A friend called to ask why I had missed a group meeting the night before and to see if I would be attending the following week.

I wanted to say, It is 9 in the morning. Don’t shove your guilt onto me!

But I paused. I listened for the emotion. There are a lot of people on the committee. Why was she calling me?

She valued my input. She noticed that I wasn’t there. She cared.

“Thank you for noticing,” I responded, unsure of how she would respond.

“Oh, you’re welcome. I like it so much more when you’re there.”

“Thank you, I was at a bat mitzvah the other night.”

“Oh, wow I am so happy for you. Mazel tov!” And a moment later, “So, can you make next week’s meeting?”

More pressure. I roll my eyes.

No, I tell myself, this is care. She is being vulnerable. I don't want my cynicism to be my lens. “I think so. Either way, thanks for thinking of me.”

“Amazing. So nice chatting. Have a good one.”

I got off the phone feeling elated. A conversation that would have been an argument became an early-morning source of blessing. A source of G‑d’s love for me in the world.

We live in a world where what looks up is down and what looks down is up.1 It is olam hasheker, “a world of falsehood.”2 G‑d conceals Himself and asks that we search for Him. G‑d asks that we peel back the veils of reality and discover the real Him—and then we can hear the “heart message” of all of creation.

To do so, we need to filter our perception through the reverse engineering of a blessing.

Blessed are you, Lord our G‑d, King of the world …

Baruch Atah Ad-nai, Elokeinu Melech, Ha’olam …

Olam: A challenge enters my space, and I see it through the lens of olam, world,” which etymologically is connected to he’elem, “concealment.” I am dumbfounded, confused, angry and hurt. What is G‑d trying to tell me? I don’t get the message.

Melech: I look behind that veil of reality and see that there is order, purpose and systems in place. There is a “King,” Melech, who runs the show.

Elokeinu: I strip past that level, and go to Elokim, G‑d’s name associated with judgment. I realize no one is trying to hurt me. Yes, there is an element of limitation here, but it is not meant to punish me. There is exactness in what I previously just felt as harshness. I start to feel how the boundaries and limitations are not random. They were constructed with me in mind. Life happens for me, not to me. I feel how G‑d is within nature, as hinted to in the numerical value of Elokim being 86—the same as “nature,” hateva.

Ad-nai: Then I peel back another layer, Ad-nai, Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, G‑d’s name as sourced in compassion. I remember that the world was conceived in love. G‑d who is beyond the whole world is interested in me, and my life, and He is behind it all, so there must be a gift in this.

Atah: Once I realize G‑d wants only my good, I sweeten the judgment, and I reach, Atah, “You.”

I remember that the desire for a world came from the level of “You,” a place of absolute essence, which transcends any name. This is G‑d as He is, standing alone to Himself, desiring to connect.

There is no way that my challenge is a punishment or cruel. This is an opportunity to reach my atah—“my essence,” the part of me that remembers what it is like to be bound up with the Essence of life. Now I have the opportunity to reveal that part of me, while embracing and confronting the challenges that are placed before me.

Baruch: Now the world doesn’t feel so lonely. It feels like home. Because He is here. And, so, I have reached baruch, I feel “blessed.”3

(Note: While we looked at the blessing backwards, the blessing is said the other way around in order to draw down these components.)

People whom I love speak, but I cannot hear them. I need to peel back the layers of disconnect, until I feel they are blessing me with their words.

Often, when I think they are trying to make me feel judged or criticized, they are, in fact, trying to make me feel protected, cherished and cared for. When I can see that, I can hear the “heart message” of creation. I can hear their essence, the way G‑d is enlivening them to be.

Try it: Peel back the layers until you reach the person themselves. Listen for what their heart is really saying. Ask yourself: What is it that they actually want me to feel? Listen for the emotion.

My husband said in an exasperated tone looking at my swollen neck: “You got a spider bite! Why didn’t you put something on it?”

I felt judged. Why are you yelling at me? Calm down, I wanted to say.

I took a breath and did a quick translation through the stages of a blessing. From concealment, to judgment, to love, to essence, to blessed.

I listened for the emotion. And I found the true message, I am here to protect you.

I responded in line with the perspective of blessed, not world.Thanks for taking such good care of me. I’ll put some more clay on.”

“You’re welcome,” Ariel said with a beaming smile. “I love you and I worry about you. I want everything to be good for you.”

The best part is when you speak to the atah, the essence of the person, they act as if the layers of concealment were never there. They act in accordance with that deepest part. There is just their essence, their love, and what they are trying to say. Just as for G‑d, there is no world concealing Him. There is just Him.

People look visibly relieved when I respond to their essence, not the concealment. Because I understand them. That was what they were trying to say all along. They just didn’t know how to say it, or the message got lost in the oceans between our two worlds.

So be brave. Be bold. Peel back the layers. You’ll create a bridge of connection and discover a million new resources for feeling blessed in this world.