become empowered to do so much more than we ever envisioned. When we tap into the vast storehouse of Divine wisdom and timeless teachings of our traditions, we enrich our lives with more than we could have ever learned on our own. When we feel connected to the infinite powers of our Creator, we can maximize our truly unlimited inner potential.

And when we palpably feel this real "connection" to something and Someone greater than ourselves, then even when we experience glitches and barriers along our system in life, we will be helped along, and the "right buttons" will be pressed to help us overcome our challenges.

It may not be instantly, but with the right connection, and with the savvy Programmer at our side, we are on the right path.

What makes you feel "connected" to something Higher than yourself?

What do you do when you feel this "connection" is becoming weaker?

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

It was a moment of total meltdown for my three year old.

Maybe it was a bed-time that was too late the previous night. Maybe it was too much shlepping around doing errands. Maybe it was just too full a day for her little self.

But precisely at 7:21PM that night, my little sweetheart experienced her meltdown. It was a typical three year old, full blown tantrum.

She noticed me praying just before her bedtime. She wanted to imitate me and, in her mind, she hadn't "finished" her prayers, when I summoned her for bedtime. But, in truth, it was more the hour than any external cause.

When we're depleted of energy, when we're grumpy and drained, anything and everything irritates us.

I watched her little chubby legs begin to stomp, her chin quiver, a large tear form in her beautiful brown eyes, as her mouth began to cry loudly and incoherently. As with most tantrums, she was getting angrier and more irate by the moment, despite my best efforts to soothe her.

With a pout on her fuming face, as a finale, she took her colourful, illustrated little siddur (prayer book) and threw it to the floor. She was angry. Very angry. And she wanted me to know that.

Now was not the right moment to correct her or teach her appropriate behavior. She really just needed to get to bed in order to wake up tomorrow morning as her regular, adorable and lovable self. I held her, cuddled her and tried to take her back upstairs to her bedroom.

But, alas, she refused.

Even in her haze of irrational meltdown, she knew she would not, could not cross certain boundaries. To her, this was inconceivable. No matter how livid she was, no matter how worn-out or exhausted—she just could not leave her siddur abandoned in her rage. She needed to make amends.

She stomped her little feet, picked up her siddur and placed it in its proper place on the nearby bookshelf. Her face cleared momentarily from its cloud of anger. And then, almost as an afterthought, she lifted the siddur once again, caressed it softly in her plump little arms and tenderly touched it to her mouth, bestowing it with her special kiss--all before running into my open arms for her own snuggling caress.

My young daughter reminded me so much of all of us. In our fit of resentment at the futility of life, or at our unfulfilled dreams or disenchanted hopes, we too have our "spiritual tantrums." Sometimes in our moments of exasperation, we even go so far as to throw away some of the most precious, meaningful and spiritual parts of our lives.

But as much as we react in a haze of heated fury, this isn't our true selves, only our temporary weariness reacting to the demanding struggles of our lives. And eventually, we, too, come running back to Your warm and open caress.

Because some things are just too precious to leave like that, abandoned on the floor—even for a three year old, even in a moment of meltdown.

Can you share a "precious moment" that brought you to a new realization of what is important to you?

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.

Allow me to introduce you to Mrs. M.

She's one of those holier-than-thou individuals. She's condescending and manipulative yet portrays herself as the poor victim. Mrs. M. lives in her own self-absorbed, self-centered orbit and can never find any compromise. She can be downright mean and has a storehouse of scathing, critical and cutting remarks for anyone or anything that doesn't submit to her every whim.

Get the picture?

In short, she's one of those people whom you just don't want to bump into. Ever!

And here we were slated to spend an entire weekend together. Thirty-six hours in close proximity of this woman! There was no escaping this weekend either.

What to do?

Some moments I answer that looming question with the following:

a) Brace yourself for anything that the woman might say and prepare your own onslaught of sarcastic, biting and abrasive comments in response to hers.

b) Keep waking up in the middle of the night, full of anxiety so that by the time this weekend actually arrives, you'll be too bleary-eyed and exhausted to even notice her.

c) Look in the mirror and practise giving really dirty looks. Even if you can't think of a comeback, these icy glares will be sure to put her in her place.

d) Call up the airlines, pretend you are Mrs. M. and have her ticket cancelled.

e) Let everyone who might be at this weekend know (and even those that will not) how difficult this woman is. You'll be doing them a service and sharing your feelings will make you feel lighter.

Other moments, I realize the self-defeatism of the above and try to come up with something a little bit more sensible. Here's the "other moments" list:

a) Breathe. Long, deep breaths. Imagine breathing out all that negativity and inhaling goodness and blessings.

b) Keep away. Plan to socialize with other people as far away from Mrs. M. as possible.

c) Think of the Teflon analogy. It's the example a friend and I use of some special people who are able to allow life's difficulties to just slide off of them, like Teflon, without absorbing any negativity. As Mrs. M. does her act, visualize her comments sliding right off you.

d) Use the opportunity to grow as a person. Focus on and thank G‑d for all the goodness in your life. Instead of getting all worked up, retorting or lowering yourself to her level, have sympathy for a person who has never learned the meaning and beauty of a more loving, sharing and generous life.

e) Do something constructive with the experience. Hey, maybe write an article about this for chabad.org. And maybe even ask your readers to submit their own tips of how they deal with such toxic individuals.

Anyone?

(Stay tuned. I'll let you know which list wins out…)

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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